Anyone use gear oil for pistol lube?


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wbwanzer
August 9, 2012, 02:32 PM
I used to use oil (like CLP) to lube my pistols. I generally clean my guns shortly after shooting so that they're ready to go the next time I want to take one to the range. Then after a while I decided that oil can move and probably does as the gun sits in it's case for possinly months.

So for the last few years I've been using a synthetic grease that is good to +450 degrees F and -45 degrees. It seems fine except that I apply it with a Q-tip and don't seem to be able to get an even application applied to the rails.

So now I'm thinking, what about a heavier weight oil, like gear oil. I just saw some in the auto store. There were weights like 80W-90, 80W-115 and one even went to 135. Some of these were synthetic also. These should cling better than the CLP, I would think. So does anyone use gear oil or some other type of heavy weight oil on their pistols?

Thanks.

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M7
August 9, 2012, 03:00 PM
Gear oils have a lot of sulfur in them. When it heats up, it stinks. A lot.

I'd just go with something like regular 20w50. It is a lot less smelly and will do just as well.

wbwanzer
August 9, 2012, 03:39 PM
Thanks M7. I did not know that.

JTQ
August 9, 2012, 08:01 PM
I have a set of these bottles from Brownell's

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=44434/Product/NEEDLE-OILER-BOTTLES

One is filled with Break Free CLP, one has SLIP 2000, and the third has Mobil 1, 5W30. The Mobil 1, even at 5W30, is a whole lot thicker than the other two.
It seems fine except that I apply it with a Q-tip and don't seem to be able to get an even application applied to the rails.
When you rack the slide, the grease should spread evenly.

surfinUSA
August 9, 2012, 10:10 PM
Light viscosity mobile one is excellent. Dextron ATF is also supposed to be an excellent lubricant.

19-3Ben
August 9, 2012, 10:22 PM
I've had very good experience with Eezox. the stuff doesn't seem to migrate, or ever go anywhere. I sprayed it on a Mosin bolt and left that gun in the safe for about 2 years. When I took it out, the lube was still nice and evenly distributed.

bluethunder1962
August 9, 2012, 10:59 PM
M7 I was going to say the same thing. Even not hot gear oil stinks.

pearsonm
August 9, 2012, 11:03 PM
For what it's worth gear oil is an old school motorcycle chain lube. It flings but if used sparingly (one dab per roller) it's not bad. I've tried expensive stuff in cans but none work any better. Plus it's easy to clean with only kerosene, a brush and a rag. It definitely has a strong odor.

If I knew anything about chemistry I'd try the same stuff on my guns. I'm guessing kerosene may be a little aggressive on polymer. As with guns, WD-40 is controversial. I can't say I've had a problem with it, but it's still more expensive and doesn't do as good of a job so I only use it when I'm away from my garage.

Ditchtiger
August 9, 2012, 11:06 PM
I use gear oil to coat my rifle bores that have shot corrosive ammo.

M7
August 9, 2012, 11:40 PM
M7 I was going to say the same thing. Even not hot gear oil stinks.

Yes, it is stinky stuff.

Another concern that I have is that all that sulfur, if subjected to high humidity and heat, could form sulfuric and/or sulfurous acid in small amounts. Over time, that could really mean disaster. I can't prove the chemistry behind my suspicions because I don't know all of the compounds that are used in gear oil and I am not willing to take the gamble that I am wrong.

If I use motor oil, it is usually a synthetic 5w30- Mobil 1, Pennzoil, Castrol- it's all good.

Of course, it is best to play it safe and just go with Break Free CLP or LP. It's more than enough.

wbwanzer
August 10, 2012, 10:00 AM
If I use motor oil, it is usually a synthetic 5w30- Mobil 1, Pennzoil, Castrol- it's all good.

Of course, it is best to play it safe and just go with Break Free CLP or LP. It's more than enough.

I'm the OP. I agree with the above, I was just looking for a little heavier oil that would not migrate when not being used.

berettaprofessor
August 10, 2012, 10:29 AM
The grease you're putting on the rails will be better distributed after you rack the slide a few times upon reassembly. I use Super-Lube grease on rails too; various oils (CLP, Rem Oil, etc) for triggers and mag release buttons and safeties. I save the EEzox for long-term storage (smell makes the Mrs. mad and it's one of the few chemicals that I'm really afraid of long-term contact).

ApacheCoTodd
August 10, 2012, 10:40 AM
Generally too smelly for me and damn ear impossible to get outa clothes.

wbwanzer
August 10, 2012, 10:41 AM
I use Super-Lube grease on rails too....

Bingo! That's the one I have been using. I just need something a little narrower than a Q-tip to apply it.

I was thinking of using a light application of the heavier weight oil first and then a little Super-Lube.

Sam1911
August 10, 2012, 10:53 AM
Dextron ATF is also supposed to be an excellent lubricant.


That's pretty much what I use for cleaning and lubing every gun I own.

el Godfather
August 10, 2012, 01:05 PM
Sam
You mean the transmission fluid?

I do use motor oil in guns and was thinking to use transmission oil instead. Perhaps, I should.

Sam1911
August 10, 2012, 01:11 PM
Yes, I use store-brand Automatic Transmission Fluid (Dextron) for cleaning and lubrication. I don't believe it is any better than the various CLPs and special gun products on the market, but it works very well and costs almost nothing, comparatively speaking.

If I was using my guns under very harsh conditions, perhaps I'd want a more premium product, but I do shoot a lot of competitions and have run many of my guns over 1,000 rounds between cleanings and I've never had one fail due to poor lubrication.

(Well, I did once run a 1911 without doing anything to it at all, until it stopped returning to battery. The slide rails were so gummed up that the slide was very slow. But a few squirts of ATF oil got it back running again without taking it apart and cleaning.)

vba
August 10, 2012, 01:21 PM
For grease I use bicycle bearing grease. It is teflon based and "will not thicken when cold". This or sometimes white lithium grease. Though I like the former better. Both come in large tubes and are therefore economical.

el Godfather
August 10, 2012, 06:45 PM
Sam,
The tolerance on my Dan Vbob is very tight. It needs to be well lubericated to work flawlessly. Do you think ATF will work on it?

kcshooter
August 10, 2012, 06:56 PM
I use two parts ATF to one part 5-20 synthetic oil (with 2oz of lanolin per quart) for lube, and mix that same mixture (without the lanolin) 50/50 with kerosene for cleaning.

For carry, I use stuff designed for guns.

Gear lube? Too stinky. No way.

el Godfather
August 10, 2012, 07:23 PM
Isnt kerosene too rough?

How do we lessen the density of ATF so its not too sticky?

cuba
August 10, 2012, 07:29 PM
Interesting how many ways there is to skin a cat.

For year I used straight Dextron ATF to clean and lube, but recently I have been trying a mix of Mobil 1 and Marvel Mystery Oil, seems to work just as good.

shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun

kcshooter
August 10, 2012, 07:34 PM
Isnt kerosene too rough?No, and I believe it's CZ who's manual says use straight kerosene for cleaning. The very high detergent content of ATF works well with it. Kerosene really isn't harsh at all. I mean I wouldn't drink it or anything...

For years, I was one of those who would only use gun products too. But when you're cleaning 3-5 guns a week, sometimes twice a week, that stuff adds up fast.


I now mix my stuff using 2 qts of ATF and a qt of synthetic oil (I used to use 30wt but now use lighter 5-20), splitting that mixture in half, and then mixing the lanolin with the lube half and kerosene with the other half. That's about a year to a year and a half worth. I also buy the hardware store kerosene, not the stuff at the gas pump with the odor additive. Much lower odor, and when mixed, not at all offensive.

It's basically a version of Eds Red without the mineral and white spirits and acetone, which I do think might be getting towards the harsh end of the spectrum.


I've heard others using STP in the mix too, to thicken it up. I haven't gotten around to trying it yet, but I will be experimenting with a 50/50 ATF/STP mix soon.


I also mix a smaller amount of ATF and kerosene 50/50 to cut thru heavy carbon, like on AR bolts. Its very thin, but it brushes off the gunk in no time. None of the buildup thats usually on the tails of AR bolts on any of mine.

I've had an 8oz bottle of 50/50 ATF/oil in my range bag 2 years or more for lube on AR's when shooting hundreds and hundreds of rounds in a day, bet it's still half full.

If you're looking for a good grease but find wheel bearing grease too heavy, there is a Teflon-silicone lube made by Ford that is simply amazing. It was used a few years ago on my Ranger to pack the splines on the driveshaft yoke where it slides onto the transmission tailshaft to eliminate a clunking. It's sold by the pound which is about a pint, maybe a little less, and it was like $25, but it's got to be like a 10 year supply. I use it in a small syringe. If anyones interested, I can dig out the can and get a part number.

Wheel bearing grease is too thick for many peoples taste, but just to see how it would work, I mixed ATF into red hi temp bearing grease until it got to a thinner, more workable consistency, and that stuff actually worked really well too.

Drail
August 10, 2012, 07:57 PM
Gear oil is for....gears. It is designed for metal to metal wear with very high shear force loadings. Guns don't work like that. Gear oil is also a lousy rust preventative, as is motor oil. Kerosene is a very good solvent (yes it smells like kerosene) and Dexron ATF is a VERY good lube. I've used it in my shop for many years on all kinds of mechanisms. It will stay on an exterior door lock cylinder for a long time without turning into varnish. All of my 1911s run 100% on nothing but Dexron.

rjrivero
August 10, 2012, 09:14 PM
I use ATF on all my junk too. I thicken it up a bit with some STP OIL treatment.

bluethunder1962
August 10, 2012, 10:23 PM
M7 we must think alike. I love moble 1. I have been using it in all my trucks forever.
ATF is good for drills and files when using them for alum.

wrench
August 10, 2012, 10:53 PM
Must be a lot of auto mechanics in this bunch...:)
there is a Teflon-silicone lube made by Ford that is simply amazing

I've got a can of that, it's fantastic grease! My can will last me the rest of my life.
For lube, I've used Mobil 1, and ATF. Both worked great, no lube issues at all, from -20F to 100F.
A few months ago, I had 1/2 a quart of Mercon(ATF) on my bench, and ran across 1/2 a tube of engine assembly lube. I mixed them together, and have been using that on my pistols since maybe April??
Seems a little thicker than ATF alone, sticks to metal and stays where you put it, which is what engine assembly lube was designed to do. It'll be interesting to see what it does this winter.

kcshooter
August 10, 2012, 11:05 PM
Rereading that, I should have said Teflon-silicone grease, not lube. And yeah, it really is impressive. Put a dab and your finger, then try wiping it off, it'll stay slick no matter how much you try to get it all off.

M7
August 10, 2012, 11:22 PM
M7 we must think alike. I love moble 1. I have been using it in all my trucks forever.
ATF is good for drills and files when using them for alum.

Possibly so, blue.

I've used M1 (and some others) on my guns for longer than I care to think and I have never had a problem with corrosion or lubrication failure. Stick with a good synthetic (M1, Amsoil, Red Line, Eneos, etc.) and it's all good.

A lot of folks think that motor oils lack anti-corrosion and anti-rust additives, but they have lots of those along with AW/EP additives (ZDDP is the most common) and dispersants/detergents that keep contaminants in suspension and make clean-up a little easier.

Transmission fluid has less (in some cases a lot less) of all of these anti-corrosion, EP/AW, and dispersant/detergent additives since it serves in a less harsh environment, but some think that because ATF is red, it is somehow "mo bettah". It isn't- the red color is just from a different dye and the base stock is usually close to or the same as that used in motor oils- just has less of the anti-rust, EP/Aw and detergent additives described above. The pinkish stains it leaves behind on clothing are more noticeable, too.

STP (and similar products) is nothing more than a ploymeric thickening agent (the technical term is viscosity improver) that usually has a little extra ZDDP added to it for good measure. Nothing special there.

All of this is easily confirmed over on the BITOG 'site- lots of VOAs and UOAs over there that bears this all out. Just gotta know how to read 'em.

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 12:43 AM
Transmission fluid has less (in some cases a lot less) of all of these anti-corrosion, EP/AW, and dispersant/detergent additives That's not true. ATF has a very high detergent content, much higher than motor oil. It also has additives to increase it's shear strength, which allows it to leave a thinner and more consistent coating over metal surfaces. This is what causes the anticorrosion qualities to be high in ATF.

Consider the difference in Type-F ATF vs Mercon/Dexron ATF. The buffering additives in the Mercon/Dexron allow the transmissions clutch plates to engage without slamming, by resisting shear. Type-F has been called the "poor man's shift kit" because when used in a transmission designed for Mercon/Dexron, it allows much faster and harsher engagement of the plates.

There have been multiple tests on this using bare steel, and the ATF coated plates fare better than the motor oil coated ones when exposed to natural elements. If I can find one in particular, I'll post the link, as the results are pretty definitive.

Nothing wrong with Mobil 1, but the qualities of ATF that make it valuable as a firearm lube have nothing to do with color.

rcmodel
August 11, 2012, 12:51 AM
I still haven't figured out any reason not to use gun specific lubricants sold for the purpose.

I'm tight, and cheap, and all that.

But not tight & cheap enough to buy my gun oil in quart engine oil cans at the auto parts store!!

I couldn't live long enough to use a quart of oil on all the guns in my 50+ gun collection if I lived another 50 years.

Which I won't.

Anyway, old oil in a dirty quart bottle I had for years is not as good for my guns as a fresh clean bottle of gun oil every few years.

rc

Zerodefect
August 11, 2012, 01:04 AM
Gun specific lubes are just auto lubes mixed in the basement of Moms gunstore. Nothing that can't be duplicated or improved on.

ATF, STP, Mobile1 mixed evenly.

Then add wheel bearing grease to thicken it if you want to. I make everything from light thick oil, to ketchup thick oil. Ketchup thick works best on my 1911s, Glocks, and Ar15's. Haven't noticed any winter problems, or dirt problems yet.

tuj
August 11, 2012, 11:49 AM
Pardini (the makers of the guns you see being used in the Olympics) supposedly recommends ATF fluid on their guns. Those guys need flawless reliability (otherwise 4 years of hard work is ruined with a malfunction), and it seems to work.

I've used Mobil 1 to good effect, but generally like Hoppes gun oil.

Snag
August 11, 2012, 12:10 PM
Gear oil would be my last choice out of any automotive fluids. Besides being heavy weight it stinks to high heaven and depending on who makes it there's added friction modifiers and stuff.

ATF is the cleanest of all. Has lots of detergent and anti-foaming things added.

If I had to use regular oil I would pick a straight weight synthetic.

That being said I use gun oil for guns, and automotive oil for vehicles. I seriously doubt anyone here would use gun oil in their engine, why should it be any different the other way around.

Sam1911
August 11, 2012, 12:18 PM
I seriously doubt anyone here would use gun oil in their engine, why should it be any different the other way around.
Well, that's not really a "fair" comparison. Automotive oils have to deal with conditions no gun ever, ever, EVER has to operate under and often must keep that up for years at a time.

All a gun oil really has to do is keep the metal from riding directly on other metal, keep moisture off the metal, and maybe keep fouling up in suspension. 'Most any oil will do that ok. Heck, I'd be pretty confident using olive oil if I had to!

But automotive oils have extremely difficult and specific jobs that gun oils just aren't made to handle.

Snag
August 11, 2012, 12:34 PM
Well, that's not really a "fair" comparison.

I know it's not fair. :D

All I was getting at was, like you mentioned, gun oil would be unsuited to use in a car for many reasons and, in my opinion, auto oils are overkill for guns.

tarosean
August 11, 2012, 12:38 PM
^ I do wonder if the additives/chemicals could degrade polymers over time. If people are putting these automotive oils on their poly guns.

Walking Dead
August 11, 2012, 12:55 PM
^ I do wonder if the additives/chemicals could degrade polymers over time. If people are putting these automotive oils on their poly guns.
Most auto oils won't harm plastics and polymers. There are as many plastic and polymer parts in engines as there are guns now days.

brickeyee
August 11, 2012, 01:04 PM
Gear oil is for....gears. It is designed for metal to metal wear with very high shear force loadings

And often a nice package of high pressure additives, like the ones that stink of sulfur.

If you ever sit down and compute the pressure loading on things like a differential pinion gear the numbers are VERY high.

Large force over small contact area produces very high loading.

If you want something thicker find a temperature stable grease and use sparingly.

Mobil 1 grease works well.

There are some VERY expensive greases for use in very cold environments, but they are painfully expensive ad overkill for any place you wold be alive.

PO2Hammer
August 11, 2012, 01:06 PM
A small, stiff artist brush works like a charm to spread grease on the rails.
Slide Glide Lite is fantastic on rails. Stays put, no smell and even my rimfire pistols will cycle with it.

Snag
August 11, 2012, 01:07 PM
There are as many plastic and polymer parts in engines as there are guns now days.

Really? I'm sitting here trying to think of a current production vehicle that uses plastic or polymer as a major engine component and coming up blank.

MachIVshooter
August 11, 2012, 01:38 PM
Really? I'm sitting here trying to think of a current production vehicle that uses plastic or polymer as a major engine component and coming up blank.

Intake manifolds, valve covers, timing covers, oil pans, windage trays, timing chain guides, water pump impellers........there's a pretty extensive list these days. Some even use composite timing chain sprockets to keep noise down. Polymers have come a long way in being able to resist heat and deformation.

Sam1911
August 11, 2012, 01:48 PM
and, in my opinion, auto oils are overkill for guns. Ahhh, I see, and you're absolutely right!

My view of this is I can buy a quart of cheap ATF for less than $5 (or I could back when I bought the case I still have half of) or I could buy a 4 or 10 OUNCE bottle of "super bug snot gun oil (with teflon)" for only a few dollars more than that! :)

I hope that stuff is overkill, too! But I only need so much overkill, and I like cheap, good stuff.

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 01:55 PM
Intake manifolds, valve covers, timing covers, oil pans, windage trays, timing chain guides, water pump impellers........there's a pretty extensive list these days.Yep. Not to mention transmissions which also have chains, guides, buffers, and many other internal parts made of plastics.

TreeDoc
August 11, 2012, 05:14 PM
You can use anything in a pinch, seen my grand dad use diesel in an old auto that was acting up. It's all that was available at the time and it worked. I try not to out think engineers and gun designers and go with cleaners and lubes they prescribe and leave the automotive products to autos.

Walking Dead
August 11, 2012, 05:38 PM
Really? I'm sitting here trying to think of a current production vehicle that uses plastic or polymer as a major engine component and coming up blank.
You didn't really think these the gun company's come up with these fancy materials, coatings and processes did you? This stuff trickles down from aerospace and automotive.

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 05:44 PM
This stuff trickles down from aerospace and automotiveYep, as do the lubricants.

Sam1911
August 11, 2012, 06:42 PM
Yeah. Special gun lubricants are all marketing hype. Nothing wrong with it, but they're choosing from the same lists of lubricant componants, bases, and additives that all lube manufacturers use. They pick a few, mix them up, decide if it smells like gun oil, and come up with a good label and ad campaign -- then charge enough that people think it must be awesome stuff! :)

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 09:05 PM
I try not to out think engineers and gun designers and go with cleaners and lubes they prescribe and leave the automotive products to autos. You aren't.
A 4oz bottle of the (newly-Winchester-branded) Breakfree CLP is about $8 bucks. A 32oz (8 times as much) bottle of Mercon ATF is $5.
One will not outperform the other on a firearm.


(One will outperform the other in an automatic transmission.)




Like I said, even CZ manuals say (or used to say) use kerosene to clean with. You're not out thinking the engineers and designers, you're out thinking yourself.

rhinoh
August 11, 2012, 10:03 PM
ATF is NOT high in detergency and is much less so than motor oil despite a claim here to the contrary.
ATF is high in dispersants a whole different thing than detergents.
Go here http://www.texlube.com/oilmyths.htm and read myth #12.

Oh- and it isn't Dextron, it is Dexron. There many different ATF specs now unlike years ago when there were just 2 or 3.

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 10:12 PM
ATF is high in dispersants a whole different thing than detergents.No, they aren't much different at all, and in most cases, you will see transmission fluid detergents and dispersants generally referred to as "detergent/dispersant". It's customarily easier and accepted to just refer to them categorically as detergents rather than make the distinction in most situations that they would come into discussion, such as this.
They perform the same function in this case, lifting and encasing the carbon particulates. The end result, especially in reference to usage in firearms, is the same.
The ester vs paraffin differences in the two fluids makeup also account for some of the cleaning properties of ATF.


There many different ATF specs now unlike years ago when there were just 2 or 3. Very true, and I don't have any info regarding the new ones, including any of the CVT specific fluids.
If you're using an ATF on your guns, stick to Mercon/Dexron.

rhinoh
August 11, 2012, 10:15 PM
Most auto oils won't harm plastics and polymers. There are as many plastic and polymer parts in engines as there are guns now days.
Really? I'm sitting here trying to think of a current production vehicle that uses plastic or polymer as a major engine component and coming up blank.
Nothing was mentioned about vehicles only or only major components.

Some Honda and Briggs&Stratton engines now have plastic camshafts.

Many engines use plastic valve covers, Nissan comes to mind.

I've seen plastic thermostat housings on Toyotas also.

rhinoh
August 11, 2012, 10:26 PM
No, they aren't much different at all, and in most cases, you will see transmission fluid detergents and dispersants generally referred to as "detergent/dispersant". It's customarily easier and accepted to just refer to them categorically as detergents rather than make the distinction in most situations that they would come into discussion, such as this.
They perform the same function in this case, lifting and encasing the carbon particulates. The end result, especially in reference to usage in firearms, is the same.
The ester vs paraffin differences in the two fluids makeup also account for some of the cleaning properties of ATF.
May want to go here-http://books.google.com/books?id=YTa5TsL0KnIC&pg=PA225&lpg=PA225&dq=dispersant+vs+detergent&source=bl&ots=lLO35OGgZW&sig=-mikmA8vVvO1zzUGI1PUbInFngk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=dgUnUMAw4ZDrAfm1gMgO&ved=0CHgQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=dispersant%20vs%20detergent&f=false and read the second sentence of 7.3.1.
It states the chemistry of dispersants and detergents are markedly different.
I do agree their functions are similar and they are often used together. But they aren't the same thing. I don't customarily make technical errors when it comes to chemistry.

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 10:32 PM
I don't customarily make technical errors when it comes to chemistry.However, you do miss some stuff when it comes to reading comprehension. Please note this part of the same sentence of mine you chose to highlite:
in most situations that they would come into discussion, such as this.
We aren't talking about chemistry, we're talking about firearms lubrication.

You stated that they are a whole different thing. As far as this discussion goes, that isn't correct. Regarding firearms lubrication, they perform the same function, as you yourself admit.

rhinoh
August 11, 2012, 10:41 PM
I did not say "Regarding firearms lubrication, they perform the same function, as you yourself admit." I wrote they perform SIMILAR functions. Don't lecture me on reading comprehension when YOU cannot get it right.

I did not bring the chemistry of the oils into the discussion, others did. I was merely correcting the COMMON misconception that ATFs are high in detergent which they are NOT. That is a truth and it stands as far I'm concerned. Guess my 5 years on a university chemistry staff dealing with post grads should have taught me more on dealing with difficult people, instead of just technical correctness..
Good DAY SIR!

kcshooter
August 11, 2012, 11:02 PM
I don't have a degree in chemistry, so I wouldn't think to argue that with you. I will concede that in a chemistry lab or academia, they aren't the same. But that isn't what we are dealing with here, so it's moot.

I will, however, argue the practical application as it is being discussed here, as I do have sufficient knowledge in this arena, regarding both firearms and automotive lubricants.


I don't think the fact that I didn't quote your exact words diminishes from their meaning.Definition of SIMILAR
1: having characteristics in common : strictly comparable
2: alike in substance or essentials : corresponding
I will amend the sentence, then to this:
Regarding firearms lubrication, they perform a strictly comparable function, as you yourself admit.

Good day, indeed.

Sam1911
August 12, 2012, 12:12 AM
Oh good grief.

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