Tipton RealAvid cleaning supplies

[Review] Tipton & Real Avid Gun Cleaning Supplies

I do a whole lot of gun reviews. I am regularly sent test & evaluation guns from Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Taurus and others. I like my job! I get to shoot, regularly, at home in my back yard range. I am always sighting something in, checking accuracy, testing different loads. Did I mention I like my job?

There is one eternal truth of sorts about shooting all kinds of guns. This truth is: I get to clean a lot of guns. Many guns. Short guns, long guns, light guns, heavy guns. Doesn’t matter. They’re all dirty after firing even a very few rounds. I have this funny quirk – I hate to send guns back dirty. And, since I can’t afford to keep all the guns I’m sent, I do send most back. So, that means a lot of powder solvent, rags, patches, brushes, gun oils… you know what I’m talking about.

I’m A Bit OCD About Cleaning

My friends tease me about having a touch of anxiety, a hint of ADD and a tiny bit of OCD. What a recipe. They say I have an anxiety disorder – AD – an attention deficit disorder – ADD – and a bit of OCD. So, that’s me: AD-ADD-OCD-E-I-E-I-O. What’s all this got to do with cleaning guns, I hear you ask? Well, not having a full-blown case of any of the disorders mentioned above, I have just enough of the OCD-ness to want to clean a gun after I shoot it. I don’t go to extremes with it. If I just shoot 4 or 5 sighting or chronograph shots, I’ll simply wipe the gun off and put it away. But, many more rounds than that and I’m reaching for the Hoppe’s or whatever the solvent-du-jour is. I have shooting friends who hardly, if ever, clean their guns. This I don’t understand. If they’re doing a “torture test” of a certain gun, OK. But, they’re not gun writers or You-Tubers. So, I volunteer to clean whatever they just finished putting many rounds through. Usually, I’m thanked-but-no-thanks by them. This also I don’t understand. But, it’s their gun.

Why Do We Clean Our Guns?

OK, this is a loaded question. We all know why we clean guns. We preserve their ability to flawlessly function by keeping them cleaned and oiled properly. I can see why the military conducts gun malfunction tests, since their weapons see hard use and have to function under many different kinds of conditions. But – we are not the military. Being a Boy Scout as I was doesn’t count. I do regret having not served in the military and it’s a little late to fix that, so I highly respect all who are serving or who have served. You most probably all know how to clean a gun.

Types Of Cleaning

There are different cleaning levels that we go to, depending on how the gun was shot and what ammo was put through it. If you are shooting milsurp ammo for a 7.62×39 that you got from … someone, can’t remember… you might want to definitely clean your SKS, especially the barrel. You may or may not know if the primers used were corrosive or not. One shortcut you can use if you did shoot nasty primers is to put some Windex down the bore, then clean normally. The Windex tends to neutralize the corrosive effects of the primer.

Let’s look at some typical “cleaning levels”…

Light: You just put a few rounds downrange, so you run a wet patch through the barrel, then dry it with a few dry patches. You wipe the breech face off with solvent on a rag and wipe the outside of the gun down. After a couple of drops of oil on the slide rails/cylinder yoke, you put things together and put it away.

Heavy: You just ran a whole lot of rounds through your gun on a day with scattered showers… here is the drill:

Autoloader: You separate the slide/barrel from the frame and then take it apart. You clean the barrel as above but you might use a brass bristle brush first then follow that with patches on a jag tip. Pushing patches through until they are clean, you use your bore light to examine the bore. If it’s clean, you move on to the feed ramp/barrel lugs. You get them clean so now you look at the slide. You scrub the breech face with a toothbrush or other type and follow with a clean rag. Scrubbing out the rails with that brush is a good idea. Once you get everything clean, you put a drop of oil on the slide rails and put things back together. You wipe the outside of the gun down and call it good.

Revolver: The barrel is first, so you run your solvent-soaked bristle brush through it and then a patch on a jap tip. You keep doing this until the patches come out clean. Next, you swab each chamber and the barrel with a bristle brush, then a patch on a jag tip. You wipe the front of the cylinder and the breech face down and use your toothbrush (or other brush) to clean around the forcing cone and in the angle where the top strap meets the back of the frame. You clean where the yoke enters the barrel lug. You might take some 2000 grit paper and wipe around the cylinder face to remove powder stains (stainless steel gun). After wiping the gun down to get rid of powder on outside surfaces, you put a thin coat of oil on the metal and put it away.

Barrel Leading

OK, you just went through a box of your cousin Larry’s .357 cast bullet loads at 1400 f.p.s. You look into the bore and see what is, in essence, a smoothbore. Oops… well, hopefully you won’t see that but you get the idea. I make my own cast bullets and have had to battle leading over the years. Without getting into too many chemicals, I just take a Chore Boy brass kitchen pad and pull some off. I put this small amount of the pad on the end of a brass brush and run it up into the bore as many times as it takes in order to remove the fouling. It may take a while but it gets it clean. Do not use “coated” kitchen pads – no aluminum or steel pads coated with a brass finish. The Chore Boy won’t hurt your bore.

Enter Tipton and Real Avid

Now we get to the topic at hand – Tipton & Real Avid gun cleaning supplies. I requested a few items from those two companies and received them. These items will cover most any cleaning chore you have, from light to heavy. I got an Tipton Ultra Cleaning Kit, a Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun cleaning kit, some extra Real Avid brushes and bore light, and a bench mat. Here are some photos…

Ultra Cleaning Kit in its case
Ultra Cleaning Kit in its case.

I did not do a close-up of the AR-15 chamber brushes in the container on the extreme right. These make it easy to keep your AR’s chamber clean.

Jags and Brushes from the Ultra Kit
Jags and Brushes from the Ultra Kit
Tipton cleaning rod handle bore guide handle
The cleaning and bore guide rods
Tipton cleaning brushes
A close-up of some of the pics and brushes included. Good, quality stuff.
Cleaning brushes
More brushes from Real Avid…
real avid handgun smart mat
and a big 11×17” cleaning mat with a side “trough” for parts…
Tipton glock mat
Here’s Tipton’s take on the cleaning mat – Glock owners will do a happy dance. Roll it up and take it to the range.
Gun Boss Handgun Kit
If the Ultra kit is too much, there’s the Real Avid Gun Boss handgun cleaning kit that you can put in a (large) pocket…
Tipton power swabs
More Tipton items. Power swabs…
Tipton brushes, bore light and cloth glockmat
…brushes, bore light, the above Glock mat.

I was impressed with these items from both companies. The brass brushes seem to be well-made – I don’t expect them to shed too many bristles over many uses and the rods and handles are tough.

For More Info…

I did not put prices in this article due to availability (or unavailability) of these items – we’re never sure if something is going to be there when we want to order it. I felt it best to just provide the companies’ web sites and you can check on whatever it is you’re interested in:

Tipton Gun Cleaning Supplies

Real Avid

To Conclude

As shooters, we must take care of our guns. It helps when companies put together, in one container, most everything you need in order to do that. If you are looking to upgrade your cleaning kit, give these two companies a look. I’m glad they sent me these kits – I intend to give them a good workout. If you’ve had experience with products from either of these companies, please let us know below. As always, keep ’em in the black and stay safe!

  1. Nice article. More shooters should take heed and clean their firearms at least once per year. I know some that have never cleaned a rifle. I’ve been intending to take a look at the Tipton cleaning rods since I’ve always used the one-piece coated cleaning rods from Dewey. I also have a set of one-piece SS custom rods made for benchrest shooters to use with my .224 “calibers.” Any thoughts about Dewey versus Tipton? Thanks!

    1. Nolan, I’d say use whichever one you like. They both make good products – I’m just more familiar with Tipton. Sounds like you are one to keep a gun clean – I like that. I clean my guns regularly. I’m surprised that some shooters go for months without cleaning…sounds like you’re not one of those. Thanks for writing!

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