Home Blog  
Education / Training Dewey one-piece cleaning rod vs three-piece rods

Dewey one-piece cleaning rod vs three-piece rods

by B.B. Pelletier

I have used three-piece cleaning rods all my life. And, when I recently added up the cost of the 30 or so I’ve bought over the years, the total topped $200! However, that’s not the reason for this post. A one-piece steel cleaning rod – coated or not – is actually BETTER for the bore of your airguns than a jointed rod. I can’t prove that, but recent research uncovered the fact that all real marksmen for the past 200 years have insisted on a one-piece steel or iron rod. Today, I’ll explain what I found.

About 25 years ago, Robert Beeman wrote that the one-piece steel rod is best because it has no joints to collect dirt that can scratch the bore as it passes through. I thought that was a stretch when I first read it, but now I’ve uncovered several historical reports that agree. The most recent was Ned Roberts, a notable marksman and the inventor of the .257 Roberts cartridge. Roberts was a contemporary of Schalk, Pope and other top rifle and barrel makers, and all of them – to a man – used only a solid steel rod. He used the same reasoning as Beeman – that jointed rods tend to collect dirt that can scratch the bore.

Scratch my back – not my bore!
The book in which this appeared was a book about muzzleloading rifles, and they had barrels made of either iron or dead-soft steel, similar to our airgun barrels today. So, scratching the bore was and still is a distinct possibility.

Aluminum rods
Many aluminum cleaning rods are the jointed type, like the one found in the Gamo .177 cleaning kit. You probably thought that aluminum, being softer than steel, would be better for the bore of your gun, but here’s the catch. Because it is so soft, aluminum can become embedded with hard particles of dirt and act like a file on your bore. That’s besides the joint between the sections. If you are scrupulous about cleaning your rod after cleaning your airgun, this doesn’t present such a problem, but I know I wasn’t doing that.

A steel rod will not allow particles to embed themselves, and even the coated rods apparently don’t have this problem, because they are the ones Roberts recommends the most. Beeman said they weren’t as good, and all the other experts lived at a time when synthetic coatings didn’t exist. So, it’s Ned Roberts’ word against Beeman’s. But that wasn’t the argument that won me over. I break cleaning rods!

Steel is hard to break
At least I break aluminum rods. Or I cross-thread them or I break off the threaded portion that holds the tips. The .177 rods are the worst. So, a year ago I sprang for a .22 caliber Dewey and a .177 Dewey. That’s $72 worth of cleaning rods! However, I have the pieces of at least that many broken rods laying about everywhere, and I’ve thrown away most of them over the years. In fact, I caught myself at Wally World with another $30 worth of aluminum rods headed for the checkout when the reality hit me. Dewey rods are cheaper! Not by the piece, but over the long haul. I’ve been cleaning firearms and airguns for over 40 years, and I guess I still have a few decades left, so I decided it was time to stop throwing money down the drain.

Dewey rods have ball-bearing handles, so the bore brush can follow the rifling and not skip across the lands. When you’re using JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound, that’s a plus and a half!

I have friend who has Deweys that are 20 years old and still working fine. I know a rifle manufacturer who cleans his new barrels only with Dewey rods, and that’s several thousand barrels a year! So, they do hold up.

Dewey is a complete system – not just a rod. When you buy one, be sure to also buy a matching jag, mop, slotted tip and brushes (plural). I recommend using a new brush every time you clean with JB paste, so buy your brushes in quantity.

If you have any questions about the accessories, please ask them. I would be happy to talk about them and even to describe the complete process, if you like. I do plan to talk about flexible rods in another post, so that will be coming soon.

45 thoughts on “Dewey one-piece cleaning rod vs three-piece rods”

  1. Hi BB

    I have heard many people say only use nylon brushes in the bore of an airgun, not brass. But then I think I’ve heard you our some other person in a blog say use a brass brush. Brass or Nylon in a steel bore?

    Thanks Kyle.

  2. I had a gunsmith tell me that he NEVER cleaned his .22 LR barrels and that it was a BSA reccomendation (back when they made .22lr). Don’t pellet guns need even less cleaning? I only use oil on the slotted mop.

  3. FOR Steel: I like to clean my airguns once at first on new guns with JB Paste and a brass (or nylon if I am out of brass) brush to remove rust and other gunk you get from a factory new gun. It leaves it brilliantly polished. I’ve never had a one piece rod and I will strongly consider it based on BBs post. After this first cleaning I am inclined to leave it alone for years as long as I shoot it occasionly.

    As for the brass barrels on Sheridans, etc. I like to only use the string trimer line method with goo gone ONLY. No rod and no brushes. Once you try the string trimmer line method you will be amazed at how easy and effective it is for pulling patches through.


  4. Another couple of problems with aluminum rods — even if non-segmented — are:

    1. Not very stiff compared to steel. Thus the second problem…
    2. Aluminum Oxide is the stuff used in sandpaper (at least some kinds). The surface of aluminum oxidizes to a protective coating that is, basically, very fine sandpaper. This the first item becomes important — you don’t want sandpaper scraping the sides of the barrel.

    Personally, I like Boresnakes. For airguns, you don’t need any of the copper cleaners, lead cleaners, powder cleaners, etc that you need for powder guns shooting jacketed bullets — the Boresnake seems to work well dry for airguns. The other advantage is that it is pulled through from the breech so you don’t have the possibility of crown damage from a rod.

  5. Hi BB
    I am about to buy an Air Force Talon but I know very little about PCPs. I would like to know about the power settings on this rifle. Would each shot be progressively weaker than the previous one like in CO2 guns?

  6. ton
    i dont own a pcp but i can answer your question. the power will not decreace for many ( probly 100) shots. the more pressure is on the valve the less air comes out so as the pressure starts dropping in the tank more air of lower pressure comes out resulting in the same velocity. mabey bb can tell you how many powerfull shots you could get.

    Field Targetier



  8. Hi BB,
    This is off topic. I just received an S-16Xs from Pyramyd AIR (the product page listed it as the S-16s). I’ve searched high and low on the Internet, Logun’s web site and the manual that came with the rifle for the differences between the S-16s and the S-16Xs. Logun hasn’t responded to my email and I’m curious if you know the significance of the additional X. Is this perhaps a third generation S-16? Maybe it just means it would require a Firearm certificate if sold in England?

    I’m still waiting for a pump (the Air Venturi one) so I haven’t had a chance to actually shoot it and chrony it yet to see if it’s at 30Ft/Lbs or not.

    Alan D.

  9. Barrel cleaning,

    You must have missed several posts. I have discussed the fact that all new airguns need a barrel cleaning and any barrels with leading need to be cleaned. There are several reasons fpor leading, but always the same symptom – poor accuracy.


  10. Kyle and everyone,

    I usually do not clean airgun barrels, but therer are several reasons to clean them. New barrels have rust and manufacturing burrs that need to be removed. Barrels that shoot any Crosman pellets at above 900 f.p.s. will eventually lead up and ANY barrels of guns shooting over 1,000 f.p.s. will lead up.


  11. hey bb, are you going to be in akron this summer. I’ll be there shooting persision.
    we also had a member go to colorado, we got some going to bowling green ky, and maybe some to fort benning.

  12. I recently bought one of the Hammerli guns (the Storm in .22), and yes, it is made by Norica. The storm is Norica’s “cheap” action… accurate and powerful (730fps with CPHP’s) but a stiff, direct sear trigger. By all appearances, it’s the same gun as the Beeman GH1050.

    That makes sense because Norica also makes the Beeman GS950/GS1000 (using the “better” action – similar powerplant with a much better trigger). Norica also made the old Beeman S1, which is very similar.

    The AR1000 that BB mentioned a while back is a Chinese copy of the better Norica, and is also sold as the Beeman SS1000. Although there was (is?) a Chinese copy of the cheap Norica, sold as the Beeman SS1000 1050H.

    The Chinese Norica clones are just that – real clones. It appears that virtually all substantial parts are interchangeable. For example, the barrel from my S1 fits onto my AR1000 compression tube like it was made for it…

  13. hi BB,

    Just wanted to say hi and that Im glad to see how this blog grown so fast.I still remember when I asked the question to buy the cf-x and its already been more than a year and a half.This blog has given me all the knoledge I have about airguns,so THANKS.Keep up the good work and hope your doing well.

    CF-X guy

  14. bb,

    what should i use to clean out my smooth bore airguns?(ex. gamo viper express, and crosman 760 multi-pump) do they need to be cleaned out at all? thanks for all the advice u give, it really helps ppl that are new to airguns(like myself)


  15. OT

    I bought a B-square 10101 to mount a scope on my Feinwerkbau 124. Now I have it in hand, I think the recoil key will damage the radiused cross-receiver slots. I’ve searched the Pyramyd site and cannot tell what mount I should order, or if there is a stop that would fit those slots without chewing them up. Could you advise? (I beg pardon for thread highjacking, but could not find a direct email.)

  16. What is the best airsoft green gas gun for the

    money. I’m not new to airguns, but propane powered
    ball launchers are something new to me. I’m looking at a
    1911 style (Hi-Capa 4.3 by Marui), but nothing in
    particular. The KSC M11 A1 by KSC (mac-10 thing) looks cool and from your review looks really nice, maybe to much support cost though. A berreta 92 style looks nice (HFC M190 CO2 Airsoft pistol by HFC) and i also like the co2 12g because i have umarex the runs on it.

    sorry about the length, i just need some guidance on which pistol to buy.


  17. hb,
    I’ve been into airsoft for a little over a year, and been doing lots of research about them before I purchased my airsoft guns (classic army M4, and KWA USP compact). If you want a pistol that has good quality control and good reliability, I would recommend the pistol that is made by Tokyo Marui (made in Japan). They are the most well known company for airsoft, however, their guns usually contain a lot of plastic, and most people recommend using a weaker gas called HFC 134a so that it won’t crack the plastic slides during blow back action. Green gas is a little stronger than HFC134a, and usually are recommended for gas pistols made in taiwan (HFC, KWA, etc.) and contain metal slides. The HFCs are made in taiwan and contain metal on parts that are supposed to be metal in the real firearm counterpart.
    KWA is the best brand for the money, however I don’t see pyramidair sell KWA (they sell KSC, which is Japan’s version of KWA, but KSC has more plastic parts than KWA). HFC and WE are lower in quality control, and I have ran into people who encounter problems with HFC and WE pistols during airsoft games (jamming, slide not locking/not working, gas leaking, etc.). If you are looking into a budget priced airsoft pistol just for target shooting or plinking around, HFC and WE should be sufficient for your purpose, and I don’t think you would run into too many problems as long as you take very good care of them. I believe WE and HFC actually sells two types of magazines for certain type of pistol (one for green gas, one for CO2), so maybe you might look into WE or HFC so that you can have the option of using CO2 or green gas.

    Here’s a “generic” ranking of popular brands for gas pistols, top being “best” in terms of reliability, bottom being “worst” in terms of reliability. (Most of the brands can be found in pyramidair, but some not):

    1. WA (western arms – made in Japan)
    2. Maruzen (made in japan)
    3. Tokyo Marui (made in japan)
    4. KSC (made in japan)
    4. KWA (taiwan’s version of KSC)
    5. WE (taiwan)
    6. HFC (taiwan)
    7. KJ Works (taiwan)
    8. KWC (taiwan)

    In general, gas guns made in taiwan usually have more metal and can accept green gas. Japan guns have more plastic and usually require hfc134a, however it is possible to upgrade them to metal slides and upgrade the valves.
    If any airsofters finds mistakes in my post, please let me know and give some feedback.
    Hope this helps.

    WP99 guy

  18. how easy would it be to put an aperture sight on a izh 61 and practice 10 meter with it. If that would work i might even put a sling on it to shoot prone and kneel.

  19. how does the 937 UHC 4 inch revolver by NeonFire-UHC work. An softair gun that cocks by just the hammer? Looks nice, might pick one up for a backup backup in skirmishes.

  20. BB,

    I’ve got a question. How many fps would the pellets have to vary before I see different POI at 50 yards? I am shooting my SS at about 20ft-lb at around 700~750 fps. I know this is probably different for each type of pellet because of the trajectory, but how do I figure out what the delta is for that kind of pellet?

  21. There are several programs that help you calculate a pellet’s probably trajectory, but I have found they require so much calibration that it’s just easier to shoot the pellet and actually see what it does.

    I would expect a variation of 30-40 f.p.s. initial velocity would show a POI change at 50 yards.


  22. UHC 937,

    The description isn’t very clear, is it? It sounds like whoever wrote it was trying to describe a single action revolver, but didn’t know the words.

    I went to several websites and they are all copying what appears to be the same Chinese translation, so I will ask a American shooter to look at the action for you.


  23. This is a question, not a comment. I have been reading about hunting with air rifles and a comment there made me question what I have been doing. I use a Daisy Red Ryder to shoot wild turkeys at approximately 150-200 feet away, not to wound them but to try to convince them to stay off the property. Is this inhumane, I guess what I am asking is, is there a chance I may actually be wounding them? I had assumed I was doing no more than stinging the skin (as I have often been pelted with BBs in my youth!). Thanks.

Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    We have a team of expert technicians and a complete repair shop that are able to service a large variety of brands/models of airguns. Additionally, we are a factory-authorized repair/warranty station for popular brands such as Air Arms, Air Venturi, Crosman, Diana, Seneca, and Weihrauch airguns.

    Our experts also offer exclusive 10-for-$10 Test and 20-for-$20 Service, which evaluates your air gun prior to leaving our warehouse. You'll be able to add these services as you place your order.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.