For well over a decade now with each installment of this Guns & Ammo feature, we’ve tried to cover those new firearms, cartridges and ammo loadings that we felt would be of particular interest to SCI members. And because optics are so important in the overall equation, we’ve tried to cover that subject, as well. However, there’s one topic we’ve not discussed even once, yet it is crucially important for anyone owning even one firearm. I’m talking about gun cleaning and maintenance; an odious chore to be sure, yet one that must be done if we’re to expect reliable mechanical performance and optimal accuracy.
If we were to take a typical gun cleaning kit of 50 years ago and compare it to a current one, about the only thing we’d see as being different would be the packaging. Both would be comprised of a multi-section cleaning rod; a jag for pushing patches down the bore; a bronze wire brush and patches of appropriate size for the bore if a dedicated kit, or multiple brushes and patches if for a range of calibers. Also included is a copper and/or all- purpose solvent for cleaning copper fouling and powder residue, and a lubricant/rust preventative.
About the only new gizzy to appear over that 50-year span has been the bore snake-type. The snake system is fast and works well enough if the bore isn’t seriously fouled, but I find that claims of one pass being all you need is a bit of a stretch. And making multiple passes doesn’t make sense because the snake is dirty from the first pass and you’re just re-depositing the crud.
Enter Remington’s new Squeeg-E bore cleaning system, which brings a new and unique tool that both simplifies and speeds up the
task. For lack of a better term, I’d call it a jag of sorts, but one that works without patches. The bore-specific tool is of a rigid polymer and has a threaded shank that fits any standard cleaning rod or cable. The five fins that do the work measure just one to two thousandths larger than the groove diameter. These jags are specifically designed to be pulled, not pushed, through the bore, which means they are used in conjunction with a cable rather than a rod. The cable, which is furnished with a detachable T-handle as part of the kit, is coated with a protective polymer sheath to protect the muzzle-end rifling. The cable is flexible, yet stiff enough to be easily fed down the bore from either end. If fed from the breech end, the Squeeg-E is already threaded onto the cable and the T-handle is attached when the other end clears the muzzle. If fed from the muzzle, the Squeeg-E is threaded onto the cable when that end clears the chamber. In either case, the tool is pulled from breech to muzzle.
The Squeeg-E system does not eliminate the usual cleaning procedure of running a patch or two soaked with bore solvent, followed by multiple passes with a bronze brush to remove copper fouling. Unless you’re in the field, there’s no reason why these procedures can’t be done with a regular cleaning rod if the design of the action allows cleaning from the breech end.
Where the Squeeg-E comes into the picture is after the bore solvent and brush have done their work. At that point, pulling this 5-finned gizzy through the bore removes all dislodged gunk and copper in one pass, and in so doing, eliminates the need for bore patches. I’ve used this system for a while now and I’m impressed with it. I’ve found that one pass of the Squeeg-E does indeed get out all the loosened debris, but it doesn’t leave the bore bone dry. If that’s your intent, two patches will accomplish that, and that second patch will come out remarkably clean.
Because Remington is under the Freedom Group of companies, which includes DPMS/Panther Arms, and Bushmaster, Squeeg-E system kits are being marketed under the all three names. In the case of DPMS and Bushmaster, the kits are designed with ARs in mind, whereas the Remington name, there are several kits ranging from a dedicated caliber to a universal kit that can handle any rifle, pistol or shotgun. All come with the appropriate length cables, handle, bore and action-cleaning brushes, solvent and lube. To see all the Squeeg-E kits offered, go the www.remington.com and check out “accessories.”
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While most SCI members tend to favor traditional hunting rifles — bolt actions mostly – there’s an ever-growing contingent of younger hunters and shooters who are embracing the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR). The term of course refers to the ubiquitous AR (which originally signified Armalite Rifle, not Assault Rifle), which in military form has been our country’s martial arm for over a half century now, and in its civilian AR-15 form numbers around 4 million. That’s
understandable, for many AR enthusiasts were introduced to the centerfire rifle and shooting while in the military service, so they kinda’ grew up with the gun.
There will always be differing opinions as to how suitable the AR is for hunting based on its looks, how it feels in the hands, its balance and pointing characteristics, and available calibers. Designed around the .223 Rem. (5.56×45), the gun is limited as to the cartridge length and case diameter it can accommodate, but several innovative designers have come up with alternatives that are now offered by several AR manufacturers. Two of the best hunting rounds that come to mind are the 6.5 Grendel and the .30 Rem. AR. I’ve cleanly taken Pronghorn at a lasered 285 yards with the .30 AR, and the Grendel is equally capable, if not more so, for that particular application.
There is, however, a larger version of the AR-15, which was originally designed around the .308 Win. (7.62×51). Known as the AR-10, it was in fact the original Armalite design. Not many AR-10s were produced because the military decided to go with the smaller .223 version.
With patents having long since expired, several manufacturers have taken up production of the AR-10, with Remington, DPMS Panther Arms, Bushmaster, and Rock River Arms among them. Cosmetically, these guns are spittin’ images of the AR-15, but are noticeably heavier and bulkier. But that’s the price you pay for having the power and range of what essentially is a very slightly detuned .30-06. The AR-10 can be chambered for any cartridge based on the .308 Win. case, which includes the .243 Win., .260 Rem. 7mm-08 Rem., and .338 Federal. In typical sporting rifle configurations, your average A-10 weighs around 8-1/2 lbs. empty without a scope.
That’s about to change, for the folks at DPMS/Panther Arms have redesigned the A-10 to where it is substantially smaller and lighter than the original. Designated as the 308 Gen II (Generation II), we
got to test a 7-1/4 lb. example of the new gun this past December at the famous Gunsite Ranch in Paulden, AZ. It feels like a totally different gun! Measured rearward from magazine release, the upper/lower receiver unit measures the same 4.5” as that of the AR-15. Improved machining processes paired with a 7075 forging results in the Gen II’s upper receiver to be smaller, lighter, yet stronger than current LR 308s. Other improvements include a new extractor and extractor spring; smoother edges on all receiver surfaces; a new shell deflector; a longer ejection port; a stronger charging handle; an integral gas key and monolithic bolt carrier, and new bolt/lock up geometry.
Five models of the Gen II will be offered in 2014; three of them are of tactical configuration, and two — the 16” barreled SASS and 18” barreled MOE Lightweight Carbine — are about as “civilian” looking as an AR can get. By that I mean they have sightless barrels, tubular aluminum forends, flat-top receivers, and non-tactical-looking buttstocks.
Because DPMS/Panther is one of the families under the Freedom Group. look for Remington and Bushmaster to come out with their own versions of the 308 Gen II, probably before the year is out, and in calibers other than .308 Win.– Jon R. Sundra