Need to Clean Your Rifle? Got a Weedwacker?

I’ve been shooting and enjoying air rifles of the PCP (“Pre-Charged Pneumatic”) variety since I last talked to you, and they’re amazing. They can be tough to clean with conventional cleaning rods or cables, though. 

Their accuracy is incredible, but like a firearm, it suffers if you allow the barrel to get too dirty. I struggled trying to clean mine before I discovered this little trick. Now I use it to clean firearms, too. 

A piece of .080″ plastic string trimmer line long enough to reach all the way through the barrel and a few home-made cotton patches are all you need. Dry patches are used with air rifles, with no solvent recommended.  Materials for this are as close to free as it gets! 

Using a hot surface like a heated roofing nail head, etc (I use a “styrofoam cutter” blade in a soldering gun), flatten one end of the string a bit, so it still fits through the barrel. My rifles are .22’s, and the .080″ line works great for them. I normally use the square trimmer line to actually trim with, but still have lots of the old round stuff on hand. 

Sharpen the other end of the string with a sharp knife, and you’re done! Coil it up and slip it into a small plastic bag along with few patches and you can carry it in the field. I cut my .22 patches about 1″ square, but that depends on the material thickness. You’ll want to experiment with that, or if you’re not as “tight” as me 😉 , just buy patches sized for .22 cal. 

“Weedwacker” line rifle cleaning kit

To use, poke the sharp end of the line through the center of a patch, slide the patch to the flat end, then feed the sharp end into the bore from the action end. If your rifle’s suppressed, insert a soda straw into the suppressor to guide the string through it without hitting the baffles. When the sharp end appears at the muzzle (or end of the straw), pull it on through and check the patch. Repeat until the patches come out clean. 

Note: I had to experiment a bit with different diameter straws to get the right size for my suppressed rifles. 

I’m loving this cleaning method, and will be experimenting more with it. I normally buy trimmer line in big spools, so it’s practically free to use for this. Way less money than anything sold for the purpose, and it works better than any of the pull-through kits I’ve ever bought!

Try it! And please let me know how it works out for you, any improvements you’ve made to the process, etc. 

Until next time (and who knows when THAT will be! 😉 ), God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

About Dave Harnish

I've been an appliance repair tech since 1972, with interests in most everything, including Bible study (I'm one of those KJV-only geezers), old Sunbeam Mixmasters, Maytag wringer washers, the outdoors, birds, hunting, metalworking, firewood cutting, and most anything going on outside on our mountain here in N. PA's 'Endless Mountains'.
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