As a Marine, competitor, instructor, and firearms enthusiast, I seek to learn as much as I can about my passion for shooting. At many points along my journey, I’ve come across some useful tools for cleaning and maintenance as well as some pure gimmicks. In this article, I will review what I believe to be a very impressive, effective, and inexpensive tool to clean and maintain the AR-15. It is the AR-15 Scraper Tool manufactured by Real Avid. Trust me, it is not a gimmick. It is $19.99 very well spent.
Throughout my 20 years in the Marine Corps, in competitions, and for recreation, I’ve been shooting variations of the AR-15 from standard service models through accurized competition models. I will gladly tell you how much I enjoy shooting this platform. It is lightweight with fast target acquisition and very low recoil for rapid follow-up shots. I’ve also found it to be extremely reliable as long as you take the time to maintain it. However, in spite of all the AR-15′s merits…… I HATE CLEANING IT!!!!
For those who know me, that last statement seems out of place. My friends, colleagues, and clients know that I am VERY serious about weapons cleaning and preventative maintenance. So let me be more specific, I DETEST CLEANING THE AR-15 BOLT AND BOLT CARRIER GROUP! The time I typically spend scraping carbon build-up from the bolt tail shoulder, the inside of the bolt carrier, and the inside of the bolt carrier key surpass the time spent cleaning the remainder of the firearm!
A New Tool for a Dirty Job
So, when I stumbled across an advertisement for the AR-15 Scraper Tool in an issue of Guns & Ammo magazine, I noticed the simplicity of the design, its utility on the work bench or in the range bag, and its price. Real Avid’s web site (click here) describes the AR-15 Scraper as follows: “A faster, easier way to clean the bolt carrier group. The AR 15 Scraper removes heavy, baked-on fouling from 12 critical bolt carrier group surfaces faster and easier than brushes and solvent alone. It speed-cleans all 4 major parts of the bolt carrier group: the bolt, firing pin, bolt carrier and bolt cam pin. The swivel protects your hand from the double-ended scraping edges.” Furthermore, the tool is designed to clean critical surface areas on the bolt and bolt carrier: inside the boat tail; the bolt tail shoulder; the bolt waist; behind the cartridge extractor; the small diameter of the firing pin; the large diameter of the firing pin; the bolt face; the bolt tail; the bolt lugs; the bolt cam pin; and the inside surfaces of the bolt carrier.
For just less than $20.00, I thought I would give it a try!
Putting the AR-15 Scraper Tool to the Test
After shooting just over 500 hot hand-loads in my AR-15 in .223 Wylde, I put the AR-15 Scraper Tool to the Test. Here are some of the “before” photos of a filthy bolt and bolt carrier group caked with carbon.
While I have a lot of experience shooting a wide variety of firearms, I’ll admit that my camera skills could use a lot of improvement. Bear with me… you get the idea on how to use the scraper in the following photos. However, if my photography skills leave too much to be desired, click (here) for a link to Real Avid’s instructional video.
I’ve got to tell you… this is one of the few tools that truly lives up to the hype! The AR-15 Scraper Tool is a simple plan executed well. It did, indeed, make cleaning the bolt and bolt carrier group much easier and saved considerable time. This tool and its unique facets made light work of scraping the bolt tail shoulder and provided access to the “hard to get” spots inside of the bolt carrier and bolt carrier key. Whereas I used to spend considerable time cleaning these areas, I now spend only a fraction of the time removing carbon. I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves. Note the immaculate interior of the bolt carrier!
Confessions of a Convert
I believe that you’ll agree that the results are impressive. I have to admit, this tool has turned me into a bit of a convert: I NO LONGER HATE CLEANING MY AR-15!!!! Since I have spent considerable time and money trying and testing some products that don’t live up to the advertising, I’m proud to be able to objectively share this information with you and recommend the AR-15 Scraper Tool as a product that works. It may not be the perfect tool for your work bench or range bag, but hopefully this article can help you narrow down the options, avoid over-hyped junk, and find the tool you are looking for.
If you have any success stories or horror stories with consumer products that you would like to share, send me a note at Hall@aegisacademy.com.
Stay safe and shoot straight!
Howard Hall – Range Master
Disclaimer: This article is an objective consumer evaluation. I have written it as a pure consumer. I have no connection with Real Avid, its owners, or its employees. I have not been compensated in any way by Real Avid and paid full-price for the product evaluated.
Howard has served for nearly 20 years in the Marine Corps. He has served as a Platoon Commander, Company Commander, Battalion Executive Officer, Regimental Operations Officer, and Battalion Commander. He has multiple combat tours to include serving as a military transition team member in Fallujah. He is an NRA Certified handgun instructor and holds numerous Marine Corps training credentials. An active competitor in action pistol (United States Practical Shooting Association), long range rifle (NRA F-Class), and shotgun (Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association), howard has earned numerous accolades and medaled during DoD competitions with the 1911 platform in bulls-eye shooting.