When I first got into shooting, I didn’t even know what a cleaning rod guide was, much less one as fancy as the JP bore guide. My friends and I just cleaned rifles as expediently as possible and called it a day. When I got my stainless-barreled M1A, the internet told me that I needed a bore guide, since I had to clean from muzzle to chamber. So I picked one up and went about my merry way.
I stopped using the M1A’s guide once I picked up an OTIS pull-through kit. However, the more I shot the more I realized the pull-through kits are a field expedient solution and have their own risks. I’ve broken a couple of cheap swap heads off inside the bore, and those were a bear to remove.
A bore guide, if you aren’t familiar, keeps a cleaning rod aligned with the center of the barrel’s bore. This prevents damage to the barrel from errant dings and scratches you might cause over time. It was very important on the M1A since the risk of damaging the barrel’s crown was significant. If you clean from the chamber to the muzzle, as with an AR-15 or bolt action rifle, the risk goes down a bit but still exists.
Pushing a rod from the chamber end still has risks to the feed ramps, chamber, and the start of the rifling. I picked up the JP Bore Guide for my AR-15s in 2014, and it’s just been a fantastic tool ever since.
JP Bore Guide Dimensions and Appearance
The JP Bore guide is 10 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter, weighing in at 8.9 ounces. The machining is extremely smooth, with no signs of tool marks or anything of the sort. JP machined grooves for o-rings along the body to ensure a tight fit inside the receiver. They included three with the package.
You’ll notice a distinctive “step down” as it approaches the muzzle end of the guide. This portion inserts into the chamber and protects it.
You’ll also see a hole in the side. This is for drainage of any cleaning chemicals that end up flowing back through the bore guide. This helps prevent slop from getting on any expensive optics.
JP makes these cleaning rod guides in both .308 and .223 dimensions. The .308 models are anodized blue, while the .223 models are red.
How it Works
Using the JP Bore Guide is pretty straight forward. Simply hinge open, or remove, the upper receiver and take out the bolt carrier group. Insert the cleaning rod guide in its place. You’ll feel it almost “snap” in once it’s far enough.
Rotate the guide until the drain hole faces out of the ejection port.
Once in position, you’re ready to start cleaning.
Insert the cleaning rod from the rear and push it through as you normally would. The guide keeps the cleaning rod perfectly centered in the bore so you don’t risk marring, chipping, or otherwise damaging the muzzle crown.
This process gets more important under two conditions: when you’re using a precision barrel made from stainless steel, and if you’re using a bare metal segmented cleaning rod.
I typically clean my rifles with Tipton carbon fiber rods, which are one piece and fairly flexible. But those are not terribly practical in the field. I prefer the pull-through kits for field work, but they are useless if you have a bore obstruction and need to push it out. For those circumstances, you’re still going to need a segmented rod. I linked to some good options in the blue box above.
For these segmented rods, with each piece screwing into the next, you run the risk of the joints wearing at the feed ramps and chamber. This is where the JP bore guide really shines through.
The Bottom Line: Do You Need This?
All in all, probably not.
As helpful as I think this device is, it’s definitely geared more towards precision rifles than your run-of-the-mill AR-15. The JP bore guide does its job very well if you really want a cleaning rod guide, but most folks will do fine with one of the other cleaning kits I linked do.
As long as you take your time and have some patience, that is. Haste makes waste and all that.
Those aren’t really very expensive. I’ll probably pick one up for my new match barrel. I’d hate to ruin such a nice barrel because I was too cheap to spend $35!
Congrats on winning that Faxon! That was awesome to see. I hope you had a good time at the event.
I do think the bore guide is a handy tool to have around if you think you’d use it, and JP’s version is very nice. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a necessity for most people.