Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Gun Lubricants?

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by G11354, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. G11354

    G11354 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    I've recently heard of people using canola oil on their firearms for lubrication and storage. I have found mixed results in my quest for answers and hoped I could find more solid information here.

    I myself have a preference towards 10W-30 motor oil at the moment, but if I could use something that is environmentally friendly and at an equal or lower price, I'm all for it.

    Any input would be appreciated.
     
    Armored farmer likes this.
  2. Torian

    Torian Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,015
    I use Mobil 1 synthetic 5W-20 (what my car takes) for wet applications, and Militec for dry applications. You can't beat motor oil for a good all around protectant and lubricant for the money. I doubt you'll find anything as good for cheaper.
     
    Armored farmer likes this.
  3. G11354

    G11354 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    At the moment I'm in complete agreement with you. Originally caught wind of the conola oil from the "FIRE CLEAN" fiasco.
     
  4. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,791
    Location:
    South Eastern Illinois
    5w20 is good stuff.
    I have used motor oil for years. If it lubes the moving parts in a hot, close tolerance engine it'll work in a gun.
     
    Mn Fats likes this.
  5. Vernon1

    Vernon1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2014
    Messages:
    171
    Location:
    Georgia


    Mineral oil and mineral spirits.
     
  6. Drail

    Drail Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    5,378
    Dexron Automatic Transmission fluid is a perfect gun lube and it's cheap and can be found at any gas station. A quart will last you a very long time. It is a great carbon cutter and it won't evaporate off or turn to varnish over time and the viscosity is perfect for gun lube. I used it for many years on my race guns and there was always still lube on the barrel and rails when torn down after a long day at the races. Try some. Please don't use Canola oil on your gun. It will bake and burn onto the metal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
  7. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Messages:
    510
    Location:
    Preble County, OH
    My expectations of a lube is that the working surfaces of my gun are still wet after shooting a couple hundred rounds. No matter what it is made of or who makes it.
     
    hawkeye216 likes this.
  8. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    Messages:
    461
    Location:
    Fishing in Mn
    This is a neat thread. I've known guys that just soak all moving parts with WD-40. Not good!
     
  9. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    Messages:
    461
    Location:
    Fishing in Mn
    Drail- I've never even considered transmission fluid but it makes perfect sense.
     
  10. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,791
    Location:
    South Eastern Illinois
    I have pulled a dipstick for a few drops of lube dozens of times on the farm. Maybe once or twice for a gun too.
     
    ironworkerwill likes this.
  11. entropy

    entropy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    4,617
    Location:
    G_d's Country, WI
    Canola, like any plant-based oil will thicken in low temps. I know from personal experience unloading and stocking it in the winter. Olive is the first to solidify, canola is better, it still will do so if it gets cold enough. As I do hunt and shoot in the winter where it does get (very!) cold, I'll pass on the canola and Frog Lube (coconut oil).
     
  12. Drail

    Drail Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    5,378
    I keep several applicator bottles of Dexron out in the shop and have been using it for many years on guns, shop equipment, tools and lawn equipment. It also makes a long lasting lock lube for cylinder locks. When you consider what goes on inside an automatic transmission in the summer and winter lubing a gun is child's play for transmission fluid. Grant Cunningham (gunsmith) has an excellent write up on his website about it. He uses Dexron for just about everything too.
     
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    22,943
    My usual gun oil is Army surplus, Oil, Lubricating, Preserivative. I have added Militec 1 (originally a gear drive lube additive) for whatever that might do, and STP or Lucas Oil Treatment to thicken. Also Mobil 1 with or without STP. I think that batch Militec 1 was the last "gun oil" I bought but I have enough free samples to not have to worry about buying lube even if I did not want to use automotive or industrial products.
    Lubriplate, Gunslick, RIG, and an industrial moly grease for autopistol rails. I even have a sample of Froglube that I put on rails when shooting frequently so as to keep it fresh, don't want it to go rancid. It is better than straight coconut oil, though.
     
  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    12,923
    Location:
    DFW Area
    If you don't like buying gun-specific products, Dexron ATF is definitely a better lubricant/protectant than motor oil. Not quite as cheap though, if that's the main concern.
    Not exactly, in fact he doesn't recommend it any longer for gun use because of potential toxicity.

    http://www.grantcunningham.com/2006/05/lubrication-101/

    "In years past I recommended Dexron-type Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). ... It does pretty well in corrosion resistance (not great, but better than average.) It also has good migration, a fair boundary lubrication package, is the right weight (thickness) for general firearms use, doesn’t oxidize over long periods of storage, and is compatible with a wide range of metals and plastics. ...

    ATF is not perfect, however; aside from the aforementioned deficiencies, it does have a slight odor to it, the red dye used to differentiate it from motor oil will stain, and it’s not non-toxic. Particularly because of the toxicity I no longer recommend its use."

    He now likes the lubricants designed for the food industry since they do everything that is required for firearm lubrication and are also non-toxic.

    ****EDIT*****
    Ok, I've been thinking more about this and I have become curious about the usage levels of the people who use motor oil (or other similar substitutes for gun-specific lubricants) to save money.

    How much oil are you using on your guns in a typical year? BreakFree CLP is available in a 16oz spray/pump bottle for about than $22. For some shooters that's a lifetime supply, but even a high-volume shooter should get a few years of use out of it.

    Let's say that one is actually using 4 oz of gun lube a year--the 16oz bottle would last 4 years. That means that even if the substitute product is free, the savings is less than $6 a year.

    Which brings me to my next question. What are you doing with the annual savings? Investing it in gold? :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
    Glock Doctor and HoploDad like this.
  15. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,197
    CLP does a fair job of cleaning, lubricating, and protecting.

    Motor oil is great at lubricating.

    Solvents are great at cleaning.

    Protectants like Frog Lube and One Shot are excellent at preventing rust.
     
  16. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    48,877
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Bingo!
     
  17. JeffG

    JeffG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    NE Wisconsin
    Canola and olive oil are good for knives, tomahawks
    and external parts. I use them for muzzle loaders. (however) For modern firearms, and internal parts, I would stick to modern lubes that are petroleum based. One of my favorites is the Lucas gun oil. You find at the "bumper to bumper" type car parts stores.
     
  18. G.E. Lee

    G.E. Lee Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Old, Old, Old Virginia
    At cold temperatures (15 degrees Fahrenheit and under) Militec has worked best for me, especially in semi-automatic firearms where firing can be sporadic--say 30 minutes or more between shots/volleys. Cold weather waterfowling challenges firearms and plenty of lubricants work OK if by OK one means the occasional screw-up is acceptable. Militec has been perfect for me under frigid conditions...

    Canola oil works great for frying chicken...
     
  19. hdwhit
    • Contributing Member

    hdwhit Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    3,409
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    I use Sears Roebuck & Co Light Machine Oil for most lubricant tasks. The manual for every gun I own specifies a "Light Machine Oil" or "High Quality Firearms Oil" (same thing). I use a brand-name motor oil with a good anti-oxidant package for hard to reach places (like the barrel of my Mini-14 underneath the handguard) since a light coat stays put and doesn't migrate.

    I avoid vegetable and nut oils because they oxidize rapidly becoming thicker. Vegetable and nut oils tend to become more acidic as they oxidize and that can be a concern with long-term storage. And you don't know how long the gun is going to be stored. I didn't think I would develop a neurologic condition when I was in my 30's that would keep me from having more than occasional contact with my guns for 21 years. Light Machine Oil and Motor Oil brought all of my guns through that unintended long-term storage with no noticable degradation.
     
  20. hdwhit
    • Contributing Member

    hdwhit Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    3,409
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    Well, I bought four 4 ounce containers of Sears Light Machine Oil for $0.79 each in 1979. I just opened the last one about mid-way through 2016. That was for a collection that has grown from approximately 8 to approximately 16 guns during that time.

    As far as how much motor oil I have used, I couldn't say. When I need some, I put a few drops on a cloth from the container that I keep to top-off the car's oil level. I guess I've maybe used two or three ounces across the last four decades.

    So, in total, I've probably spent less than $5 on lubricants for my guns or about 13 cents per year. If I had not become handicapped, I would have shot more and my cost to keep up my guns would probably have risen to around 25 cents per year.

    What annual savings?

    The question seems premised on an assumption that I chose the lubricants I did to save money over buying a more expensive (and presumably "better" or "more suitable") product like BreakFree CLP. I don't use BreakFree CLP. I never have. I wouldn't use it if it was cheaper than what I am currently using because what I am using 1) is recommended by the manufacturer, 2) is something I am comfortable with it, and 3) has stood the test of time. Thus, there are no savings.

    If I had compromised my firearms maintenance to save money, I would have invested the savings in utility company stocks since they pay respectable dividends and by selling something everyone uses effectively have the "power to tax" so I know they'll have a revenue stream for the foreseeable future.
     
  21. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,998
    Location:
    Fl panhandle
    I will use cheap generic motor oil on the outside of a gun as a rust barrier. For internal moving parts, I use sparing amounts of white lithium grease from auto zone.
     
  22. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,699
    Location:
    Northern KY
    50% ATF
    25% Mobil 1
    25% STP

    Best lubricant ever where you need an oil. ATF penetrates, Mobil 1 withstands high temps, STP clings forever.

    For grease use any lithium based grease you can get your hands on. One 14 oz tube will probably last your entire life.
     
  23. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    12,923
    Location:
    DFW Area
    The question wasn't specifically premised on anything you have done or have said since I had no knowledge of your actions or opinions at the time I posted on the thread.
    "Anti-oxidant" in that context is talking about preventing the oil from oxidizing, not preventing corrosion.
    Which firearm manufacturer recommends motor oil for use on their products?
    Some time ago, I did an MSDS study of Mobil 1 and BreakFree CLP. I was curious because so many people seem to think that Mobil 1 was a much better lubricant than BreakFree CLP. Turns out that the actual oil base in both BreakFree CLP and Mobil 1 were identical. It was only the additive package that was different. If there's a difference in how well the two perform in terms of lubrication, it's not due to the Mobil 1 having a superior oil as its primary ingredient.

    As far as the rest, the good quality gun specific products will significantly outperform motor oil in terms of corrosion protection. If Grant Cunningham's article isn't sufficiently convincing, there are many informal corrosion tests on the internet which confirm that motor oil is a poor choice for corrosion protection.
    Actually, if you poke around, it's not too hard to find a good CLP that is as good or better at lubricating than motor oil, nearly as good as the best protectants and better than some solvents at cleaning.

    I know most people have already made up their minds on this topic, but for those who are interested in learning, the thread below contains a lot of information that challenges some of the conventional "wisdom" about lubrication and corrosion protection.

    https://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=546316
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    bassjam and Torian like this.
  24. Torian

    Torian Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,015
    My time in the military has made me detest CLP. I can't really even explain why. It seems like a great solvent and protectant...but average performing lubricant. Maybe it's a bias :)
     
  25. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    12,923
    Location:
    DFW Area
    Maybe I came across as a huge fan of CLP, but that's not really accurate. I don't use a lot of CLP, in fact, I often use products that are not gun specific for lubrication and corrosion protection. I do keep some CLP in the range bag so I don't have to carry a bunch of different products to the range.

    My point wasn't that CLP is awesome. For one thing there are lots of different CLPs out there and some of them are pretty bad performers.

    For another, I do think that it's possible, with some research, to pick specific products that will outperform even the best CLPs in each of the specific "C", "L", and "P" tasks. Although that may not be true if saving a few bucks a year is a major driver.

    I just think it's interesting that what many people seem to believe about how motor oil and other substitute gun care alternatives (especially those chosen primarily for economic reasons) compare to the better gun-specific products doesn't appear to be confirmed by the experts or by informal test results.
     

Share This Page