Heavy lubrication shown to improve AR15 effectiveness


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Bartholomew Roberts
August 12, 2007, 01:09 PM
http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2007/07/army_carbine_lubrication_070716/

By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jul 16, 2007 17:34:05 EDT

Army weapons officials might have found a way to improve the M16 family’s performance in the desert.

“Dust chamber” tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., last year show that M16 rifles and M4 carbines perform dramatically better when the weapon’s bolt assembly is heavily lubricated.

During each phase of the two-part “system assessment” at Army Test and Evaluation Command, testers fired 60,000 rounds through 10 weapon samples of each model.

Treated with light lubrication, new M16A4s and M4s, performed poorly in the extreme dust and sand conditions of the test, according to a January report from ATEC.

But when testers applied a heavy coat of lubrication to the weapons, the test results showed a “significant improvement.”

Out of the 60,000 rounds fired in each phase, the M4 stoppage-rate dropped from 9,836 with light lubrication to 678 with heavy lubrication.

The M16A4 stoppage-rate dropped from 2,124 with light lubrication to 507 with heavy lubrication, results show.

For years, Army weapons officials have preached to soldiers to virtues of applying a light coat of lubrication during weapons maintenance.

But the test results reinforce a recent change in weapons maintenance guidance Army units are practicing in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Col. Carl Lipsit, project manager for Soldier Weapons.

At the request of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the Army will conduct a similar dust-chamber test in August, pitting the M4 against the Heckler and Koch 416, the H&K XM8 and FNH USA’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle.

All of the participating weapons will be treated with a heavy coat of lubrication during the test, Lipsit said.

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PTK
August 12, 2007, 01:11 PM
Excuse me while I go liberally spray my AR-15's bolt and carrier with CLP.

Gordon
August 12, 2007, 01:33 PM
Ho hum ! When they get around to squirting the bolt down with Marvel Mystery oil or ATF (works good in very hot areas) they will be up to speed in the real world.:scrutiny:

BTW the shaving brush and Dri Slide worked in the Nam for me 40 years ago! But hasn't in the last 20 years for some odd reason!

Brigrat
August 12, 2007, 01:43 PM
I figured this out 12 years ago when I was in USMC boot camp. Light oil=problems by the end of a heavy day of firing...heavy oil=no problems all day, and easier to clean...

koja48
August 12, 2007, 03:34 PM
Have never used Marvel, but buy ATF & CLP by the drum . . . good old military . . . years of tradition sometimes unhampered by progress . . .

RockyMtnTactical
August 12, 2007, 04:18 PM
This is no surprise.

taliv
August 12, 2007, 04:22 PM
that's not a big surprise to me either. as i've stated before (particularly in bart's old "guess how old the bolt is" thread), i lube the crap out of all of my ARs except when shooting a supressor, because i just can't take the gas

kcmarine
August 12, 2007, 04:36 PM
Really? You don't say...

Bartholomew Roberts
August 12, 2007, 04:42 PM
Taliv, one thing that thread taught me is amount and type of lube plays a big difference in the amount of wear you see. I remember I guessed low by several thousand rounds when I was trying to guess your round count.

sacp81170a
August 12, 2007, 06:39 PM
“Dust chamber” tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., last year show that M16 rifles and M4 carbines perform dramatically better when the weapon’s bolt assembly is heavily lubricated.

At last! Official confirmation of what I've observed for many years. My measure of "adequate lubrication" is whether or not I get oil splattering from the bolt the first five or ten rounds. Never had one seize up or malfunction on me when I had that much oil on it. I've used CLP, LSA, even WD40, and AR's work vastly better when wet than when dry. The only reason I can think of for lubing lightly is so the guys at the armory won't get their pinkies dirty when they inspect your weapons at turn in. ;)

El Tejon
August 12, 2007, 06:41 PM
I've been running an AR wet since I started going to gun skul in '95. This is news?:uhoh:

Brigrat
August 12, 2007, 06:57 PM
Makes you wonder if the "light on the lube" myth stems from the Bean Counters trying to save money more so than actual research or best practice?

lamazza
August 12, 2007, 07:05 PM
will heavy lube work in the winter too?

El Tejon
August 12, 2007, 07:13 PM
Sure. Just use something designed for winter sports, Kellube or Slip2000's lube.

taliv
August 12, 2007, 07:35 PM
i'm fairly certain the "light lube" doctrine is based on the idea that the liquids trap dust and carbon and eventually turn into a think gunk that could cause problems.

i'm no 1911 guru, but my experience there has been the opposite: too much lube causes some slide velocity loss after a couple hundred rounds, and that eventually causes stovepipes.

what i'd like to know is what is it about those two platforms that gives me such opposite results?

JNewell
August 12, 2007, 07:40 PM
I've done a lot of training. The shooters whose rifles don't work reliably invariably have no or little lube.

oil splattering from the bolt the first five or ten rounds

That's been my MO for years and I think the only failure I've ever had was when an extractor wore out.

If you go back to earlier USA/USMC manuals, they recommend a fairly liberal use of lube. Nihil novum sub sole?

GunTech
August 12, 2007, 07:43 PM
I'd not the proviso "Dust chamber". I don;t think that means heavy lube in all occasions. I've found heavy lube to be a problem in Montana winters. Light lube worked just fine in western Oregon MG shoots. If I'm in a high dust environment, heavy lube seems like a pretty good idea. I just don;t buy the idea of one solution for everything.

I'd also like to see what lubes work best - light oils, heavy oils, grease, etc? I got much better results from stuff like LSA than from CLP.

DMK
August 12, 2007, 07:47 PM
what i'd like to know is what is it about those two platforms that gives me such opposite results?

Perhaps it's because the AR pipes hot gasses into the bolt carrier at high pressure. I'd imagine that could cause some of the lube to evaporate or burn off if applied sparingly.


i'm fairly certain the "light lube" doctrine is based on the idea that the liquids trap dust and carbon and eventually turn into a think gunk that could cause problems.The flipside of that argument is oil holds carbon and dust in suspension, allowing it to be washed or blown off by the rapid movement of the parts.

taliv
August 12, 2007, 07:48 PM
same here, guntech. i still use good old LSA. (admittedly, mostly because i bought a couple decade supply of it before i knew much about CLP)

sacp81170a
August 12, 2007, 08:28 PM
I've found heavy lube to be a problem in Montana winters.

That's where I've found WD40 works best. I've done lots of training in the winter at Ft. Guernsey in Wyoming and went to Brim Frost in '83. Using blanks on exercises seriously gums up the action, but not when you spray it down with WD40. I wouldn't store one with WD40 for protection, but when you want an AR to run at 60 below, squirt it with WD.

Fred Fuller
August 12, 2007, 08:50 PM
http://www.vickerstactical.com/Tips/weaponlubrication.htm

'Course, Larry Vickers don't know nothing about no M-16... 8^)

lpl/nc

docgary
August 12, 2007, 09:33 PM
taliv
Senior Member
Join Date: 10-23-04

"... i'm fairly certain the "light lube" doctrine is based on the idea that the liquids trap
dust and carbon and eventually turn into a think gunk that could cause problems..."
__________________
That's what every magazine and 'expert' says on the subject -
until the rifle jams just when you need it the most!

Since AR15's the only platform I use for the last 15 years, I live by the saying:
"Better to keep it wet and dirty than dry and clean".

In cold elements, 'Gun Butter" is a decent choice - a small 2/3 oz bottle been
lasting me 5 years with maybe 80% left! Does the job and doesnt collect much dirt.

docgary

Don't Tread On Me
August 13, 2007, 04:14 AM
I always run mine wet. Not to where they are dripping and oozing all over the place creating a puddle in my magazine, but to where there is definitely a wet look and plenty of oil there. None of this "thin coat" nonsense.

Anytime I put oil on real thin, it is gone after the 1st mag. Blasted off and burned off. I actually shoot my AR's to where they get very hot. None of this safe-queen stuff.

Now, I've run my AR's dry to experiment. Well, not dry but run them without cleaning them and the oil gets burned away and soaked up by the carbon to where the carrier and bolt does get dry. Nasty and crusty from hundreds of rounds of Wolf. They still run fine. Maybe I'm lucky. Maybe it is the quality rifles (Colt). Of course, I'm not in a desert either. Nor do I crawl through mud for a living. I do this to simply test and see what they can do and what they can't. They seem to be able to run fine even when not lubed for a long time and after having run a few hundred rounds through them (at least). Still, when they are nice and clean, and lubed up well - they run BETTER. Cycling is different. Hard to describe.


I got sick of putting on oil with traditional methods. I just blast it on with spray cans. Either CLP or Rem Oil works fine. Gets in every little space and goes on pretty thick and wet. Saves time. Just take out the bolt and carrier group and hose it down. Shoot some down the gas key, get some in the cam pin area. I've also done it by just locking the bolt carrier back and spraying the bolt face real well when I didn't have time to clean and was off to the range. That works too. Those are the lazy/fast ways. I usually do clean them and spray oil the parts separate when disassembled. It's always best to clean the rifle and lubricate it right using a normal cleaning procedure. Just illustrating from my perspective that it doesn't take some sort of special care to keep and AR running. What is so hard about hitting it up with some spray lube? Even if you are a slacker you can still keep and AR running for thousands of rounds with a few short blasts of spray oil on the bolt/carrier. It's not rocket science. If you're too lazy to even do that which takes 5 seconds before you're off to the range, you don't deserve to expect reliability from a firearm.

If you use it for anything serious, then you should invest a little time actually cleaning the rifle and lubing it nice and wet in a more thorough way through disassembly. Even then I still like sprays as they are easier.



Sorry, I know this thread is about military and research done. I just know that a lot of civilian/sporting shooters have issues with the AR-15 rifle because they simply don't lube it right. As sure as the sun rises each day, you can walk the line of a range and look at each AR and see from the ejection port that they aren't lubed enough.


Regardless of desert sand conditions or military use which is the context of this thread - regular civilian use of this rifle can be improved by running it wet.

GRIZ22
August 13, 2007, 06:04 AM
BTW the shaving brush and Dri Slide worked in the Nam for me 40 years ago! But hasn't in the last 20 years for some odd reason!

+1 for the Dri Slide Gordon. It also worked well as a penetrating oil when breaking tracks.

I've been using and teaching liberal application of CLP on ARs, M16s, and M4s for some time now. I also use a drippy application on the cam pin. I've done this since a nationally ranked shooter told me about it and the fact that if the cam pin is not lubed liberally it will wear fast.

Onmilo
August 13, 2007, 09:15 AM
And when that doesn't work, squirt some more oil in there,,,,,,,,:D

Kalashnikov
August 13, 2007, 10:31 AM
Personally I dont lube my M16 at all and its ran fine this whole deployment, save a couple magazine related failures (****ty gov mags).

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