Pro-Shot Tactical Cleaning KitBy Selwyn Smith
- 30th Jun, 2020 Jun 30, 2020, 1:15 PM
- 2 Comments
‘Yep, he’s toast!’ was the call from my spotter, Jimbo. I glanced back through the scope to see a smattering of red mist alongside a now very second-hand rabbit. The 40 grain Nosler BTs had proved to be dynamite in my CZ heavy barrel varmint rifle within a 400m radius and beyond.
With ballistics similar to a .22-250, these 40gr varmint projectiles really had pushed this .223 into overdrive. Today though, I was shooting a .22-250, my Remington heavy barrel stainless fluted varmint model. ‘There’s another one,’ remarked Jimbo through his Geovids.
I eased the empty case out of the chamber and gently closed the bolt on the next round. ‘Oh, he’s just slipped over the brow,’ Jimbo chimed. I sat up and eased the bolt back. The look on my face told it all as the empty case spilled powder into the action. The projectile was stuck in the chamber!
Some terse remarks ensued - chasing the lands had meant this round was too long and I’d paid the price. As an experienced reloader, seating projectiles too long is a real no-no. Somehow this round had slipped through the cycling test.
“Rethinking the ‘ultimate’ field cleaning kit concept, I recently came across the new Pro-Shot Tactical Field Kit. My immediate reaction affirmed that Pro-Shot had set a new bar.”
‘How are you going to get that out?’ Jimbo smirked as he watched me drop the floorplate and blow the powder out. ‘’With great difficulty - there's no cleaning rod in the truck so that’s the end of my shooting’. ‘Well you can still spot for me,’ Jimbo mused as he grabbed his Tikka .223 heavy barrel fast twist varmint rifle and handed me the Geovids.
Now I had plenty of time to mull over the stuck case for the remainder of the afternoon. Arriving home late from Wanaka I put the Remington back in the safe - to be cleaned later, as I would be out of town for the next few days. A week later I popped the projectile out with a cleaning rod minus the jag.
To my surprise I noticed some serious corrosion on the circumference of the tiny projectile. More terse remarks were followed by a close inspection of the bore and chamber. Thankfully a careful cleaning session revealed no permanent corrosive etching.
Condensation from repeated heating and cooling of a barrel combined with layers of carbon deposits, partially burnt powder and copper fouling, plus corrosive salts and acids from burned powder and primer compounds, will lead to all sorts of corrosive effects if they're not removed.
We’d been shooting on a relatively hot day. With the evening cooling, bore condensation would have been on the rise. Couple that with 50 odd rounds over a short period and a copper projectile jammed into the carbon ring of the chamber - it is little wonder I’d underestimated the need to get a cleaning rod down the barrel in short order.
My box of field gear had everything but a solid cleaning rod. I’d religiously carried a field cleaning kit with me whenever I could. I’d refined my own kit with a quality non-toxic solvent and lubricant as well as a bore-snake type pull-through, plus a scope lens cleaner and a silicon cloth.
This kit did the trick whenever a quick cleaning session was needed - after a wet day for example, a hot barreled varmint session or a multi-day trip into the back of beyond. I’d taken a one-piece rod with me on fly-in and jet boating trips - in case someone else had a stuck case or dirt in the barrel. But now a solid cleaning rod would have worth its weight in unobtanium in the middle of my own shooting session!
THE ‘UNIVERSAL’ CLEANING KIT
I’ve owned a few ‘universal’ cleaning kits. We probably all started with them: multi-piece, screw-together rod sections, various accoutrements, jags, brushes, solvents, patches etc. These kits appeal to anyone starting out, and they are generally multi-calibre.
Diligent users soon start to see their limitations however; the weak link is often the cheap rods' assembly systems – the linkages trap dirt and will start to score the bore with repeated use - especially if the novice user bends the rod while using the wrong sized patch.
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A few run-throughs will generally highlight the high points on the rod and show up the problem areas. The bore suffers with equal and opposite effects. No accident that my cleaning rods are quality one-piece exclusively.
Barrels are too expensive to use cheap cleaning gear on!Which is more damaging? Not cleaning at all, or a poor cleaning technique? There is much debate among experienced shooters on this topic.
I’ve seen a lot of barrels ruined through neglect. I’ve also seen plenty of chambers that have been scored by overzealous idiots taking their frustration out on the most critical area of their rifle’s accuracy. Some cleaning is clearly better than none. The section of barrel about 20cm from the end of the muzzle is very prone to corrosion.
Bullets will literally rattle past this fuzzy, corroded section, making them yaw in flight and generally causing Tourette’s at the shooting bench. In my view this level of laziness is inexcusable, yet there will be thousands of barrels in this country with the dreaded ‘barrel rot’. Result? These barrels are now nothing more than a metal stake.
Yet I’ve had plenty of campfire discussions with shooters who believe that cleaning their barrel will upset its zero. They are right, but if they keep believing they don’t need to clean they can forget about finding their zero at all..!
There is real merit in looking down the muzzle-end of any potential second-hand rifle on the rack of your favourite store. That 20cm section of barrel tells a big story…
THE STRAIGHTNESS TEST
Whenever I’m giving a shooting colleague assistance with cleaning one of the first tasks is to assemble his multi-piece cleaning rod and ask him to look down its length. It's a sure bet that the rod will be bent somewhere. They are often bent ‘out of the box’, and the weak point will put stress on other joints, resulting in the rod resembling a wavy tomato stake.
Rethinking the ‘ultimate’ field cleaning kit concept, I recently came across the new Pro-Shot Tactical Field Kit. My immediate reaction affirmed that Pro-Shot had set a new bar.
THE PRO-SHOT TACTICAL KIT IN DETAIL
Housed in a quality zipped pouch, the unit folds out for easy access to the contents. Along with belt loops on the back, velcro strips allow you to connect other molle styled pouches. This is a pliable but tough material and will stand the test of time at the bottom of a hunting pack or range bag.
In addition to the assortment of patches, spear point jags, bore brushes, and a compact bottle of Pro-Shot 1-Step CLP, there are numerous other goodies. Multiple webbed pockets hold all accoutrements, while a separate clear plastic case keeps the cleaning rod sections and screw-in additions together. Unpacking the five rod sections and accessories allowed me to assess the true quality of the manufacture.
Pro-Shot describe their 5-piece rod sections as micro polished and ‘the only rods in the world that are double coated’. I tested the coating against both a bore brush and an abrasive pot scrub - it was impervious to scratches despite some reasonable effort. Coating aside, this rod stands out in the quality of the recessed sections at each join. This is where cheap rods are exposed.
The attention to fit and finish is outstanding. Couple this with a very good quality locking swivel T handle (as good as any one-piece rod) and I could see this kit superceding some low/mid-end one-piece rods.
Many rifle owners could simply buy a few different sized jags, brushes and patches and have an all-in-one cleaning kit that is not only compact, lightweight and easy to tuck away, but that performs as well as many quality one-piece rods!
The double-ended nylon cleaning brush is excellent and standard fare in my own kit.The jags and brushes were typical Pro-Shot quality. Where the kit had me sold was the Bore Obstruction Remover - a nice touch, along with the Polycarbonate Bore Light/Chamber Flag.
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This ingenious ‘glow plug’ means you always have a chamber flag at the range - it's a simple means of checking the bore in the field after a clean.
ON THE RANGE
I’d put in a big morning of load development with my latest project - the Remington heavy barrel .22-250 - to target long range wallabies. Topped with a Zeiss HD 4-24x50 and featuring a Gunworks suppressor, expectations of sub-15mm groups were anticipated.
I tested 2208 and 760 powders, along with Sierra 50 and 55gr Blitzkings plus 50gr Nosler S.H.O.T.S for comparison, burning plenty of powder in search of the tiniest groups.
I was able to clean the barrel between each change of projectile with the Pro-Shot kit which gave me a great opportunity to test its efficiency compared to my usual high-end one-piece option.
I normally clear carbon fouling out with either a specialist carbon cleaner or Hoppes #9, followed by a nylon or brass-bristled brush and non-toxic solvent, depending on the barrel and round count. I’d chosen to stick with Pro-Shot CLP for this session.
HOT BARREL CLEANING
Cleaning a hot barrel had two advantages. The CLP worked incredibly well, making bore cleaning a real breeze. It also gave the barrel time to cool between each change of projectile. I used a bronze brush exclusively as I didn’t have time to mess around starting with a nylon brush and progressing to bronze.
Copper fouling seems to be easily cleared and the hot bore really sped up the process. While I would usually expect 15-20 patches to clear all fouling and other crud in a cold bore, I was able to get away with 10-12 patches. For those intent on breaking in a barrel, this top end kit ticks all the boxes.
“For multi-day fly-in trips, and even those walk in 2-3 days trips where a stuck case would ruin your hunt, this kit excels.”
The Pro-Shot Tactical Field Kit really is perfect for high volume shooters in the field. It is equally adept as your only cleaning kit at home. The addition of an appropriate bore guide (this is compulsory, not just a ‘nice to have’) will see even the most discerning shooter satisfied.
For multi-day fly-in trips, and even those walk in 2-3 days trips where a stuck case would ruin your hunt, this kit excels. My kit had a .270/7mm brush. Add a .22, 6mm, and .30 cal brush and you would cover virtually every cleaning situation in any hunting party.
At only 410 grams and measuring a compact 210mm long x 120mm wide x 50mm, there is no excuse for leaving this valuable accessory at home.
Paul Clark from the NZ Ammunition Company gave me instructions to send this kit back to him once I had put it through the ringer. It might just get 'lost in the post’ Paul!