If the dowel splinters or shatters...it makes no difference. If you can’t dump out the pieces, you can simply keep hammering new chunks in. The splinters will compress just fine, they won’t hurt the barrel, and the bullet will still come out.I guess everyone has their way of doing things.
The couple of gunsmiths I know, who have done it for a living for quite a few decades, said thats about the worst thing to use, and if the dowel splinters/shatters, it will more likely make things worse.
The few times Ive needed it, brass has always worked well for me.
Those $10-$30 brass rods will work.
So will my $2 dowel. I’ve only done it a couple of times (never on my own gun) but I’ve never had a dowel splinter.
And I can carry 24” of dowel pieces in a range bag that’s only 12” long.