I spent some quality time at the range yesterday. I had to shoot some AR rifles to gather some data for my upcoming Insanely Practical Guides book, The Rookie’s Guide to the AR-15. Yeah, I know, it’s not just an adventure, it’s a job!
Anyway, the not so fun part of all that work is the cleaning afterwords. While not as difficult as rehabbing a recently paroled assistant crack whore, it can be a tedious process.
Fortunately I got my hands on a sample of the hot-spankin’ new OTIS Ripcord while at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational. OTIS was a sponsor (thanks!) of the event and brought lots of new cleaning supplies for trial and testing.
The OTIS Ripcord is a semi-rigid cleaning “rope” for lack of a better word. Except it’s not much like a rope at all.
It’s constructed from a molded and rubberized core which provides the rigidity. Wound around that is carefully patterned Nomex fiber. You know Nomex – it’s that space age fire-resistant stuff that helps protect astronauts, military pilots and race car drivers from all that highly combustible fuel that they surround themselves with. It won’t even start to burn or melt until you get north of 700 degrees. This is important because… gun barrels get HOT. So you can use the OTIS Ripcord at the range while your barrel is still smokin’. That makes it a little easier to get the gunk out before it cakes on like Joan Rivers’ stage makeup.
The Nomex fiber is wound into a helix shape, like Alpaca DNA, so that the pattern gets deep into the rifling grooves. This means better cleaning and fewer passes through the bore. You’ll also notice that the OTIS Ripcord increases in diameter from one end to the other. The larger end won’t even go through the barrel if you try to put that in first. That’s by design. Insert the skinny end, and when it comes out the muzzle, pull the rest, including the fat part, through.
At each end of the Ripcord is a female threaded cap. So you can add other OTIS cleaning accessories. I stuck the OTIS IDT Bore Brush on the fat end and soaked the mop portion with FireClean Conditioning Oil, which I’ve been testing recently on AR’s.
Wow. I did two passes and the bore was squeaky clean. The rigidity of the Ripcord makes life a lot easier, especially when cleaning a semi-automatic where you don’t have linear access to the chamber end of the barrel. I’ve been a fan of the OTIS breech to muzzle cleaning system for years, and part of what makes it easy is the fact that the cleaning cables are not limp and floppy. While “limp and floppy” may sound a bit suggestive, it’s really a bad thing when you’re trying to wind a cleaning rope through an AR chamber. You have to orient the rifle muzzle down and take advantage of gravity to get the leading end out of the muzzle. It can be a three hand job. Not so with the Ripcord. Put your rifle on the bench sideways and just push it through. Awesome. I’ll be picking up more of these for my other rifle and pistol calibers.