On Target Review: Otis Ripcord—the new, improved bore snake

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Ripcord is semi-rigid which allows it to easily move down the barrel. It’s the 21st Century successor to the bore snake.

by Rob Kay

When I first saw the press release about Otis Technology’s new Ripcord gun cleaning method I was immediately intrigued. The release called it a “one-pass cleaning tool”. Did that mean all I had to do was pull the “Ripcord” through the barrel and then put the gun to bed?


Not exactly.

The ripcord is really the latest evolution of the venerable bore snake which is not meant to substitute for a full-on field-stripping.

The Otis product differs from the standard bore snake in a number of ways. First off, it’s manufactured from Nomex fibers braided over a molded rubberized core/cable combination. Nomex is a product invented by DuPont, first used for flight suits and later as standard fare for people who need flame resistant garb to protect them from burns such as firemen, racecar drivers, etc. This material is not going to melt in a red hot barrel—if you ever get the notion to clean one!

The Otis people state that the Nomex material acts as both a brush to loosen and a patch to capture fouling particles. If you compare a standard bore snake to the “Ripcord” you’ll note that the latter looks and feels more like a bungee cord. Whereas the bore snake is made of a flaccid, droopy material, the Ripcord has a rubberized core which forces the Nomex cleaning fibers to rub against the bore.

It’s anything but flaccid.

Because of its dense structure the Ripcord is actually quite rigid, and is much easier to insert down a barrel than a standard bore snake which has to be “gravity fed” by tilting the gun downwards. All you do is place the longer, narrower end in the chamber and push/slide it–breech-to-muzzle. When the tip emerges from the end of the barrel you can pull it through. Otis says the core has a “helix shape, which helps engage the rifling throughout the length of the barrel.”

I was expecting to find an abrasive texture on the exterior but this is not the case.  One of the bore snakes I use for my 1911, has a bristly copper overlay which will poke you if you grab it wrong way. Not so with the Ripcord. The fiber is quite smooth—you won’t jab yourself.

Unlike a standard bore snake, the ends of the Ripcord have 8-32 threaded ends so you can screw in jags, brushes and the like to assist in cleaning. In addition, says Otis, “the core is a helix shape, which helps engage the rifling throughout the length of the barrel.”

The Ripcord has 8-32 threaded ends so you can screw in accessories such as jags, brushes or the “T-bar” as pictured above to assist in the cleaning process.

To me the product makes the most sense as part of a post range, quickie barrel clean up exercise. Essentially you want to clean the barrel while it’s still warm—before the evil carbon residues start hardening and your job becomes that more difficult the next day.

What happens when it inevitably gets dirty?

Otis says you can wash it with mild soap. (Don’t put it in the washing machine or dishwasher. They also recommend to extend the life of the Ripcord, you can attach a slotted tip & patch to the Ripcord and place the solvent on the patch instead of the Ripcord.

Leave it to the Otis R&D lab to invent a better mousetrap or perhaps more accurately, reinvent the wheel. If you’re thinking of buying an old fashioned bore snake, get this instead.

The Ripcord retails for $14.99 and is currently available in .22/.223, .308/7.62mm, 9mm, and .45 caliber, with others coming soon.

Photos courtesy of On Target staff and Otis.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact us at ontargethawaii@gmail.com

Rob Kay writes about firearms for Hawaii Reporter and is the author of How to Buy an AK-47.
Read more of Rob’s articles on OnTargetHawaii.com







  1. I agree. It's one of those refinements on a product that people generally overlook. Fairly priced too.

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