Lubricating Lever Actions


August 12, 2013, 09:31 PM

Do these guns like to be saturated with oil like a 1911? Or do they prefer just oil on the moving parts? I have a Marlin 336 and Rossi 92.

Any of you use grease instead?

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Jeff H
August 12, 2013, 09:46 PM
Lever guns were created in an era where grease was the primary lubricant. I can't tell you if the modern renditions are made the same way, but I do use primarily grease on my 92 and it works well, but to be honest, I run the gun pretty dry most of the time. Just a hint of grease on the locking bolts and maybe a squirt of oil or Remoil on the interior parts every once in a while.

When I do break the gun down for a major cleaning, I do grease the parts, but that is not very often.

August 12, 2013, 09:52 PM
A thin coat of oil is all you need. Too much will soak into the wood. You are working the action so a little goes a long way.

August 12, 2013, 09:57 PM
Oil the moving parts very sparingly.

Excess oil will run down out of the action and soak into the butt-stock wood ruining it, while standing in a gun safe or cabinet.

Truth be known, a lot of them ran dry for a long long time in a saddle scabbard or settlers house.

Too much oil not only ruins stocks, but gums up the action with dust & dirt.

I have restored several 100 year old Winchester pumps and lever-actions that worked perfectly.

And it was a rare occasion to find any trace of lube inside them.


August 12, 2013, 11:38 PM
I find they work a little smoother with some oil, but it doesnt take much. I tend to oil them, cycle the action a bit, then wipe off all the oil I can from the parts with a rag or paper towel. Whats left is generally plenty. Too much can dry and gum up, collect dust, and thicken up in winter causing sluggish function or no firing if enough oil in the wrong places and cold enough.

Long ago, I believe the best oil was sperm whale oil. I've heard that the closest thing today is probably ATF as far as oil quality, though ATF may be thinner oil.

August 12, 2013, 11:42 PM
A couple drops of oil should take care of it.
More than that, and you're using too much.

High-tech greases are OK, but they won't loosen fouling on an extractor.

August 12, 2013, 11:52 PM
Remoil very Sparingly applied, that's about it. Driving around in an open jeep on the property kicks up a LOT of dust. Oil and dust don't play well.

August 13, 2013, 12:00 AM
I've got a Win. 94 Big Bore, .375 cal. , I use just a tad bit of Gun Butter, in the bottle with the needle attached. I reach into it with the needle to just put a "hint" of the Butter between moving parts, then maybe the same on the sliding bolt, that it ! I did this one time when I first got it 21 years ago, not a bit since then, lever still fly's also !

August 13, 2013, 12:29 AM
My Rossi 92 is pretty slick the way it is, so maybe just some light oiling will be good for me.

August 13, 2013, 11:46 PM
Win 94 and a Marlin 375, never oiled either one of them.
been shooting the Marlin for 7 years, the Winny about 6 months. I do clean them after shooting,
and some solvent does slide into the cracks and crevices. I believe that's enough lube for as much as I shoot them.

August 14, 2013, 01:38 AM
I use grease on my Rossi 92. The action has been slicked up for cowboy shooting and a light film of synthetic grease simply turns good into FANTASTIC. Also the grease doesn't flow and wick into the wood like oil.

Over time even though there's no blowback into the action it gets grungy enough that I take things down to clean out the action and magazine tube. That seems to work out to be about once a year.

August 14, 2013, 04:14 AM
When cleaning I use the normal amount of G96 and then wipe clean, store dry. Before getting ready to shoot it, I dab maybe 2 drops of Rem oil on my finger and run it over the bolt. Ready to go after that.

August 14, 2013, 07:38 AM
Truth be known, the lever action was developed before Mobil 1 was developed. Also didn't have heart bypass surgery and antibiotics back then. I use Mobil 1 sparingly for lubing all my firearms, regardless of action. The fact that bear fat might have been used in the 1800s is irrelevant to a decision nowadays about picking a good lube.

Also, truth be known, anybody with half-a-brain will store their long guns with wooden stocks muzzle-down. I've known that little tidbit for decades!! :cool:

August 14, 2013, 09:24 AM
I use tetra grease on the bolts in both my Rossi Rio Grande and my 92. The rest I simply lightly oil. I do the same for my auto feeders, grease the slide rails and oil the rest. I like tetra grease as a little goes a long way and holds up well between cleanings also. It doesn't attract dirt as other greases do either since you spreed it them buff it.

August 14, 2013, 02:17 PM
Even my 464 doesn't like buckets of oil. Starts to have load issues.

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