Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gun Cleaners and Lube

Everybody has one, and I'm going to show you mine

Having a discussion about cleaning and lubrication products for firearms is borderline like having a religious discussion. Both parties minds are usually made up before the talk even starts and occasionally by the end of it somebody is dead. Thankfully that doesn't happen very often though.

Here I am going to discuss my favorite products and why I like them (or not) and if there is something you want to try, then give it a go.

Hoppes 9 Gun Oil

When I first got into shooting I knew a bottle of gun oil would be required so I grabbed something off the shelf and this was it. After about 10 years this is my second bottle. It is a very good generic lubricant. A lot of lubes out there are specialized in some fashion but this stuff is like vanilla ice cream; it's simple and it works. I've even used it with ok results in hair clippers. If you want an oil to wipe your guns down with this stuff is good for that as well as it doesn't leave any kind of sticky film or residue.

Militec 1

This is one of those specialized lubricants. I say that because the way you are supposed to use it is apply it to your firearm and then toss it in the oven to bring it up to "operating temperature". Or apply it and shoot the gun to get it hot. It is supposed to be a dry lube that as I understand it forms a molecular bond with the metal when it is heated up and lubricates the surface.

Personally, I've never actually used it that way and I apply it like regular gun oil. I figure if it heats up while shooting and forms a passive lubricant then awesome. Double protection. This is the primary lube I use for my weapons and they all run reliably.

As a bonus, the stuff smells REALLY good. Kind of like how some chicks get all hot and bothered by the smell of solvents, this is kinda like that.

TW25B Grease

This is the only grease I have any personal experience with, and unfortunately my experience wasn't a good one. I was using it for lube on my AR-15 and took it to the range after the rifle had sit in storage for several weeks. What I experienced was multiple failure to feeds. The grease had evaporated and since the bolt carrier group was dry it was short stroking and not feeding the next round. The screws on my gas key happened to shear off during that trip as well. I don't *think* that was due to a lack of lubricant, but I'm also not an armorer so I don't really know. For the time being it will be chalked up to coincidence.

If you use this stuff, be fore warned that it does evaporate over time so it is better used right before you are planning to shoot. I decided to shoot my rifle as is without checking to see if it was dry just to see what would happen had I needed a rifle right then. If I had tried to use that rifle in a self defense scenario I would have been hurting big time. That was also a lesson for me to check on guns every week or two that are kept in a "ready" condition to make sure they are properly lubricated. Especially AR's. Had I done that then I'm sure the TW25B would have performed fine. That being said, I don't really use it much anymore because of that incident.


If anything is going to give WD-40 a run for its money then this is the stuff. Lately I have been using it as a case lube for resizing. The RCBS lube is a pain to squeeze out in sufficient quantity onto that little green pad and I had a can of this sitting next to me and had one of those "I wonder.." moments. I've stopped using the RCBS lube.

According to the labeling, you can use it for damn near anything. Including leather and plastics which I believe is outside WD-40's scope of practice. I have not tried it as a weapons lubricant but this is handy, handy stuff to have around so it is worth mentioning.

Frog Lube

"Rendered from the ball sweat of Navy SEALS". It says so right on the bottle. No not really. This stuff is supposed to be the new cool CLP out on the market that both eco-friendly and non-toxic as well. It was created by a former SEAL as a result of his dissatisfaction with products on the market. Someone with that kind of operational experience striving to create a better mouse trap is IMHO more than worthy of taking notice of. Since I had some free Brownells money I figured I'd get a bottle and give it a go and see if I like it better than Militec1. Other than a fresh winter green scent, I can't really comment on it either way... yet.

On to cleaners

Mpro 7

Liquid awesome! The first solvent I ever worked with was Shooters Choice and I hated it. It just did not seem to work for me and I probably would have failed a DUI test every time I finished a cleaning session. I forget if I just pulled MPro 7 off a shelf or if it was recommended to me, but I have used it for the majority of my cleaning ever since.

It is a water based cleaner so it does not have those harsh solvent fumes. Carbon just seems to dissolve off of the metal. To use it I hose down what ever it is I am cleaning, give it a scrub with a brush and then wipe it down. Done. The only place I'm still not 100% convinced is using it on a really fouled .308 barrel. But, I might not have given it enough time to work.

Gun Slick Bore Foam

When I was suspecting that my .308 wasn't getting quite clean enough with MPro 7 and a boresnake I gave this a try. This was when I was coming to the conclusion that I really should invest a bit more into my cleaning kit for the .308. I definitely noticed a difference. You can really see the copper coming out of the barrel with this foam. It squirts in kind of like shaving cream expands to fill the entire barrel. If you aren't using a sealing bore guide, be careful it doesn't squirt back into the receiver. Again, ask me how I know.

I don't have a bore light or camera to really give a scientific evaluation on it but my impression after using it was that the barrel was much cleaner (as evidenced by the ton of fouling and copper that got cleaned out of it) and my groups settled down a bit. Take that for what it is worth.

Butch's Bore Shine

Last but certainly not least is Butch's Bore Shine. My introduction to this product came after baby sitting a good friend of mine's rifle. This is what he wanted me to use to clean it, and so it was. It has since been added to my repertoire. This stuff is hard-core. I'm actually not sure it would be wise to use it for every cleaning, but if you want to REALLY clean a gun, this is a good choice.

My impression after using to clean an AR-15 was that it completely degreased the metal, and seemed to suck out any residual moisture or lubricant from the steel. I took extra care to thoroughly lubricate the bolt carrier group after cleaning it with this. Given my fancy for Militec1 I have a suspicion that Butch's Bore Shine may be counter productive towards any passive lubrication ambitions. If you are of the white glove cleaning persuasion, then Butch's Bore Shine is highly recommended.

That folks is my current list of go to chemicals for keeping my boom sticks in working order. If you are dissatisfied with what you are currently using for any reason or just curious, perhaps one of these will be your answer. Until next time.

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