This post was born out of the repeated question, what is the best lubricant to use, and what do we use at the Front Sight Gun Repair?
Many of the problems encountered in student’s weapons at the Gun repair are due to lubrication issues, either not enough or far too much for the type of gun they are running. We see the wrong type, wrong application, over applying and in some cases cross-contamination due to lubricants that are not compatible.
Just like your car’s engine requires a specific type of oil viscosity and weight to provide the maximum protection your engine components need from heat, friction, dirt and other contaminants, so do your guns! You need to think of your handgun, shotgun, and rifle as a crude engine. It has combustion, close tolerances, and moving parts that are enclosed in the mechanism of the frame, slide or receiver. Like your car’s engine, the lubrication does several things. 1. It cushions the moving parts via hydraulic action. 2. It acts as a protective film barrier from steel to
steel or steel to aluminum and it allows the parts to freely reciprocate, rotate or mesh together, and carry away the contaminants, and heat, lastly, it protects carbon steel components from corrosion. In dealing with at least 40 thousand guns a year at Front Sight, we have a unique insight into what works well and what does not when it comes firearms lubrication.
In cleaning and lubricating weapons, you have to consider how you are going to be using the gun. Is it a competition gun going to see 40-50 or 100K rounds a year? (You will need to clean it and lubricate it frequently as this like your car would be a severe duty schedule like a taxi, police car or rental car. Is it a defensive gun going to be carried on a daily basis? (If so You will need to inspect it weekly and clean it at least monthly to clear out the dust, and debris that comes with carrying a gun concealed)
Think of your lint trap after 6 loads of laundry. Your clothing sheds and it gets into every accessible place on the gun and will cause a malfunction at some point.
Is it going to be stored for long periods of time like in your safe at home?
(You will need to coat the outside and internals with more lubricant to protect it from drying out) or place it in some form of static proof or rustproof bags that are commercially available.
Where you live has a major influence on your lubrication habits. For instance, if you live here in Southern Nevada, our moisture content on a daily basis is nil, but we have an extreme cold and heat issue and you deal with the effects of sweat on your guns surface for 3 months out the year.
On the other hand, if you live in Florida or Saltillo MS, you are going to be dealing with extreme humidity and sweat almost year-round attacking the guns surface 24/7. So how does one choose a lubricant amidst all of the marketing hype? Do you go with blindly go with brand paid for and recommended by the gun magazine? Just as a reminder when did the gun magazine ever say anything bad about a product? Some of us are old enough when there was only WD-40, 3 in 1 Oil, and Hoppes # 9 so given those parameters, we had it easy, though today’s modern lubricants have far surpassed the old favorites, except for the familiar smell of Hoppes # 9.
Do you use the military standard CLP, taking into consideration that “Mil-Spec” could be described as, a product selected from the lowest bidder who could meet the minimum delivery schedule, and standards required to last just long enough to get good value?
CLP. Cleaner, Lubricant & Protectant. Something that is multi-tasking as a lubricant cannot be effective at cleaning if it works as a cleaner well it can’t be that good of a protectant as it will dry out over time.
Do you go with a “Green product” like Frog Lube or Seal-1? We tried it and found it to be less than desirable for us and our needs, your mileage may vary and due to the complications from cross-contamination, as some well-meaning student or staff member would apply a petroleum-based oil on a rental gun to get it to cycle easier and then it would not cycle a few days later and require a complete tear down and cleaning. It also is not a conventional application so it is not used as such and that is lost on many people who show up with guns that inside look like a slab of BBQ ribs with Froglube sauce all over the place in the striker channel and the gun is having failures to fire.
How do you get past the marketing hype, over-promising and under-performing, easy, you go to someone who has seen just about every lubricant on the planet used on a gun, including coconut oil and used motor oil fresh from the car’s dipstick.
Though there are literally hundreds of lubricants out there in the industry. We have whittled it down to what we use on our guns and customers firearms at the Front Sight gun Repair and what we sell in the cleaning kits or individually Lucas Synthetic gun oil.
The problem arises in most cases for our students when they put too much oil in the wrong place, not enough oil in the right place or too much oil all over the gun thinking that will fix the malfunctions they have been having with the gun. It should not look like the “Exxon Valdez” ran aground inside your firearm. This will create more issues than it solves.
For high-pressure applications grease may be a better option, think sear and hammer hooks on the 1911 pistol, AR-15 hammer, and sear engagement surfaces or bolt/cam surfaces we use copper anti-seize from Versa Chem or Lucas Extreme Duty gun grease.
This is something you would not normally see because the bottles are dark and hide the dirty secret. In many lubricants that you must shake before use the reason for that mixing is the carrier and “magic dust” cost 400.00 dollars a gallon have separated and you now have the two-part mixture doing the same thing in your gun over time. If you just poured this out of the black gallon container without shaking it, you would get the carrier mostly and not the nanoparticles, or whatever they have added to the carrier to give it the lubricity film they were looking for.
Our next article will cover the where for specific guns, how much and how often, so check back next week for that post.