NEW! AR-15 Star Chamber Cleaners From Swab-its®!

by Gary Howes
Guns and Gunsmiths Editor

There is an old saying among some military and police members about the maintenance of AR-15/M4 and similar rifles—”Clean it like your life depends on it!” If you use your rifle to save lives, or to save your own, the last thing you ever need is for it to not operate correctly because you neglected to keep it clean.

On ARs and other guns that use a similar bolt to barrel lockup, the one area that is probably the most difficult to keep clean is the star chamber—that space between the bolt locking lugs and the chamber. If it is not kept clean, it could potentially prevent the bolt from fully locking up to the barrel extension.

There are bristle brushes and other tools available for cleaning this area, but they generally only loosen the crud and turn it into an oily slush, without actually removing it.

Our friends at Swab-its® have come to the rescue with a new product designed just for this task. Their Star Chamber Cleaning Foam Swabs™ are specifically designed to squeeze into the barrel extension forward of the locking lugs, loosen the grime and carbon, and remove it by using the absorption of the specially-shaped foam cleaning head.

Take a look at the shape of the foam pad on these. The long end fits smoothly into the chamber while the two “wings” easily pass through the lugs and expand into the area behind. Combined with the solvent or lubricant of your choice, this not only loosens the build-up, but also removes it in one quick and easy step. And when you are done, you can leave a clean swab in the chamber with the handle acting as an “empty chamber” indicator.

Easily clean your AR-15/M4 or similar rifle.

Use the swab as an empty-chamber indicator when you are on the range.

I tried it out on my IWI Tavor SAR (I don’t actually own an AR) which does have only 3 locking lugs instead of the AR’s 8, but still is prone to dirt and carbon in that area. I had shot and cleaned this rifle only a week earlier and thought it was clean, but I was amazed when I saw how much additional crud came out on the Swab-its cleaner.

And I thought my rifle was clean!

And, like their other products, all it took was a quick spritz of Simple Green and a rinse under the faucet, and the swab was ready for the next cleaning. Good job Swab-its!

A quick clean with some detergent and the swab is ready to use next time.

Don’t forget that Swab-its offers a 10% discount on ALL their products by visiting and using the offer code gunsandgunsmiths. There is no expiration date on this offer, so go back and order more whenever you like and still get your Guns and Gunsmiths reader’s discount!

4 Responses to NEW! AR-15 Star Chamber Cleaners From Swab-its®!

  1. Good article and points well taken. Really cool stuff to have!
    No little fuzzy Q-tip type debris left behind either (as Gary mentioned before in another Swab-its article).
    Thanks for the article!

  2. Ok I’m sold. The steel bristled chamber bush can churn up a soupy mess. This looks like a nice way of remedying that! Thanks for the tip, Gary.

  3. Nice looking device, may be better than star shaped felt pads which can also leave some lint. Nice that these are washable. The other Swab-its tips can not be used with most bore cleaners such as Hoppes, since the chemical melts the pad. I presume these need non-organic chemical solvents such as Simple Green or the water-based bore solvents like the other Swab-it’s products too.

    • I do remember that in 2014 when I first reviewed these products I had a similar issue with Hoppes. Swab-its was really great and investigated the problem. It turn out to be a faulty batch which they replaced.

      Today after I read your comment I went into my workshop and thoroughly soaked one of these new star chamber swabs in Hoppes No. 9 and let it sit for 15 minutes. There was absolutely no damage to the swab after that time. I washed the swab with Simple Green, dried it and inspected it carefully. It is as good as new.

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