Best Gun Cleaning Kit | 9mm, Rifle, and Shotgun

Ladies and gentlemen, as many of you, know hunting season has started in most states around the country for archery hunting. As excited as I am, I know I have to get my rifles, scopes, cleaning kits, and clothes ready. Sometimes I feel like I have too much stuff, but hunting to me is a way of life, and that will take up more space than a normal hobby (this is what I tell my wife, anyway). 

Fortunately, I started to get everything ready for the season last weekend. As I took out my rifle cleaning kit, I felt inspired to share which cleaning kit I use every season and why I use it. I like to use as little equipment as possible while I’m hunting because it’s always easier to travel as light as possible. 

Tipton Deluxe 1-Piece Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod

My Tipton cleaning kit has been the best gun cleaning kit I’ve owned in many years. The best part is they’re affordable and durable enough for going on my 3rd hunting season with the same kit.

My goal with this blog is to help you find a way to build your own personal gun cleaning kit. I’ve found that sometimes, the pre-made kits could be better by buying the individual pieces that fit my needs for each gun.

What Do I Look For in a Gun Cleaning Kit?

If we’re being honest with each other we need to recognize that most gun cleaning kits are more similar than they are different. There are minor differences between some companies that make the difference between a tool you can use for years and one that won’t last 3 months of moderate use. 

Which is Better, Stainless Steel or Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod?

Starting with the cleaning rod, I wouldn’t use anything that isn’t made from stainless steel or carbon fiber. Cleaning rods that are made from aluminum are too flexible for me and that’s where most gun owners get the bend in the rod as they try to push a bore brush or patch through the barrel. 


Stainless steel is a nice cleaning rod because it’s durable as hell, doesn’t bend like aluminum, and is easier to maintain. Some gun owners have argued that stainless steel can damage a barrel because steel is a harder metal than that used inside the barrel. 

Tipton Deluxe 1-Piece Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

I agree for sure that it’s possible to gouge a barrel with stainless steel, but it will never happen if you’re cleaning your gun in the way the manufacturer intends. For example, you can’t put 2-3 patches on your cleaning rod and run through multiple times with no solvent or bore gel.

No judgment at all, as I’ve done this in my younger days in the military. Sometimes you really want to ensure that all grease is out before you lube your barrel for storage. However, you can’t expect your cleaning rod to go through when there is no lube to help guide more material than the barrel is intended for. 

Carbon fiber is a great choice because it’s much softer than stainless steel and is incredibly rigid and flexible. Personally, I bought the Tipton Carbon Fiber cleaning rod because I know it won’t scratch my barrel, it’s lightweight, and it still looks new after 3 years of heavy use. 


Stainless Steel Cleaning RodCarbon Fiber Cleaning Rod
Rigid enough to get through any barrel without bendingRigid enough for any barrel without bending
More affordable than carbon-fiberWill never scratch or gouge a barrel
Better than aluminumThe best material available for gun barrels
It Will last many years without breakingMore durable than any other material
Solvent, water, and oil resistantSolvent, water, and oil resistant
 It Will last decades longer than any other material used for cleaning rods
 It’s near impossible to ruin your barrel, even if you apply too much force and bend the cleaning rod


Stainless Steel Cleaning RodCarbon Fiber Cleaning Rod
It can cause scratches to the interior of the barrel if the stainless steel isn’t coated and you try to push a tough patch through.Anything made from carbon fiber is going to be more expensive than any other material used.
If the stainless steel is coated, it can pick up carbon and other harmful particulates and grind down your rifling inside your barrel. Can be expensive to replace if you lose one.
metal can rust, even stainless steel over enough time. 
Over a couple of years, you’d most likely have to buy a new barrel if you don’t use the cleaning rod correctly.

Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod

I chose the Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod because it made the most sense when I sat down and wrote my pros and cons list. Sometimes when you’re cleaning in the field, you’re going to be sitting on the back of the truck or using the forest floor as a cleaning station.

I know that I am prone to make a mistake in uncontrolled environments, so I chose not to worry about it anymore and spent the extra $15-$20 on carbon fiber

Tipton Deluxe 1-Piece Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod

I’ve used my Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod at least once a month for the past 3 years and have not had any problems whatsoever. I’ve used patches and bore brushes with Tipton’s Truly Remarkable Bore Solvent and I never get stuck in my barrel or feel like I’m stressing the cleaning rod or my gun.

The Tipton bore solvent is one of my favorites because it removes all copper, lead, and prevents rust with an additional ingredient. I use this for all of my guns and my patches come covered in copper, lead, and carbon for the first 2 pass-throughs.

By the 3rd pass with a fresh patch my barrel is crystal clear and I let the barrel dry out for an hour or two before I lube it and put it away in my safe.

Tipton Truly Remarkable Bore Solvent

at Kentucky Gun Company
Prices accurate at time of writing


  • The handle of the cleaning rod spins on 2 ball bearings inside to offer a smooth and effortless push or pull through the barrel. This feature prevents you from having the rod rotate causing you to change your grip or pull out the rod before you’ve gotten all the way through. This handle is called the deluxe because it costs more to produce, is something that makes the cleaning rod more effective and easier to use, but not necessarily something you have to have to use the cleaning rod. 
  • The design of the handle allows the rod to spin with the rotation of the rifling inside of the barrel. This provides the smoothest cleaning experience of any other cleaning rod I’ve owned. 
  • Available in 4 different diameters (.17-.20 cal, .22-.26 cal,  .27-.45 cal, .40 cal-and up) to fit every pistol and rifle on the market. 
  • 6 different lengths of the rod (12",26",36",40", 44", and shotgun)to accommodate any size barrel from a 9mm CCW to a 30-06 and even my Stoeger M3500.
  • Tipton calls it their “shank-through" design, which allows you to use a hammer, hand, or another tool to smack the handle for extra force, without ever cracking the handle. 
Which Gun Calibers are Compatible with the Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod?

Just to relieve any doubt you may have in the Tipton cleaning rod, I included the most popular calibers that we use as Americans. Obviously, I didn’t list all compatible calibers, but this list covers everything you will use hunting, sport shooting, and plinking. 

  • 9mm
  • .38 Special
  • .17 Rimfire
  • .20 Cal Rimfire
  • .22 LR Rimfire
  • .40 S&W
  • .45 ACP
  • 30-06 Rifle
  • 7mm Rem Mag
  • .308 Winchester
  • .338 Lapua
  • 12 Ga shotgun
  • 20 Ga shotgun
  • .410 Ga shotgun
  • .300 Remington Ultra Magnum
  • 5.56mm NATO
Where Can I Buy the Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod?

Tipton 1-Piece Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod

at Kentucky Gun Company
Prices accurate at time of writing

What is the Best Bore Brush?

The biggest thing to consider with bore brushes is that you always want to choose a material that is softer than the metal in your barrel. As I mentioned above, pushing brushes, jags, or cleaning rods through your barrel with heavy metals and other abrasive material will destroy your barrel. I have a set of nylon brushes for my pistols and I use a bronze brush set for my rifles. 

Tipton 8-Piece Bore Brush Set for Handguns

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

For the sake of speaking only on the products that I have, I’ll give you a good idea of nylon and bronze brush sets that are better for your specific needs. Before you think about buying a brush kit, think about how often you shoot, how often you clean, and do you use solvents or not?


Nylon Brush Bronze Brush 
Solvent resistantBronze gets a much better clean than nylon, from my experience
Nylon is easier to clean than bronze after each use. I always feel like I can rinse my nylon brushes off much faster than my bronzeI’m able to clean my barrel faster with bronze
Softer material that won’t hurt your barrel, even if it gets stuck and need excessive force to dislodge a patchsoft enough to not damage the barrel
Very affordable and easy to replace if need benylon and bronze brushes are normally the same price
Very flexible if you don’t use solvents, bronze is much better at getting the tiny carbon, copper, and lead particles in your barrel


Nylon BrushBronze Brush
Nylon doesn’t last near as long as my bronze brushesBronze has been shown to deteriorate faster than nylon when used with solvents and gels
Although nylon is more flexible than bronze, it doesn’t clean my barrel as good as bronzeBronze is harder to clean off gels and solvents than nylon because it’s porous and nylon isn’t
Nylon takes much longer to clean my barrel unless I load up on the solvent in my barrel 

I use the 8-piece bore brush set from Tipton on all of my pistols because the set comes in a nice hinged box that I can carry or store anywhere I want, including my truck, garage, and basement. However, when I clean my rifles, I use the Tipton 13-Piece Bore Brush Set because it fits every caliber rifle, from a .22 LR all the way up to my 30-06 and 7mm Rem Mag. 

What is a Jag Used For and Why Do I Need One?

Many people often confuse jags with bore brushes and I don’t blame anyone because marketing can be confusing sometimes. To oversimplify this topic, a jag is used to push a patch or pellet through your barrel to pick up the residue left behind from a bore brush or solvent.

A jag is very sharp at the end and is meant to poke through and contain the pellet or patch to give it more leverage while cleaning your barrel.

I’m not huge into using pellets because I feel like I don’t need them once I use my bore brush, solvent, and patches. However, I know many family and friends use pellets with jags because the pellet is great at absorbing solvent, grease, and reaching every mm of your barrel.

If I were going to use pellets with a jag, I’d use the Complete Felt Pistol Cleaning Kit from Tipton that comes with all calibers, including .22, 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W. 

Instead of buying everything separately, I chose to combine my jag set with bore brushes because t was cheaper and it comes in the same container for easy transport and use. My favorite feature of this package is the marked spots for each brush and jag.

This may not sound like it’s a big deal, but most of us work like dogs and don’t have time to sit around figuring out which jag or brush will fit each gun. 

Tipton 26-Piece Ultra Cleaning Jag and Best Bore Brush Set


What is a Bore Guide and Do I Need One?

A bore guide is a tool that is used to help you line up your cleaning rod with the barrel of your gun to ensure the smoothest possible operation. There are 2 types of bore guides that Tipton uses and some other companies have similar models, but not as practical as the Tipton bore guides. I have the Tipton Rapid Deluxe Bore Guide because it fits my AR15, 30-06, 7mm Rem Mag.

What I like most about the Tipton Rapid Deluxe Bore Guide is how easy is it to use and how fast I can clean my guns with it installed in the barrel. I love the auto-release feature for patches that have gone through the barrel. As you run each patch through, the bore guide will release the patch so you don’t have to handle it.

Tipton® RAPID™ Deluxe Bore Guide Kit

When you consider clean-up and residue transfer every time you have to grab a soaked patch, it’s a big deal to not have to worry about that. It keeps your gun cleaner, your finish intact from solvent exposure, and if you have wooden stock, you won’t have to worry about any solvent ruining the wood over time. 

Do you need a bore guide? I’d say you don’t need it to clean your gun, but it makes your life easier for sure. It’s the same concept as an auto-reloader at the range, you don’t need it to reload your ammo in seconds, but it sure does make it more fun and easier when you use technology to enhance your experience.

Using the Tipton Bore Guide is awesome because once you place it in the bore, your cleaning rod will automatically line up with the barrel. Using this tool will ensure that even if you use stainless steel, you won’t damage your barrel. 

If you ever have problems with your cleaning rod bowing out or bending, a bore guide will eliminate all that and make cleaning quick and easy. It comes in a nice hard plastic carrying case that I put in my range bag for when I’m done shooting.

What is the Best Field Gun Cleaning Kit?

Every time I bring up field cleaning kits with my hunting buddies, they laugh and say that I should just bring my regular cleaning kit and keep it in my truck while we hunt.

The problem with this way of thinking is what happens when you’re at the range and you have limited space to work with? Even worse, what happens when your sitting in the ground blind and realize your rifle isn’t operating as smoothly as possible?

Tipton Rifle Field Cleaning kit

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

First, I’d say, you should have performed a function check on your rifle before you ever step foot in the woods, but that’s often hindsight. Secondly, we all know shit happens and sometimes we forget things or are too tired to think clearly.

The easy fix to this is to buy a field cleaning kit for your pistol and rifle and carry them in your hunting or range bag. I think Tipton makes the best field cleaning kits for both pistols and rifles because they’re affordable, practical, and easy to carry in a bag or even a cargo pocket in your pants or jacket. 

Tipton Rifle Field Cleaning Kit

I use the Tipton Rifle Cleaning kit because I can fit the cleaning kit in my cargo pants pocket, my backpack, or my jacket with ease. I never have to worry about not having the tools I need to fix a blocked barrel or lube the action and barrel for a smoother operation of my rifle. 

Tipton Rifle Field Cleaning kit

What’s Included in the Tipton Rifle Field Cleaning kit?

  1. Nylon cleaning brush
  2. Coated Steel cable 
  3. Felt Plugs
  4. Pick for carbon removal on the action
  5. lint-free cloth to wipe down the gun
  6. pre-saturated oil wipe
  7. Lens cleaning wipe for your scope
  8. Grease packet for quick and easy lubrication of metal on metal parts
  9. disposable gloves
Tipton Handgun Field Cleaning Kit

The Tipton Handgun Field Cleaning Kit is similar to the rifle field cleaning kit, except you don’t really need a Nope Rope or other type of wire barrel cleaner. Luckily for pistols, the barrels are normally between 3"-8" for CCWs and full-size 1911s. This specific cleaning kit works for every pistol you could have, including .38 Special, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. 

Tipton handgun field cleaning kit

What’s Included in the Tipton Handgun Field Cleaning kit?

  1. Cotton swabs (2)
  2. Nylon Brush
  3. Pick
  4. Lint-free cloth
  5. pre-saturated oil wipe
  6. Disposable gloves
Why Should I Choose Tipton Gun Cleaning Kits?

I chose Tipton at first because they were the most affordable product that looked like it could get the job done. I spend enough money on guns, optics, ammo, gear, and reloading; I don’t need to spend an excess amount on gun cleaning products.

After my first hunting season with my Tipton gun cleaning kits, I thought I’d have to buy more, but everything I had held up great.

Tipton handgun Field Cleaning kit

at Tipton
Prices accurate at time of writing

One of the big reasons my cleaning kits and guns hold up so well is I use the bore guide more often than not and always use a solvent before I ever try to put anything in my barrel. I’m a firm believer in working smarter, not harder and my Tipton gun cleaning products ensure that I am exerting less energy, time, and effort.

I hope you all enjoyed the read and learned enough to figure out which products will work best for you. Happy Hunting and Good Luck!

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Table of Contents

  • What Do I Look For in a Gun Cleaning Kit?
  • Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod
  • Features
  • Which Gun Calibers are Compatible with the Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod?
  • Where Can I Buy the Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod?
  • What is the Best Bore Brush?
  • What is a Jag Used For and Why Do I Need One?
  • What is a Bore Guide and Do I Need One?
  • What is the Best Field Gun Cleaning Kit?
  • Tipton Rifle Field Cleaning Kit
  • Tipton Handgun Field Cleaning Kit
  • Why Should I Choose Tipton Gun Cleaning Kits?

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