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Oiling cartridges

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Macpherson, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Macpherson

    Macpherson Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    I currently have a Yugo SKS that does NOT like Wolf steel cased ammunition. It consistently fails to eject the spend cases and usually requires some yanking on the bolt to get the case out...occasionally requiring a serious whack or two to get the darn thing open again. (I have cleaned the chamber extensively and replaced the gas valve, so I don't think it's a problem with the gas system.)
    I tried using some brass ammunition and it cycled almost flawlessly, so my theory is that the steel cases are seizing in the chamber while the smoother and softer brass cases slide out and are ejected more readily. It was suggested to me by a friend that I try using some motor oil to lightly oil the steel cases prior to firing, to add "slipperyness" to them. Has anyone else heard of this idea, and if so is there any problem with using plain motor oil or should something else be used (i.e gun oil)?

    HOLY DIVER Senior Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    brass fires allmost flawlessly?every sks i ever fired would chew up and spit out steel cased ammo with no prob......i'm no gunsmith....but i'd take your rifle to one
  3. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Senior Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Oiling the case of a rifle cartridge is a good way to get hurt. When any rifle fires the case expands for a micro second and adheres to the walls of the chamber. Then it springs back and can be ejected. This seals the gases on the right side of things and makes sure your headspace is not changing during the firing process.
  4. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Don't lube the cases!!!

    Macpherson--When a cartridge gun is fired, the chamber pressure forces the sides of the cartridge against the walls of the chamber, sealing the gases in. If the cartridge is lubed, the cartridge just slips to the rear, putting all the pressure of the firing on the bolt face.

    This is not a good thing to do to a bolt face. The gases may be able to escape and come rearward (toward YOUR face!), or the bolt may seal the chamber, but at the cost of enduring more wear and tear from the high pressure.

    That's why it is NEVER a good idea to allow any oil or grease in the chamber of a firearm.

    I agree w/000Buckshot--An SKS that won't happily shoot steel-cased ammo--as well as brass--all day long has a real problem. They were designed to shoot steel-cased ammo. Get ye to a gunsmith with the SKS pronto.

    And please give us a report on what he says.
  5. Rshooter

    Rshooter Senior Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    Greasing of rounds has a interesting history and is blamed for some of the bursting of 1903 chambers. Bad idea. It is blamed for not letting the casing expand and seal the chamber allowing some of the cup pressure to exit back against the bolt. :eek:

  6. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Lexington, IL
    I think if it was me I'd probably give the chamber a good thorough cleaning before taking it to a gunsmith to see if that fixes your problem. I've had some of that steel cased stuff leave nasty deposits in the chamber and I'm betting that it's just sticking to the steel more than the brass.

    Just my .02

  7. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Senior Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Clean the crap out of your chamber.
  8. Swampy

    Swampy Member

    Apr 1, 2003
    SouthWest MO

    Oiling cartridges is very bad ju-ju.... both for the firearm and possibly for you as well.

    One word....... Don't.

  9. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Elgin, Arizona
    One more vote for cleaning the chamber.
  10. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Senior Member

    Feb 1, 2004
    Boise, ID
    Here is why everyone is saying to clean the chamber...

    Some com-block ammo has a lacquer coating. As the rifle heats up, the coating becomes soft and rubs off in the chamber. After several hundred rounds, it will leave a fine coating over the entire chamber. Now, when the rifle cools back down, the coating hardens. This does two things. Makes the chamber slightly smaller and leave a sticky film that is very hard to get out. Brass will still function because it is flexible enough to cycle through. Steel will have a much harder time because it doesn’t flex as much and is coated. You actually have the coating on the case bond to the coating in the chamber and this is why you have to pound the bolt open. If it was a faulty valve, the bolt would open as normal when you manually actuate it.

    Now, what to do about it? Since you mentioned a gas valve, I will say you are using a Yugo SKS. This rifle should not have a chrome bore and thus you have to be a bit more careful. You have two methods, heat or chemical.

    You can heat the rifle up by firing then immediately pull the dust cover and bolt assy and hit the chamber with an oil soaked chamber brush and clean thoroughly. Then dry the bore, reassemble and all should be fine. FYI, some ranges will object to you cleaning while on the firing line.

    The other is to use a very strong solvent to remove the coating. Clean like normal, and spend lots of time in the chamber. Use a good bore light, the bore should end up a bright polished silver color. If it has a green or brown tint, there is still lacquer on it. Once clean, lightly oil the chamber and bore, let soak and then wipe excess oil out.

    Try this and let us know how it goes.
  11. Full Clip

    Full Clip Member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Burbank, CA
    I will say he's got a Yugo because he says "I currently have a Yugo SKS that does NOT like Wolf steel cased ammunition."

    Get out a bore light and check not only for goopy buildup but for any possible burrs that may be hanging up the steel cases. Inspect your brass as well for any odd expansion or other marks.
  12. Bwana John

    Bwana John Senior Member

    Sep 10, 2004
    Northern AZ
    I was very suprised at MG shoots to see shooters lubing whole belts for crew served weapons.

    The MGs did run better when the ammo was lubed, but I didnt like the idea.
  13. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Different application, Bwana John.

    As a matter of fact, many machine gun designs had integral cartridge oilers, aiding in feeding and extraction of rounds in combat conditions. Google the Hotchkiss and Breda, among others.

    They were also designed to handle the extra bolt thrust of oiled ammunition.

    Bottom line: Good for machine guns, bad for Yugo SKS and other rifles not designed for that application. ;)
  14. Macpherson

    Macpherson Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    Many thanks for the replies all, I will not proceed further down the cartridge-oiling path. I had heard of this being done with machine guns but didn't realize that it could have vastly different results in a rifle :what:

    A dirty chamber was the first thing I suspected as well, so I cleaned the bore as well as I thought possible, to include using carb cleaner and several bore cleaners in succession combined with attaching a bore brush to a cordless drill and letting it spin in the chamber for several seconds. Even after all that the chamber is still not very shiny, so I will try cleaning the chamber while it's hot next time.

    I had noticed some scratches and dents on the empty cases on occasion, but I didn't have the presence of mind to save any. Weather permitting I will take it shooting again this weekend and report back with results.
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    Oiling cartridges? No way! Your SKS is the problem. My guess is there's a burr or a warble in there that's catching on the steel cases. Clean the chamber really really well and if it still refuses to functoin with wolf you can take it to a gunsmith or just use brass cases. A properly functioning and cleaned SKS should not have this problem though.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    Good for machineguns designed 75 - 100 years ago.
    Not so much anymore though!

    Just don't do it!


    NORTEXED Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Wichita Falls, Texas
    Try some brake cleaner on the patch to remove residue, and as a last resort, mark a cleaning rod at a depth from the chamber that is at or almost at the neck, wrap some 0000 steel wool around the end of the cleaning rod and spin slowly with a variable speed drill to just polish the chamber. Clean well again, oily patch it then dry patch it a couple of times.
  18. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Senior Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    Something is wrong with the SKS. I would suspect a bad chamber.

    A smith can make a cast of it to check, or look for a repeating defect in fired cases.

    The French AA-52 machinegun also likes oiled or greased cartridges, but then again it's blowback operated. BSW
  19. LeibstandarteAdH

    LeibstandarteAdH Member

    Apr 8, 2007
    South Carolina (Midlands)
    to help things out:
    Also, on an action and a round like that a little oil wont hurt, i have used that trick on a WASR-2 in 5.45x39.5 with good results for the same problem described, excessive cartridge friction leading to jams, that is just a crutch for a REAL PROBLEM Though.

    Id be willing to bet your rifle is not all matching. You have a leakey gas system, and most liely, a gas tube that it too short, or the distance it has to cover to be "tight" is too long, one or the other. Ive seen it a hundred times with mismatched SKS's at InterOrdnance
  20. Bad Penny 03

    Bad Penny 03 Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    Too much oil, in the wrong places, tends to heat up and find its way onto the shooter in one way or another.
    Aside from all the issues mentioned, hot oil spraying on you probably isn't a good thing.
    When I was in my early 20's I fired a 1911 I had just taken out of storage and cleaned. I neglected to clean the very light coating of oil out of the bore and chamber I had put on with a patch (2 or 3 drops on a patch, not much) before storage.
    After firing a few rounds through it on the first magazine I had an oily case eject, hit the wall, and go down my shirt...it stuck to the skin and sizzled. I instinctively tugged at my shirt to knock it out, I figured it fell out as usual... but what I didn't realize is that it had stuck. The pain increased...I put my weapon down...pulled my collar down and tore the case off my chest. I have a little triangular scar there now to remind me to keep the bore ( and ammo) bone dry...even a slight amount of oil were it doesn't belong can be painful.

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