I just received a heads up about a new product on the market from long time reader Greg. (Thanks, Greg!) It appears to be a shotgun shell loaded with cotton wadding and, perhaps, a solid disk of wax. Load a shell, fire it in your shotgun, and the bore inside the barrel is buffed nice and clean.
The product is offered by a company named Huntego, which you might have guessed by the picture above. These shells were reviewed by The Firearm Blog back in 2017, and they certainly seem to think they work. Of course, there is no reason why they shouldn’t.
The idea of using a projectile to clean the bore of a firearm is certainly nothing new. It was a subject of some interest back when black powder was being used as a propellant.
See all that white smoke? That is propellant residue, and it coats any gun that uses black powder with every shot fired. If one is using traditional black powder, it doesn’t take too many bangs before the inside of the barrel starts to get heavily encrusted. This shrinks the bore size, making it difficult to ram a bullet down the muzzle.
There are a variety of solutions to this problem. One of them was a new type of bullet invented by a guy named Williams that was supposed to scrape the bore clean.
Known as the Williams cleaner bullet, the design was a standard bullet made of lead with a zinc disk on the bottom. The bullet would act as a standard projectile, while the disk would do the scraping.
I linked to the source of the picture, but I want to do it again. The author is a relic hunter interested in the American Civil War, and he does a great job discussing the design, history, and use of the bullet.
One thing he mentions is that he has found a great many of these bullets at Union army camps. They seem to have been discarded en mass by the troops when the soldiers had the chance, which is a very strong indictment of their utility as a standard round. It seems that this bullet design also didn’t do a very good job as a bore cleaner, either. At least the modern shotgun cleaner shells seem to work as advertised.
What do I use? A bore snake, which is a thick cord with an imbedded copper brush.
Works just fine, and is reusable. But it probably isn’t as much fun as the cleaner shells.