Coat hanger won't work unless you find one small (diameter) enough.
I've used the steel welding rods with good success, you just have to bust the coating off of it with a hammer. It comes off really easy. Also if you head over to your local hobby shop. They should have thin rods in SS, AL, and Brass. I've pretty much replaced all my rods with brass ones. The shop by mehave 3/16 rods that work perfectly. They're a hair smaller then what the stock rod is but works just as good and brass won't mess up your bolt like the steel ones do.
The stock rod is 5 1/4" long so I'd say about another inch and 1/4 would do it.