The Best Tools to Keep Your AR on Target

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Our ARs have never run so smoothly or cleanly until we discovered this compact, easy-to-use AR maintenance kit.

by the Shooting Daily staff

How to clean an AR-platform rifle is not something you have to explain to serious MSR owners. For starters, they understand that the AR’s somewhat complex internal workings and the sometimes delicate gas impingement system demands a lot more attention to cleaning protocols than, say, AK-platform rifles. Furthermore, experienced shooters know that no firearm lives by a shoot-and-forget it philosophy. Reliability, accuracy, and longevity depend on basic cleaning maintenance.

Unfortunately, many AR owners fail to appreciate the cleaning and lubrication requirements of their rifles. For those who haven’t bothered to read the instruction manual, or have purchased their first AR second-hand and don’t have a guide book, we’re going to show you the breakdown of the basic AR field-cleaning process.

But before you can get started cleaning your AR, you need a few essential items. Since we’re all about convenient, one-stop shopping, we turn our attention to Otis Technology. Known as the go-to source for military, law enforcement, and civilian hunting and shooting firearms cleaning solutions, Otis makes a turnkey cleaning kit specifically for the 5.56 AR.

MSR Cleaning Kit

The Otis MSR/AR Cleaning system includes everything you need to give your rifle a comprehensive cleaning, all in a lightweight carry pouch. The Star Chamber cleaning tool, O-12 AR cleaner, and Ripcord are sold separately. To see how it works, and how to give your AR a deep-cleaning, check out the Otis cleaning video below.

For experienced AR owners, we want to spice up this discussion by letting you in on a couple of tools you may not even know about…the B.O.N.E. tool and the Star Chamber cleaning tool.

Otis specialty
Veteran AR shooters know how difficult it can be to remove carbon fouling and buildup in the chamber area and certain areas of the bolt carrier group. What you may not know is that Otis Technology has developed a couple of slick tools that make the job a whole lot easier. The B.O.N.E. tool (left) cleans out carbon from inside your bolt carrier, as well as the bolt surface behind the gas rings, and the firing pin shoulder. The Star Chamber tool (right and inset) is used to scrape out fouling behind the chamber lugs.


For a slow-mo overview of the basic, down-and-dirty field cleaning process, read on…


Ensure the safety selector is on SAFE. Point the muzzle in a safe direction and remove the magazine (if inserted). Pull back the charging handle and inspect the chamber – visually and manually – to ensure there is no cartridge present.


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Push in on the receiver takedown and pivot pins, and then pull the pins outward to separate the upper and lower receiver assemblies.


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Remove the charging handle and bolt carrier group from the receiver.


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Using the Otis Memory-Flex bore cleaning cable and lightly lubricated brush (left), insert the end through the chamber, down the bore, and pull out through the muzzle. For a quick field cleaning, the Otis Ripcord (right) is an ideal, one-swipe solution.


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To effectively remove built-up carbon and fouling from the chamber, the Star Chamber tool is a must. Simply extend the tool, insert the end behind the chamber lugs, and rotate to scrape away the fouling. You can see from the cutout barrel on the right how the Star Chamber tool can reach and scrape in a way that surpasses even standard chamber brushes.


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To remove the remaining fouling, insert a chamber brush into the chamber and rotate. Any loose debris and particle can be blown out or brushed out with a nylon brush.


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To finish cleaning the upper receiver, install the slotted patch tool onto the Memory-Flex cable along with a lightly lubricated Otis cleaning patch. You can use these patches up to six times, and when properly installed, provide complete 360-degree coverage of the bore.


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Push in on the firing pin retainer (left) with the kit’s punch tool and remove the firing pin from the bolt carrier (right).


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With the bolt seated fully in the bolt carrier as shown, rotate the bolt cam pin 90 degrees and remove it from the bolt carrier (left). Remove the bolt from the bolt carrier (right).


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Removing carbon buildup from deep inside the bolt carrier is a challenge, but the B.O.N.E. tool makes the job a cinch. Simply insert into the carrier and rotate. We thought we kept our carrier fairly clean, but a few swipes of the B.O.N.E. tool revealed just how much carbon was actually left behind (right).


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In addition to scraping carbon from inside the bolt carrier, the B.O.N.E. tool also scrapes fouling from the back of the bolt (left) as well as the firing pin shoulder (right).


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The Otis MSR/AR cleaning kit comes with an assortment of cleaning tools to help remove fouling and debris from those hard-to-reach places. Utilize the kit’s assorted brushes and scrapers to remove as much fouling as possible, then wipe and lightly lubricate the bolt’s outer lug surfaces.


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You can use a pipe cleaner or a worn brush to clean out the gas key tube (left). Apply a light coating of lubricant to the bolt carrier, and then apply a little extra lubricant to the bolt carrier slide contact “rails” (shown) and the cam pin area.


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Use a nylon brush only (not wire brushes, which can damage the aluminum receiver) to remove debris from the lower receiver. Pay special attention to removing any sand or grit from the trigger assembly area.

NOTE: You will occasionally want to remove the buffer and buffer spring from the buffer tube (which the buttstock is mounted to). A dirty, dry buffer and buffer spring can create cycling issues. Simply depress the buffer retaining pin and remove the buffer and spring assembly. Wipe clean and lightly lubricate.


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(LEFT) Lightly lubricate the bolt, bolt cam pin, firing pin, and firing pin retaining pin. Insert the bolt into the bolt carrier, followed by the bolt cam pin, in the reverse manner in which they were disassembled. The bolt cam pin can only fit into the bolt in one direction (the chamfered hole in the bolt), so there is no need to worry about getting the orientation wrong. Once installed, rotate the cam pin 90 degrees. Next, reinstall the firing pin in the bolt and secure with the firing pin retaining pin. Partially install the charging handle into the slide groove in the receiver, then install the bolt carrier group into the receiver with the gas key in the charging handle groove. As an assembly, slide the charging handle and bolt carrier group into the receiver. Note that the bolt must be fully extended in the bolt carrier in order for it to be inserted into the upper receiver.


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Lastly, fit the upper and lower receiver assemblies together and secure with the takedown and pivot pins.


Perform a function check of your firearm before storing it or heading to the range. Do it now so you’ll be certain your rifle is ready for action. This video from Brownells fully explains the function-check process. Brownells is also an excellent source for Otis cleaning products.



Otis Technology


Article copyright 2015 by; promoted by Otis Technology

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