True to Bore Cleaning Rods
Dr. John Woods 12.28.16
A gun cleaning caution has always been issued about using the correct cleaning rod size for the bore size being cleaned. The general advice says that if you are cleaning the rifle bore of your trusty 30-06 after deer season is over, then the cleaning rod needs to be a .30 caliber. There are some good reasons for this, but also some other considerations.
Years ago I finally broke down and bought a couple one-piece rifle barrel cleaning rods. I was tired of the jointed rods that tended to kink or become unscrewed from the pressure of pushing a tight cleaning patch down the bore back and forth. I bought one .30 caliber and one .22 caliber rods. I use these for all of my rifle barrel cleanings now regardless of the exact bore diameter.
The.30 caliber rod I use to clean the bigger than .30 caliber bores. These include a 45-70 Sharps and a .50 caliber muzzleloader. The .22 caliber rod I use for most everything else. I error in following the classic advice for practical reasons. Have you tried pushing a .30 caliber rod with a 1-inch patch down the barrel of say a .300 Winchester Short Magnum barrel?
Even from the breech end having removed the bolt, it is nearly impossible to get a regular sized patch down the barrel and out the muzzle. It is so much easier and I believe effective to have a cleaning rod with a diameter smaller than the bore. Then you can patch up the rod to make it fit tight enough to do a thorough cleaning job.
I do think it important to clean from the breech end to avoid undue accidental scratching or nicking of the muzzle crown or area of the barrel just inside the crown. You certainly do not want to damage the lands and grooves at the muzzle end in any way. Considering this is where the bullet makes it final barrel exit, you want this bullet and barrel contact to be perfect.
Sometimes with some guns it is not possible to access the breach end of the gun. In these cases you can use a bore alignment tool made of plastic that fits just inside the barrel. Then the cleaning rod is run through this tool to keep the rod from contacting the muzzle lands and grooves of the rifling. Always use care when running a cleaning rod down any firearm barrel.