Are Bore Snakes Any Good?

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You have probably seen some shooters at the gun range use some piece of cord to clean the insides of their gun barrel. That’s what you call bore snakes and they’ve been used since World War 2. Some people love them and some people don’t, that makes you wonder, are bore snakes any good?

Are Bore Snakes Any Good?

In general, bore snakes are really great to clean the inside of your gun barrel, compared to a rod and patch. You can conveniently use them in a gun range or anywhere you want. 

Gun owners use bore snakes if they want a quick clean of their gun. You normally see it on gun ranges where gun owners use bore snakes before firing their guns. Some also use it to clean their gun barrels after firing. 

However, you don’t use bore snakes to clean gun barrels that have a very fouled bore or a spread copper cleaning solution in the barrel. Gun cleaning rods are much better in that area.

What Is a Bore Snake?

A bore snake is a weighted cord first used in World War 2 when soldiers were looking for a way to quickly clean their guns. A bore snake makes the gun cleaning process a lot faster and quicker which is highly useful for soldiers. You also see some people use it at the gun range because it’s convenient to do.

A bore snake consists of 4 parts that each have their own function. Each of them aids in the process of cleaning your guns.

Are bore snakes good for gun cleaning
  • Bore brush: This part either contains bronze or copper bristles embedded in the cord. It is in the middle part of the bore snake. It softens and loosens up hard deposits that it passes through.
  • Main floss area: This part cleans off the loosened up deposits. It covers more area compared to your standard cleaning patch. It’s the snakelike cord part of the bore snake.
  • First floss area: This is the first cleaning area. It removes foreign residues and particles before the scrubbing of the bore brush. It’s the brushlike part of the bore snake.
  • Brass weight: This is the first thing you insert inside the gun barrel. It slips easily through the barrel and grasps and pulls through the bore to start the cleaning process. You can check the stamp with identification of caliber or gauge if you’re not sure of the gun compatibility.

Are Bore Snakes Effective?

Bore snakes are much more effective compared to one or multiple gun cleaning patches. Bore snakes fit tighter inside the barrel and provide you with a better contact area than your regular gun cleaning patches. They also come in different sizes and accommodate most gun calibers.

When it comes to thorough cleaning, bore snakes won’t actually do an excellent job. You use bore snakes to do some quick cleaning to keep it functional for the next usage. Only use a bore snake if you want to save time and not for general firearm maintenance.

Bore snakes act more like a bandage that makes the gun still useful until you have the chance to thoroughly clean it. You don’t want to sit on a gun cleaning session with a lot of fouling and residue on your gun because you only clean it once a month.

Can You Wash a Bore Snake?

A bore snake that frequently goes through dirty gun barrels becomes dirty itself. If you want your bore snake to effectively clean your gun barrel, you must clean it regularly. You can wipe it with a dry cloth after every use to slow down the build-up of dirt.

Once your bore snake contains too much dirt to effectively clean, you can hand wash or machine wash it. If you want to be careful, hand washing your bore snake is much better as you are in control of how much pressure you apply to clean off the dirt on your bore snake.

You can also go for machine wash as long as you have a delicate load setting. Make sure you place it in a wash bag before placing it inside the washing machine. You might end up with a damaged bore snake at the end.

Are Bore Snakes Better Than Rods?

Both gun cleaning tools are designed for different purposes. Bore snakes shine in fast and quick cleaning while gun cleaning rods clean your gun thoroughly. However, there are various advantages and differences in using these gun cleaning tools.

Bore snakes don’t often damage your gun’s chamber or muzzle, unlike gun cleaning rods. Mainly because bore snakes don’t put a lot of force and pressure inside the barrel. Although, some people prefer using bore snakes to rods because they don’t want to damage their gun’s muzzle. 

If you know how to handle gun cleaning rods, you know rods do a better job at cleaning. Gun cleaning rods are durable and don’t break down easily compared to bore snakes.


Bore snakes are generally good for quick cleaning use. They are handy at gun ranges if you want to clean your gun fast and not waste your time inside the gun range. Don’t expect bore snakes to thoroughly clean your gun barrel as much as a rod does yet they come in handy wherever you go.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.