Search for the Perfect Firearms Lubricants
by Roy Seifert
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This article is for entertainment only and is not to
be used in lieu of a qualified gunsmith.
Please defer all firearms work to a qualified
gunsmith. Any loads
mentioned in this article are my loads for my guns and have
been carefully worked up using established guidelines and
special tools. The
author assumes no responsibility or liability for use of
these loads, or use or misuse of this article.
Please note that I am not a professional gunsmith,
just a shooting enthusiast and hobbyist, as well as a
article explains work that I performed to my guns without
the assistance of a qualified gunsmith.
Some procedures described in this article require
special tools and cannot/should not be performed without
Disassembling and tinkering with your firearm may
void the warranty. I
claim no responsibility for use or misuse of this article.
Again, this article is for entertainment purposes
and firearms are the trademark/service mark or registered trademark
of their respective manufacturers.
All tools were
purchased from Brownells
unless otherwise indicated.
Like many firearms enthusiasts, I want to keep my firearms
in tip-top condition, which means cleaning and lubricating
them properly. We all have our favorite cleaners and
lubricants, but I wanted to find a cost-effective product
that would lubricate and protect my firearms from corrosion
when stored long-term in my gun safe. (As you will see, I
did save money per use, but not on the initial cost.) I
have used all the cleaners/lubricants pictured above at one
time or another; some worked well and were easy to use, and
others did not work or were difficult to use. Iím sure one
or more of your favorites is here.
effort to save money I was searching the Internet for a
homemade lubricant and stumbled on Grant Cunninghamís
Lubrication 101: Gun oil, snake oil, and how to tell the
difference. His article explains all about
firearms lubricants; the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am
going to start using the oil and grease based on his
article. I also watched some YouTube videos on testing
firearms lubricants, which I found interesting and
years I used Hoppeís #9 gun oil as my final preservative,
but I discovered that it dries out, and when dry it provides
little or no protection. This may be why when I purchase a
used gun it comes to me bone dry. The oil used by the
previous owner has probably dried out while the gun was
ago, I read an article in a gun magazine about a corrosion
test where the author coated iron nails with different
lubricants and suspended them in jars of water to see which
provided the best corrosion protection. Breakfree CLP (Clean
Lube Protect) was the hands-down winner, so I
stopped using Hoppeís and began using CLP. CLP has Teflon
suspended in it, and when left sitting, the Teflon will
separate out, so it should be shaken (not stirred
before each use.
seemed to take forever to clean a gun with CLP, so I called
the manufacturer and was told that CLP should not be used as
the primary gun cleaner; itís better to use a dedicated
solvent/cleaner for the initial cleaning, then finish
lubricating with CLP. There is a cleaning component added
to CLP in case the firearm is still a little dirty, but it
should be used only as a lubricant and final preservative.
I have a rag (old T-shirt) that is so soaked with CLP that I
use it to wipe down my guns after handling.
processing of fabricating parts I found LPS Tapmatic #1
Gold. This is designed as a cutting fluid, but on firearms
it works great for long-term storage. It sticks to metal
and wonít dry out like Hoppeís. I have been using this on
all the surfaces of my guns where there is no part
interaction, i.e. not on pins, sears, slide rails, etc. The
MSDS shows it is composed of:
Distillates (Petroleum), Hydrotreated Heavy 064742-52-5
Ester of Soybean Oil 067784-80-9
Glycol Monobutyl Ether 029911-28-2
ester ES 061788-61-2
me, this seemed to work very well as a preservative/final
coating after thoroughly cleaning a gun. I havenít done any
corrosion testing with this oil, but I like the fact that it
sticks to the metal. After reading Grantís article, I will
no longer be using this oil on my guns, primarily because I
havenít researched or tested it as thoroughly as Grant.
use on sears I have been using
Brownellís Action Lube Plus which works well. Iíve had
a small tub for years and apply it with a toothpick. I will
continue to use this on internal parts as recommended by
slide rails I have been using Gun Butter. Itís expensive,
but a little goes a long way. I put a few tiny drops on the
slide and frame rails, move the slide back and forth on the
frame a few times, wipe off the excess, and Iím good to go.
Again, based on Grantís article, Iíll be using the SFL-0
really like the needle attachment that comes with Gun Butter
because it allows me to control the amount and location of
the lubricant. Most firearms lubricants come with a spout
with a large opening that causes you to apply way too much,
which you then must wipe off. This wastes the excess
lubricant, which means it is used up more quickly. Maybe
that is the manufacturerís plan to get you to buy more!
(You can purchase empty needle oilers from Amazon.com to
help control your application of oil. I have included links
in this article for everything I purchased from Amazon.)
have used automotive wheel bearing grease to grease up my M1
Garand. Garandgear.com recommends any NLGI #2 grease. I
also use this grease on my Ruger Mini-30, and other firearms
with high-friction, high-demand areas. I apply the grease
with either a cotton swab for large areas, or a toothpick
for small areas. I apply a thin layer; a little goes a long
way. Grant says to avoid most automotive products because
they are designed for vehicles and may have
qualities/additives not good for firearms use. His
exception is good olí Dexron automatic transmission fluid (ATF)
which he says has most of the qualities a good gun oil
should have, with some exceptions. He doesnít care for the
red dye that stains, the odor or the toxicity, and it only
provides average corrosion protection, so he doesnít
recommend ATF anymore. For the M1 Garand, the
Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) recommends using the
same SFL-0 grease as recommended by Grant.
We all have a specific cleaning routine for our guns. My
cleaning routine consists of the following procedure:
Run a dry bore brush through the barrel and cylinder
chambers to loosen soot particles.
Run a patch wetted with Edís Red (formula at the end of
this article) through the barrel and cylinder chambers.
Run a bore brush through the wet barrel and cylinder
chambers to scrub them.
For barrels with lead or copper fouling, I plug the
breach, fill the barrel with Butches Bore Shine, and let
it soak for a couple of hours.
Run patches wetted with Edís Red through the barrel and
cylinder chambers until they come out clean.
Take the patch used in the previous step to wipe down
exposed areas of the cylinder and frame/ receiver,
barrel and muzzle. Donít forget to clean the magazine
tube if your gun has one[i].
Use a cotton swab wetted with Edís Red to clean out all
the nooks and crannies. I am constantly amazed how
gunpowder residue gets everywhere; especially on
semi-auto handguns and rifles[ii].
Once clean, dry thoroughly with patches, cotton swabs,
and a cloth.
Run a patch wetted with oil through the barrel and
cylinder chambers. Use the same patch to coat all
external surfaces of the gun.
Run a dry patch through the barrel and cylinder
chambers. This leaves a thin coating of oil on the
Apply a thin layer of grease to slide rails and bolt
carriers or other recommended areas (as on an M1 Garand).
Use a gun cloth to wipe down all external surfaces of
the gun. Try not to touch the metal surfaces of the gun
when putting it in storage, or wear gloves to avoid
leaving fingerprints on the metal. Fingerprints contain
oil which can cause corrosion. Never store a gun in a
bag or leather holster as these can absorb moisture and
cause corrosion. ďBut I just oiled my gun!Ē Gun
bags and leather will absorb the oil leaving the gun dry
and susceptible to corrosion.
an old T-shirt as a gun cloth. It has been liberally coated
with my favorite gun oil, which I use to wipe down my guns
after handling. I have one coated with Breakfree CLP, and
one coated with Tapmatic #1 Gold. After you wipe down a
freshly oiled gun, your gun cloth will absorb more oil,
which makes it perfect for wiping down already-clean guns.
After reading Grantís article, I will have a gun cloth
impregnated with the FG 68 oil. To make your own gun cloth,
take an 18Ē x18Ē piece of flannel, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons
of oil all over the cloth, then roll it up and wring it out
like a washcloth. The oil will impregnate the cloth which
you can use to wipe down your guns.
So, did you read Grantís article? Based on his article I
decided to change my firearm lubricants.
Lubriplate FMO-350-AW as his primary lubricant. It is a
non-toxic, food-grade mineral oil with additives that
provides excellent lubrication, migration, and protection
for firearms. It is cheaper than any specialty gun oil, but
it is only available in large quantities. Amazon sells a
4-gallon case for $135.87 with free shipping which comes to
www.lubrikit.com is selling this oil and the SFL-0
grease in a kit. The kit consists of two 15cc Syringes of
Lubriplate SFL-0 grease plus a 4oz bottle of Lubriplate FMO
350-AW Oil for $16.95 plus shipping. 15cc is about 1/2
ounce so all together there are 5 ounces of lubricant, which
comes to $3.39/ounce plus shipping.
Bluesky Lubricants sells an exact replacement for the
Lubriplate FMO-350-AW lubricant called FG 68 manufactured by
Stratus, a German company
sells it in a 5-gallon pail for $86.40 + $24.99 shipping for
a total of $111.39, which comes to 17.5Ę/ounce. Cheaper
than the Lubriplate product, but still expensive for the
large quantity. I purchased this 5-gallon pail which will
last me a lifetime, so guess what my shooting friends will
be getting for Christmas? Not everyone can afford to
purchase this much oil, but if several friends get together,
or maybe a gun club makes the purchase, it can be very cost
also recommends using Lubriplate SFL-0 food-grade,
aluminum-based grease. I purchased a 15oz. tub for $25.87
with free shipping from
Amazon.com which should also last me a lifetime.
MidwayUSA.com sells it for $15.99 plus shipping.
Because I travel for a living and get to save my air miles,
I converted some of those miles into Amazon gift cards and
purchased the oil, grease, and packaging shown below for
free. Purchasing from MidwayUSA.com would require that I
pay with cash.
Because I had so much oil and grease, I decided to repackage
it into easier to use containers for myself and for gifts
for my shooting friends. I purchased some 10ml/10cc
syringes with caps and some with 1.5Ē blunt needles. I also
purchased 1-ounce bottles; some with caps, some with long
needle caps, and some with short needle caps. My wife found
a case of 60 10cc makeup/candle tins at a discount store for
$2.00 which worked great for the grease.
5-gallon pail of FG 68 came with a spout in the lid. I
purchased a pump from Amazon.com that screwed onto the spout
which allowed me to dispense the oil directly into a
container. I pumped the oil into a 1-pint plastic bottle,
then from the 1-pint plastic bottle into the 1-ounce
bottles. I also made some flannel gun cloths impregnated
with FG 68 oil to give to my friends.
SFL-0 grease is so light (NLGI #0) that I could draw it
directly into a syringe through a small PVC tube. I used
the syringe to fill a 10cc tin, then covered the tin and
sealed it with tape around the seam. After I filled all the
tins that I needed, I refilled the syringe once more, then
cleaned and capped the tip. I labeled each bottle, tin and
syringe with a marker. So, each of my friends received
three bottles of oil, two 10cc syringes of grease, a 10cc
tin filled with grease, and a flannel cloth impregnated with
FG 68 oil to use as a gun cloth. This will probably last
them many years, but I have enough to replenish them if
placed everything in a plastic sandwich bag because I didnít
want the oil to leak. I purchased a bundle of 25 4Ē x 4Ē x
8Ē shipping boxes also from Amazon. I used these to package
the oil bottles, tin and syringes which I wrapped and gave
to my shooting friends for Christmas. I also provided a
copy of Grantís article in each box. I reformatted it to
fit in a 5 1/2Ē x 8 1/2Ē booklet. This gives my friends
some justification why I am providing oil and grease as a
are the links for the items I purchased from Amazon.com:
If you watch You Tube or read articles on the Internet,
everyone has their own take on firearms lubrication, and
often their own recipe. Many follow the general rule of
lubrication; oil for rotating parts, grease for sliding
parts that carry a load. Some say not to use grease because
it attracts and holds dirt and grit and will eventually
cause excessive wear. Hopefully this shouldnít be a problem
because the SFL-0 grease is so thin. Excessive oil will
also attract dirt and grit, which is why oil and grease
should be used lightly and sparingly.
was the use of this oil and grease worth the cost? Because
it lubricates and protects my firearms, the cost was far
less than specialty gun oils and greases. Yes, the money
spent could have purchased a lot of more expensive specialty
lubricants, but again, I want the best for my firearms.
When lubricating firearms, less is more, so small amounts
will last a long time. But because my guns spend more time
in the gun safe than at the range, I needed the corrosion
protection. The cost to me was $0 because I used air miles
to purchase Amazon gift cards. However, each lubrication
kit would have cost me $6.10, which is much less than a
small bottle of many specialty gun care products available
on the market. And rather than relying on marketing and
advertising ďhypeĒ about the next miracle lubricant/protectant
for firearms, I based my purchases on facts backed up by
to Grant Cunningham for sharing his research, findings, and
suggestions in his excellent article. If you havenít
already read his article, please click on the link at the
beginning of this article or down below. Like me, you will
probably find it both informative, and a little bit
embarrassing because I, too, have been caught up in the
expensive, marketing hype searching for the perfect firearms
Lubrication 101: Gun oil, snake oil, and how to tell the
years ago, I mixed up a gallon of Edís Red and I think Iím
about half-way through. I keep it stored in my gun room in
a 1-gallon pickle jar but keep a quart of it on my cleaning
table in a Mason jar. It took a while to get used to the
smell, but the next time I mix up a batch Iíll be using
odorless kerosene and odorless mineral spirits. The red dye
used in the Dexron ATF will stain, so I wear a shop apron
when cleaning guns. Edís Red does a poor job of preserving
firearms, so I only use it as a cleaning agent.
Homemade Firearms Lube (CLP)
find a homemade lubricant formula on the Internet; here it
2-Quarts Synthetic Motor Oil. We used 10-30 but weight
1-Quart Automatic Transmission Fluid. Brand and spec.
1-Bottle of original STP. The blue bottle.
1-7 oz. bottle of Hoppe's #9 Solvent. (This is the
one-gallon container; be sure it is clean. Pour the oil and
ATF in first and shake well. Add the STP and then the
Hoppe's and mix well.
little goes a long way. Give your friends some. It is some
once had a lever-action rifle stop feeding
cartridges during a cowboy match because the
follower in the magazine tube bound up. Because I
was shooting light loads the brass didnít expand to
seal the chamber so soot got down into the magazine
tube. Over time, the build-up of soot caused the
follower to jam. Not a good thing to happen in the
middle of a match. Also, this soot attracts
moisture. The magazine tube in my Winchester í97
was very pitted from rust because the previous
owner(s) never cleaned and oiled it.
.22s are notoriously dirty and soot gets into many
nooks and crannies of a gun, especially semiauto
handguns and rifles. I have also found Alliant
powders to be more dirty than other powders.