Owning a decent cleaning kit is essential for every gun enthusiast. It doesn’t matter if you have one or ten weapons, you need to keep them clean. Leaving the guns uncleaned and using them for a long time can lead to reduced accuracy or the permanent damage of your barrel. Why spend 20 – 50$ to clean a gun at a gunsmith, when you can do it yourself multiple times with the same cost? Besides the obvious use, that of cleaning a gun, a cleaning kit can help you create father-son, husband-wife or brother-brother bonds. It is a pleasant and relaxing activity you can use as a meditation technique. Why spend 20 – 50$ to clean a gun, when you can do it yourself multiple times with the same cost? There are however several things you need to keep in mind when you decide to buy a kit. Read the following article by Tacticals.org editors to find the best gun cleaning kits for all guns by comparing the gun cleaning kit reviews we prepared.
Outers 25 – Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Tool Chest
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Otis Tactical Cleaning System with 6 Brushes
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Hoppe’s No. 9 Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit
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Outers 28 – Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Box
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DAC Winchester Super Deluxe Soft Sided Gun Care Case
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Remington Hunting Cleaning and Maintenance Kit
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Best Gun Cleaning Kit Reviews
1. Outers 25 – Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Tool Chest
(.22 Caliber and up)
This is one of the best-looking gun cleaning sets out there. It comes with a wooden box of 12 x 6 x 6 inches. The box and the cleaning kit weigh about six 6 pounds.
The box has a drawer underneath that holds accessories for a lot of different calibers. It has seven bronze brushes, it’s got mops, two spear-point jags, three slotted patch loops, and fifty cleaning patches. It also has three solid brass rods for rifles, pistols, and shotguns.
What immediately caught our eyes was the aged oak wood storage box it came with. When you open the lid you find two wooden parts in it that can be attached to the edge of the box to make a little, improvised vice. You can use the vice when you work at your rifle. The inside of the box is empty and it’s pretty spacious. You can fit your cleaning patches, rubbing alcohol and gun lube in there without any trouble.
While the wooden box made us test this cleaning kit in the first place, it was the first to disappoint. It doesn’t look bad, but it has a cheap feel to it. The interior is very rough, it’s obvious that no effort was put into sanding it, let alone apply some finishing touches.
The cleaning kit is fairly good, but you should note that the patch loops are made out of plastic. The bronze brushes do their job well. They could have equipped the kit with solvent or even gun oil, but you can easily find those locally.
2. Otis Tactical Cleaning System with 6 Brushes
The Tactical Cleaning System was engineered to fulfill the needs of any shooter that uses a variety of weapons. The kit comes in a 4 x 4 x 2.5 inches soft case. It can clean all 0.17 to 0.50 caliber rifles, handguns with 0.17 – 0.50 caliber, 410 to 12/10 gauge shotguns, and muzzleloaders.
This cleaning kit comes with 25 individual items. Among them, you will find cleaning rods, three slotted brass tips, T-handle, half an ounce of cleaner, lube, and preservative, large and small caliber cotton cleaning patches, a shotgun brush adapter, six bore brushes, and a bore reflector. It gives you all the supplies you need for a day to day basis cleaning process.
The Otis cleaning kit comes with all the components you would need for your rifle, shotgun, and handgun and they all fit in that tight and little space. The main factor that allowed them to do that is the flexible rods. Most cleaning kits are larger because they need to fit the cleaning rods. With these ones, you just bend them around themselves and they’ll fit in the 4 x 4 inches space.
Another advantage of this kit is that it allows you to clean from breech to muzzle. This is very important because it limits the possibility of residue or debris to harm your rifle or pistol. With a regular straight cleaning rod, you can only reach the barrel, and not the muzzle without disassembling the gun. The only downside of this kit is that it doesn’t come with brushes for the .223 and .243 calibers.
3. Hoppe’s No. 9 Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit
Hoppe’s No. 9 cleaning kit comes in a wooden box of 26 x 8 x 6 inches and weighs 2.8 pounds. The kit includes a 3 piece brass rod, 4 slotted ends, 5 phosphor bronze brushes, silicone cleaning cloth, lubricating oil and a “Guide to Gun Care” booklet.
The kit is made for universal cleaning and the bronze brushes can fit .22 and.30 caliber rifles, .38 caliber pistols and 12 and 20 gauge shotguns. This cleaning kit comes with everything a new gun owner would want and it also comes with an instructions manual which will help you understand how a gun should be cleaned. But it does have some disadvantages.
The first disadvantage we noticed was the use of plastic patch holders. When you try to attach these patch holders to the brass rod you have to be very careful. They are very sensitive and they don’t screw in the rod properly. If you try to tighten them, they will break. Another bad thing about this cleaning kit is the brass rod. It comes as a 3 piece, but when you assemble the pieces together they don’t fit in properly. Sometimes when you clean a weapon the sections come lose a bit and you have to stop to secure them again.
This kit is adequate for the average user, but if you want something to clean all your weapons you might be disappointed by it. It doesn’t come with a 9 mm brush or a bore snake. For a universal cleaning kit, it’s pretty limited.
4. Outers 28 – Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Box
(.22 Caliber and up)
The Outers 28 cleaning kit comes in a latched wooden box and weighs 1.5 pounds. This cleaning kit is able to clean all calibers larger than the .22. The kit comes with 28 individual accessories. Among them you will find a 3 piece brass rod for rifles, pistols, and shotguns; 8 bronze brushes, 5 mops, 5 spear-pointed jags, 2 slotted patch loops, a double-ended nylon brush, a nylon-ended cleaning pick, 50 cleaning patches and a shotgun accessory adapter.
We encountered this model in many gun cleaning kit reviews, and it really had many mixed ones, so we decided to try it ourselves. The wooden box is average quality at best. The wood is very thin. The box liner, the plastic that should separate the parts so you can grab them easily, is paper thin.
The kit was advertised to have 3 brass rods and it actually has only one, 3-piece rod. The pieces fit well, but there is no such thing as a guide for the cleaning rod. When you attach the patch loop to the brass rod, the loop turns out to have a smaller diameter. This means that if you try to clean a .22 caliber rifle, there will always be a sharp edge of the rod exposed. This edge will scrape your barrel unless you are very careful. The cleaning jags are made out of plastic and they break easily. While this kit should clean all calibers from the .22 up, it doesn’t even do a good job on a .22. If you want a cleaning kit to use on multiple weapons, you should look for another model.
5. DAC Winchester Super Deluxe Soft Sided Gun Care Case
The DAC Winchester cleaning kit comes in a 15 x 2.5 x 13.5 inches soft sided case and weighs 3.7 pounds. The kit has 68 individual pieces. Among them you will find 14 different caliber phosphor bronze brushes, 14 mops that match with them, 13 spear-pointed brass jags, 4 brass adapters, a machined-aluminum handle, 6 solid brass rods, 4 slot tips, a double-ended metal cleaning pick, 2 double-ended breech brushes, 3 parts brushes, 2 choke and breech cleaning brushes, a polishing lock and 3 sets of cleaning patches, 50 each.
In this model’s case, it’s not only the number that’s impressive, it’s the utility of it, as well. This kit can be used to clean any kind of rifle, handgun or shotgun with a caliber between .17 and 12 gauge.
The first thing that will impress you will be the case itself. It is well made and organized very nice. Every single item has its determined place, and you will quickly learn their order. The case is large enough to hold extra accessories as well. All the brushes and mops have plastic covers. The kit can practically clean anything. The brushes and metal picks really make it great. All of the brushes and mops are engraved with caliber markings.
The only downside we could identify for this model is the lack of a “T” handle. Many gun cleaning kit reviews complain that this kit doesn’t come with gun lube or oils, but that wasn’t a problem for us. Picking out a certain gun lube or oil agent is a personal preference and anybody can do that locally. The good thing is that the case is spacious enough to hold a 2 or 3-ounce bottle.
6. Remington Hunting Cleaning and Maintenance Kit
The Remington Hunting comes in an 11.5 x 8.6 x 6 inches compact bag. It weighs around 2.4 pounds. The bag is sturdy and well compartmented, with secure zippers and plenty of room. In the front, it holds all the Squeeg-Es they developed for your gun, along with all the brushes. The pocket on the right side holds the cables, the “T” handle, plus some brushes. In the left side pocket, you will find the Rem All In Bore Cleaner, a substance they developed for cleaning, Rem Oil, and a gun cloth. In the main, central pocket you will find a pad you can put your weapon when you clean it, so all the grime will be collected by it. The pad can be later washed without trouble. The central pocket is large and you can use it to store other accessories. Each brush and Squeeg-E are inscribed with the caliber they can clean.
In order to clean your weapon, you attach the brush to the right cable and go through the barrel several times with the brush. This model doesn’t use patches. After you clean the barrel with the brush, attach the right Squeeg-E for the caliber, and pull it through in one single motion from breech to muzzle. The Squeegee-E is going to capture all the oils and residue that escaped the brush.
The good thing about this model is that the Squeeg-E system works. It really does gather debris and oils left on the barrel. This comes in handy, as you don’t need to waste time finding the right patch to fit the barrel or changing the dirty patch.
Gun Cleaning Kits – Buying Guide
If you want to buy yourself a gun cleaning kit you have to think about several things. How many weapons do you need to clean with it? How many different caliber weapons do you own? How often do you use your guns, and how often do you clean them? Are your guns usually used in dusty or muddy environments? In order to make a good decision about what you’re going to buy, read the following guide.
One of the first things you need to watch out for is the cost of a cleaning kit. Don’t think that only an expensive one might be the best kit for you. That might not be true
- Cheap Models – Cheap models are to be avoided. We included only a cheap model in our reviews for reference, and this is why: most of the brushes are made out of soft, easily breakable plastic. You don’t want that, you want durable brushes, so you can use them multiple times. The 3-piece brass rod they come with is usually pretty bad at assembling. The pieces don’t fit properly, and if by any miracle they do fit, once you start using the rod, they begin to wobble. You need a sturdy rod in order to remove all the debris from your barrel. They offer only a limited range of brushes. You think you’re buying a universal kit, but to your great surprise, it only fits 3 calibers, and you don’t need 2 of them. The cleaning jags are made out of plastic and they break easily. You can break several before you get to clean a single weapon.
- Medium Priced Models – Most of the models we reviewed fit in this category. There are still several bad models, even at this price range, but you can find some good, if not even great ones, as well. You should always go for the models that come with metal brushes, not plastic ones. They should also have metal picks and mops that can be reused multiple times. This category can offer models that will surprise you in terms of efficiency and handling. Some of them come with user manuals, so they’re perfect for beginners.
- High Priced Models – We didn’t include any really expensive models on our list. We included only one above medium price for reference. The more expensive models come with their own patented technologies for weapon cleaning. They are easier to use, more durable than their competition and might come with an easier to pack case. But not all of them are better than the medium-priced ones. Some might cost extra because they come with a nice and shiny box, but deliver an average cleaning set. We don’t recommend buying an expensive set if you’re a beginner. You will be better off purchasing a medium-priced one until you learn how to properly clean a gun.
2. Materials Used
The materials manufacturing companies use for making the cleaning kit are in direct correlation with their quality. Therefore, the type and quality of the material should be very important for you if you’re thinking about buying one.
- Mostly Plastic – When cleaning kits are composed of pieces made mostly from plastic, you’re going to have trouble with it. Plastic can, and probably will break very quickly. There are some models that come with a straight plastic rod. This kind of rod might be better for your barrel because it has a smaller chance to scratch the inside of your barrel than the brass or bronze one, but that’s the only good part about it. The bad part is that the spiraled end you use to attach the brushes will lose its striations after a couple of uses. Plastic brushes will bend and break when you push them down the barrel. Plastic cleaning jags break even more easily than the brushes.
- Plastic and Metal – Plastic and metal parts can make a good kit, but you have to look for a while before you find such a model. Unfortunately, manufacturers usually use plastic when they make highly solicited pieces of equipment, like the brushes or the cleaning jags. Because these pieces need constant and often rough manipulation, they’re prone to break quickly. Sometimes even the threaded cleaning tips, the ones that hold the patches, are made out of plastic, even though the rod is made out of brass or bronze. This creates a problem when you try to screw the cleaning patches on the rod because of the brass or bronze material, being tougher than the plastic, will break it quickly. You have to be careful about handling those types of rods.
- Mostly Metal – Cleaning kits that have most of their components made out of metal are the best ones out there. These are the models you should be looking for in the medium-priced category. You can look for them in the high priced category as well, as long as you have some experience cleaning guns and know what to look for. There’s nothing better to handle when cleaning your favorite gun than a metal double-ended cleaning pick or some metal brushes. They’re durable and effective. Not only do they get the job done, but they also do it quickly for a long period of time.
3. Accessories Available
Every producer tries to fit different types of accessories in the cleaning kit. Some of them are really useful, but some aren’t. Which kind of accessories do you really need in your cleaning kit and which will be useless?
- The Right Substances – In order to clean your gun properly, you need to apply the right substances. A solvent is good to remove carbon, lead and other fouling. A degreaser removes dirt and oil from the moving parts. Use a lubricant to lubricate and protect the parts from rust. A protectant is good to repel water and protect against corrosion.
- Patches – You need patches for most cleaning kit models. Unless the manufacturer says otherwise, you will definitely need patches. These are made out of cotton and you need to run a clean one through the bore with every pass you make with the rod. Don’t use the same patch twice, as you will only swirl the fooling around. They are inexpensive and you can use them to clean other parts of the gun as well. Coat one with solvent and make a pass through the bore before you pass with the brush.
- The Jag or Loop – The Jag or the Loop are the names different companies give to the little bit that attaches at the end of your cleaning rod. These attachments hold the cleaning patch on the rod while you clean. A jag holds the cleaning patch with the point on its end, while the loop holds it like the needle holds a thread. You need these accessories to clean the inside of your barrel. You should be careful to pick brass or bronze ones. Never pick plastic ones, as they will easily break.
- Brushes – All cleaning kits have brushes, but you need to look for models that offer metal brushes, not plastic ones. Plastic brushes have a tendency to break quickly. Bronze brushes work well, as their metal is weaker than the one in your bore, so it won’t scratch it. For light-duty cleaning, nylon brushes work just fine. Keep in mind that brushes wear down with time, so you’ll have to replace them from time to time.
- Bore Guide – a bore guide is used to keep the rod centered in a rifle’s bore, so it won’t damage anything. While you won’t necessarily need one, it might help.
- Gun Cleaning Pad – The cleaning pad prevents solvents and oils from leaking onto your workspace. You can wash it afterward in a regular washing machine. You don’t really need it, but it helps.
The best kit for you should be a portable one, even if you don’t intend to clean your weapons in the forest or at the range. You need to be able to move it around without any kind of trouble. There are many options out there, but which one is the best for you?
- Toolbox – We all have an empty or half-empty somewhere around the garage. Why not use it to carry all your cleaning accessories? This might be a good short-term solution if your main box broke for some reason, but it’s a bad decision in the long run. You will lose a lot of time looking through it in order to find the smaller pieces you need. Most toolboxes are made out of tin or steel. While steel might be able to withstand the damage done by some of the solvents you have to use for cleaning your gun, in most likely won’t. Another disadvantage of employing a toolbox for this job is that it might harm your accessories. Some of them are made out of brass or bronze. Bronze is a weaker metal than steel, so having your brushes push against the steel wall of the box while you move it around might prove to be disastrous for your brushes. Also, some of the pieces might be made out of plastic. If you don’t have them firmly strapped in place, the plastic might break. You can find yourself without some of the components just by making a slightly fast turn.
- Wooden Box – Many of the models we presented in our reviews come with a wooden box. This is a highly debated subject and we’re going to present all the aspects. Having a neatly compartmented wood box will help you find the right accessory quickly. It is a material that doesn’t interact with any of the common materials used for manufacturing the pieces. The only problem you can have in that area is to have a loose plastic piece within the box. It might break, but that’s true for almost all kinds of boxes. A real problem you might encounter is the stain and damage made by the solvents. They can be unmerciful for the wood. Oil leaks can permanently stain the wood, and it can lead to having oily pieces all over. Solvents might damage it as well.
- Synthetic Material – Synthetic materials don’t interact with bronze, brass, or plastic. They might get stained by oils and solvents.
5. Number of Pieces
The higher the number of pieces, the higher the number of calibers you can clean with that certain kit. That’s how it usually goes. What to choose then? Is it better to have a smaller number of pieces at the start and adapt as you buy new hardware, or is it better to have a large number from the beginning? While most of the manufacturers offer a large number of working pieces, some of them offer a smaller amount and a higher amount of adjustment pieces.
Here is a nice gun maintenance video for you to have a better idea before purchase.
- 10 to 12 Pieces – These are the smallest universal cleaning kits. They are the ones we would usually recommend to new users. You can buy them at better prices than the larger ones, and usually, they get the job done. Some things you have to remember, though: Don’t go for the cheap ones. You will invest less money into one, but you will not be able to use it for long, thus you won’t be able to learn how to properly clean a gun. Avoid any model that has a lot of plastic components, especially avoid those that come with plastic brushes, jags, and loops. Make sure your weapon’s caliber is one of the calibers it’s intended for. Most 10 – 12 models are compatible with .22 and.30 caliber rifles, .38 caliber pistols and 20 and 12 gauge shotguns. If your caliber isn’t among those specified by the manufacturer, you could look for another model or you could look for the right accessories from the same manufacturer. They usually don’t charge much for a single caliber adjustment, especially if it’s a popular one, like the 9 mm.
- 28 Piece Kits – The 28 piece kits offer a larger versatility than the 10 to 12 ones. They fit more calibers and even if they don’t fit some perfectly, they come with adjustments to help. These models usually fit in the medium-priced models, but you can find some of them in the high priced or even in the low priced category. If you find yourself a cheap 28 piece kit, stay away from it. It’s probably garbage. The 28 piece models usually come equipped for all calibers above the .22.
- 32 Piece Kits – The 32 piece kits usually have a larger number of adjustment pieces than the 28 models, but they are used for the same calibers, the ones above .22. We recommend you to buy a 32 piece kit only if you have previous experience cleaning weapons.
- 68 Piece Kits – The 68 piece kits are for professionals and weapons enthusiasts only. They cover all kinds of calibers and should be used by experienced shooters and cleaners.
Best Gun Cleaning Kit Comparison Chart
|PRODUCT||PRICE||DIMENSION||PIECE||IT CAN CLEAN|
|Outers 25 - Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Tool Chest||$$||12 x 6 x 6 inches||25||.22 Caliber and up|
|Otis Tactical Cleaning System with 6 Brushes||$$||12 x 10.2 x 2.5 inches||25||All 0.17 to 0.50 caliber rifles, handguns with 0.17 - 0.50 caliber, 410 to 12/10 gauge shotguns, and muzzleloaders.|
|Hoppe's No. 9 Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit||$$||26 x 8 x 6 inches||N/A||.22 and .30 caliber rifles, .38 caliber pistols, and 20 and 12 gauge shotguns|
|Outers 28 - Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Box||$||12 x 8 x 2 inches||28||.22 Caliber and up|
|DAC Winchester Super Deluxe Soft Sided Gun Care Case||$$$||15 x 2.5 x 13.5 inches||68||All .17 and 12 gauge.|
|Remington Hunting Cleaning and Maintenance Kit||$$$||11.5 x 8.6 x 6 inches||N/A||.22 caliber pistol or revolver to 12 gauge shotgun|
Now that you read the previous gun cleaning kit reviews and the buying guide, you know what to expect from the most popular models out there. Of course, there are other models that didn’t make our list, and the main reason is that they were either expensive or bad. One of the models we picked is most likely to be the best gun cleaning kit for your weapon, no matter of its caliber. Remember to clean your brushes, mops, and jugs after each use (you can also use a gun vise for more easiness). Also, you will need to buy new patches and other consumables from time to time. It’s better to buy a larger quantity, as they will be cheaper. Try searching online for patches, oil, and lube before you go to the local gun shop. The price difference might not be that high, but you are more likely to find more brands and models online.