Firearms are small investments that must be taken care of. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment is to simply clean your firearm. A tool that can greatly speed up the cleaning process are the RamRodz Gun Swabs from RamRodz, a division of Innovative Products of America.
These Ar-15’s are match-grade accurate. A lot of time and money went into to building these firearms. The barrels and breech are meticulously cleaned of carbon after every outing to prevent rust and corrosion.
RamRodz swabs come in 6 sizes: .22, .38/9mm, .40, .45 and 50 caliber. RamRodz also offers a smaller general use swab that is ideal for detail work and small tasks. RamRodz utilizes a high grade, low lint cotton that is advertised to not leave lint in the firearm. The handle of the swab is composed of a very flexible piece of bamboo. This allows the end user to have some flexibilty while cleaning hard to reach places.
RamRodz come in a variety of sizes. .50, .45, .40, .38/9mm and .22 caliber as well as a smaller size for small detailed work.
For testing purposes I took my Smith and Wesson M&P 15 and M&P 9 and shot several hundred rounds through each. The first firearm cleaned was my Smith and Wesson M&P-15. For cleaning I used M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX and M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner.
For cleaning the Ar-15 I used the .45 and .22 caliber swabs. A stainless steel magnetic tray is a great tool to have when working with small firearm parts.
M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX and M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner were used as cleaning agents.
After making sure the gun was not loaded, the Smith and Wesson M&P-15 was field stripped and the bolt carrier assembly was disassembled.
All of the bolt carrier assembly parts received a generous amount of M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner and were allowed to sit for several minutes. M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner is advertised to remove copper, carbon and lead.
The first part cleaned was the charging handle. The .22 caliber swab made short work of this part. Several passes and most of the Carbon was removed.
Cleaning the bolt lugs was very easy using the .22 caliber swab.
The .22 caliber swab made it very easy to clean the outside of the bolt carrier.
The .45 caliber swab was used to clean the inside of the bolt carrier.
After cleaning all the components of the bolt carrier assembly I like to do a quick test for wear. I keep good records of firing schedules for all of my firearms but a few quick test can give me insight concerning the wear and lifespan of certain parts. A quick test to check the extractor is to GENTLY drag the extractor lip on the inside of the forearm. The extractor lip is the part that interfaces with the rim of the cartridge. After you GENTLY scrape this part on your inner forearm you should see two small lines running parallel to each other. If you don’t see said lines the extractor probably has too much wear and should be replaced.
GENTLY scrape the extractor lip on the inside of your forearm. If you see lines such as this your extractor has enough metal to grip the rim of the case. Please be gentle….you have some pretty good sized veins on the inside of your forearm. If you accidentally sever said veins, neither The Firearm Blog nor I are responsible for your “accident”.
- After reassembling the bolt I will place it back into the bolt carrier. A quick way to check if the gas rings are still good is to slide the bolt into the bolt carrier and give it a few shakes. If the bolt stays in place this means that the gas rings are making good contact with the bolt carrier and are still in good condition.
- After reassembling the bolt carrier assembly, another quick way to test the gas rings is to fully extend the bolt and stand the bolt carrier assembly up on the bolt. If the bolt carrier doesn’t collapse on the bolt, the gas rings are still in good condition.
After checking the gas rings and extractor I like to check the ejector. Get an empty brass case and seat it on the bolt. You will feel lots of tension from the ejector. Point the brass case in a safe direction and let it fly. The case should be launched several feet. Please make sure the extractor is facing opposite your hand….lest you launch a semi-sharp piece of brass towards your face.
After cleaning, inspecting and testing the bolt carrier assembly I sprayed the inside of the upper receiver with some M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner and started scrubbing with the .45 caliber swab.
- The .22 caliber swab was used for the chamber area and for the area around the gas tube.
After cleaning the upper receiver I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the bamboo handle mated perfectly to my cleaning rod. The .22 caliber swab was used as an improvised cleaning patch. RamRodz actually makes a Rifle and Shotgun adapter.
The bamboo handle was shortened to facilitate easier cleaning of the barrel.
The .22 caliber swab worked very well as an improvised cleaning patch. For cleaning my barrels I only use M-Pro 7 Gun Oil. I do not remove copper from my rifle barrels, only carbon.
After cleaning the Smith and Wesson M&P-15 I grabbed some more of the .22 caliber swabs and the pack of .38/9mm swabs. M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner was used for the receiver and the barrel.
After clearing the pistol to make sure it was not loaded, the pistol was field stripped and sprayed with M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner.
The .38/9mm swab did an excellent job cleaning the bore of the barrel. I tried to use the .40 caliber swab to get a tighter fit in the barrel. This proved unsuccessful .
Once again the .22 caliber swab proved invaluable in cleaning the small nooks and crannies of the barrel.
The .22 caliber swab was used to clean the slide assembly. I think RamRodz swabs are truly superior in this aspect. Unlike a Q-tip or a brush, RamRodz do not leave behind loose cotton, wires or bristles.
RamRodz gun swabs are a no-nonsense product that work extremely well. These products are superior to Q-tips in the fact that they do not leave cotton residue behind and maintain their shape. Unlike Q-tips they are a little bit more rigid yet still very pliable and they don’t completely soak up your cleaning agent into the handle. You can buy them directly from RamRodz through their parent company Innovative Products of America. The MSRP for a bag of RamRodz is $9.95…which I think is a very fair price. Overall it took me about 10 minutes to thoroughly clean my Ar-15. I found the swabs invaluable in cleaning the inside of the chamber, bore, bolt carrier the area where the gas tube enters the upper receiver and the underside of the charging handle. It took me about 5 minutes to clean the pistol. I don’t think I will ever use another product other then RamRodz to clean my pistols, and I will incorporate the swabs into my rifle cleaning kit.
Do you have any tips for cleaning your pistols or Ar-15 rifle? As always…tips, gripes and jokes are very much welcome in the comments below! Thank you for reading the Firearm Blog.
Load that bipod…stay safe!
Addendum By Steve: I am gun-cleaning-gear addict (…Hello Steve) and a new user of the RamRodz. I just want to echo that Thomas has said above. They work very well and I have personally been recommending them to other shooters.