All Purpose (AP) or Utility brushes are very handy to have when cleaning firearms. They have the ability to get grit, grime and fouling out of those hard to reach areas like muzzle brakes/flash hiders, gas piston heads, bolt faces, action recesses, handgun slides, etc. Utility or AP brushes come in 2 varieties…bronze and nylon. Which is better?
I use both bronze and nylon AP brushes. The nylon are softer and are used to remove light fouling or debris whereas the bronze brushes are better for hard to remove fouling and carbon buildup. Both are safe to use on firearms. I like to use the nylon brushes in the gas tube of my AK-47. It cleans it very nicely. But I use a bronze brush on the gas piston.
Otis nylon gun brushes are handy to have around when it comes to gun cleaning. They are awesome for scrubbing bolts, inside receivers, trigger assemblies, gas pistons, Glock slides, magazine wells and magazines. They are effective at loosening dirt, fouling and debris without harming any part of a firearm. They really make gun cleaning easy and faster.
The only drawback to nylon brushes is they will not remove burned on carbon fouling like on the AK-47 gas piston. You have to use bronze brushes to remove this stubborn carbon buildup.
These are Otis Nylon brushes and they work great but you can get just about any name brand and they will work. Otis just happens to come in packs of 25 brushes.
Magazines and magazine wells can get pretty dirty and they are hard to clean. But there is an easy way….gun magazine and magazine well brushes.
This is a specially designed brush that fits inside your handgun magazine well to clean dirt and carbon fouling. You can also use it to clean the inside of the magazine once you remove the follower and spring. I do this on my AK-47 magazines. I have not cleaned my Glock magazines yet.
After you spray gun cleaner in the mag well use this brush to scrub the well then wrap a clean patch over the brush and wipe the mag well clean. Now you can apply a thin coat of lubricant to make the magazine slide in freely and prevent corrosion.
I have used many different gun cleaning brushes over the past 30 years. I now use 2 types…bronze and nylon. There are a few brands that makes these and I think all of them work fine. I like Hoppes No 9.
Bronze bristle gun cleaning brushes
Here is a nylon gun cleaning brush that I’m using to clean the gas piston from my AK-47.
So when do you use a nylon brush and when a bronze brush?
The answer is pretty simple. I use a nylon gun cleaning brush on the bolt, receiver and action of all of my guns. Nylon brushes work great to loosen fouling and dirt or debris. After brushing with a nylon brush with gun cleaner, I then wipe everything down with a clean dry cloth. If there is still carbon left like on the end of the AK-47 gas piston, I then use the bronze brush to remove the more stubborn fouling. Don’t worry…bronze will not scratch your gun.
What’s the best type of bore brush to loosen fouling from gun barrels? And are they safe to use?
There are many different styles of bore brushes, tornado, standard, etc. There are also 3 distinct materials used to make bore brushes, bronze, steel and nylon. So which one will clean a bore more effectively without harming the bore?
Let’s talk about the new comer to the bore brush arena…nylon. Nylon bore brushes sound interesting and look cool but how well do they work? Well, from my experience they don’t perform well. Here is how I made that determination. I took my Glock 21 to the range and shot 50 rounds. I went home and cleaned the barrel with a nylon bore brush. After I was convinced it was clean (patches came out white), I then cleaned it again with the same gun cleaner but using a bronze bore brush. After using the same procedure of brushing 10 strokes and then wet patching, the patches came out black. They were very dirty. The bronze bore brush was able to loosen carbon fouling that the nylon brush couldn’t.
What about stainless steel bore brushes? I have bought some steel bore brushes in the past but ended up not using them. I just don’t like steel against steel. I don’t know what hardness the steel bore brushes are but I won’t guess and risk scratching a bore or muzzle. Why take a chance when you can use bronze? Bronze is much softer than steel and will not scratch or damage the bore of a barrel.
Bronze bore brushes work well and will not harm gun barrels. I only use Otis bore brushes because they are good quality and caliber marked.
I love the nylon brushes for scrubbing gun actions to remove carbon and other debris. It makes it easy to clean those hard-to-get areas plus it provides a good scrubbing action that really loosens fouling and dirt. I use a nylon utility brush on my AK-47 receiver. It makes it easy to clean the rails in the receiver.
Here is Hoppe’s nylon gun utility brush.
The phosphorus bronze utility brushes are great for baked on carbon such as on a muzzle brake, gas piston, revolver cylinder, etc. The bronze bristles do not scratch steel and remove stubborn carbon fouling easily. My AK-47 gas piston really gets dirty with carbon. The head or end of the piston gets burned on carbon. This area needs more than a cloth with CLP on it. I use the phosphorus bronze utility brush on it and it makes short work of the carbon.
This is where I use the phosphorus bronze utility brush. This baked on carbon is pretty stubborn but the bronze brush removes it quickly.
Here is the end of the AK-47 gas piston/bolt carrier. It’s covered with baked on carbon.
Here is a clean AK-47 bolt carrier and piston. Nylon and bronze brushes are a must have.