It could be a fun weekend shooting with friends, a 3-gun competition, civil disturbance, or zombie apocalypse (I know, so overdone). Guns get dirty, carbon builds up in all the typical places and guns lose accuracy and reliability. A quick in-the-field cleaning can keep guns running smoothly and accurately so you don’t find yourself without an operational gun when things are at their worse or best depending on how you look at it.
I’ve seen many articles on AR’s, but few on cleaning. Over the last few years, there have been numerous tools introduced to facilitate easier cleaning of the bolts and carrier groups and I wanted to compare them side by side to see if they worked and if they worked, how well? I called Brownells (who else) and promptly received a package which included:
Cat M-4 Cleaning Tool
The Otis B.O.N.E. (Bolt Operational Necessary Equipment)
CRT-15 Carbon Removal Tool for AR-15
Brownells AR-15 Bolt Radius Scraper
Mark Brown Custom AR-15 Bolt Carrier Carbon Scraper
These items along with 20 boxes of Wolf .223 steel case, military classic ammo which felt dirty, so it was perfect for my project, a few boxes of hand loads from a friend (thanks Ted), and various leftovers from previous range sessions in both 5.56 and .223, I was ready to go.
For the evaluations, I needed to shoot. I used my Spikes Tactical 10.5” SBR with a Nickel-Boron bolt group plus a second bolt and carrier, borrowed from my 10” Spikes 300 Blackout, also Nickel-Boron. I then walked 100-yards to the backyard rifle and pistol range – I know, it’s a rough life. Within 10 minutes I was sent away for scaring the crap (literally) out of the wife’s new foster dog. Darnit
A half an hour later I arrived at the public range and started over. I shot 100 rounds then swapped bolts and carriers and as an added bonus, I twisted on an Advanced Armament 7.62 SD suppressor to increase the gas and pressure to the carrier, hopefully making it a bit more carbon coated (remind me to use this when shooting in the backyard). The nickel boron bolt groups performed well and I had no failures from the Spikes rifle. It digested all the various types of ammo with only a few failures-to-feed from the Wolf ammo but surprisingly the accuracy was really good.
The Clean Up
Cat M-4 Cleaning Tool
Pro – Small, simple one piece design, no moving parts. Bonus screw driver tip holder. Good performance and lightweight. It could be worn by women to attract the right type of guy. Con – Not perfect. The Cat M-4 didn’t get all the carbon from the back of the carrier.
Pros – Also small, compact, fits easily into the little OTIS cleaning kits. It did a reasonable job on the bolt and a great job on the carrier. Just as with the CAT, it could be worn by a woman as a pendant to attract the right type of man. Cons – The bone bolt cleaning end felt a bit loose to me.
CRT-15 Carbon Removal Tool for AR-15
Pro – Was the best at getting the carbon off the bolt. It was odd at first applying pressure to the small arm, but easy enough. Con – Small arm may break off and the carrier recess did not get it as clean as the others.
Brownells AR-15 Radius Bolt Scraper
Pro – Did a great job on the bolt tail, removing most of the carbon the first time. Con – This is a larger tool and better suited for the workshop. Only one function.
Mark Brown custom AR-15 Bolt Carrier carbon scraper
Pro – This did a great job cleaning the carrier recess. Cons – This is also a large tool and best suited for the workshop. Only one function.
Conclusion: Size matters. All the tools did a good job knocking the excess carbon from the bolts and carriers. Used in the field I have no doubts that all of them would keep your AR’s running strong. Special thanks to Brownells for an outragous amount of support for this article.
About the author Rick Ross is a NRA Life member, GSSF and IDPA competitor and AR enthusiast. He is not a Rapper.
Editors note: Rick Ross is an independent reviewer and contributor for American Shooting Journal and at times, a known goof ball.
[su_heading size=”30″]Kit From Echo-Sigma Provides Wealth Of Emergency Options In Midsized Nylon Bag[/su_heading]
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RICK ROSS
[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]A[/su_dropcap]lthough I don’t consider myself a prepper, I do like to be prepared, so it may simply be an issue of semantics. Many of us, perhaps you included, have spent a boatload of time and money on building our own disaster bags, but there are also many premade bags on the market. Some are very cheap and wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the real world, but Echo-Sigma bags are at the other end of the spectrum. Their GHB, or Get Home Bag (reviewed here), is a medium-sized bug-out bag. This well-crafted kit seems perfect for one to three days’ duration, or simply to get you out of a sticky situation and safely home, hence the name.
As I unpacked the bag, I was immediately impressed and wished I had found it years ago. It is stored in a nice nylon sack, which should work great to keep it out of sight. No one needs to know that you have something hidden away for an emergency. The pack is midsized, but has plenty of room to add personal items and additional supplies if you wish. Pockets and compartments abound on this bag, all with heavy-duty zippers or elastic tops to help keep things organized.
Another great thing about this bag is that it comes loaded and ready to go. All the items – and they are plentiful– are neatly stowed and organized. No bulky packaging here.
Dozens of useful items are neatly stowed and organized in a medium nylon bag, available in red, black and coyote brown.
THE BASIC KIT INCLUDES:
1 compact backpack
1 2.5-liter hydration system by Condor Outdoor
1 Echo-Sigma 1-3 Day Provision Pack (arid, with a ﬁve-year storage life in a warmer environment)
1 Echo-Sigma Compact Survival Kit that includes:
1 emergency whistle
1 emergency blanket by Coghlan’s
1 BIC-brand butane disposable lighter
1 magnesium ﬁre starter with ﬂint striker
40 waterproof matches by Coghlan’s
1 Live Fire Sport Emergency Fire Starter
50 inches of duct tape
1 bottle of water puriﬁcation tablets by Coghlan’s
2 chemical light sticks by Coghlan’s
2 BIC-brand ballpoint pens
1 pad of paper
1 set of earplugs
1 Echo-Sigma Compact First Aid Kit with:
1 4-inch scissor
1 3-inch tweezer
1 ﬁrst aid card
20 plastic bandages
12 alcohol swabs
10 wet wipes
10 antiseptic swabs
3 sting relief swabs
4 pain relief tablets
2 3-inch by 3-inch sterile gauze pads
1 2-inch by 5-yard gauze roll
1 5-inch by 9-inch sterile abdominal dressing
1 0.5-inch by 2.5-yard roll of tape
Access to 14 exclusive online training videos
1 SOG Reactor multitool
1 waterproof LED ﬂashlight by Fenix (187 lumen)
50 feet of military-grade 550 paracord
10 extra large zip ties
1 Coghlan’s Emergency Tube Tent
1 emergency poncho
1 plexiglass mirror for signaling help
1 Cocoon thermal sleeping bag by Survival Industries
6 premium AA alkaline batteries (guaranteed fresh for seven years)
1 pair leather work gloves
2 N95-rated respirator masks
1 pair of protective goggles
2 hand warmers by Coghlan’s
In addition to the great stuff, inside, the Get Home Bag features a 2.5-liter hydration system by Condor Outdoor.
But this bag is not simply a “one size fits all” solution. You’ll find a wealth of customizable options based on your personal needs and preferences on the company website.
First among these are three bag color choices: red, black and coyote brown. Want a more powerful flashlight? No problem, as even a headlamp is an option. Would you like more food? Add an MRE to boost calorie count and time in flight.
How about a different multi-tool? Four are offered at different price points.
Further website research reveals the availability of knives, axes, a folding shovel (entrenching tool) and more goodies, including a multi-powered radio.
LifeStraw and other water-purification items are available as well, and did I mention the Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration System with inline filter? There, I did. The instructions for each item in the bag are also included in a small waterproof pouch. After all, depending on the scenario, you might just need something to read.
But wait, there is still more! Want to step it up another notch? Echo-Sigma offers a SOG special edition Get Home Bag loaded with lots of gear.
Feel as if you don’t need all the items listed above? Opt for the Runner bag, a slimmed-down bag geared for lighter weight and faster travel, although it is also available with plenty of options and upgrades.
Desire something even larger? They have many fullsized bug-out bags with plenty of options and upgrades, plus a monstrous Emergency Roll Away for Two (ER2) kit that is packed with two bug-out bags and more gear. (Quick pause to drool – I do want one of these.)
What if you are already working on your own bag and just need a few more elements? No sweat. EchoSigma can provide a wide variety of pieces and parts to top off your kit, including food and water, trauma kits, compact survival kit, knives, tools – you name it. I ordered an Echo-Sigma Provision Pack to supplement my own ever-changing pack, an addition that will provide three to 10 days of food and water, depending on my activity.
The Get Home Bag from Echo-Sigma will help you do exactly what the name says.
This great company offers several other products, and among those are three I would consider “special” bags. First, a Range bag that includes magazine pouches, a first aid kit and a trauma kit (which I review elsewhere in this issue), and two Active Shooter Response System bags of different sizes. These are designed in conjunction with federal law enforcement officers to help keep them supplied in that type of situation.
All Echo-Sigma offerings are very well thought out, packed in heavy-duty packs and bags, correctly stowed and ready to use, so kudos to this fine company for doing much of the hard work for us.
To start your research, or to continue planning and building a personalized kit for yourself or a loved one, visit echo-sigma.com. ASJ