April 14th, 2017

Gear Review: PMA Action Cleaning Tool

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit

A few years back our friend Danny Reever acquired the PMA Action Cleaning tool. He’s now used it for many seasons and it’s still working great. If you shoot a precision rifle, it deserves to have a clean action and lug recess area. This handy tool speeds up the cleaning process, letting you do a more thorough job in less time.

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit Review by Danny Reever
I’ve been using the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit for quite some time. Previously, I used one of the old style (round knob) Sinclair action-cleaning tools with cylindrical cotton rolls. With the Sinclair tool, I was pretty satisfied that I was getting my actions reasonably clean. But, as I explain below, I think the newer PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit is easier to use, and possibly achieves better results.

PMA Tool Kit Extensively Tested with Many Action Types
PMA tried a variety of options before finalizing the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit. PMA explains that several shooters did a lot of testing “with various sizes of die-cut foam, patches, felts and cotton rolls with various bolt action types (BAT two- and three-Lug, Kelblys, Halls, Remingtons, Winchesters and Savages). [Testers all agreed] that the foam disc is far superior to felts and cotton rolls [and] we decided to include two different sizes of foam discs.”

The PMA Action-Cleaning Tool uses round foam discs in two included sizes: 1″ diameter and 1.25″ diameter. Both size discs can be used alone, or with a 3″ patch wrapped around them. The handles of the tools are CNC-machined blue-anodized aluminum with a silicone sleeve for grip. The PMA tool handles are a bit longer than those of my old Sinclair action-cleaning tool. I like the added handle length, and I find the design of the handle easier to use compared to the old-style round knobs.

The PMA tools are quality items. They are an improvement over my older Sinclair action-cleaning set-up. But do the PMA tools they actually clean the action better or easier than the old style cotton rolls? Well, based on my experience, the answer is a definite “maybe”.

Comparison Testing — Cotton Rolls vs. PMA Foam Discs (with and without patches)
Starting with the old-style cotton roll system, I cleaned my actions to a level I considered “clean” in the past. I then tried the included PMA foam discs. I found that, for my Remington-style actions, the larger 1.25″-diameter disc seemed to work better than the smaller 1″-diameter disc. Wrapping the larger disc with a 3″ patch definitely brought out more crud from my previously cleaned actions than the old style cotton rolls. Well, you might ask, what if you wrap the old-style cotton roll with a patch? Yes that will remove more crud too, but perhaps not as much as the PMA system. Moreover you would have to buy both cotton rolls AND 3″ patches. Not many places sell the cotton rolls.

Is it worth plunking down the $49.95 for the complete PMA system? Well, if you want to upgrade to a quality-made tool with better handles the answer is yes. Is getting that last bit of crud out of your action every time you clean it that important to you? You have to decide that for yourself. From my own perspective, I was due for an upgrade so the answer was easy. I like the PMA system, especially the new improved handles. Also, with the PMA system I don’t have to fool around with a tiny Allen screw to secure the cotton rolls — that was annoying. So my final take on the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit is that it is a good product with some real advantages over other action-cleaning systems.

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit

PMA Tool charges $49.95 for the complete Action Cleaning Tool Kit that includes a chamber cleaning handle and cotton swab. PMA offers the lug recess action cleaning tool by itself with four foam cleaning discs and five 3″ patches. Cleaning discs are also available separately in your choice of 1″- and 1.25″-diameter in a five pack.

Action Cleaning Tool Kit (complete): $49.95
Lug Recess Tool Only (includes 4 Cleaning Discs): $38.95
Chamber Swab Tool (includes Cotton Chamber Swab): $14.95
Additional 1″ Cleaning Discs: $4.95
Additional 1.25″ Cleaning Discs: $4.95

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January 28th, 2017

TECH TIP: Clean Your Chamber and Lug Recesses

Most competitive shooters are pretty good about bore cleaning (some may even clean their bores too aggressively). However, we’ve found that many shooters neglect the chamber area and the bolt lug recesses. It’s too easy to clean the bore, slip out the guide rod and say “I’m done.” Sinclair Int’l explains why it’s important to clean the action interior: “Shooters use a lot of grease and oil on their bolts to reduce friction and to prevent wear[.] Unfortunately, both of these compounds attract grit, powder and primer residues. Cleaning your receiver is especially critical [with] custom actions where the fit between the action and bolt is held to very tight tolerances. Routine cleaning of the action will prevent unnecessary wear on the bolt body, locking lugs, and the action raceways/guide rails. Frequent action cleaning is also essential to keeping the trigger area free of debris which can cause trigger hang-ups and failures.” Below, we present action cleaning advice from Sinclair’s Reloading Press Newsletter.

Cleaning the Chamber
Combustion by-products, lubricants, and solvent residues can collect in your chamber. Severe build-up of grease and carbon can interfere with chambering. Also some solvents will promote corrosion. You need to keep your chambers clean.

Bolt Action Cleaning

1) Install a clean cotton mop of the correct size on the end of a chamber rod and insert the mop into the chamber. Rotate the mop several times to remove any brush bristles left behind and any excess solvent that was between the rod guide snout and the end of the chamber. Make sure the chamber is dry. Prior to storing a rifle you can oil the chamber but make sure the oil is removed prior to firing the rifle.
2) Alternatively, install an old bore brush on a chamber rod, overlap a couple of patches on the brush bristles, and wrap them around the brush completely. Then insert the patch-covered brush into the chamber while rotating it to remove the excess solvent and debris. Push it firmly into the neck area of the chamber. A similar method is to pierce a large patch on the end of the brush loop and insert it into the action, again rotating the brush as you push the patch up against the breech.

Cleaning the Lug Recess Area
The action lug recess area is one of the dirtiest places on a bolt-action rifle. To properly clean this area, always use a tool designed for the task, such as the $21.50 Sinclair Action Cleaning Tool (part # ACT1) which is part of the Sinclair Action Cleaning Tool Kit (now on sale for $29.99, part #ACT2).

Bolt Action Cleaning

1) Insert a cotton roll or cleaning felt into your lug recess cleaning tool and wet both ends and the face of the cotton roll/felt with solvent.
2) Insert the tool into the action and push it forward until it is positioned fully in the lug recess area and rotate the tool head several times. Then reverse the rotation for another few turns. While rotating the tool move it slightly in and out to cover the entire recess area and to also clean the breech face.
3) Remove the tool from the action and inspect the surface of the felt or cotton roll. If there is quite a bit of residue on both sides of the felt/roll, then repeat with another wet felt/roll.
4) When you feel the recess area is completely clean, insert a dry cotton roll into the tool and rotate the tool head to remove any remaining solvent and debris. If necessary, use a second dry cotton roll.
5) You can follow this step up with another pass of a mop or patches into the chamber to get any debris or solvent that pushed forward out of the lug recess area.

Bolt Action Cleaning

Cleaning Tips from The Reloading Press, used courtesy Sinclair Int’l, All Rights Reserved.

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