Slip Slide and Away--Lubricate that Firearm!

May 27, 2013

Proper firearm lubrication has always been one of those topics that divide people. There are those that maintain that a simple wipe down with an oily cloth is all that the internals of a firearm require to function properly.  If it really was only that cut and dried (excuse the pun).

Most common causes of failures we see here in the shop with new firearms are caused from the lack of proper lubrication.  The premature wear and galling of bolts and internal components is one of the more frequent problems for sure.  There are many firearm platforms that will not tolerate the lack of lubrication and will fail very very prematurely, all due to the lack of a few minutes of proper maintenance.

We have been led to believe that firearms don’t need lots of lubrication or different types of lubrication, but for the most part that isn’t true.

Sure firearms like the Glock and the AK were designed to run and function much dryer that a lot of others but the fact of the matter is every gun runs better with lubricant and some run better with lots of it.  As an old mentor of mine told me years ago a firearm will run dirty and wet but not dirty and dry, and I have definitely found this to be true.

When it comes to breaking in a new firearm, lubrication is extremely important as it improves the “wear in” process of the metal parts. The quickest way to ruin a new firearm is from basically dry metal to metal contact.  You wouldn’t run the engine in your brand new vehicle with just a wipe down of oil on the insides, so why do the same with your firearm?

Lubricants have improved dramatically over the years, but you will still see people using the wrong lube for the wrong purpose.  WD-40 is not a good lubricant as it breaks down and dissipates quickly leaving nothing behind.  It is just too light to be a good lubricant but it does provide excellent rust protection.

Do your homework on the lubricant of your choice and don’t be scared to apply it liberally to your firearm.  Remember to keep the gas pistons on firearms fairly dry as that is one part that does not require much lubrication and will not function well if they are wet. 

Grease is another misunderstood lubricant and is often shied away from by firearms owners, when in fact there are certain types of firearms and internal areas that will work much better with a little grease.  Grease breaks down slower and holds better onto the metal than the lighter oil based lubricants.  M1A/M14’s and Garand’s require grease to be used on areas such as the bolt channels, the bolt roller, the op rod channel etc.  Pistols such as the 1911 benefit from a little grease in the rails as well. Greasing bolt carriers on various styles of semi autos is also a very common practice. Grease does require a little more work to apply it but it is worth it.  Lubriplate is a fantastic grease for use with firearms.

A little research on your firearm will provide you with good recommendations about the types and amounts of lubrication to use with your firearm. Use more than one source and get a good idea what the best methods are for your uses.   Also talking with more experienced users will prove to be incredibly insightful and will help keep your firearm functioning trouble free for years to come.

One other quick point we should mention is lubrication in our extreme climate.  When it’s really cold outside the oil and grease will start to thicken I switch to dry graphite.  It will keep your firearm working well in the frosty winters of Canada just remember you will need to apply it more often than oil to keep things working smoothly.

I have lubricated my firearms like this for many years and it has always served me well, but I need to slide in the fact that these are simply my experiences and views and may not reflect those of Wolverine Supplies or Wolfgang (he believes that Jagermeister is a fantastic firearms lube), so like the Ford and Chevy debate, you will need to figure out what methods work for you

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