Tipton Deluxe Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rods

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Tipton Deluxe Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rods
Illustration courtesy of Tipton Gun Cleaning Supplies.

Just about every company on earth seems to be making a gun cleaning kit with the accompanying cleaning rods. Winchester, Hoppes, Browning and Outers to name a few. They all have one thing in common, poor quality screw-together cleaning rods. The rods are usually made of aluminum, steel or brass and are minimally acceptable for use, if you are careful. Among the problems encountered with these cheap rods are flaking into the barrel, scratching of the receiver/barrel, bending at the joints and coming unscrewed while cleaning.

Serious shooters, and even the casual shooter, deserve something better. When we started shooting F-Class, we were told that we needed a one-piece Dewey cleaning rod, which we bought. It was a fine stick for cleaning F-Class guns, but fell drastically short for our shotguns, muzzleloaders and big-bore hunting rifles. It was very thin and tended to bend and bind when we tried to put tight patches down the barrels to "scrub" out copper or carbon fouling. However, it was the best available, so we stuck with it.

During the Operation Iraqi Freedom, US military armorers contacted Tipton and asked them to design and provide cleaning rods that would be ideal for military service rifles subjected to the demanding conditions of combat. The result was a one-piece carbon-fiber rod that would flex like a high quality fishing rod, but not break. It came equipped with an ergonomic handle that spins on two sets of ball bearings. Finally, a cleaning rod that smoothly follows the rifling when you push or pull it through the barrel, even under pressure. Knife makers would refer to the handle/rod combination as "full tang," since the rod extends through to the end of the handle, which allows a user to tap the end with a rubber mallet (reasonably, please) to get a tight patch through the bore. It is these features that give the name "Deluxe" to Tipton rods. Their handles are unlike anything on the market today.

The Tipton rods come in four different diameters, designed for everything from .17 HMR to .50 BMG and shotguns and six lengths from 12" to 62". We picked a 36" length for .27-.45 calibers (shaft diameter - 0.250") and plan on buying another one to use on our muzzleloaders and shotguns (shaft diameter - 0.375"). The Tipton rods aren't cheap, carrying an MSRPs of $40.99. However, after you use the Tipton cleaning rod, you probably won't want to use anything else. In fact, you will probably decide, as we did, that a second rod is in order.

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