All about Gun Cleaning

Best Bore Snake Kits – The Top 6 Cleaning Kits in 2021





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When it comes to cleaning your weapon, nothing is more satisfying than cleaning your gun with minimal fuss. Constantly changing patches, jags, and brushes can be a pain, especially if you’re cleaning more than one weapon at a time.

Thank god then that bore snakes came on the scene. They are made from materials that are strong and durable, and they have nothing which can scratch, scrape, or damage your bore or muzzle. You ‘don’t even need to strip your gun down to use them.

Bore snakes are usually one piece and that one piece of material that is designed to do many different things.

You can check which are the best cleaning kits here.

Pull cord

Each bore snake will have a pull cord, which typically has a small brass weight at the end. This allows you to easily feed the pull cord down the barrel and out the muzzle ready to grip and pull through the rest of the bore snake

Cleaner brush

Now, not all bore snakes have a cleaning brush that goes through first, but brands like ‘Hoppe’s are breaking the mold with their range of bore snakes which have a fluffy, strong cleaning head which brakes up debris before the bronze bristles.

Bronze bristles

No clean would be complete without running a bronze tip through your bore. Bore snakes have brass frays built into the rope which clean and break down even the toughest carbon debris. Not all bronze cleaners are made the same with bore snakes, so if your gun gets very dirty, look for one with a full-size bronze cleaner.

Cleaning area

The last area to pull through Is the cleaning area. This usually gets a little bit thicker and is where you will put your oil to lubricate your barrel after you have run your bore snake through a few times to clean it out.

Benefits of using a bore snake

You may want to check how to use a bore snake.

Bore snakes are more of a modern-day cleaning tool. If you like to be one with your gun and spend a full day in the garage, taking it apart and connecting with it, then that is fine. However, in today’s modern world, for most of us, time means money.

The quicker and more efficient you can clean your gun, the more time you have shooting or doing other fun things, like shooting some more.

Bore snakes make the process of cleaning a literal 15-second job, and you do not need to strip down your gun to clean it. Add your solvent to the front of the snake and pull through a few times to get a solid clean. Once your satisfied, add your oil to the back-cleaning area of the rope and pull through a few more times. Job done.

We will admit, even though bore snakes offer a tremendous and deep clean, it will still probably be worth stripping down your gun and inspecting it, then giving it a deep clean while stripped down to make sure you get any debris or carbon the bore snake may have missed.

To top it off, the maintenance required to keep a bore snake in top condition is next to none. Once it gets all stained and smelly, throw it in the washing machine and hang it out to dry, however, please check the manufacturer’s instructions before you do as some of the bronze bristles may cause damage.

It is advisable to use a gun mat and a gun vise when doing your cleaning routine.

The 6 Best Bore Snake Kits

1. Hoppe’s Boresnake Viper Hoppe's Boresnake Viper m 16, .22 - .225 Caliber Rifle, Clam E/F (colors may vary)

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Best Bore Snake Cleaner

As always, it seems, we start this list with the kings of gun maintenance, ‘Hoppe’s. Unless you live under a rock, it is highly unlikely you ‘haven’t heard of ‘Hoppe’s.

Since 1905, when they produced their very first gun cleaning oil, ‘Hoppe’s have been taking care of gun enthusiasts, and pros for all their gun maintenance wants and needs. It is hardly surprising then that we find them in our list of the best bore snakes.

Bore snakes are the perfect way to quickly clean your gun after a shoot at the ranges, or if it needs to be put into storage. They make life simple, easy, and quick. ‘Hoppe’s have done a great job with this bore snake.

They claim it is the ”worlds quickest” three-step bore cleaner, and we agree. It is made from high-quality material and is durable enough to withstand the roughest of tugs and pulls.

The first part you will insert into your rifle or gun is the weighted brass pull cord, which sort of acts like a bore guide, as you pull this through it will be followed by a fluffy brush area which will loosen any large particles and residue.

After that passes, you will reach the built-in bronze brush, which will remove any tough or caked on residue, and finally, you will reach the end, which will scrub the whole barrel clean with a cleaning area 160x larger than a standard patch.

How simple does that sound? Throw some ‘Hoppe’s bore cleaner into the mix, and you have one quick, easy and excellent cleaning snake, which is what makes this one of the best bore snakes on the market today.

What we like:

  •    3 -part cleaning
  •    Available in various calibers
  •    Tough and durable
  •    Large cleaning area
  •    One-piece design
  •    Extremely quick

2. Sage & Braker Shotgun and Rifle Boresnake Sage and Braker Mercantile Gun Cleaning Kits, .22 cal, .223 cal, 5.56mm

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Best Shotgun Bore snake

If you have poked around our articles, you will likely have come across Sage & Braker numerous times, and have read our praises for the company.

Sage & Braker is a company that works with the shooting community to improve the shooting community. Just from the quality of the products, you can tell that they are shooters, and they do what they love.

They are very passionate about preserving our sports and passing it onto the next generation. Without much more needing to be said, we can take a look at one of the most exciting bore snakes ever to hit the market.

Sage & Braker have broken the mold with this one, and it ‘wouldn’t be the first time with their products, this is a single piece bore snake but also detaches so you can use it as a standalone bronze brush cleaner.

To start with, you have the standard pull cord with a well-weighted copper tip that flows nicely through the bore. This is attached to a full-length bronze cleaning brush, which isn’t just a set of bristles in a thread. No, this is a full and proper bronze cleaning brush.

At the back end of the bronze cleaning brush is a tight screw hook that you can connect to the buffing rope so you can either use the bronze brush on its own or follow it through with the buffing rope for that full and shiny clean.

The Sage & Braker bore snake is a cut above the rest, and the feel and quality of this bore snake stand out. We love the fact that the bronze brush separates and works just as good as any rod and patch on the market.

Whereas most bore snakes are useful for a quick and simple clean, this bore snake is good for more than that. We and many others believe that this bore snake is often all you need for months on end to keep your rifle or shotgun clean and to work optimally.

When needed, you can detach the buffing rope and throw it in the washing machine.

What we like:

  •    Full-size bronze brush
  •    Detachable buffing rope – Bronze brush can be used as one piece
  •    High-quality material
  •    Durable and easy to use

3. Real Avid Bore BossReal Avid Bore Boss- clean storing gun snake with handle (select your caliber)

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Easiest to use/most compact Bore snake

Real Avid is our go-to company for innovation in the gun maintenance space. They produce super cool cleaning equipment, but they go that one step further by asking themselves, ”what would make this product more practical”.

It seems they asked themselves that question with a whole lot of their products, one of our favorite being the Real Avid Smart cleaning mat, which features a built-in magnetized parts tray.

They have now, though, gone one step further and innovated once again. The Real Avid Bore Boss is a bore snake unlike anything else on the market. It is smart, compact, easy to use, and excellent at cleaning.

For starters, it comes in a reel like a fishing reel, which has a flex case cover, which keeps the bore snake in place, so no tangled ropes or cables! The case doubles up as a rope pull, so no sore fingers if you need to give it a good tug.

The bore guide is made from coated stainless steel, so feeding it from any angle is comfortable. At the end of the bore, a guide is a small metal ball that hooks onto the flex case for you to then pull the entire bore snake through.

A phosphor bronze brush will get pulled through first, which is robust, sturdy, and has full-length bristles, not just a few small bronze fragments, and this will break down and loosen any residue in its path. Then the braided mop will follow in cleaning and polishing.

Once you have cleaned your weapon, you wrap this around the flex case which has polycarbonate sides that fold back over itself to keep it neat and tidy. This is something different and is a credit to Real Avid and their commitment to creating organized products that serve a real purpose.

What we like:

  •    Easy, convenient storage
  •    Phosphor coated bronze brush
  •    Handle doubles as a pully
  •    Great to carry to the ranges or anywhere

4. Hoppe’s Boresnake Shotgun Bore Cleaner Hoppe's Boresnake Viper 12 Gauge Shotgun, Clam E/F

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Best Large Caliber Bore snake

Cleaning your shotgun has never been an easy task. Especially if you own an over-under shotgun. It isn’t like you can easily use a rod and patch, so for most of us, using a bore snake is the perfect way to keep your shotgun clean. Thanks to ‘Hoppe’s, though, it has got a whole lot easier.

They have designed a bore snake that works perfectly for shotguns and other large caliber weapons. Thanks to their uniqueness, it is the same 1 -piece design as their other highly rated bore snakes, and it works just as great.

You have the same brass weighted end on the pull cord, which will dangle easily through your bore and out the muzzle. This is strong enough to resist a good pull, which will then pull through the scrub to loosen any particles and residue.

The inbuilt bronze brush will break off any more hardened debris, and then you arrive at the cleaning end, which is 160x larger than a standard cleaning patch. Overall this is a perfect way to keep your shotguns clean.

If you shoot at competitions or plan on having a full day on the ranges or are out on the hunt, then having a ‘Hoppe’s bore snake in your bag will come in handy. A few squires of foaming cleaner or CLP, and you can drag your snake cleaner through and be back shooting within a minute.

What we like:

  •    Suitable for larger caliber weapons
  •    Easy to use
  •    Quality bronze brush
  •    Durable
  •    Built-in large scrub head to loosen debris

5. Hoppe’s Boresnake Soft Sided Pistol Cleaning Kit Hoppe's No. 9 BoreSnake Soft-Sided Gun Cleaning Kit, .357-38mm, 9mm Pistol

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Best Handgun Bore snake

Yes, we know. Three mentions for Hoppe’s? Well, this time, it is a little different. This kit ‘isn’t just a bore snake; it is a full cleaning kit for pistols, revolvers and includes solvent, lubricant, and cleaning cloths.

This kit includes the ‘Hoppe’s soft-sided bore snake, which is much more suited to smaller barrels. It fits snugly through the chamber and slides through revolver holes while leaving a glistening shine. 

Another great thing about this kit is that it comes in a smart handy bag that can clip to your belt or sits inside your range kit without taking hardly any room. This is perfect for quick cleans at the range or if you are short on time.

Overall if ‘you’re after something to give as a beautiful gift for the pistol lover in your life, then this does make a great present. If you need something to fit in your kit bag for general use, then you can’t go wrong. After all, it is made by ‘Hoppe’s.

What we like:

  •    Perfect gift kit
  •    Comes with lubricant and solvent
  •    Great for Handguns and revolvers
  •    Comes with a smart case

6. Ultimate Bore Cleaner for Rifle, Pistol & Shotgun Ultimate Rifle Build Ultimate Bore Cleaner Rifle or Pistol for .22.223, 5.56, AR

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Best Budget Bore snake

It is not very often you come across small or unnamed brands in these lists, but sometimes, they are worth more than a mention. Now, as most matured shooters will know, there are just some brands that offer ample value for the quality.

Sometimes in life, though, you may fancy saving a few dollars or just giving the little guy a chance. If you took that chance on the Ultimate, Bore cleaner by Ultimate Rifle Builds, you ‘won’t go wrong.

As most great bore snakes are, this is a one-piece design that makes life so much easier. It starts with a pull cord, which has a weighted brass tip for easy insertion, which then leads onto the cleaning cord, which has a bronze cleaning brush followed by the last cleaning section.

This isn’t the fancy, all thrills clean it just simply and humbly does its job. For value for money and quality, you cannot go wrong with this bore cleaner!

You may also be interested if it is a good idea to use WD-40 for cleaning your gun.


How many times do you run a bore snake through?

You typically run a bore snake through the barrel of your firearm multiple times, usually between 3 to 5 passes. However, the exact number of passes may vary depending on the level of fouling and the specific instructions provided by the bore snake manufacturer.

Do you put bore cleaner on a bore snake?

Yes, it is common to apply bore cleaner to a bore snake before using it. The bore cleaner helps in loosening and removing stubborn residue and fouling from the barrel of the firearm. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the bore cleaner and the bore snake manufacturer for best results.

Do you need to use a solvent with a bore snake?

Yes, using a solvent along with a bore snake can enhance the cleaning process. Solvents help dissolve and break down tough carbon deposits, copper fouling, and other contaminants. Apply the solvent according to the instructions provided by the solvent manufacturer and the bore snake manufacturer for optimal cleaning.

Is a bore snake better than a cleaning rod?

Both bore snakes and cleaning rods have their advantages and are useful in different scenarios. Bore snakes are generally more portable, quicker to use, and great for routine cleaning or light to moderate fouling. Cleaning rods, on the other hand, provide more control and are better suited for deep cleaning, stubborn fouling, or precision tasks. The choice between the two depends on your specific cleaning needs and preferences.

Is a bore snake good enough?

Bore snakes are effective tools for routine cleaning and maintenance of firearms. They can remove light to moderate fouling and provide a convenient way to keep your barrel clean. However, for more thorough cleaning or when dealing with heavy fouling, it may be necessary to use additional tools like cleaning rods, brushes, and solvents. The suitability of a bore snake depends on the specific cleaning requirements and the condition of the firearm.

Are bore snakes any good?

Bore snakes are a convenient and effective tool for cleaning gun barrels. They offer a quick and simple way to remove fouling and debris, making them a valuable addition to any gun cleaning kit.

Are bore snakes better than rods?

The choice between bore snakes and cleaning rods depends on personal preference and the specific cleaning needs. Bore snakes are faster and more portable, ideal for quick cleaning, while cleaning rods offer more precision and control for thorough cleaning.

Does bore snake size matter?

Yes, the bore snake size matters. It should match the caliber of the firearm you are cleaning. Using the correct size ensures a proper fit and effective cleaning, preventing any damage to the barrel.

What is the best bore solvent for lead?

For removing lead fouling from the barrel, a bore solvent specifically designed for lead removal is recommended. Popular options include Hoppe’s No. 9 Lead-B-Gone or Butch’s Bore Shine, which are effective and safe for this purpose.

Can you break in a barrel with a bore snake?

Yes, bore snakes can be used as part of the barrel break-in process for new firearms. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for break-in procedures, and using a bore snake during this process can help remove any factory residue and smooth the barrel.

Do you wash a bore snake?

Yes, bore snakes can be washed to maintain their effectiveness and cleanliness. Use warm soapy water and ensure it’s completely dry before using it again. Regularly washing the bore snake will help prevent cross-contamination and improve its lifespan.

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