Proper Lubrication

Scott's 6.5 Grendel with NightForce 12-42x56One of the more-argued topics among gun aficionados is the topic of cleaning and lubricating guns. Some clean after every shooting session; some clean so rarely that I really think that they’re running an experimental torture test for the manufacturer. I won’t go into cleaning in this article, but let’s talk a few points on lubrication.

Grease is not necessary. A good quality oil is all that is needed. In the shop, we use Mobil-1. Other good brands include Firepower FP-10 and FrogLube.  Mil-Spec CLP also works.  About the only “lube” product that I would absolutely recommend against is WD-40.  It’s a great cleaner/solvent, but it doesn’t possess much lubricating power.

If you have to use grease, reserve it for high-pressure/high-friction areas, such as the hammer hooks on a 1911, the Firing Pin Lug on a Glock, or the hammer/sear interface on an AR-15. One other place that grease can be used with great effect is on the slide rails of a tightly fitted 1911/2011. When used here, it has a tendency to slow down the slide’s velocity during cycling and CAN dampen felt recoil because the slide is not moving so fast.

Temperature is another consideration:  A high-viscosity lubricant, such as a light grease, may work GREAT when you’re shooting an IDPA match at South River in August.  That some lube may cause jams if you try it in January or February (I’m talking TYPICAL January or February, not this up-and-down heat wave we’ve had this year…)

As a general rule, less lubricant that is strategically places is better. One could always just pour oil into the gun, but all that will do is attract dirt and dust. In addition, burned oil forms carbon. Carbon acts an abrasive grit that will cause pre-mature wear and shorten the service life of your favorite blaster.

Some gun-specific tips include:

  • 1911 Designs: Put one drop of oil on the outside of the barrel and spread with fingertip, paying attention to the area in which the barrel bushing contacts the barrel, the barrel hood, and the lower lug. Apply one drop of oil to the barrel link. Apply one drop down each slide rail.
  • Glocks: Put one drop of oil on your fingertip. Spread that over the exterior of the barrel. Put another drop on your fingertip. Touch it to all for “hard points” in the frame that the slide rides on. Put one drop on the connector (it sticks up in the right rear corner of the frame).
  • AR-15s: Put one drop on the Bolt, keeping the oil forward of the Gas Rings. Put one drop on the Bolt Cam Pin. Put a drop on your fingertip. Spread that inside the upper receiver where the Bolt Carrier Group rides.
  • For corrosion protection, all that is required is a slight film.  I do this by putting a couple of drops on a patch and rubbing it on the surfaces to be protected.