Anyone who has used Soviet surplus 5.45x39mm ammunition knows that it is dirty, nasty and corrosive. I happen to shoot thousands of rounds of the stuff. In fact, I’ve shot so much through my Spike’s 5.45 upper that the bolt carrier locked closed.

It was gummed up beyond belief, stuck closed. I could not pull the charging handle back, even when I braced the muzzle on the ground, gripped the handguard with my knees and pulled up on the charging handle with both hands.

So I stuck a big flathead screwdriver into the bolt carrier group and pried the bolt carrier open. I then proceeded to shoot a decent group at 300 yards. Impressive? I think so. Unfortunately, you really do need to clean your guns, once in a while. It’s a chore, but a necessary one. When I clean my AR-15, I use Simple Green and the Kley Zion Carbon Removal Super Tool.

You Use Cleaner and a What?

The name Kley Zion is not going to ring a bell with most people, even in the AR-15 community. However, you may have heard of Botach Tactical, a company based out of Florida. I am not going to go into the customer service or stocking issues that some have had with Botach. This is simply a review of gear. Kley Zion, or KZ, is a line of products offered by Botach. They are generally inexpensive versions of other products. Sometimes, Botach will claim a product to be produced in the KZ line when it is not. Such is the case with the AR-15 cleaning kit, they sell. It’s identical to the UTG one, but they sell it under the KZ name.

Super Tool

The Carbon Removal Super Tool is, however, simply fantastic. It functions like other carbon scrapers, with the flat end removing buildup from inside your bolt carrier. The real wonder is the corkscrew shaped apparatus at the other end. To clean the tail of the bolt, you insert it and simply turn. The aggressive shape of the Super Tool scrapes off any nasty gunk that’s built up. The only drawback to this design is that it can be a bit tough on the hands when gripping the corkscrew portion while cleaning the inside of the bolt carrier.

Simple Green Simply Works

In an effort to give credit where credit is due, I must say that it never occurred to me to use Simple Green as a cleaning agent for my firearms until I contacted Mike Pannone of CTT Solutions. Pannone is a tremendous resource for tactical training, technical consulting and all things AR-15.The man has more knowledge in his trigger finger than most men have in their entire bodies. But I digress; on to Simple Green.

It’s an all-purpose cleaner, so why not use it on guns, right? Formulated as a de-greaser, Simple Green works remarkably well at removing carbon and corrosive salts deposited in the barrel of a weapon. It is almost remarkable in its ability to break up caked-on carbon from the bolt carrier group. As part of my cleaning regimn, I remove the BCG and place it in a thin jar full of Simple Green. After a few minutes of soaking I remove it and work the bolt back and forward to help the cleaning agent reach all areas. I then soak it for a bit more before proceeding with disassembly and cleaning using the KZ Carbon Removal Super Tool.

An important fact to keep in mind when using Simple Green (or even glass cleaner containing ammonia) is that the solution is water-based. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using water to clean your firearms. I routinely pour a pint of boiling water down the barrel of my AR-15 as the first step in cleaning it. The danger with using any water-based agent comes from the reaction that moisture has with corrosive salts from surplus ammunition, and from the reaction that it has with the steel of your barrel.

The key is to dry your barrel out completely after scrubbing it down with Simple Green. If Mother Nature is cooperative, I recommend placing your upper receiver on blacktop in direct sunlight. This works especially well on a hot day.

If the weather is overcast, you can always use compressed air to blast the large droplets out. Then grab your wife’s hair dryer (or your own hair dryer – to my female readers) and go to work. Author’s note: your wife’s pink hairdryer is in no way less effective than a more manly looking one. Just don’t let the boys see you using it.

When you have baked all the moisture out of the barrel, simply apply a thin coating of either RemOil or CLP. I find that the most important part of cleaning is lubrication. I usually run my AR-15 until it was absolutely filthy. I just made sure it is well lubricated and it keeps chugging along.

But in those rare times that I get past my innate laziness, I break out the KZ Carbon tool and the Simple Green.


By Allen Cosby

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53GR is an avid shooter, hiker and tinkerer. Introduced to guns at an early age, the hobby became a passion in his early twenties. After two years in Iraq as a contractor for a defense company, he developed an unhealthy addiction to military surplus gear. Though he's currently in treatment, the prognosis is that the condition is chronic.

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