Rifle cleaning at OCS is surprisingly more enjoyable than you would expect. The drill instructors, for the most part, will leave you alone. Candidates do sometimes get more comfortable than they should. The instructors will catch on to this quickly and make sure you still know where you are at. As long as everyone keeps their mouth shut and is actively cleaning their rifles things will become quite pleasant, if only for a brief moment. Rifle cleaning is going to occur several times a day once you start doing events like the endurance course, combat course, and anything else that requires candidates to dive into mud and swim through the swamps. After events like these rifles are going to be covered in mud, filled with sand, and in need of a good coat of CLP. Here are two tools that a MECEP from my NROTC unit recommended I bring to make life easier. Not to boast, but I was one of two candidates to get a perfect score on my rifle during the Platoon Commanders inspection. These two items were practically getting passed around the entire platoon after that.
Update: Pete, from the comments, informed me these are being banned from OCS. Another rule to make life more difficult as a candidate. I still suggest having one for TBS and the fleet!
There were probably about 5-10 people in my platoon who brought this item. It is seriously going to save you when it comes to rifle cleaning. The standard cleaning kit includes a bunch of small rods that you have to screw together. After that you have to use these tiny little cloths and shove them down the barrel to wipe it clean. 100 times later you end up with a decently clean barrel. With the BoreSnake, you feed the string through the barrel, add a bit of oil to the wire brushes, pull the string from the other side, repeat, and you are all done. The barrel is going to be emaculate after just 2 runs with the BoreSnake. We had these things getting passed around the entire platoon. By the time OCS ended just about every candidate who didn’t have one bought one during liberty. I wouldn’t be surprised if OCS banned these things one day simply because they make cleaning so much easier.
You are going to want a BoreSnake designed for the .223 caliber M16. The Hoppe’s 24011 BoreSnake Rifle Bore Cleaner, M-16, .22 – .223 Caliber is the one I bought.
The first time using a new BoreSnake is going to be a bit scary because it takes a lot of pull to get the snake through the barrel. OCS paranoia makes you think the lace will break off leaving half the thing in the barrel. Don’t worry it just takes a few runs to break it in.
Large Cleaning Brush
I would say this is the hidden gem when it comes to rifle cleaning. No one in my platoon had one of these. The standard toothbrush like wire brush works great for the most part. You are able to get into the small areas and really dig out the dirt. However, a large brush will allow you to more quickly cover parts of the rifle that don’t need heavy cleansing. You can drop a bit of CLP on this thing and coat the entire rifle in seconds. More importantly, the small brush has short hairs which makes it difficult to get into deep crevices. A larger brush can reach some areas the issued one can’t. As a quick tip, use the large brush to stab out chucks of dirt where necessary.
You can find a good brush online, or maybe in an arts and craft store. I used a brush very similar to this one Forney 70508 Parts Cleaning Brush, Carbon Steel with Plastic Handle, 10-1/2-Inch
Both of these tools are going to be useful beyond just Officer Candidates School. A small investment now is going to save time and headaches later. If you do find yourself being the only candidate with these items, make sure you help out the platoon. Candidates who only looks out for themselves will be hated and it will get reflected in peer evaluations.