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Every trip I take to the range ends the same way. I come home, change into something comfortable, lay out my cleaning supplies on the table, unpack and clear all the toys, grab a beer, put on the TV and start cleaning. By the time every piece is back in the safe my hands are black and the whole living room smells like gun oil (or mint if I use Frog Lube). Some people hate cleaning their guns. Some people see it as the the price you pay for going to the range, but I actually enjoy it . . .

However, I do occasionally have other things to do besides cleaning guns, so over the years I have tried many different items designed to simplify the cleaning process. I have bought and tossed out various products over the years and finally settled on the things I really like (Boresnakes are wonderful, for example). Of course, if The Truth About Guns gear reviews had been around back then, it might have saved me some money and wasted time.

For example, I’ve been using regular, generic Q-tips in my cleaning kit for years and I’ve just accepted the fact that they aren’t long enough to reach some places, they brake easily, and they can leave a linty mess. If I had known about RamRodz Gun Swabs, I would have saved myself some headaches.

RamRodz Gun Swabs


The bamboo shafts aren’t invincible, but they hold up much better than the paper sticks that most Q-tips have. The heads are wound pretty tightly so I didn’t have any trouble with lint. In fact, I went ahead and threw out all of the cloth barrel mops in my cleaning kit because most of them were dirty and they always leave lint behind.


Type: Swab
Calibers: .22, .38, .40, .45, .50
Price: $8.79

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit, Finish, Feel * * * * *
The bamboo shafts are sturdy and the heads don’t leave lint everywhere.

Overall Rating * * * * *
These will have a permanent place in my cleaning kit. I wish I’d had a pack of these to carry around when I was in the Corps.

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  1. All I use are Q tips, a 1/2″ brush, FIRECLEAN, paper towel, and a rod for patches if it is a rifle. I wear gloves for lead exposure during cleaning but it is so easy and quick my hand gun is so quick it is awesome. I live in the Arizona desert and went shooting out in the rain 2 days ago just to see if I saw anything build up overnight vs my normal sandy and blowing dust conditions. Nope. If you are having a hard time cleaning your rifles and hundguns due to time then you just might be using the wrong product. Larry Vickers uses it and posted on his website he didn’t clean his AR Rifle for 7 months after treating with Fireclean. I personally don’t get to shoot as often as I like and so I clean my weapons after the range if they might sit for a month or so If I am in my busy season. Q-tips leave some cotton behind that I pull off but when you get 500 for 2.95…who cares!

  2. I ujust use Q-tips and if I need longer reach I use a pen shaft. The Q-tip gets stuck in the pointy end (nozzle?).

  3. I love to clean my guns, if for no other reason than to enjoy the refreshing aroma of Hoppe’s. Getting the fluid to the surface that I want to clean is the first step and usually accomplished without difficulty. Actually scrubbing said surfaces (like the star chamber) can be difficult after just a field stripping.

    To get into the nooks and crannies, I’ve been using the same kind of long wooden cotton-tipped swabs that dog people use to clean their pets’ ears. I’ll give RamRodz a try to see if they work better.

  4. Just a little trick I learned having debris stuck in small crevasses, a can of keyboard cleaner. (For those of you with air compressors and the space to store and use them, you can substitute for that. )

    • An air compressor will inject water where you don’t want it. The more humidity in your area, the more water will be presnt in the air you are forcing into tiny nooks and crannies.

      • As you suggest, relative humidity plays a large role. If I used my air compressor on my guns right now, I doubt there would be much, if any, water left behind. As of this writing, 92.5°F and 9% RH (though a thunderstorm might be on its way, so temp may drop and RH rise shortly).

        Then there are always water separators/filters that one can install.

  5. I know some folks are scared to use it on firearms but I always use the “green” ( a bit less toxic than the red) version of plain old brake parts cleaner spray from the auto-parts store. I chase out all loose crud with that after field stripping (hand guns are all I have). Then I use Hoppes #9 on a tooth brush for all areas but the bore. I use the old rod and cloths to soak the bore with Hoppes. Then I use a brass brush (dipped in Hoppes) on the same rod through the bore. Then I generally spray the barrel out with the Brake clean spray and run dry patches through until they are clean. (repeating the brass bore brush step until it’s clean) Then I dry off any residue (with the brake parts cleaner there isn’t MUCH!) with a dry rag. Then I lube with a an OLD bottle of Outers Gun Oil that came in a kit I bought 20 years ago! Re-assemble and test the slide function/dry fire and I’m done.

    • Usually the chlorine free (green) brake cleaner is fine, but that stuff can eat polymer so make sure you wipe it down good if you’re using it on newer guns. On older all metal ones it should be fine.

      • I’ve never seen any evidence of that. All of my XDms (I have two now and had 2 others before) I’ve cleaned with brake clean polymer frames and all. No visible marks other than a clean gun. I think that could be a myth.

      • Polymer? What’s that? 😛

        I can’t say that I’ve had a problem with it, but I’ve only used it with my tupperwares a few times since I’ve gravitated towards metal-framed guns these days. The only problem I had was having to repaint the red dots over my CZs’ safeties…so I quit.

  6. You need to be careful using brake cleaner (some formulations) on firearms. If it hasn’t fully evaporated by the time you shoot, the heat from firing can generate trace amounts of Phosgene gas which is more likely than not fatal.

  7. Not to sound too picky (or anal, as the case may be), whenever I’m doing gun-related activities at my bench ; cleaning, reloading stuff, etc.; I make it a point NOT to grab a cold one. One of the products I have had success with is Ballistol spray lube. Not too heavy and no residue. Other than that, I swear by Hoppes #9.

  8. Ive actually used this product on a few of my guns and tend to agree with most of the sentiments from this review. Everyone’s got their tricks that’s for sure but squeezing a few ramrodz down the barrel and chucking them when I’m done is hard to beat.

    The obvious bore tips mfg plug above aside I’ve used them too and they work ok but they cost alot more and don’t clean any better.
    At least for me the ramrodz are the best thing I’ve used. I’d recommend them.

  9. So how many of these do I get in a bag for $8.79? I even went to the company website and could not find a quantity listed.

    • …depends on the caliber. Amazon had 75 swabs in a pack for .45 cal, and 300 for .22 cal.

    • …go to: and click on ‘packaging’. There will be a list of number-of-swabs-per-caliber.

  10. No one on this blog has answered the questions about ramrodz. I will fill you in. I have been using Ramrodz for over a year now. In short, they blew me away the first time I used them. They are not like other types of swabs. They are made to fit the barrel and do a great job on other parts of the gun that you cannot even get to without a towel and long nose pliers. These are not cotton swabs like Q tips. They are some kind of fine material made with cotton but they don’t leave lint like qtips. Either way when you drop one down into the hoppi bottle it comes out without a drip. When you press it through the barrel it does not drip down your hand and barrel. It holds a perfect amount of fluid to do the job. They actual turn in your hand with the rifling and they bend and don’t break when you enter the barrel from the breach side. I can clean a very dirty hand gun with six of these and no gloves in ten minutes. no towel or newspaper on the dining room table. Seriously this is the best thing to come to the gun industry in a long time and I tell everyone I meet who is into guns, this is best kept secret! Ramrodz! lol, all true!

  11. I laugh when I see people compare them to q tips. Wrong. Obviously they have never used the Ramrodz. I use to use the q tips but these fir the bore and cylinders perfectly. Hold up much better and much better quality. I love these and they are inexpensive. I use them for all my pistols, 347, 9mm.. I use them with wipe-out. No more brushes.

  12. I tried ramrodz for the first time today! I have a 9 mm Ruger LC9 s & a Smith & Wesson 38 revolver. I bought a pkg of ramrodz that said they fit 38 & 9mm.
    Actually they can’t begin to even fit in the cylinder of the 38 & 1 in 5 fit in the 9 by forcing it. Most of the big pack of the rest look too big for the 9! so much for Ramrodz on this guy’s cleaning table

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