Otis Hardcore Hunter Cleaning System Review

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It's not hard to round up a group of shooters to blast an afternoon away plinking. However given the same group, it can be expected that there will be few volunteers to spend any time cleaning up the firearms after the shooting and excitement is over. None-the-less, firearm cleaning is a critical part of firearm ownership and while boring, is necessary. The gun cleaning situation is compounded for hunters on the move; who wants to clean a gun after packing it around all day?

Otis Technology of Lyons Fall New York has spent a great deal of time thinking about and developing products for firearm cleaning. While most of Otis' products are focused on the military and law enforcement shooters, for 2011 they have introduced a new complete cleaning system specifically for hunters that Otis' has dubbed the "Hardcore Hunter."

The Hardcore Hunter is a complete kit that is based around a pull-through system that cleans the firearm from breech to muzzle. Breech to muzzle cleaning has gained traction over the years because it minimizes the chance of accidentally marring the crown of the muzzle and thus potentially reducing the accuracy of the firearm. The Hardcore Hunter includes three separate cables for cleaning, a longer rifle cable, a shorter pistol cable, and a long thin more flexible cable for 17 caliber rifles and semi-auto 22's. For very long barrels, the long rifle cable and pistol cables can be connected to make a very long single cable for barrels longer than 30". Each cable is made of strong braided steel that is coated with flexible plastic and each end capped with softer brass attachments.

Overall view of most of the accessories that come with the Otis Hardcore Hunter cleaning system.

The portable kit includes 17, 22, 27, 30, 38, and 45 caliber brushes along with 20 and 12 gauge shotgun brushes. For those that shoot popular 6mm (.243), .257, or 6.5mm (.260) caliber cartridges will need to purchase additional brushes and the same goes for 9mm/.357 and 10mm/.40 caliber pistol cartridges.

The cleverest part of the system is the panoply patch system. For those new to Otis systems it's important to watch the included CD or at least read the instructions to understand how to use the unique patching system. Using the pre-cut holes in the circular patches and then pinching and folding through the slotted brass tip produces a uniform patch that can be adjusted to various caliber sizes based on the pinch-and-fold-point. It's like a simple form of "patch origami" to precisely fit the caliber you will be cleaning. Otis has a short video that shows the patch folding process.

It's worth noting as well that each patch can be used for up to 5-6 pull-throughs. Simply refolding and turning over the patch repeatedly exposes new clean patch surface that can be reused.

The carrying case is well thought out, compact, and comes in either Mossy Oak Break-up or Realtree AP and has a belt loop. The zipper is lined on the outside to help keep water out although if submerged everything inside is going to get wet. While it is possible to carry all the brushes, 20ga and 12ga included, along with the cleaner in one pouch, it's somewhat of a tight fit. Simply set the shotgun brushes aside if you're going rifle hunting, and this will open up some extra space to carry extra patches or cleaner.

A handy feature of the braided steel cable is barrel obstruction removal. Because the pull through cable is made of braided steel it can be used to tap out a stuck case or stuck bullet. While the flexibility of the cable doesn't help, it's still rigid enough to pound out some obstructions, which can be a big help if you've ever had an extractor slip off a stuck, fired case.

Close up of the obstruction remover, which also doubles as the T-handle of the pull-through system.

The braided steel pull-through cable has an additional feature that may not be obvious unless you've used pull through cleaning systems before. Some pull-through cleaning systems, particularly those made of cloth or nylon, can break off in the barrel when cleaning a particularly fouled or small caliber barrel. Once broken off a cleaning system stuck in the barrel can be ridiculously difficult to remove. The Otis cable is very strong and should not break even in heavily fouled barrel conditions.

The system includes two longer cables and one short cable (not shown). The thinner,
more flexible cable is used for 17 caliber rifles and semi-auto 22's.

So the Hardcore Hunter system is well thought out, compact, and works well, what's not to like? Like most other quality systems, the Hardcore Hunter comes with a heftier price tag. With a street price of around $70-80, this makes it 5-10 times more expensive than other basic, non-compact cleaning systems. In addition, while the panoply patches are clever and can be made to fit a variety of calibers simply by folding, they too are relatively expensive, with an average cost of around 10-20 cents per patch depending on the quantity purchased. However as we mentioned above, the panoply patches can be reused if the folding procedure is followed carefully.

In conclusion, with the ever rising cost of firearms, it's worth considering a portable higher end total cleaning solution. The Otis system makes it convenient to carry the system along wherever your hunt may take you and since it's with you it's easier to not simply put off the inevitable cleaning, that firearm ownership requires.

For more information visit www.otisgun.com.


numbnutz's picture

Looks like a great little

Looks like a great little kit. I'm in the market for a decent universal cleaning kit. I have a kit for my 30-06 but I need a cleaning kit for my .22. I took it out yesterday and it's in need of a good cleaning. I don't really like the price tag on this product. I would probably opt for something a bit cheaper as I only shoot my rifles 1 or 2 times a year. I'm sure for the extreme gun nuts out there that shoot every weekend this would be a great product or kit for them. I have read great reviews on Otis product in the past and even how the military uses them so it's got to be good. Thanks for the great article and keep them coming.

SGM's picture

Over all good product but way to much IMO.

Used them for several years in the military and on my deployements in the sand box. They work well, are compact and easy to carry. However, I do not see why the price tag is so high! It is a very basic cleaning kit with a cable instead of a fixed rod. If it was not an issued item I would think twice about spending that kind of coin. Over all good product but way to much IMO.

swisheroutdoors's picture

Outstanding Kit

These kits are perfect.  I had never purchased one and had been using and old cleaning system I've had since 1985.  Well Otis is the way to go and worth the money.  Compact and perfect you can’t go wrong.  My buddy and Army Officer 1st introduced me to Otis and gave me a kit.  I know have that one at home and my own kit in the truck.  Went plinking the other day and my friend forgot his and mine went into use.  Accessibility and convenient storage. 

Retired2hunt's picture

Nice Little Package


My son won one of these several years ago while he and I were taking the Colorado hunter education certification at Fort Carson. They had a raffle and my son was lucky enough to win and smart enough to pick this up as the 1st prize winner. It was an earlier model donated for the raffle but looking at it and the pictures it looks very close to the same. I don't know the exact model but it does clean shotgun and rifles. Looking at thei Otis web-site most systems cost around $38 to just under $50.

My Son's system is light weight and packaged with a very space-saving oriented focus. My son has used it many times out in the woods and here at home. I have looked for it in several big box stores but never found it. Right now I just keep a thin parachute cord and a swab to pull through my barrel if and when needed out in the woods.

It looks like a very "nice to have" cleaning system. And would be very compact and lightweight for those hike-in-elk hunts planned. Maybe for Christmas this year!





Critter's picture

This kit is a great little

This kit is a great little addition to your pack or even just to throw in the glove box of your truck to just have on hand.  Everyone thinks that they will never really need a cleaning kit in the boon docks but one comes in hand every now and then.  I hunter for over 30 years without needing something like this in the field.  Then one day I tripped and guess where the barrel of the rifle went.  Yep, right into the mud under my feet.  I worked on that obstruction for over a hour with twigs and sticks but couldn't get it out.  I then found a piece of barb wire and with that and a piece of toilet paper I got it taken care of.  But if I would of just had this kit in my pack everything would of been taken care of in less than a half a hour. 

hunter25's picture

I have looked at these Otis

I have looked at these Otis products before and they look like something I would like to try out. As mentioned in the review the price is the biggest reason I have not yet done so though. I will probably try to pick one up later this year after all my hunting is done and paid for or maybe I can talk someone into getting it for me for Christmas or something. The compact kit could be kept in the truck or camp for emergency situations. I have forgotten things like this before because of the inconvenience of full size cleaning rods. And I have had one situation where a rifle has been put out of comission because I didn't have one handy.