July 2000:

We love surplus.  Let's say that again.  We love surplus.  While it's true that military  surplus often means obscure items that have no use outside the narrow military purpose for which they were designed (we're still trying to find a use for a rubberized canvas periscope cove from a BTR-60), once in a while you come across a real gem.  The Swiss cleaning kits for the StG57 rifle that are currently on the US market are an example of one such gem. Swiss StG57 Cleaning Kit
The StG57 7.5x55mm select fire rifle served the Swiss Army for over thirty years.  When it was finally declared surplus, the Swiss sold off the stocks of support equipment, to include the cleaning kit rolls.  The kits are now available from a number of suppliers, to include Cheaper Than Dirt, and Centerfire Systems (1-800-950-1231) for prices somewhere between $5.00 and $7.00.

What do you get for your five bucks?  Each kit comes in an olive drab waterproof rubberized canvas roll bound by olive drab cotton duck ties.  The roll is about eight inches in height and about two and a half inches wide.  When unrolled it forms a neat kit about eight inches by ten inches.  Held within sewn loops on the canvas are the components of the kit:

 All of this is made to a considerably higher standard than any commercial firearms cleaning equipment we have ever used.  Now this is surplus, so there are some concessions you have to make - namely that this was made for an approximately .30 caliber rifle, so those who want to use it for your AR-15's and Swedish Mausers are out of luck.  On the other hand, these kits are perfect for Mosin-Nagants, Enfields, 7.92mm Mausers, Springfields, Krags, Garands, M14's, FAL's, and a host of other .30 caliber rifles.  The chamber brushes, when coupled with just one rod section, are just about perfect for cleaning .45 caliber pistol barrels.

We gave a cleaning kit to one of our field testers, and this is what he had to say:

The 7.5mm brushes when you first get them are very tight in a .30 cal bore and some of them can easily handle .303 and even 8mm bores.  They are the absolute best bore brushes you can get anywhere.

The chamber brush is just about .45 caliber, if you do not mind forcing and pressing, you can use it in .38 revolver cylinders (it does an absolutely amazing job on Webley/Enfield cylinders, try it on yours).  I do not really use the chamber cleaning too, though it *could* be  used (along with a cleaning rod section) to hone a chamber by using steel wool, emery cloth, or incredibly fine sandpaper in there and attaching the whole thing to a drill bit--no, I have not tried this.

I have used the grease that comes with the kit, it is very serviceable.  I have not tried the nylon brushes.  The bore mirror is a really neat way to inspect your bore if you don't have a bore light handy.  A bore light is still better though.

I found the best way to get the most of the Swiss Cleaning kit is to purchase two of them.  That will give the user enough rod segments to clean a Mosin-Nagant 91 from the breech end.  The taper of the brass junctions lowers the risk of using the rods from the muzzle end but it's still not a good idea.

 You want value and bang for the buck?  You want quality? You want surplus that you're actually going to use?  You want cheap? This is it!!!  Our recommendation?  Buy two! Buy three!  For information on purchasing the Swiss cleaning kits, please contact Cheaper Than Dirt or Centerfire Systems (1-800-950-1231)

or email CRUFFLER.COM.

And now, our Buy-O-Meter rating for this product:


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