Whether you’re looking for something to clean your hunting rifle or your trail carry piece out in the field, you’ll probably want to take a look at the new offering from Otis Technology. Their new HardCore Hunter cleaning system is designed to help maintain just about every type and caliber of firearm on the go. Check out our take on this new system and see if it might be right for your needs!
My tastes, in a very general sense, lean towards ‘the basics’. I like simple things because there’s just less to go wrong. And, often, there’s less to weigh me down. Certain things in life just necessitate a bit of complexity however, like a good tool kit for your vehicle or a file cabinet for taxes and bills. In my hobbies, at least, I’ve been able to avoid this pitfall. My bush gear is pretty straightforward and minimalistic. My book collection stays pretty thin as often as possible. My shooting bag stays largely uncluttered. I’ve of course got the ubiquitous half-empty Hoppe’s #9 bottles laying around, a few loose shells, a spotting scope, targets, and a cheap ‘wally-world special’ gun cleaning kit. If you’re reading this, I’d say you know which one I mean! It’s got the cheap plastic attachments/accessories and a couple of brass brushes, and a brass cleaning rod that screws together. But hey, it gets the job done if you’re willing to haul it around. I’d actually not given this portion of my shooting gear much thought until I got a chance to play with the Otis Hardcore Hunter Cleaning System. And make no mistake; this is most definitely a system!
Deceptively compact, this entire kit fits neatly inside a fist-sized, Mossy-Oak pouch (complete with belt loop, I might add). The all-but-silent zipper surrounds three-fourths of the circumference, and is protected from the elements by matte nylon flaps. When unzipped, it exposes quite an array of accessories, spread out across two back panels and a central panel that folds to either side. Each panel is made of a foam-rubber, with inserts for each tool (and a couple of small mesh pockets at the backs). So let’s sum up the total contents: micro-fiber lens cloth, wire cleaning ‘rod’s (x3), fiber optics tube, cleaning solvent, brass bore brushes from .22 to 12ga, and various adaptors, and cleaning patches. Whew! That’s a whole lot in a teensy package. The quality of both the contents and package is certainly the highest of any kit I’ve used and I’d not hesitate to use it on even my most valuable or treasured firearm. As noted, the Otis system uses a plastic-coated steel wire with dual male screw tips in lieu of the more common ‘some assembly required’ rods.
If you’re like me, you’ll cringe a bit when you hear the words ‘steel’ and ‘bore’ in the same sentence! No one wants to risk a nicked crown or scratched bore, whether it’s a beater Mosin Nagant for the truck or their sub-MOA squirrel gun. But after use, I’m quite confident in the coating/exterior that these wires have: it’s substantially thick and has not shown any signs of wear or thinning after several cleaning sessions. A design feature that I consider key is the dual screw tips, as mentioned. This means you can have a different cleaning attachment put at either end of the wire (e.g. both a bore brush and a patch holder). My general cycle when cleaning is to use a ‘wet’ (solvent soaked) patch through the bore, then a dry one, then a brush, then repeat. Afterwards I use dry patches until they come out looking clean or mostly clean, and then a patch with a light coat of oil. It’s a sound process, but there are numerous switches of the attachment to be made. With the Otis system, every one of those change-outs is already taken care of!
As luck would have it, I had a few dirty rifles left lying around from a trip to the range a few days prior. Most notably dirty was my little Savage MkII .22 bolt action, definitely one of my favorite long guns. It’d been a trip or two since its last cleaning, so I went ahead and pulled it out of the safe. I also whipped out the Otis kit, and went to work. The longest of the wires did a great job in this small-bore, or at least with the cleaning patches. The wire brushes were a snug fit, as any new brush should be, and helped get some long-term grime out of my barrel. A pull technique is the proper way to use a wire cleaning system. The fiber-optic bore light did a great job lighting up my barrel for inspection, and the solvent might give my beloved Hoppe’s a run for its money. I always keep a pistol on me when hiking, so when I went for a daytrip my Springfield XD-9 came with me. When I came to a resting point I decided to go ahead and test the Otis ‘in the field’.
My XD wasn’t particularly filthy, but it’d seen a few boxes of Winchester white box at its last range trip and that’s not the cleanest of ammunition. Regardless, the Otis kit was a breeze to setup. With the foam inserts retaining all the attachments, I didn’t have to worry as much about losing any parts. And furthermore, the wire line setup meant I wasn’t fumbling with anything more than I had to. The bore light was even more effective this time around (it’s got a larger diameter than will fit in a .22 chamber). When it was all said and done, I had a clean gun and no missing cleaning kit pieces!
There are really only two things missing from this kit in my estimation, and both are pretty simple fixes. First, there’s not really anything to clean parts of the firearm other than the bore. It really excels at that job, but you really can’t get by ignoring the rest of your gun! A solution (for me) is just the addition of a toothbrush. It’s not as elegant as the rest of the kit for sure, but just snipping off the head of a toothbrush and stowing it in the pouch would work just fine. Second, the rag included is really a lens cleaner. Believe me, you’ll be tempted to wipe grime off your hands with it. Just keeping a spare cleaning cloth in the kit will solve the problem. Talk about being nitpicky, right? And both solutions cost roughly ten cents apiece.
I’ve been an active shooter since I was old enough to hold a gun, and this is most definitely the nicest cleaning kit I’ve ever had the pleasure of using! It’s just so easy to go pick up a ten dollar kit, and they will work fine most of the time. Obviously it’s gotten the job done for me for several years. But when you reach a time when you want something nicer, or something you know you can trust when on the rough trails, this is a perfect option. With the HardCore Hunter System, Otis has put out a kit that’s small, light, rugged, and even camouflaged! What more could one ask for?