SADF Experimental R4 Cleaning Roll

Today we are looking at an incredibly rare piece of South African Defence Force equipment, an experimental vinyl R4 cleaning roll. The R4 was the SADF’s new 5.56mm rifle, introduced in 1980 and replaced the earlier FAL. There was a cotton webbing cleaning roll that was compatible with the 70 pattern web set, and in the early to mid 1980s an experimental vinyl cleaning roll was trialled:

The roll is secured with two plack metal press studs:

Two metal clips on the rear are used to carry the cleaning roll on the soldier’s belt:

The cleaning roll is opened out, then the top flap opened to access the tools within:

The top flap is secured with velcro in each corner:

The roll itself has a range of pockets to carry different tools, sadly all I have is the chamber cleaning brush and the oil bottle:

Originally the roll would have carried:

  1. Barrel brushes
  2. Exhaust port scraper
  3. Chamber cleaning brush
  4. Cleaning rod assembly
  5. Gas piston guide tube brush
  6. Oil bottle
  7. Pull through
  8. Cartridge case extractor
  9. Gas hole scraper
  10. Combination tool
  11. Nylon cleaning brush
  12. Jag

Having spoken to a collector in South Africa, these cleaning kits were only used in limited trials and this is one of just four he is aware of still existing. The next step is to find the correct tools to help fill out the cleaning kit, but it is always nice to have a rarity in the collection!

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