Do Bore Snakes Hurt Barrels?

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If you regularly clean your gun, chances are you encountered or used a bore snake. Bore snakes primarily clean the inside of the gun’s barrel, and a lot of gun owners often use it. In this article, I’ll answer the question “do bore snakes hurt barrels?” and how useful bore snakes really are.

Do Bore Snakes Hurt Barrels?

Bore snakes don’t hurt barrels. In fact, they are great for gun cleaning before or after doing some firing. They can easily wipe the inside of the barrel and clean up any residue or fouling.

Close up of a gun barrel

However, some gun owners don’t like using bore snakes. They don’t like it because they feel like the bronze-bore bristles aren’t durable enough. Other boar snake users do not find any fault in it. It may come down to preference and if you handle and maintain your gun cleaning equipment properly.

Bore snakes are also convenient to use and save you a lot of time. I wouldn’t recommend using it if there’s something stuck inside your barrel like sand or dirt inside your barrel. Most bore snakes can’t handle large-sized debris inside a gun barrel.

What Is a Bore Snake?

A bore snake is a type of gun cleaning tool. It’s a weighted cord and was first developed by a company named Hoppes. It makes gun cleaning fast and convenient with its easy cleaning process. It’s especially useful at the gun range when you want to do a quick clean on your gun.

Bore snakes were popular back in World War 2. Because of pressed time during the war, soldiers were looking to find a way to clean their guns fast. Due to this predicament, gun cleaning companies invented bore snakes to help the soldiers.

Bore snake parts usually consist of:

  • Brass weight
  • Cleaning solution application
  • Copper brushes
  • Dry and oil

Today, most people use bore snakes to do a quick clean of firearms. You can commonly see them at a gun range where people want to quickly clean their guns before firing them. Some gun owners even use them for gun cleaning maintenance at home.

Are Bore Snakes Bad for Barrels?

Most gun owners who use bore snakes will tell you that it’s not bad for your guns. First-time users often encounter problems with bore snakes. Some people also don’t bother looking up on what the right way to use a bore snake and end up with more problems.

Rifle gun barrels resting on a wooden stand

While a lot of people also expect bore snakes to thoroughly clean the barrel, bore snakes won’t replace proper barrel cleaning. The bore snake only prevents too much gunk build-up so you won’t have a hard time thoroughly cleaning it during regular gun maintenance.

Bore Snake Vs. Cleaning Rod

Feature Bore Snake Cleaning Rod
Compact More compact Rigid
Damage Less damage Prone to damage
Cost Pricier Budget-friendly
Effectiveness Doesn’t clean thoroughly Cleans thoroughly

Related Questions

Will a Bore Snake Scratch the Barrel?

There is no material in a bore snake that is harder than the inside of a barrel to make a scratch. If you are seeing scratches on the inside of your barrel after using a bore snake, it might be trails of brass or copper from the bore brush’s bristles. It should come off with a bit of shooting and then cleaning it afterward.

It might also be because there is sand or fouling that regular bore snake can’t clean. You will need a cleaning rod to deep clean it and remove the scratches.

Is a Bore Snake Better Than a Cleaning Rod?

In terms of general cleaning, the cleaning rod is better than a bore snake. Bore snakes are better for quick cleanup after a session at the gun range as you don’t want too much dirt and residue build-up when the day comes for your scheduled gun cleaning maintenance.

Who Makes the Best Bore Snake?

Without a doubt, Hoppes makes some of the best bore snakes you can find on the gun store. Hoppes made the first bore snake during World War II and has since been around for almost 100 years.

They continue to innovate and improve on their bore snakes. If you ask most gun owners, they would recommend you to use Hoppes.


Bore snakes aren’t bad for your gun. They help you clean the barrel quickly and fast and you can even use them conveniently in a gun range. Some people might have too many expectations on it since it is for cleaning. They are meant for partial cleaning and not anything else.

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.