A cleaning rod or cleaning cord (the latter sometimes called a "bore snake") are two tools which both can be used to clean the inside (bore) of the barrel of a firearm, and is made in different sizes for different calibers and gauges.
A cleaning rod is a sturdy, long, thin, straight rod typically made of metal, rigid plastic or carbon fiber, usually has a handle for gripping, and is used to push brushes and patches through the barrel. Commonly a breech-end supporting tube, known as a "bore guide", is also used in conjunction with the cleaning rod to prevent cleaning solvent from spilling out, and to keep the rod centered inside the bore in order to minimize potential damage to the riflings. Similarly, a "muzzle guide" might be used if the cleaning rod is to be inserted from the muzzle end of the firearm in order to protect the crown of the muzzle from damage.
A cleaning cord, also known as a "bore snake", is an alternative to a cleaning rod. Bore snakes is a flexible fabric cord with usually a thin and a thick end, with a weight attached to the thin end in order to help initial feeding of the cleaning cord through the barrel. When the cord has been fed through the thicker part is then dragged towards the muzzle, scrubbing the bore along the way. A bore snake often has one or more integrated brushes to help clean the barrel, and may also be used to apply lubricant.
The screw thread sizes and gender used for attaching brushes to the rods vary between different calibers and manufacturers. Some of the most common threads and genders for rods/ cords are listed below. Corresponding brushes and other accessories will have the opposite gender.
Rods for .17 to .204 caliber (4.4 to 5.2 mm)
- #5-40 UNC female
Rods for .22 to .50 caliber (5.56 to 12.7 mm)
- #12-28 UNF male
- 5/16-27 UNC female
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