Solvent-Resistant Cleaning Jags
Brass jags perform well for their intended purpose — with one hitch. Strong copper solvents can actually leech metal from the jag itself, leaving the tell-tale blue tint on your patches. This “false positive” can be frustrating, and may lead shooters to over-clean their barrels.
There are now some good alternatives to brass jags. The best may be the Gunslick® Nylon Snap-Lock™ jags shown at right. These polymer nylon jags never leave a “false positive” and snap on and off quickly. Larry Bartholome, past USA F-Class Team Captain says: “The best spear-type jags I have used are the GunSlick black nylon tips. I have used the model 92400 for the last couple years in my 6BR and 6.5-284s. Unlike the white plastic jags, these are strong and there’s no brass to worry about.” Right now, OpticsPlanet.com has the GunSlick Nylon Jags on sale for just $0.95. At that price, they’re definitely worth a try.
#92400 for 22 through 270 calibers: $0.95
#92421 for 30 through 375/8mm calibers: $0.95
#92423 for 38 through 38/9mm calibers: $0.95
If you prefer a metal jag, MidwayUSA sells Tipton Nickel-coated jags, both individually and as a boxed set. The vast majority of user reviews have been very positive. A few guys have complained that the nickel-plated Tipton jags run oversize, but we use a .22-caliber jag in our 6mms anyway, so this hasn’t been a problem for us. The 22-caliber nickel-plated jag (item 996840) costs $4.79. The complete 12-jag set (item 812503), covering .17 to .45 calibers, costs $24.49 including a fitted box, shown below.
K&M Stainless Jags
K&M Tools offers stainless spire-point jags in .22, .243, and .308 calibers. These are well-made and won’t produce false positives. However, with stainless jags, you need to always keep the jag covered with a patch when inside the barrel. Otherwise you can rub steel against steel — not good. The downside of stainless is the potential for barrel scratching. On the other hand, according to Forum member Dans40x: “300 series stainless steel jags last a few lifetimes”.
Clear-Coating Your Brass Jags
If you’re reluctant to give up your collection of brass jags (after all they’ve worked pretty well so far), try covering the jag itself with a thin, transparent coating. Forum Member BillPA says: “I give the brass jags a coat of clear lacquer or acrylic; that works for me”. You may need to experiment to find a coating that stands up to your favorite solvent. BillPA says: “The only solvent I’ve found that eats the lacquer off is TM Solution. Butch’s, Shooter’s Choice, or Wipe-Out don’t seem to bother it. Most of the time I use rattle-can clear lacquer”. If you’re feeling creative, you could even color-code your jags by adding tints to the clear-coat.