If you are a frequent hunter or take lots of trips to the range, then there is no doubt you have looked at your dirty gun at the end of the day and wished there was a quick and easy way to clean it before you put it away for the night. Thankfully, there is! A good boresnake will contain almost every component you need to get your barrel sparkling clean in a snap, and is a great little tool to keep handy for those times when you really don’t want to do a full, deep clean. A boresnake certainly won’t replace your whole cleaning kit, but it’s a great tool to have for when you’re feeling a bit lazy. If you want to learn more about how to pick the best boresnake in 2020 for you, then keep reading!
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Budget: Hoppe’s Boresnake
- Highest Quality: Sage & Braker Gun Cleaning Kit
- Knockoff: No products found.
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
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Things To Consider
At first glance, a boresnake may look like a simple tool that doesn’t have much to it. All it really looks like is just a fancy rope. However, you have to remember that the rope has to perform every single function of a standard gun cleaning kit, all at the same time. A good boresnake needs to break free any loose carbon and fouling, apply a coat of solvent, scrub the bore with a wire brush, and wipe the bore clean, all in one fell swoop. There really is quite a few things to consider when finding the best snake for you.
The initial swab is a feature that is lacking on many boresnakes, but it’s also one that is very important. More often than not, the bore of your firearm will have quite a bit of gunk and fouling that can simply be wiped away without any scrubbing. When you have a nice thick initial swab, you will get all of that fouling cleaned and wiped out of the way, and leave the bronze brush to work on what really needs a good scrubbing. An initial swab shouldn’t be a make or break deal when it comes to choosing a good boresnake. But at the end of the day, I always like to have them on my boresnakes. I think it gives me a better, more efficient clean and makes the whole cleaning process in general just that much better.
Arguably one of the most important parts of a boresnake is going to be the wire brush. You are going to want a brush that is made of a metal that is strong, yet also soft enough to not scratch your bore. Bronze is usually considered to be the “gold standard” for these brushes, but there are occasionally other materials that are used as well. When it comes to boresnakes, there are 2 main factors to look for in the brush: how many brushes, and if they are replaceable.
Having more than one bronze brush in your boresnake may only provide a very limited advantage over a single brush, but it is an advantage nonetheless. Having a slight break between two brushes can allow you to break free just a bit more fouling and give you a little better clean. Much more important though, is if the brush is removable. If you have spent any time cleaning guns, you are probably aware of how quickly these bronze brushes wear out. While the brush on a boresnake will last slightly longer than your standard bronze brush attachments, they still wear out relatively quickly. Any boresnake that offers a replaceable bronze brush will certainly have an advantage when it comes to longevity.
The final swab is going to be one of the most important parts of a good boresnake. If all you are doing is scrubbing the bore and breaking free all the gunk without removing it, then what good did you do? The job of the final swab is to wipe the walls clean of all the loosened fouling and solvent, and leave you with a bore that is shiny and clean. Accomplishing all of this in one fell swoop can be quite the task, so you will want to make sure that the end of your boresnake is very high-quality.
When it comes to choosing a high-quality final swab, there are 2 main things you will want to look for: absorbency and surface area. These are both equally important. You will want to make sure that you pick a material that is very absorbent, as that will help soak up any fouling that has dissolved into your solvent. It will also help make sure you leave behind a bore that is clean, dry, and ready for oil. For this, I have found that usually, a natural cotton fiber works best. Synthetic and microfiber swabs are usually far less absorbent, and I also feel like they are smoother as well, which can cause them to leave some stuff behind.
Surface area is another equally important factor. All the absorbency in the world won’t do you any good if you have a tiny final swab. In fact, surface area is important for two reasons. First, more surface area means more absorbency. Second, a large, thick, fluffy swab ensures that you will get good contact with all the surfaces in your bore. This is especially important if you are cleaning a rifle or a handgun. The last thing you want is fouling left in the groves of your rifling. You will want to make sure that the final swab has a nice, tight fit down your bore to really get everything soaked up and wiped away.
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Best Bore Snakes on the Market in 2020
Best Budget Boresnake:
The Hoppe’s boresnake is often considered to be the “original” boresnake, and not many improvements have been made since then. This is a very good, affordable, general purpose boresnake with no bells and whistles. The initial swab is acceptable, and the permanent brass brush does a good job of scrubbing your bore and is very durable. The final swab is also adequate and is plenty absorbent and the right size. If you just want a simple, affordable boresnake with no fancy features or extra stuff, then this may be just the product for you.
- Simple to use
- Durable brush
- No extra features
- Brush is permanent and not replaceable
Best Boresnake For Shotguns: Hoppe’s Shotgun Boresnake
If you have spent any time cleaning both rifles and shotguns, you will know that each firearm type has its own unique set of needs when it comes to cleaning. If you have a large number of shotguns that you have to clean, it is probably best to go with a boresnake that is specifically designed for shotgun cleaning. There are a few things on this boresnake that make it much more ideal for cleaning shotguns. The main thing being the initial swab. The initial swab on this boresnake is much softer, has a lot more volume, and is fluffy. This is far from ideal for a rifle with lands and grooves down the bore, but for a smoothbore shotgun, it is the perfect scenario. This initial swab does a much better job of pre-cleaning the bore for the brushes.
The brushes on this boresnake are also a bit different, mainly in the fact that this snake has 2 shorter brushes. Again, this is going to be much more efficient for cleaning a smoothbore firearm. All in all, since shotguns don’t have nearly as much stuck on fouling and gunk that rifles do, the overall construction of this is geared more toward a softer, easier clean that is much better to have on your shotguns. This may not be the best option as your only boresnake, but if you are looking for a dedicated snake to clean your shotguns, then this is a good option for you.
- Softer, easier clean
- More efficient for cleaning shotguns
- Not effective or the right size for rifle cleaning
- Brushes are not replaceable
Highest Quality Boresnake:
If you are willing to spend a little extra money to get one of the highest quality boresnakes on the market, then this kit from Sage & Braker might just be for you. While many others have simply copied the original boresnake design, this company has actually made a few pretty major improvements. For starters, the cleaning brush is detachable. While this may not sound like much, it is actually a really huge deal. This allows you to run the brush through by itself if you would like, and also run just the rope through by itself. I can’t count how many times I have wished that I could make just one more pass of only the final cleaning rope without having to drag the whole brush through the bore again.
While they did make some great improvements, there is still one major flaw: this boresnake has no initial swab. This means that there is no large patch to wipe away any loose fouling that isn’t stuck on. In the grand scheme of things, however, this really isn’t that big of a deal. At the end of the day, having the detachable brush makes this a much higher quality boresnake that will last a long time and give you a much better clean. If you are looking to get one of the absolute best boresnakes on the market today, no matter the price, then this might be the one for you.
- Detachable brush
- Can run individual components through by themselves
- High-quality product
- No initial swab
Best Knockoff Boresnake:
No products found.No products found.
Anytime you get a great, simple product on the market like a boresnake, there will undoubtedly be cheap knockoffs made. Some of these are actually pretty good, and some aren’t. This boresnake from Unigear is one of the decent ones. It retains all the features of the original boresnake but comes in at a slightly more affordable price point. When you use this product, it’s very easy to tell that it is a lower quality knockoff of the original, but it will still get the job done.
A cheap knockoff boresnake like this one actually has numerous uses. These are great cleaning tools to buy and leave laying around for emergencies. They roll up easily and stow away in a range bag, but are still always there to provide a great quick emergency cleaning when you need it. This is also a great option if you find the concept of a boresnake intriguing, but you’re not sure if you want to drop the cash on a really nice one just yet. This is a great, inexpensive way to get one and try it out and see if like it. If you are looking for the “harbor freight” of boresnakes, then I would have to recommend the Unigear gun bore cleaner.
- Works as it should
- Knockoff brand
- Not very high-quality
No products found.
Best Boresnake Final Thoughts
Let’s face it: a boresnake is not the end-all, be-all tool for gun cleaning. But it certainly is a very handy tool to add to your arsenal. I have owned and used quite a few boresnakes over my lifetime, and without a doubt, every one of them has made my job easier. If you want to get the best boresnake on the market, you are going to need one that is high-quality, effective, and easy to use. While all of the boresnakes listed above will get the job done, there is one that really stands out above the rest. While most boresnakes are content to simply “follow the leader,” the boresnake from Sage & Braker has gone above and beyond to make one of the best boresnakes available on the market today. In my opinion, this more than justifies the slight price increase over the other option. So now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to go out and purchase the best boresnake for your needs today!
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Dan is an avid outdoorsman and shooter who developed a passion for firearms at an early age. When you can’t find him in the field chasing birds or big game, you can find him at the range shooting various competitions such as 3-gun, IPSC, and IDPA. He also enjoys manufacturing his own ammunition, as well as both working on, and building his own firearms. Dan has many years of firearms experience, and enjoys helping people find the right gear and sharing his extensive firearms knowledge.