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Ballistol Effectiveness on Handgun Finish Long-Term

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by CavalierLeif, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. CavalierLeif

    CavalierLeif Member

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    Hi all,

    I love to have brands that work and stick to them ... that’s been an American romanticism for quite a while. We love names we can use for years that continue to work, and work well.

    With regards to handguns, up until recently I’ve had all Glocks and SS S&W revolvers and semis aside from the odd milsurp grab that I keep clean and leave in the safe. I’ve used Ballistol almost exclusively on all of my firearms to great effect. Branching into the world of 1911s, I bought a Kimber Tactical Pro II. It’s been reliable through the past 500+ rounds of various FMJ I’ve put through it without a hiccup - but the finish occasionally develops spots of rust through carrying and exposure to life. I have a Remington 870 Express I’ve had since I was a kid that has a similar issue when exposed to moist climates, such as when camping - it’ll develop surface rust, but it comes off pretty quick with a Ballistol’ed rag. For the surface rust the Kimber develops, the same remedy works in a pinch though I always catch it fast.

    What I was considering, though - is the metal conditioning. When it comes to the Kimber finish, two things: long-term, over time and repeated application, does the metal eventually absorb the properties of the oil to provide a better resistance to the environment; and, what do you find best to maintain the finish for regular use to minimize rust?

    Many thanks,
    Leif
     
  2. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    For what it is worth I've found both Kimber and Remington to have some of the poorer finishes I've encountered in the gun world.

    I use Ballistol primarily and despite basement flooding this summer/spring/fall (it's been a crazy wet year!) I haven't had any issues on my guns.
     
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  3. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Eezox
     
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  4. sigarms228

    sigarms228 Member

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    My own testing showed that Ballistol was just so so in preventing rust and it may be fine in most cases but I found other products work better. I really like Breakfree CLP for rust protection and just a little does the job with a cotton patch lightly most with it and rubbing on exterior metal. Just enough to make a sheen on the metal or finish does the job. Eezox is better yet but you need to follow directions and let it dry after applied for best protection and because of that I find Breakfree CLP is more convenient for firearms I handle fairly frequently including CCW pistols. With Breakfree CLP spray, which I use, follow directions and shake the can well before using.
     
  5. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I don't believe metal absorbs any product. Repeated use does ensure there is a product on the metal.

    Lots of folks like to clean with degreasers, which of course, will strip all the oil off the metal. If that is your procedure, you really need to make sure you coat the metal again.

    A key point about Kimber 1911's is while their barrels may look like they are stainless, most are simply unfinished carbon steel.
     
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  6. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Eezox if you are in an area where high humidity is a factor; Breakfree CLP works well everywhere else.
     
  7. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have found some cheap, effective alternatives to many traditional cleaning and lubrication products that are "out of the box" thinking. For CLEANING "good" firearms, I use MPRO7 gun cleaner. It is an effective solvent that I buy by the gallon, and use for removing carbon/powder residue, and is virtually odor free. For cleaning "clunkers" (like that old AR that I fire thousands of round of Tula through, the old SKS, etc.) I use carb cleaner from auto zone. For lubrication of internal "moving parts" I use white lithium grease, also from auto zone, applied with a q tip. This stuff does wonders in things like AR bolt carriers, as it is very sticky and does not evaporate or fly out when the gun is fired. Even when it gets nasty from firing, it stays in the gun and continues to function as a grease. We used the lithium grease in our M4s and machine guns in afghanistan- a very hot and dusty environment where the weapons were subjected to high round counts, and it worked great. For exterior metal finishes and rust prevention, I use whatever generic motor oil is on sale, also from auto zone. I apply this with a small paint brush.
     
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  8. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

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    Using modern industrial lubricants is often better, because they aren't chasing special magic of guns. They just work, and their properties are well known. You aren't going to have issues like Slide Glide turning to stone. One caveat though: if the gun is not shot regularly, you don't want lithium grease on it, because over time lithium grease oxidizes. Use aluminum grease instead.
     
  9. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Ain't no doubt that motor oil and axle grease will do a fine job preventing rust. However, neither are products that I want on guns that I am going to be handling, rubbing against my clothes, putting on my truck seat, laying on the couch or bed and so on.
     
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  10. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart Member

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    Used everything and always come back to Ballistol. And it works great for Rust Protection unless you expect it to stay outdoors for a week. My guns look great and so do wood stocks. One thing great about Ballistol is the fact that it does not gum up or harden, ever.No worry about striker channels turning to crap like other products.
     
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  11. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Barricade and RIG are the best rust inhibitors. Ballistol is second-rate and, besides, it smells terrible. :barf:
     
  12. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    Best solution is to move to a dryer climate. Short of that I've used MilSpc LSA and Breakfree/CLP for years with no particular problems. They are not fool proof rust preventatives but as someone said earlier if applied regularly they will protect.

    I discovered Ballistol shooting black powder cartridge guns. It works fine in that application and those gun have the potential to rust quickly. I wouldn't hesitate to use it on modern, smokeless firearms.

    Dave
     
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  13. Outlaw75

    Outlaw75 Member

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    Ballistol, like most older style gun oils (Remoil, Outer's, Hoppe's, etc.) is mostly mineral oil. OP may have better luck with synthetic based oils. I know quite a few people who use Mobil1 as a general gun lube. It's base ingredient is pretty much the same as you find in lubes like Break Free, plus a quart from Auto Zone/Advance/Oreilly's will last a long time.
     
  14. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart Member

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    FYI


    Ballistol Part 1

    courtesy of John Lindsey



    "In 1913 Messrs. Kolb, a Philadelphia corporation submitted Ballistol to the "War Department's" Springfield Armory for T&E. Ballistol was tested on several firearms and Ordnance Captain Ramsey notified Messrs. Kolb by end of April 1914 that Ballistol had been found to be far superior to the Cosmoline used at the time by the US Army for firearms maintenance. Kolb was encouraged to submit a proposal in response to the Army's next RFP. However, in the Fall of 1914 the Austrian Army marched into Serbia and WWI began. Since January 01, 1993, Ballistol has been marketed exclusively by the former Washington Trading Company, now called Ballistol, USA. In 1993 the Navy’s Seal Team 6 tested Ballistol and adopted it in 1994 for weapon maintenance. The US Coast Guard began using Ballistol in 1994. Today Ballistol is used by numerous state and local law enforcement departments and departments of correction throughout the US. For Federal Agencies, Ballistol is available through the Defense General Supply Center (DGSC) of the Defense Logistics Agency. The CAGE Code for Ballistol is "OZKM2". Inquire about the NSN,s for Ballistol sizes.

    Lubrication

    Ballistol is a far better lubricant than most, if not all, other so-called gun oils. Test it by putting Ballistol on your right index finger and another product on your left index finger and by rubbing your index fingers against your thumbs. You will find that Ballistol is significantly slicker than competing products. Then clean your hands and again rub each index finger against the thumb. You will find that the finger which had the Ballistol is still slicker. Now wash both hands with soap and rub again. The finger with Ballistol will will still be slicker. This proves that Ballistol lubricates not only better but also more long-lasting than other products.

    Even if you mix Ballistol with water, for example one part Ballistol and ten parts water, Ballistol will still be slick. Ballistol is the only gun oil which does not lose its capability to lubricate in the presence of water! Ballistol can be used on dry and wet metal, leather and wooden stocks. If you are out hunting and you get caught in that torrential downpour and you do not have the opportunity or time to take your gun apart and dry and clean and lubricate it, do not worry! Just soak it with Ballistol, lock, stock and barrel. Wipe off the excess oil and carry the gun home. Water will not affect metal, wood or leather in the presence of Ballistol for quite a while.

    One of the worst sins of most common 'gun oils' is that they gum up and harden relatively fast. They become sticky and gluey and can dangerously interfere with the proper mechanical function of a firearm. Ballistol will positively never gum up or harden. In 1952 a bottle with Ballistol, with the cap only loosely attached, was found in the attic of a deceased German hunter. Also the purchase voucher was found. It could be established that the Ballistol had been sitting there for over 30 years. Yet, it still had the consistency of freshly produced Ballistol. It is fairly obvious but not too well known that if a gun oil gums up or hardens inside the bore and/or bolt mechanism, this may not only interfere with the proper mechanical functioning of certain components but it might also throw off the gun’s zero.

    For hand loaders: Ballistol is an excellent case sizing lubricant. Cases won’t get stuck in the re-loading dies and when you wipe them off, they will be cleaned of dirt and oxide.

    Part 2

    Corrosion Inhibition

    There is more than one type of corrosion. Common corrosion is oxidation, a chemical reaction between ferrous metals and the oxygen contained in air and water. Rust is the best example for this type of corrosion. But there are also other types of corrosion, such as acidic corrosion, galvanic corrosion and stress corrosion. Salt water corrosion is a combination of oxidation and acidic and galvanic corrosion. It is virtually impossible to stop corrosion completely. Corrosion happens, albeit very slowly. It is, therefore, more honest to speak about inhibiting corrosion rather than stopping or preventing it. Ballistol is mildly alkaline (pH between 8.5 and 9.5). Therefore, it is capable of neutralizing mild acids and acidic residues such as hand sweat (no fingerprints etched into the soft damascus steel of the old collector gun) or residues from black powder (which are acidic). Ballistol not only protects against normal corrosion (i.e. oxidation) but also against acidic and galvanic corrosion, against which non-alkaline corrosion inhibitors are completely useless. Due to its low surface tension Ballistol creeps and penetrates. It will actively propel itself and reach areas inaccessible for the applicator. It will even creep upwards against gravity.

    Ballistol neutralizes bluing salts and flux bleeding out around soldering seams thus preventing damage to and the discoloration of the bluing of your gun.

    Cleaning

    Another problem found with many gun oils is that they are not good cleaners. The gun owner has to use a cleaner first and then a lubricant. And then there is no guarantee that the lubricant is a good corrosion inhibitor. Ballistol fulfills all three functions: it cleans, lubricates and protects against corrosion!

    Ballistol has the capability to dissolve traces of copper, zinc, tombac and lead. It can actively eliminate residues of these metals from the chambers and bores of firearms. Test it by sticking a dispensed and slightly corroded brass shell into Ballistol so that the Ballistol covers approximately half of the shell. Leave the shell in the Ballistol for approximately 30 minutes and wipe the part exposed to Ballistol with a dry cotton cloth. You will see it become shiny again.

    Ballistol dissolves the inorganic residues from black powder In black powder guns, it also neutralizes the acidic residues from black powder.

    Wood

    Most common gun oils, solvents, cleaners or corrosion inhibitors are not good for your gun’s wooden stocks. Some attack the high gloss varnish, some will bleach the wood, some will wash the oil out of your oil stocks. Ballistol is good for wood and wooden stocks. It was designed to protect even untreated gun stocks against humidity, insects and fungus and to be compatible with all sorts of paints and varnishes, even those on most antique guns. Ballistol can be used to re-treat oil stocks. It penetrates into the wood and inhibits the growth of fungus and mildew in the wood. Of course, you can also use Ballistol on modern and antique furniture or to protect external wooden structures against decay. Ballistol will also prevent insects from attacking wood.

    Caution: It is sometimes uncertain which type of paint, lacquer or varnish was used on antique guns or furniture. Test Ballistol on a small spot first!

    Leather

    There is virtually no gun oil around that you would also want to apply to leather. Good leather is processed with tannic acid of which residues remain in the leather. There is an ironclad rule in chemistry: whenever an acid and an alkaline substance interact, they form a salt + water. When the alkaline Ballistol is applied to leather, which has been processed with tannic acid, Ballistol and the tannic acid residues in the leather interact forming a salt from tannic acid, called tannate, and water. While the water evaporates, the tannate remains in the leather making it water impermeable and protecting it against destruction through fungus, bacteria and insects. Ballistol also keeps leather water impermeable. (Do not use Ballistol on suede. It might spoil its look.)

    Emulsifiability

    Most general lubricants and gun oils claim to be so-called water displacement oils. WD-40 is the typical example. The principle of water displacement works fine - but only under certain circumstances: the surface must be smooth and flat or convex and there must be an area to where the water can be displaced. By contrast, in a confined space such as a bolt hole or a countersunk hole or an area with a concave or cylindrical configuration the principle of water displacement does not work. Convince yourself: fill a test tube or small glass half an inch high with WD-40 or with the gun oil of your choice. Then add water about half an inch high. You will see that the water displaces the WD-40 or other gun oil, which will end up floating on top of the water. The area which you wanted to protect will no longer be protected. But the oil on top of the water will prevent it from dissipating and so corrosion will set in underneath the oil. Now do the same experiment with Ballistol. When you pour water into the Ballistol you will see the Ballistol actively emulsify with it. Test the lubricity of this mix. Stick your index finger into it and rub it against your thumb. You will feel that Ballistol still lubricates. You will also see that the area where the water was, will now be protected by a mix out of Ballistol and water. Just as this mix can still lubricate It can also still inhibit corrosion. The fact that Ballistol emulsifies with water can be used to lubricate and protect even wet firearms, wet leather and wet wood. Since the Ballistol does not cover up the water, the water can dissipate and the risk of rust is diminished. No other product can do this.

    Other uses for Ballistol

    In addition to being a uniquely capable gun oil, Ballistol can be used for many other purposes. To name a few as an octane booster and top engine oil in combustion engines; for the winterization of motors; at a polish for car paint when added to rinsing water or to beautify faded gel coats of old fiberglass boats. Ballistol maintains and cleans plastic dash boards and vinyl seat covers. It eliminates oil and rubber stains In carpets. Due to its low electric conductivity it can be safely used In electrical equipment.

    User Safety & the Environment

    Most general lubricants and corrosion inhibitors and most gun oils and gun cleaners contain rather aggressive chemicals. They contain substances such as Teflon (PTFE), silicone, tar, trichloroethane or tetrachloroethylene, which are all listed cancer causing agents. Or they contain petroleum, kerosene, benzene or chlorinated paraffins, all of which are toxic ('harmful or fatal if swallowed') for warm-blooded organisms and fish. Some are 'skin and eye irritants'. Others emit toxic vapors. Very few are biodegradable. Ballistol does not contain anything known to cause cancer. Ballistol is non-toxic for warm-blooded and aquatic organisms. Ballistol meets the criteria of the Federal Trade Commission for the claim of biodegradability and Ballistol sprays do not contain any CFCs.

    The Odor of Ballistol

    Ballistol has a distinct odor. It comes from a medicinal oil contained in it, which is called Anethole. Anethole is derived from a plant called Pimpinella Anisum L. The odor fades away after approximately 20-30 minutes of contact with the air. After approximately 60 minutes Ballistol becomes a practically tasteless and odorless substance. Ballistol has been approved by the USDA for use in the Federally Regulated Meat and Poultry Industry in areas with no direct contact with food. Some people like the odor of Ballistol, some don’t. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder likewise, what is a good or bad odor, is in the nose of the sniffer - so to speak. If you like the smell of licorice, anise cookies, Uzo, Pernot or Aguardiente you will probably also like the smell of Ballistol.

    Ballistol has been around for over 90 years. Three generations of hunters, shooters, outdoorsmen and soldiers have tested this product. They may not all have liked its odor but they sure found it to be the best!

    Warning: Although Ballistol has been engineered not only to be a gun oil but also to serve as a medicinal drug and in spite of the fact that it is approved and used in Germany for veterinary and human medicinal applications, Ballistol is not approved as a medicinal drug in the USA. Therefore, do not use Ballistol as a medicinal drug! Ballistol is not for human or animal consumption.

    Caution: Although Ballistol is non-toxic for people, warm-blooded animals, snakes, reptiles and aquatic organisms it may kill small insects such as aphids, mites, ants, termites, fleas, ticks, chiggers, wasps, spiders, flies, bees or similar.

    John Lindsey

    Oderint, dum metuant-Let them hate, so long as they fear."
     

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  15. CavalierLeif

    CavalierLeif Member

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    Thanks all, a lot of great content here. Ballistol has worked well for me with cleaning and lubrication for a few years. I clean my guns regularly, even if they haven't been shot - always a sort of meditation. Still, I'm a bit wary of the Kimber finish; enough to keep it out of the regular carry selection. I'll carry it OWB - my sweat type isn't "corrosive" but I'm still worried that it could pose an issue carrying IWB if it's not regularly wiped down.
     
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  16. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    Another Ballistol fan. I also use any new motor oil left over from a change also though by putting it into a dropper bottle. I know its not ideal but I think a lot of the gun lube business is hype. Keep them clean, lubed, and away from moisture and you're good. Even if you don't, address it when you can and you're usually good. I often had an M16, M60, and/or M9 in the rain, snow, swamp (no, not all in the same week :) for days or weeks with little ill affect on it so long as I took care of it when possible.

    MAYBE some of the new high speed stuff gives a TINY bit of gain but I have never seen it matter.
     
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  17. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    This guy tested 46 products on his site "Day At The Range", including all of the afore mentioned products in this thread. The test was sheet metal squares subjected to salt water spray and left outside long term.

    His results showed the best rust prevention products were WD-40 Specialist Long Term Rust Inhibitor, Frog Lube, and Hornady One Shot.

    If you include lubricity and least health hazard, the award for best all around gun product goes to Frog Lube. When I finish my current can of Eezox, that will be my next purchase.

    Here's the test write up: http://www.dayattherange.com/?page_id=3667
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  18. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart Member

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    I have the "Pet" product from Ballistol for hot spots. She just had a very bad one, Put some of it and healed it very quickly. I do not think it is any different, just a label. I use Ballistol frequently on any dry skin conditions and works great.
     
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  19. sigarms228

    sigarms228 Member

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    I will never use Frog Lube. As far as that test I question the methods used and this is the only test I have ever read where Frog Lube was superior over Eezox and other products for protection. With Eezox it is important to follow instructions and let it dry as if you wipe it dry the protection won't be there but when allowed to dry is is superior to most anything else and does not leave a residue. I use Eezox on firearms I rarely fire and my own rust tests showed it the clear winner among other products I tested using steel nails I sprayed with salt water and kept in a closed container with salt water in the bottom for months and Eezox was only nail that was still bright and shiny like new.

    The problem with Frog Lube is that it is known to creep into areas and turn into sap causing firearms to malfunction. The link below is a thread on another forum about that with a Frog Lube user experiences, who applied via instructions, where is caused his HK USP to fail to fire by turning so hard the firing pin could not move much. No thanks.

    https://sigtalk.com/sig-sauer-pistols/19112-froglube-fail-x2.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  20. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I'm not a Frog Lube user, but it also has directions that need to be followed, just like Eezox. I suspect most of those stories of Frog Lube congealing and jamming firearms are the results of improper application.

    My concern with Frog Lube, or any of the organic products is they can have a tendency to go bad. I find the reports of Frog Lube developing mold when used on stored firearms more concerning than other reports where the users probably over applied the product.
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I bought some WD-40 Specialist because of this test and can say it flat out works. You can leave metal tools etc coated with it laying out where metal items rusts badly and they simply don't rust, even after weeks or months.

    I use other things for lubrication and cleaning.
     
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  22. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Ballistol is a simple mineral (paraffinic) oil - plain and simple. It doesn't lubricate well and it doesn't offer good rust protection... What it's good for is carbon build up cleaning and that it's harmful, even if swallowed. If you are worried about oil stains on your clothing then try Renaissance Wax - you might be pleasantly surprised.
     
  23. sigarms228

    sigarms228 Member

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    Yeah I remember seeing pictures of the moldy guns too, yuck. Applied properly or not I would never ever use a product that has to potential to cause a firearm to malfunction by hardening like sap. There are scores of other quality lube and protection products that would never do this.
     
  24. sigarms228

    sigarms228 Member

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    Good to hear. Vetericyn is another product that is great on hot spots and such and it will not harm eyes or anything else. My wife even used it for mosquito bites and said it was the only thing we had that helped at all and we have a lot of OTC stuff for skin care. We use it all the time and it is easy to apply and not messy. We buy it at Amazon.

    https://vetericyn.com/
     
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  25. Reeferman

    Reeferman Member

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    Ballistol works for all my guns smokeless and black powder.
     
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