As an avid shooter, I spend a lot of time cleaning and caring for my rifles. While it seems that everyone who’s ever taken a shot has an opinion on the best way to clean a rifle, when it comes to cleaning the barrel, the traditional rod and jag continue to be the tool of choice for most rifle shooters.
I’m no different than most shooters and have always preferred a good rod for the majority of my cleaning duties. Several years ago, however, after bending several .17 caliber rods, I decided to investigate the Otis Technology Breech-to-Muzzle Cleaning System.
Each Otis System kit consists of a nylon-coated aircraft grade cable with compression welded fittings called a Memory-Flex rod. Providing over 750 lbs. of pull strength, the Memory-Flex rod can be fitted with a number of included caliber specific slotted brass tips and brass brushes. Each kit comes with the patented all-caliber 100% cotton patches allowing the user to clean any bore size from .22 to .50 caliber. Also available is a .17 caliber Memory-Flex rod with a permanently attached slotted brass tip and small caliber patches.
The Otis cable is designed to be inserted into the chamber and pulled out the muzzle, allowing the patch to be tightly formed to the bore. According to Otis, each patch has up to 6 cleaning surfaces, although I think 6 passes may be pushing it depending on how much solvent you’re using.
Finally, each kit includes the Otis O85 Ultra Bore Solvent. O85 is designed as an “all-purpose” cleaner/solvent that penetrates, lubricates, and prevents rust.
After reviewing the different kits offered by Otis, and taking into consideration the wide range of calibers in my gun collection, I decided on the Tactical Cleaning System. This kit has all the necessary tools to clean rifles and handguns .17 to .50 caliber, shotguns 410 to 12/10 gauge, and all in-line muzzleloaders. Included in the kit are three Memory-Flex cleaning rods (small caliber, .22 – .50 caliber, and handgun), three forged slotted brass tips, two obstruction removers with a T-handle for added ease of pull, six brass brushes, all-caliber and small caliber patches, several shotgun barrel adapters, as well as a 0.5oz tube of O85 Ultra Bore Cleaner.
The entire kit is contained in a belt pack case made of ballistic nylon with heavy-duty zippers and includes an instructional DVD on how to use the system.
After two years of testing, the Otis System has found a permanent place in my cleaning kit. While I haven’t thrown out my one-piece rods, I have found several cleaning duties where the Otis shines.
First and foremost, the Otis flexible rod is now the only rod I will use to clean a lever action or auto rifle. Since these two action types require cleaning from the muzzle end with a traditional rod, the Memory-Flex cable of the Otis system allows cleaning from breech to muzzle, protecting the crown from accuracy-robbing dings and scratches.
The Otis System is also ideal for cleaning the delicate barrels of rimfire rifles. While I fall in the camp of minimal barrel cleaning for my .22 rifles, I do clean my .17 HMR diligently after each shooting session. The small caliber Memory-Flex rod allows running very tight patches through the .17 caliber bore without fear of bending a rod and damaging the rifling.
Finally, considering the compactness of the kit and the ease by which it can be carried, the Otis System is an excellent choice for a field cleaning kit.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with the Otis kit. The components are extremely well made and work as promised. While I continue to prefer a high quality one piece rod for my centerfire bolt action rifles, I think the Otis kit would serve most shooters well as a stand alone cleaning system.
If you own a lever action, rimfire, or have any need to clean a firearm in the field, the Otis system would be well worth the investment – even if you aren’t ready to throw out your one piece rod.
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