Review: Tipton Max Force Gun Cleaning Rod


Review: Tipton Max Force Gun Cleaning Rod

When I first wrote about the Tipton Max Force gun cleaning rod, I subtitled it “One rod to rule them all,” but I hadn’t been able to spend any time using one. Well, now I have, and I like it.

The Max Force rod‘s claim to fame is the sliding handle. Most cleaning rods, even the nice ones, you have to push from the end of the rod, where the handle is. This is not only awkward because sometimes it’s a long stretch to hold your gun while you shove the rod through the bore, it may also lead to broken rods. And even if the rod doesn’t bend or break, it will usually bow and rub the inside of the barrel where it does so.

That is bad news, no matter which end you clean from. If you clean from the muzzle, you may damage the crown of the rifling by allowing the rod to rub in this way. And if you clean from the breech, which is the preferred method, a rubbing rod may mess up the throat. By pushing on a portion of the rod that’s near the gun, you greatly reduce the bowing or bending of the rod.

The sliding handle also means that you have greater control over the rod. Which of us has never been caught shoving that rod too hard when it reached the other end of the barrel, only to have it fly through and have the handle smack something or pinch the crap out of our other hand? I know I sure have… and that’s much easier to avoid using this rod.

So although this rod is long (the usable portion of mine measures 41 inches) it is much easier to use than other bore cleaning rods. You simply slide the handle along the rod until it’s an a place you like, then you squeeze the lever to activate a clamp that grabs the rod. This isn’t difficult; with two fingers you can get it clamped securely to the rod. But most of the time you’ll want to use your thumb on the clamp; seems like it’s designed that way.

Squeeze the spring-loaded lever down into the handle to clamp it to the rod.
Squeeze the spring-loaded lever down into the handle to clamp it to the rod. (Photo: BTI)

“What about the rifling,” you ask? No sweat–theoretically. Even while clamped, the rod can rotate inside the handle, which should let your brush or jag rotate within a rifled barrel. In practice, it isn’t 100% reliable; the cleaning jag kept unthreading itself a little at a time during one of my gun-cleaning sessions. So you’ll want to keep an eye on that. Of course, the same is true for just about any cleaning rod I’ve used.

The rod itself is tough, smooth, black carbon fiber. The 22-45 caliber model that I tried has 8-32 threads in the brass end. There’s also a 17-caliber model, which has 5-40 threads. The other end of the rod has a brass end cap, which can stand up to being bumped on the floor or rapped with a mallet to move the rod through a really tight bore.

My cleaning rod is listed as 22-45 caliber, and I have used it happily on rifle bores from 22 to 338 caliber. With the sliding handle, you could even use this rod on pistols and revolvers.

This may well be the only cleaning rod you ever need. But if you’re anything like me, you hate changing from brush to jag when you clean a rifle barrel, so you use two rods. It would be great if they could both be Max Force rods, and if that’s your wish you will be pleased to know that the street price is far below the $84.99 MSRP. Average price online seems to run between $45-$50.

Bottom line: I like my Tipton Max Force cleaning rod a lot, and I wish I had two of them. The only problem I’ve found is that the rod sometimes doesn’t rotate freely enough to prevent a cleaning jag from unscrewing as it travels through a rifled bore, and I can live with that.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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