By: Tom Claycomb III

As a kid, whenever I cleaned my guns after a hunt, I’d lay a pile of blankets on the kitchen table to prop up my shotgun or rifle. This, at best, was awkward. My guns didn’t lay straight and nothing was stable.

Then as I got older and started mounting my own scopes on a pile of blankets on the table, the pile sure wasn’t stable enough. Katy periodically calls me, “the eternal tightwad.” I respond that, “I’m just thrifty”; and she says “well, you’ve carried it to a new level.” I didn’t have much as a kid, but as Katy reminds me, I have a real job now. So, she has rubbed off on me and I’ve learned that, when possible, it is best to buy good gear. It lasts twice as long, and you don’t have to deal with dysfunctional equipment 24/7.

With the above said, I finally got a lower end gun maintenance station. Wow, what a difference it made. It had forks to hold my guns in place and it held my guns steady while cleaning them. This gun maintenance kit was light years better than the pile of blankets on the table, but then a few years later I discovered the Otis Range Boxes. They are the ultimate.

Otis offers at least seven different options that I know of. Some are caliber specific. But they all come with various brushes, cleaning tips, etc. For the average Joe I’d recommend getting the Elite Range Box. That way you can stock the box with the various caliber brushes and patches that you’ll be using on a monthly basis. There are three big reasons that I’d recommend getting a range box.

Not only does a good range box hold your firearm in place while cleaning or working on it, but it also holds all of your cleaning supplies.


Most hunters have their cleaning items stored in various locations. Years ago, I stored them in ammo boxes, but I soon outgrew that system. It is so much nicer to have my brushes, cleaning patches, oils, solvents, various cleaning tips, and gun tools all in one box. That way I’m not digging around hunting my solvent or an odd sized cleaning patch.


As covered above, the kit has two forks that you place into slots on each end of the box. You then lay your rifle/shotgun in them which provides a stable base for cleaning. The sides of the forks have slots to hold your cleaning rods.

No longer do I have multiple storage boxes to hold my various brushes etc., now they are all in my one large Otis Elite Range Box. This is nice since I hunt with various calibers and gauges. My box has a top trey for storing my brushes and cleaning tips. This helps keep me organized.

The Range Box came in handy when I was installing some Skinner sights on this Henry’s 45-70.


A range box is also a big aid for mounting scopes. To put on scope rings and mount a scope you need a system to hold your gun steady. To begin, you’ll want to lay on the bottom mount and hand tighten. Then lay on the scope and adjust for proper eye relief. You may have to move the bottom ring to allow you to properly position the scope. When the bottom ring is in the proper position, tighten it down.

Next lay the scope back in the bottom ring and screw on the top rings, only hand tighten. Now pick up the rifle and adjust for proper eye relief. Set the gun back in the forks and twist the scope to where the cross hairs are all square with the world. A good gun cleaning station makes mounting a scope a lot simpler. (There’s more to mounting a scope than above. But in this article, I’m just covering how a gun maintenance box will help).

When you’re done cleaning your gun or mounting a scope, you can throw all of your gear back into the one box, and store it away in the garage. A gun maintenance box makes life simple.

Sometimes when we’re going to the gun range, we’re going because we need to test some guns or test a lot of different ammo. We carry our range box with us, so we have all the necessary cleaning gear. It’s also smart to take a few tools so you can make minor repairs, such as tightening a loose scope and so forth. I always keep a few basic tools in my box.

A while back, I was testing a plethora of ammo to see which one shot best in a new Mossberg rifle I was testing. After testing a few different manufacturers, my groups started widening out. A lot. Ron Spomer suggested that I give the gun a good cleaning. We did and the groups tightened right back. If we had not cleaned the gun, I would have thought that the last batch of ammo just didn’t work in my rifle.

As we come to a close, I’d recommend that you save your pennies and buy a range box. I don’t think that you will ever regret it.

Tom has been an Outdoor Writer for over 20 years and has columns with numerous magazines, has weekly outdoor columns with multiple newspapers, websites and freelances for many other publications and has e-articles & books on Amazon Kindle. He publishes 325-375 articles/yr. He’s on Pro-Staff with numerous Outdoor companies and conducts 40-60 seminars/yr. from Texas up to Vegas and on up to Alaska at the big shows and has taught hundreds of seminars at Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop and is a guest speaker at various events.

He’s been on multiple TV shows, radio interviews and has produced YouTubes with RonSpomerOutdoors. As a young man he rodeoed professionally as a bareback rider and now lives in Idaho with his beautiful wife Katy.