I tend to be something of a miser when it comes to cleaning my guns. Break Free, a Bore Snake, cut up t-shirt and some el cheapo cleaning rods have always been good enough for me. My EDC and home defense AR may never be spotless enough to pass a USMC Gunnery Sergeant’s inspection, but they are always clean, gunk free and well lubricated. On top of being cheap, I’m ridiculously busy, so the idea of spending a chunk of change on high quality rods and cleaning doohickeys that will only require more of my time has always elicited a solid “meh.” So when Dan asked if I wanted to review J. Dewey Rod’s Complete AR Cleaning Kit, I wasn’t excited, because I don’t find cleaning guns or any gear associated with cleaning my guns as thrilling per se. It turns out there’s a little gun nerd inside me who has been waiting for a kit like this to get him excited about cleaning guns . . .
In preparation for this test, I didn’t clean my rifle on purpose. I used it in an Instructor Development Carbine course where we fired 500 rounds of 5.56 and I’ve easily put double that in .22 through it over the past few weeks as well. In short, it was filthy and in desperate need of a cleaning. So I checked to make sure my weapon was unloaded and busted out the Dewey kit.
The cleaning kit comes in two separate packages. One holds the 30 inch cleaning rod and everything associated with cleaning the bore, while the other package two holds a smaller rod and all sorts of interesting bits used to clean your chamber and locking lugs.
The quality of this kit is apparent as soon as you open it up. Every piece is put together well and the rods are honestly a work of art, as cleaning rods go. The handles on the rods feel very well built and the rods themselves are coated in a nylon compound that prevents marring of your rifle.
All the copper bore and chamber brushes attached firmly and stayed put. Everything in this kit feels and looks rock-solid. I could probably write an article on each separate part of this kit, but in the interest of keeping it interesting I’m just going to stick to the innovative parts of this great kit.
There were three major things Dewey included that really wowed me. The first is the AR-Link Cleaning Pin. This handy little piece holds your upper tilted in the up position, yet still locked into the lower. That allows your rifle to stay in one, unhinged piece during cleaning. This handy little gizmo prevents a lot of hassle with your AR wanting to act like a clam during the cleaning process.
The lug recess cleaning parts really opened my eyes to how dirty your locking lugs can get if ignored. On the end of the rod, you place a cleaning attachment that has an eyelet used to stick a cylindrical cleaning pad through. You then pull the Delrin sleeve over the whole attachment on the end. Inserting the unit into the area where your bolt carrier assembly is usually housed, you’ll notice that the Delrin sleeve fits those internal dimensions perfectly.
With the sleeve acting as a guide, you push the rod forward as far as you can; at this point the cleaning pad has exited the sleeve and is in perfect position to clean your lug recesses by spinning the rod. Using this system, it’s very easy to rinse and repeat until your recesses are as clean as they were when your rifle left the factory.
The last part that really impressed me was the Semi-Auto Breech Guide Rod. This nifty piece allows you to correctly clean your rifle from the breech while avoiding the annoying problem of pulling all the gunk out of the barrel and into the action. On one end is an O-ring that seals the rod guide in the chamber and the other end is another section made of Delrin that fits perfectly in the rear of your upper receiver. With this setup firmly in place, you can use the 30-inch rod and various cleaning attachments without worrying about mucking up your action or hitting the rod on anything prior to it entering the barrel.
The cleaning rod worked perfectly in tandem with the breech guide. It rotated smoothly and exactly on its handle throughout the whole length of the barrel. In fact, thanks to the excellent rotation of the cleaning rod through the barrel, I found that with one pass of the non-mar copper brush and a cleaning pad the rifle was noticeably cleaner than what I achieve with one pass of the Bore Snake.
Total cleaning time with the J Dewey Rods Complete AR Cleaning Kit was not much longer than my old system. While it was a little more labor intensive and required reading the instructions before the first use, my rifle was much cleaner than it has ever been. On top of that the kit did something unusual for me; they actually made me excited about a cleaning product. I honestly looked at the instructions and went, “Oh, that’s cool.” This kit is far from meh-worthy; it’s an excellent, well-made product that I highly recommend. Not that’s it comes cheap. The whole kit (kaboodle included) runs $100 direct from Dewey, shipping included. From now on, though, none of my cleaning kits will be complete without J. Dewey Rods in it.