I have what appears to be weird and convoluted set of rules which work for me at the moment. Is there a way of "exporting" those and saving them to a file so that they can be restored later on in case things are messed up?
With suitable privilege
will save your iptables configuration to /some/file
will restore your saved configuration from /some/file
This should do the trick. It writes your rules to /etc/sysconfig/iptables; if you (re)start iptables after you do this, your rules should be there :)
/sbin/service iptables save
Don't you have
iptables-restore commands ?