Flexible cleaning rods

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s topic is one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Ever since we talked about the Dewey cleaning rod, I’ve also wanted to address flexible cleaning rods. I use them myself, but they have some drawbacks that you need to be aware of.

They come in all types
Most people probably think of the Otis flexible rod when they think of them at all. Otis makes flexible rods for Beeman, as well as under their own name. The thing that tells you it’s an Otis is the round, padded zipper case.

Why use them?
Sometimes, you have to use a flexible rod because of the construction of the gun. If that’s the case, you’ll be putting the flexible rod through the muzzle and attaching the cleaning patch at the breech. Each time you want to use a new patch, you have to go through this procedure, which makes the flexible rod more cumbersome to use. The Otis comes with a brass crosspiece that slides through a hole in the tail of the cleaning rod, making a handle for pulling the rod through the bore. When you pull, make sure you pull in a straight line with the barrel. Don’t allow the flexible rod to ride against any particular side of the muzzle.

The Otis rod also comes with a brass cleaning brush that works like any other bore brush. It’s short enough for most breeches; but when you wear it out, it’ll be difficult to find a replacement.

All rods are not created equal
I’ve been talking about the Otis rod, which is a well-designed flexible cleaning rod. There are others on the market. Several years ago, someone was selling a flexible rod made of lawn trimmer string, which is heavy monofilament fishing line. Using a rod like that is very dangerous, because the monofilament allows dirt to embed itself. That creates a saw sharp enough to cut steel. More than a few airgun barrels have had grooves cut into their muzzles by the improper use of this kind of flexible rod.

Flexible rods have been around for many decades. The Garand in WWII used one, because it was easy to carry and the construction of the rifle made it impossible to clean from the breech. As I said, there’s nothing wrong with them. You just have to be careful with the muzzle!