Tip of the Day: Cleaning AR-15 Chambers with a Brush and Drill

As an owner of several AR-15 rifles, I’ve found that it’s relatively difficult to clean the chamber from accumulated gunk. Q-tips and patches don’t easily reach all the little nooks and crannies, and the standard chamber brushes are difficult (particularly when new) to fit into the chamber.
An easy, if somewhat l0w-tech solution, is to screw the brush into a length of cleaning rod that you’re not terribly fond of and then chuck the rod into an electric drill (or a brace-and-bit if you really want to go low-tech). First, I apply some cleaning solvent (I’m partial to Break-Free CLP, but anything should do) to the brush. Next, start the drill? clockwise at its lowest speed setting (you do not want high rpms while doing this) and insert the brush into the chamber via the back of the upper receiver as normal.
Voil?! While being driven by the drill, the brush now goes into the chamber with considerable ease. With it now fully in the chamber, the bristles can scrub all the oft-neglected parts like the locking lugs.
I generally keep the brush turning through the insertion, cleaning, and removal phases, as it makes it much easier to move about. While one can remove the non-rotating brush, it’s much more difficult to do so. Running the drill counter-clockwise will cause the brush to unscrew from the rod, which is trivial to fix, or jamming the brush in the chamber and possibly scratching the chamber, which is less trivial.
I’ve been doing this regularly for years with no ill effects — the steel and chrome of the chamber is much harder than the bronze bristles of the brush, and I’ve detected no signs of wear, scratching, or other problems.
Hopefully this helps people clean their ARs more effectively.
Got any more tips and tricks? I’m always interested in more.

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