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-   -   HOW TO make GUNNER TOOLS (https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=504746)

DrGunner 05-31-2013 03:26 AM

Hello all- I have been making my own cleaning tools for years- mostly for .22 rimfire, but more recently for other calibers including centerfires. I have given away countless tools to RFC members and have been asked many times HOW I make them. These tools are great because they can be packed into a range bag easily, do an excellent job of cleaning the bore, and allow you to clean most rifles and pistols WITHOUT disassembly. They are durable and last for years.

I have decided to post a series of chapters here, in this thread in the shooting accessories forum, explaining how to make them in detail, step by step with plenty of pictures.


I make four different tools:

The Gunner Patchsnake is a typical button style puller. I have experimented with many different types of trimmer line and have found this stuff to work best:


All you do is spike it through a cloth patch, pass it through the barrel from the breech, and pull it through (make sure the button is centered in the chamber before pulling). I make the buttons oversize, because no two barrels are identical. Shaping them is an easy job that can be done with a draw file or emery board.
You can shape the button for a loose fit to clean solvent/powder/sludge from the bore with low friction. You can also size them larger for a tight fit to clean the rifling- lands and grooves:


The Gunner Jagsnake- this allows you to apply powder solvent and/or copper solvent and oil/lube to the bore with minimal friction:


The Gunner Brushsnake: this allows you to brush most bores without disassembling the rifle. For .22s, it MUST be made from the Otis brushes listed below, because they are the only ones that allow a deep enough drill hole, and the brass sticks best to the cyanomethacrylate glue I use. For other calibers, any brush will work, but the ones made of brass hold up best. Aluminum does work, provided that the drill hole is deep enough to allow adequate surface area for the adhesive.
I don't use them on my target barrels, but they work great on my .22s that see bulk/copper washed ammo. I recently made one for 7.62mm and its working out fine- you just need to remember to let the trimmer line twist as you pull so the brush follows the rifling.
They can be made for any caliber.


The Gunner Chamber Brush- I designed this brush handle with a finger loop in the center that you place your middle finger or ring finger through. It provides excellent control and leverage for cleaning the carbon ring from the leade of the chamber without getting into the rifling. Attaching a chamber mop to the other end allows you to remove the majority of the sludge from the chamber before using the Jagsnake, Brushsnake, and Patchsnake.


I will add to this thread with four separate "chapters" on each of these over the next few days walking you through how to make all four of these tools.
They are made of .095" trimmer line, Hoppes .22cal jags, Otis .22cal pistol brushes, and the brush handles are made out of 3 piece Hoppes rod kits. One kit costs $9, and can make 3 brush handles IF the aluminum is solid- sometimes they fall apart because of impurities in the rod stock. When that happens, I usually salvage the parts into two straight handles or a short finger loop version:


Here are the jags, about $1-2 apiece:


I use Otis Pistol brushes- they are the perfect length for cleaning the chamber of a 22LR and removing the dreaded carbon ring that builds up at the end of the casings, without getting into the rifling. They come packaged in individual cases that can be modified to protect the brushes during storage or transport in your range bag:


Here are the brushes, they cost $11-13 for 10:


If you want to make chamber brush handles, order THIS KIT for $9 and you can make three handles and one .22cal and one larger caliber jag puller:


Over the next few days I will add to this thread with detailed instructions and pics on how to make each of the four tools listed above.



DrGunner 05-31-2013 03:28 AM

TOMORROW: Chapter 1
Tomorrow I will post Chapter 1: How to make the Gunner Patchsnake button style puller....



Originally Posted by DrGunner (Post 9852170)
We all have our favorite solvents, rods, brushes, pull through cleaners and the like.
I’ve been using these micro tipped cotton applicators in my work and for cleaning Guns, small electronics, and any other nook and cranny job you can imagine for over 20 years. They recently became available on Amazon- Puritan brand are the ones you want.

Imagine a 6” dowel that is 2mm in diameter, with the end of the dowel tapered to a point, then tightly spun with cotton in a micro point that’s lightly glued on... basically THE PERFECT TOOL to clean out the rim pocket in a bolt, or an extractor groove in a barrel, or under an extractor hook- without scratching or marring any surfaces.

They’re also perfect for applying grease in small quantities to specific areas like slide rails and bolt gliding surfaces.

Now imagine that you could get 1000 of those little tools for around $25 and they are single use, disposable?

Look no further, click on this link:

Puritan 6" Tapered Mini Cotton Swab w/Wooden Handle - 826-WC (Box of 1000) @ $24.99 Free Shipping w Prime Nembership




At the price of $24 for 1000, these little time savers cost less than a half a penny apiece.

While you’re at it, you might as well pick up a batch of the full cotton swab version for their obvious utility in cleaning a larger area with better absorption.
They’re even cheaper at $18.18 for 1200:



Hope this helps-


patience0830 05-31-2013 02:04 PM


scooter22 05-31-2013 02:13 PM


rokehe 05-31-2013 02:20 PM

I speak from experience, DrG offered a freebie to me and others here on the forum a while back. Using his patch puller and chamber cleaning tools and paying more attention to cleaning in general has been the most cost effective way to keep or improve the way my barrels are shooting.

Jim_WY 05-31-2013 02:22 PM

Thank you very much. I really love this sort of thread.

Your photos are excellent and your willingness to share exemplifies what is so great about RFC! :thumbup:

Phoned in.

outlinkk 05-31-2013 02:28 PM

Thanks DrGunner

excellent thread :bthumb::bthumb:

4x4craig 05-31-2013 07:36 PM

Thank you! This is very considerate of you!:bthumb:


DrGunner 05-31-2013 08:07 PM

Chapter 1- The Gunner Patchworm
So- Here goes:

I use .090 & .095" trimmer line. I have experimented with several brands and stick to this stuff:


Because it makes the most dense/solid buttons that do not have a tendency to pull off.

To make these on your own, you need:
Trimmer line
A 40 Watt Weller soldering iron or other source of heat
A 1/2" or 3/4"x1/4-20 bolt
Steel wool
A bench sander, bench grinder or belt sander.

I removed the tip from a 40W soldering iron, and installed the bolt. Plug it in and let it heat up for 10-15 minutes. I lock mine in a vise to give myself a stable work platform:


PRE cut a series of lengths of trimmer line that are several inches longer than you need. If the average barrel length you will be cleaning is 20", cut them to at least 26-28" so you have room to grip the end when pulling. It's best to start with even longer lengths when you're first starting out because there is a learning curve to getting the buttons right and you may need to cut some off and start over.
CUT THEM WITH AN EXACTO KNIFE OR OTHER RAZOR, PERPENDICULAR TO THE LINE. You want the material to melt evenly with even distribution around the trimmer line. Cutting on an angle or with wire cutters will skew or flatten the line and create an uneven button.
Hold the line out straight, and push into the center of the heated bolt. Push slowly, and as you progress the material will melt and roll up evenly around the circumference of the line. You want to make the buttons oversize for two reasons;
- They WILL shrink on cooling
- You want them oversize so that they can be sanded/filed to fit each bore with the desired amount of resistance. I usually carry two in my range kit; one that fits loosely to clear the majority of solvent and powder from the bore, and one that fits nice and tight for final cleaning.


Once they reach the desired size, set them aside to cool, be careful not to touch the button on anything as it is soft and will deform/stick easily. They will shrink considerably as they cool. You CAN dip them in ice water to rapidly cool them and stop the shrinking process, but I have found that letting them cool naturally produces a much denser, stronger button.

Button Forming Pearls: The Weller when fully heated to max temp does the job perfectly, the key to the whole process is to lock the iron in a vise LEVEL and perpendicular to the ground. Then when you are melting,hold the trimmer line vertical with just the slightest pressure, enough to keep the material melting but never really pushing on the line in as it spreads and melts. This is key because as the material melts and spreads out, it also rolls up the sides of the line itself and heats and adheres to it. If you are into much of a hurry and you push the line to melt faster, you get poor adherence, a weak button and pull off problems. In order to get the adherence that I'm talking about, the button necessarily becomes rather oversized, almost spreading to the edges of the bolt head, then it shrinks about 25% on cooling. While it cools, I inspect the button and give it tiny adjustments with a fingertip using extremely light touch to ensure that the button is perpendicular to the axis of the line and is not lopsided or out of round, but symmetrically distributed. Then after it cools I will rough size it with a 1/2 inch medium followed by fine sanding drums on a Dremel @ 15K RPM, letting the drum sander naturally run clockwise around the button following its rotation. This will cause the material to soften and rough up concentrically, which I then knock off with an emery board, checking periodically against a spent 22 casing that I have mounted to a jig. I stop when the button is just oversize to the open end of a casing.

Each one you make will leave a black residue of melted plastic on the bolt that needs to be cleaned off with steel wool:


The final buttons should look like this:


For the next step, you want to coil them up and tie them into a coil with small zip ties or tape to make the next step easier: Sanding a point on the other end for poking through cloth patches. You want to leave the free end sticking out a few inches to facilitate working on the point.


The next step- sanding the tip to a point can be done on a bench grinder, bench sander or belt sander. I use an 8" bench sander with 100 grit paper:


Now, take the coiled up portion and apply the point to the sander, turning the coil over a few times until you have ground a decent point on the tip.
Don't worry if there's plastic shavings stuck to the point, that will be easily removed later:


Once you have put a decent point on it, you need to polish the point by hand with steel wool. I have found that placing the point in a pad of steel wool, folding it closed on the point, squeezing hard and pulling the trimmer line out repeatedly works best:


The final result should be smooth, and poke through cotton patches without resistance, like this:


Now, to finish and harden the point, you simply dip it into a bottle of the thin UV Adhesive, scrape off the excess on the rim of the bottle, then holding the trimmer line vertical with the point down, flick it sharply a couple of times with your middle finger and thumb, which serves to remove excess adhesive- leaving an even coat. Then you simply cure the adhesive with a UV flashlight which comes with the glue kit linked below. The UV adhesive glue has multiple applications so the investment would not be simply for finishing patch pullers- although it does happen to do an amazing job creating and incredibly hard and resilient point for the button pullers.

Close up detail with glue hardened point on left, unfinished on right:


Product used:


Amazon link-

Contains Glue- (Thick, Thin and Flex)plus 12 LED UV Flashlight (runs on 3 AAA batteries)


The last step involves filing/ sanding the button head to fit the rifle bore.
You need to sand (using a fine grit emery board works great) or file around the circumference of the button, try to do so concentrically so that the trimmer line is at the center of the button. If your button is really large, you can take it down some with a 1/2" fine drum sander on a Dremel, allowing the drum to run around the button with the rotation of the dremel. Going against the rotation will result in flat sides on the button. Do not work aggressively, if you remove too much material the button will not apply adequate pressure to the patch and it will be ruined. If you go too far, you can simply create a new button and start over.
Work slowly, removing a little bit of material at a time. Clean the button off to make sure that there is no sanding grit on it, then test it by pushing the button into the chamber, or you can pull it through the barrel. When you get to the point that it slides through the chamber with some resistance and more resistance through the bore, you are close to finished. I usually test them without patches first. Once you have made a few, you will easily get a feel for sizing them and will be able to tell when you're done with one quick push into the chamber.

Keep working and testing with patches until you get the appropriate resistance. Don't pull with patches until the button slides easily through the chamber, or you might pull the button off.


It takes some practice getting the button size right but I decided to measure some to give you all a guideline-
Measuring mine in current use, I found that a button for a looser pull measures ..200- 205”, tighter pull around .210 and super tight around .215” (on the verge of snapping the button off).
Most of mine mic in at .205 & .210. ALL BARRELS VARY SLIGHTLY.

I keep mine sorted by wrapping them with different color Velcro strips and often blacken the end of the button of the tighter/.210” ones with a Sharpie so I have a quick visual reference which helps because I always use a jag puller, a .205” followed by a .210” in that order. Before storing them back in the safe, I usually pull a wet jag puller to oil the bore and prevent rust- if you do this, ALWAYS remember to pull a dry patch before shooting. A couple drops of lube in a bore can be invisible, until hydraulic force from a live round bulges your barrel. I know this to be true because I’ve seen it happen to a friend, right in front of me. Good news is it was a stock barrel that we planned on upgrading it anyway but it was a valuable lesson learned.
Also- 3M brand “Super 33” Electrical Tape comes in small round plastic containers that are PERFECT for storing and toting jag and patch pullers in your range bag, see pic below.
You’ll find that a .210” will produce an audible sqauwk sound on pull through. The thickness of the patch cloth and viscosity as well as amount of schmoo on the patch makes a difference. I usually pull a jag soaked patch 2-3 times (fresh patch each pass) followed by a thoroughly soaked .205”. That gets out most of the schmutz. Then I pull a few wet .210s... a few drops on the patch and pinch off excess before pulling. Then dry patches til clean. If I’m still getting carbon, I go back to a wet .210 or brush puller once or twice.
Beware extractor grooves as they can score the line. Always center the button & pull straight to avoid sawing against the crown.


I have successfully made these for .17, .22, 7mm, 300 Wby, and 7.62mm.
The end result for .22s will look like these:


If you have any questions, you know where to find me.


PS - Tomorrow, Chapter 2- The Gunner Jagsnake

Rhema 05-31-2013 08:48 PM

Great information, thank you for posting!

JEE 05-31-2013 09:08 PM

Very cool! :t

Had to sticky this one. ;)

Dr Heckel 05-31-2013 09:24 PM

Very nice write up doc:bthumb: DrG sent me a set of his cleaning tools awhile back...they work great! Thanks again!!

smitty1157 05-31-2013 09:31 PM

Thank You. I'm going to give it a try. :t

Oldblades 05-31-2013 09:35 PM


Originally Posted by JEE (Post 4586597)
Very cool! :t

Had to sticky this one. ;)

My thoughts exactly! Thanks for sharing these Gunner.

tanakasan 05-31-2013 09:58 PM

Love the DIY stuff!

Thanks a ton for sharing your skills, photos and experience! :bthumb:


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