Lubricating a Revolver


April 8, 2010, 07:20 PM
I am relatively new to revolvers but have been acquiring quite a few of them lately. On my autos I usually just clean with Hoppes 9 and add some Lucas Gun Oil to the rails.

On the revolvers, I dont know what to do... I mean, I wipe them down with Hoppes 9 but are there any areas that I should pay particular attention to? Should I be using some kind of gun grease instead of oil? Sorry for the newb questions but I'm out of my element as far as revolvers and want to keep my new acquisitions in good working and aesthetic condition.

BTW, I am talking about the following revolvers that I own: Smith M17-4, 686-3 Classic Hunter, 629-5, 19-3 snub nose, and a M57 no dash.

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April 8, 2010, 07:43 PM
I put some oil on the rod the revolver rotates on.
Spot of oil on bottom of hammer.
I guess you could oil the thing that locks the revolver.
Not much else to it..

April 8, 2010, 09:43 PM
I've always removed the sideplate (don't attempt this if you don't know how) especially on any new gun and put a few drops of oil on all moving parts. Lately the new ones from s & w that I have examined are bone dry and will benefit from some good gun oil.

April 8, 2010, 10:36 PM
Before I remove the sideplate, I usually remove the grips, and give the innards a big enema of Break-Free CLP.

Spray everything that has two moving parts that touch.

Spend a few minutes wiping the majority of the drippage and seepage.

Let sit for a couple days in cut-in-half milk jug. Work the action several times a day. Wipe seepage as it appears.

Remove sideplate if you feel like it, or if you are sure there is a lot of contamination inside there. Dab the dirty spots with paper towel and Q-tip. Used compressed air to blow crud out of any spots that are hard to reach with Q-tip.

Re-install grips when satisfied that seepage has ended.

Don't use WD-40 unless gun has been submerged.

April 8, 2010, 11:29 PM
Get a book and learn, find an old cop to show you, or pay a 'qualified' gunsmith to do it.

Back when they were standard Police issue, academy recruits learned to take down, clean, oil and reassemble their issued revolver. A lot of agencies had a cleaning session after range day, supervised by the dept armorer to make sure everyone 'got it together'.

(What I'm saying, in my kind way, is that if the average cop can do it, it's not rocket surgery. :D)

Smith and Wessons are not that difficult to do once you know how. BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE YOU START OR YOU WILL MESS SOMETHING UP!

Unless you drop your gun in a mud puddle, fall or jump in the lake or get caught in a torrential downpour, (I've done all the above, some more than once!) you should only need to be inside the gun once a year if you carry it daily. With just the occasional range trip you can get by with longer intervals. Use a quality oil.

ONE drop of oil each on the hammer pivot and trigger pivot. Less than one drop of oil on your finger to wipe down the trigger rebound slide. That is ALL the oil you need on the inside. One drop on your finger to wipe down the crane hinge, inside of the extractor rod and the cylinder arbor.

Clean the barrel and cylinder and wipe down the outside of the gun and you're good to go.

April 8, 2010, 11:59 PM
I think the average revolver person has never been & will never be inside his/her revolver.
Any yet these revolvers will continue to function during their lifetime & beyond.

April 9, 2010, 12:09 AM
I think the average revolver person has never been & will never be inside his/her revolver.
Any yet these revolvers will continue to function during their lifetime & beyond.

I think you are quite correct about that.

This one is 100 years old and still quite solid.

I'm thinking the sideplate didn't come off too often.

April 9, 2010, 12:10 AM
...and another that's a little newer

April 9, 2010, 08:04 AM
Cylinder and Slide has a write up that includes basic lubrication or a revolver here (

to quote:

Now we'll cover revolvers. First, most people don't take the side plates off of their revolvers when they clean them, so we'll cover that type of lubrication first. After you have cleaned your revolver's chambers, barrel, and external surfaces, a light coat of oil is recommended. The cylinder turns on a shaft that can be called the crane or yoke. You can put one or two drops of oil at the point that the cylinder and yoke join. Tip the revolver muzzle up as you apply the oil and rotate the cylinder after each drop. If you continue to hold the muzzle up and turn the cylinder for a few moments after you apply the oil, it will run to the rear of the moving surfaces.

Next, you can apply one drop to the hand that rolls the cylinder, while keeping the muzzle pointed upwards. Immediately after applying the oil, cycle the action several times. Open the cylinder again and put one drop of oil on the rear of the cylinder in the center where it turns against the frame. On S&W revolvers, there is an ejector rod lock up in the front of the ejector rod. Place one drop of oil into the end of the ejector rod. Once again, tipping the muzzle upwards and turning the cylinder will help spread the oil to the moving surfaces. With the cylinder closed, cock the hammer. Put two drops of oil along each side of the hammer while it's cocked. Now cycle the action twelve times double action to spread the oil, Turn the pistol upside down. Put two drops of oil on each side of the trigger. Now cycle the revolver twelve times while it is upside down to spread the oil. This is about as good a job of lubrication that can be done if you do not remove the side plate. If you do not remove the side plate at all, I would recommend that you have the pistol completely disassembled at least annually by a pistolsmith and thoroughly cleaned and lubricated. If you carry the revolver daily, the complete disassembly should be done semi-annually at a minimum.

If you can remove the side plate and do a complete disassembly of your revolver, you should do so every 500 rounds. In this case, you can use a light weapons grease on the internals. Again, a very light coating. Don't over do it, you're not greasing the front end of your car. You should also remove the cylinder from the yoke when you do the complete disassembly so that you can clean the yoke shaft and the inside of the cylinder area that turns on the yoke.

I think the main thing to remember is that a wheel gun does not need a lot of lubricant, and too much will just attract dirt and gum things up. I do basically what the middle paragraph above describes (a bit different on my rugers, since they field strip to exposed components in just a second), but I only do it once or twice a year, not every time I clean them after shooting. I think their "every 500" rounds comment is far too extreme. Perhaps every 5000 rounds or 10 years, or something like that. As mentioned by others, it really is not necessary to remove the side plate often as it is actually quite a well isolated environment in there.

P.S. environment may be a factor too - how humid it is where you are? on a warm coastal area? does your wheel gun get drenched in rain/snow often? Those kinds of things may make you want to inspect the internals more often then others.

Just One Shot
April 9, 2010, 08:09 AM

For a newb you sure stocked up quickly!

Nice set of revolvers you have there.


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