Cleaning w/ WD 40 ??


Ak Guy
December 23, 2004, 09:20 AM
I sometimes clean my semi-autos with a HEAVY application of WD 40, work everything that moves, and then blow it down REAL GOOD with compressed air. I know you don't want penetrating oils like WD 40 to get to the primers, but as long as you blow it down real good, are there any other reasons not to use WD 40 ??

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December 23, 2004, 09:23 AM
Have you ever looked at an old Marlin Model 60 or Ted Williams shotgun in the bargain bin rack at your local gun haus? Did you notice a kinda brown varnish in all the nooks, cracks, and crannies? Guess what that was the dried remains of... :uhoh:

December 23, 2004, 09:34 AM
When WD-40 was first introduced it was a big marketin thing with lots of BS. I would never use it for anything . Use a good quality gun oil that's all you need.

Bill B.
December 23, 2004, 09:49 AM
Gotta agree with Tamara .... I had used WD40 way back when to clean the gas system on a Remington 870 Competition Trap gun. While the Remington gunsmiths were checking it at a Grand American many years back they told me all the brown buildup was from the WD40. I went to Hoppe's Gun solvent & Rem. Oil after that and never looked back. Per them WD40 is about the worst thing you can put on a gun to gum it up; especially if you spray it on and then just leave a film without cleaning it back off. I also brought a Browning HP the other day that had a lot of this brown buildup from WD40. I am still in the process of getting it cleaned up and the slide returning to battery ever shot. There are other options that work as well as WD40 and just as cheap IMO.

December 23, 2004, 10:23 AM
WD-40 (Water Displacement, formula 40?), IIRC, was originally developed for drying things out. It is primarily a solvent with low surface tension (i.e. very non-viscous to flow freely and penetrate deeply), then evaporate, along with whatever moisture it encounters. It is also useful for cleaning stuff (as a solvent), and freeing some parts (penetrating, minor lubricity, but overall, it has very minor lubricity, and as noted, once the volitile agents are gone, gummy-goo (technical term) is left.

IMO, WD-40 is a poor choice for firearms maintenance, better than nothing in a pinch i suppose, but there are so many better (proper) products designed to care for your firearms.

December 23, 2004, 10:38 AM
From what I've read the "varnish" type chemical that made for the sticky buildup over the years may no longer be in the current formula.

But still seems to be much better stuff out there for the job, can't think of why I would use it.

A Haslem
December 23, 2004, 11:06 AM
I use WD-40 extensively for cleaning pistols, I've found it to cut carbon better than most gun cleaning solvents. I spray the barrel inside and out, and also the slide, and let it sit a few minutes, then take an old toothbrush (or the wife's) and brush the inside of the slide and use a plastic bore brush on the barrel. Next I spray both down again, then wipe everything off. As mentioned in other posts, you don't want to leave any WD-40 setting around especially in places like the firing pin channel. I've used this method for years and never had a problem. After wiping all the WD off I lube the gun with Moile 1

If you are really afraid of WD-40 accumulating on things, after the process above, you can spray it off with a degreaser like Gun Scrubber and it will remove all trace of oil. The reason I don't use Gun Scrubber only is that I have found it doesn't cut the carbon fouling very well.

Ak Guy
December 23, 2004, 09:51 PM
Thanx for all the responses......I never expected so many negative ones !! Where there's smoke there's fire, and that's enough for me. I think I'll go back to my Breakfree CLP, and forget about the WD 40 plan.......

December 23, 2004, 10:15 PM
Mike , WD-40 was originally a penetrant, that's all. The company did not develope it, make it, or package it , they only marketed it.As things go they started to say it's good for everything . People who used it on steel such as guns found immediate rusting problems so they changed the formula after many complaints. I don't know how many or what changes that have been made since then .Knowing the whole story from the beginning I've never used it. A few years ago the company bought 3in 1 Oil, what a pair !!! 3 in 1 oil was notorious for quickly forming a varnish [no anti oxidents ]. That was the worse thing you could use in a gun and I repaired many that couldn't even be taken apart until soaked with solvent to remove the varnish !.....Stick to a good quality gun oil , it's all you need.

December 23, 2004, 11:03 PM
MPro-7 for cleaning and CLP for lube and rust prevention.

December 23, 2004, 11:04 PM
It's a fine black powder cleaning solvent. I prefer it to soaking in soapy water.

Mal H
December 23, 2004, 11:45 PM
Tamara speaks true.

Instead of using it on your firearms, first go spray some on your front door hinges. Go check them in about two months and let us know what you find. I learned my lesson years ago from the very same "experiment". ;)

WD-40 is not a good lubricant, in fact it's not a good penetrating oil, it's simply not oil. It was designed to be a Water Displacement solution. Apparently it took 'em 40 tries to get it right - sort of.

On a side note - ever wonder what happened to the folks who tried out Preparations A through G?

December 23, 2004, 11:51 PM
NO NO NO - WD-40 is total crap. Throw that can in the garbage.

Try CLP Breakfree instead. It's cleaning, lubricating, and corrosion resistance are legendary. I use nothing else for everyday.

Jerry the Geek
December 24, 2004, 05:56 AM
In 1997 I bought a Kimber custom. Used it in IPSC competition. Living in Oregon, most of the year my pistols are wet when I get home and they rust easily (especially the Kimber, which had a Kimber-Crap finish.)

So when I got home from a match and didn't have time to clean it immediately, I just took the grips off and sprayed it with WD-40. I figured it would keep it from rusting, which it did. Usually, I got around to cleaning the gun with 'normal guncleaning procedures" * afer a day or two

After about a year, I took my Kimber to a gunsmithing friend for some trigger work. This required him to detail-strip the gun, instead of field-stripping which I typically do when I clean it.

His report? "Good gun, little discernible wear after 15,000 rounds ... looks like brand new except it was the dirtiest gun I've ever seen!!!!"

The WD-40 helps powder residue and incidental range crap to migrate from the outside to the inside of the frame. And yes, it does leave a residue which you can NOT get off if you don't tear the gun down to where the residue is deposite. I'm talking about the trigger mechanism, the sear spring, etc.

I've since given up on WD-40 as a firearm cleanin, moisture-protection, or preservative substance.

I use Hoppes or MP-7, even Simple Green to clean guns. Then I use an appropriate oil (whch may be synthetic automotive oil, 3-in-1 oil, or the fancy schmancy 'gun oils' that you find in gunshops) but only AFTER I have removed as much residue as possible with a de-greaser.

Hint: Brake Cleaner fluid comes in a convenient aerosol spray can, costs $0.99 if you find it on sale, and it penetrates EVERYTHING! It's the same as Gun Scrubber, but at 60% less cost.

Gun cleaning doesn't have to be difficult, or expensive. It only has to be THOROUGH.

WD-40 just doesn't cut it.

December 24, 2004, 08:42 AM
I use the non-chlorinated brake cleaner on my Ruger MK II. I haven't decided if i trust it on my other guns. It does seem to do a really good job of cutting the crud and I do re-lube after I'm satisified that everything is squeaky clean.


December 24, 2004, 09:23 AM
Mal H wrote:

On a side note - ever wonder what happened to the folks who tried out Preparations A through G?

Rumored to have been the reasons why such warnings are now seen on
today's labels:

-" Not for Oral use"
-" This End Up"
-" Do not mix with Ammonia"
- "Do not mix with Chlorine",.....etc.

A - G still work and travel together, prompted the beginnings of " Darwin Awards" , "Don't Try This at Home", "Light Fuse - Run Away".

I believe it was "C" that broke from the group - ran a good race for a Congressional Seat, but couldn't hold on ..."C" is back in the pack now.

Gun , where do you think "hotter than a $2 pistol" came from?....

12 Volt Man
December 24, 2004, 11:24 AM
I am going to play devil's advocate for this one. While I have never used any WD40 on my guns, I have had a recent interest in tests folks have done on rust prevention.
While WD40 might not be a good cleaner, at least in this test it is a fine rust preventative.

December 24, 2004, 01:07 PM
Thanks for posting that. I would've never have guessed that WD-40 would've tested out that well.

Have a good one,

December 24, 2004, 03:04 PM
i've used wd 40 on the outside of my guns for years. i drench them, set them on the muzzle for a day or two, then wipe them down. never a speck of rust. four shotguns, two rifles and four handguns. as a rust preventive, i wouldn't use any thing else. DON'T use it on the action as it does leave a buildup and will gum up actions and triggers as stated. best cleaner/degreaser i've foung is starting fluid. must be about 90% ether.disolves anything and evaporates almost instantly. use it OUTDOORS and no matches. be careful around stock finishes and slip on rubber grips

December 24, 2004, 03:15 PM
When I was a kid, we never bought solvents to clean guns with. All we used was WD-40. You do have to apply it more often, but it works just fine.

It will give your guns a brown patina if you use it for 10 years or so. Just so happens I like a brown patina! :cool:

Worst oil I ever used on a semi auto was 3-in-One oil. Gummed up the action on my shotgun so much that after you fired the first round the bolt would only close about half way.

December 24, 2004, 06:26 PM
Part of my firearm cleaning process involves spraying WD-40 on to all metal surfaces after they've been cleaned and sprayed with brake cleaning fluid. The metal is wiped down with a clean cloth and then lubricate with grease, gun oil and BreakFree.

I've found WD-40 to be a poor lubricant and poor rust preventive. I use it only to ensure I penetrate areas that have been dried by the brake cleaner.



December 24, 2004, 06:47 PM
One other thing to remember about WD-40 is that it can soak into live rounds and deactivate the primers and/or powder.

December 24, 2004, 07:08 PM
wd never did any good for me

December 24, 2004, 07:38 PM
On a side note - ever wonder what happened to the folks who tried out Preparations A through G? Darn Mal ... sneaky Steve picked up on that one already!! :p But -

A) Abscess prep'
B) Boil prep'
C) Carbuncle prep'
D) Dermatitis prep'
E) Escherecia choli prep'
F) Fungus prep'
G) Gonads prep'
............................ the rest is, well - history! :D

December 25, 2004, 05:29 PM
But this makes me scratch my head:

I had used WD40 way back when to clean the gas system on a Remington 870 Competition Trap gun.

Try as I might, I cannot find the gas system on my Remington 870. :confused:

December 26, 2004, 08:13 AM
Mine sits right behind the recoil pad.

(corn beef and cabbage for lunch yesterday) :)

Have a good one,

Bill B.
December 26, 2004, 09:12 AM
Try as I might, I cannot find the gas system on my Remington 870.

Not to Hi-Jack the WD-40 thread .............

Remington made a single shot 870 with a gas reduction recoil system about 20 years ago. It went where the mag. tube and made for one of the best then and still one of the best soft shooting trap guns ever built. Unless you are a trap shooter it's not something the average shooter will know about. :)

December 26, 2004, 10:15 AM
WD40 may not be a good lubricant, but using it to hose down a firearm after a wet day afield or after a reblue isn't A Bad Thing <tm>. Just remember to get in there afterwards and use a good gunk-cutter to get all of the goomba (technical term for powder residue and general spooge from the WD40 and gun oils) off the firearm as applicable.

December 26, 2004, 02:20 PM
I've done the same thing: used it for Water Displacement, but then immediately sprayed all the wd-40 off with brake cleaner or gun blast, then followed with CLP or whatver.
I never let it sit.

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