Properly maintaining your gun after you purchase it and throughout its lifetime is one of the most important parts of gun ownership. This is why in classes for obtaining gun licenses or in military training, the upkeep of guns is given special attention and considered a top priority.
To correctly clean your firearm you will need a variety of different tools and most importantly, patience. It takes a little time to take apart each part of the weapon, separate it and meticulously clean each part.
However, most gun owners find this process to be quite therapeutic and actually enjoy doing it. One of the key parts of the maintenance process is what we will be reviewing in this article, gun oil.
It is very important that you use high-quality products as what you ultimately choose will play a major role in how your weapon performs and even how long your gun lasts.
To help you be sure you are making a good choice, we have looked at some of the different options out on the market and compared them to help you narrow down what is the best gun oil for you.
Why Clean Your Gun?
This may seem like an obvious question, but it is important to go over why this part of gun ownership is so important. A gun is first and foremost a machine and it needs to be treated as such.
There are a lot of moving parts and it operates with a complex mechanism that needs to function perfectly every time. Having a dirty gun could put at risk its ability to function properly and since we are dealing with guns, this could ultimately be a safety issue.
Since us gun owners know how important safety is, it is important to stress why it is so essential to keep your weapon clean. Here’re a few of the main reasons:
As we just mentioned, a clean gun means a safer gun. As you use your weapon dust and dirt collects inside the shaft as well as in the mechanism. If you don’t routinely clean it out and use oils to protect it you run the risk of the gun not firing or misfiring when you use it.
This is something you really want to avoid and the type of gun oil you use will make a big difference in how well your gun avoids building up unwanted residuals that could affect its performance.
Guns are after all made out of metal and their exposure to the elements can make them susceptible to rust. By constantly cleaning them and by lubricating them with lubes and oils, you will be helping to ensure your weapon does not fall victim to rust.
This will be the key not only for the proper functioning of your gun but also for helping to lengthen the life of your gun.
Think about a car or some other machine that you own and then imagine that you never did any maintenance on it. After a while, the car would start to not work right and would probably be much less valuable than a similar car that had been properly maintained throughout its life.
The same principle applies to guns. If you don’t take care of it, the wear and tear of using it will deteriorate it and make it much less valuable than when you first bought it.
Even though resale is not really an option in terms of guns, for most owners it is a matter of pride to be able to show that a gun they have owned for a period of time still works just like it was new.
Learn how your gun works
This might not be on the top of your priority list, but if you own a gun it is probably because you like them or are at least interested in them. Taking the gun apart to clean it and to apply lube will help you see the inner workings of your weapon and will help you to get a better idea of what makes it fire.
This will help you take further pride in your possession and should be a strong motivator to keep up a rigid cleaning routine.
A Few Safety Tips
It wouldn’t be an article about guns if we didn’t pay special attention to safety. There are a few tips that may seem obvious but that are important when doing maintenance on your gun that we felt were important to point out while we are discussing the different products out there to help the cleaning process. Here’s our advice:
- Use the owner’s manual. Most guns will come apart in similar ways, but like any product, each and every model is a little different.
Even if you are an experienced gun owner, the first few times you take apart the weapon it is a good idea to follow the guide, or at least look it over, so you can be sure you have done it correctly and have been able to clean all that needs to be cleaned.
- Go to a well-lit, well-ventilated area. Again this may seem somewhat obvious, but it is a very crucial step of the process. The oils that you will be using will give off powerful fumes and we don’t want you breathing that in while you are cleaning your weapon.
Additionally, taking the gun apart means separating it and all its pieces and making sure each surface is miraculously clean.
Make sure there is plenty of light where you are working so that you can be sure the oil you have applied is evenly spread over all surfaces. This is a critical part of the process and your choice of where to do this job can really affect how well you clean your gun and as a result how well your weapon will perform.
Features to Consider
Thickness and Viscosity
One of the things that separate the different options on the market is their thicknesses.
There are specific reasons for choosing thick over thin, and we wanted to clarify these to help you make a better decision. In general, thinner oils are better because they will spread out easier along the surfaces of the gun and will, therefore, be less likely to rub off.
The main difference between the two has to do with something seemingly unrelated: the climate of where you are going to be using the gun. In cold weather climates, it is much better to try and use thinner oil. If flows better and will, therefore, be much more effective in lubricating the different parts of the firearm.
In hotter and more humid climates, thicker oils are better as they will stick better to the metals of the gun and will not be as susceptible to evaporation. Keep this in mind as you look to find which product is best for you.
Viscosity is also an important thing to consider when looking at the different products out there. Something that is highly viscous will mean that it will flow slowly and vice versa.
This is important because low-viscous oils will have a tendency to run away from you when you apply them to the metals and will seep into different parts of the weapon. If you want to have greater control over where the oil goes you will want something with a higher viscosity.
Lube vs. Oil vs. Grease
To continue the discussion about thickness and viscosity, we wanted to go over the differences between lube, oil, and grease. Basically, they go in order from thickness, with lube being the thinnest and grease being the thickest.
Lubes are designed more to reduce friction and therefore are best used for parts that will be rotating or revolving.
Grease is better at protecting and treating metals and also is more effective for parts that slide instead of rotate. Some products will strictly fall into one of these categories whereas others will attempt to combine the features of each one to give you a good all-around product.
The different options we are looking at are going to use a variety of different application methods.
They each have different upsides and downsides so you have to think what will be easiest for you to use or what is most effective in helping you adequately cover all surfaces of your weapon. Here are some common application methods:
- Spray. We all know how sprays work, they allow you to cover a wider area and might help with even However, take a look at how wide the spray area is because you could end up wasting a lot of product if the area is larger than the surface of your gun.
- Needle/precision applicators. This will be tiny needle-like tubes at the top of the bottle that allow you to choose exactly where you want to put the oil. They are good for getting into small areas but might be a little tougher to get an even layer across the whole surface.
- Wipes. Some products come as pre-soaked wipes that you simply run along the surface of the different parts of your firearm. This are convenient as they help ensure that you cover all surfaces evenly, but don’t do much for helping you get into the small, hard-to-reach areas of the gun.
- No mechanism. Some products, particularly the thicker ones, might not have any application method and you will need to dip a cloth or rag into them in order to apply the product. This gives you a little more control over how much you use, but it could also lead to over application so be mindful as you apply.
This may seem like an insignificant feature, but it can actually be quite important. When applying oil to your firearm it is key that you evenly cover all surfaces.
We mentioned making sure to perform this process in a well-lit area, but another way to help ensure you do this is to buy an oil that has a color that contrasts with that of your gun.
This way you will easily be able to see the places you have missed to make sure you have done a good job. This may be a preference you develop over time as you learn what works best with the particular gun you use.
Another thing that you might see on the market is products claiming to be able to do all the parts of the cleaning process at once. You will often see these products with the abbreviation CLP, which stands for Clean, Lube, Protect.
To be able to do this they have to keep the different products together in the can for a long time and this usually means the use of weak solvents and light oils. Sometimes these products can be very effective, but other times they might sacrifice the effectiveness of each of its purposes so it is good to be careful when looking at these types of all-in-one products.
What’s On The Market
Now that we have looked at some key features of the different products available, we are going to review and compare some of the available options to help you get an idea of what is most suitable for you.
M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX, 2 Ounce Bottle
Weight: 1.3 pounds
Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 4.3 inches
Application Method: Spray
Color: Dark green
Specific Features: Dirt carbon and contamination repellant, wear and friction decrease
Best Use: All in one, cleans, lubes and protects
Description: M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX, 2 Ounce Bottle is a nice option that will help you clean and protect your firearm especially if you are going to use it in humid climates or in areas near the sea where there is salt water nearby and therefore salt in the air.
It is applied with a spray which helps you make sure you are covering the entire surface. If you have a black gun it might be difficult to see as it has a dark green color, but its higher viscosity will prevent it from running away and will make it easy to spread around.
The spray will help you get it into tiny areas, but no needle application makes spreading it around once it is in these small areas a bit of a problem. In general, this is a very practical and high-quality multi-purpose gun oil.
Ballistol Multi-Purpose Aerosol Can Lubricant Cleaner Protectant
Weight: 6 oz
Dimensions: 2.2 x 2.2 x 8.2 inches
Application Method: Aerosol spray
Specific Features: All in one, cleans, lubes and protects. It can also be used on metals, woods, leathers and plastics.
Best Use: Lubrication. Good for places where you need minimal friction.
Price: Between $4 and 23 depending on size
Description: Ballistol Multi-Purpose Aerosol Can Lubricant Cleaner Protectant claims to be all-in-one, but it definitely seems to be more effective as a lubricant. It applies through a thin spray that is easy to spread evenly, but also easy to overshoot.
It will help reduce friction and make the moving parts of your gun operate smoothly. It claims to be able to clean and protect, but since it is so thin it might be a good idea to look for some additional protection that can give you more resistance to dirt and grime, especially in humid environments.
This is a multi-purpose product that is also used in cars and around the home. It gets the job done in terms of lubricating but isn’t necessarily designed for guns so it might be a good idea to look for more specialized products.
Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil, 14.9 ml Precision Bottle
Weight: .8 oz
Dimensions: 5 x 1.9 x .5 inches
Application Method: Precision needle
Color: Golden yellow
Specific Features: Extra long lasting and very high viscosity.
Best Use: Protection of firearms against dirt, grime, and moisture.
Description: Hoppe’s is a classic name in oils and lubricants and it is known for getting the job done. Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil, 14.9 ml Precision Bottle is high viscosity and thickness mean it will be easy to apply it exactly where you want and you know that it will be providing solid protection wherever you put it.
Also, the precision needle helps you be extremely accurate in where you place the oil and also helps you get into those smaller, harder-to-reach areas.
It is specifically an oil, meaning it is designed more to protect than to lubricate, but if this is what you are looking for than perhaps you do not need to look any further.
Remington Rem Oil Wipes
Weight: 10.4 oz
Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.2 x 8 inches
Application Method: Wipes
Specific Features: Portable, great for on-the-go. Infused with Teflon to help dissipate water and fight rust.
Best Use: All in one, cleans, lubes and protects.
Price: $6.25 for 60 wipes.
Description: The obvious advantage of Remington Rem Oil Wipes is its convenient wipe application. You don’t need to worry about oil running away from you or about making sure that you covered the whole surface.
The main disadvantage will be trying to get it into those tighter areas of the gun.
It goes on a bit thinner and therefore is perhaps best described as a lubricant, but it should also offer decent protection against water and dirt, but maybe not as much as some thicker oils. This is a very quick, practical and no-mess option for cleaning and lubing your gun.
Lucas Oil 10006 Gun Oil – 2 oz.
Weight: 4 oz.
Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.4 x 4.7 inches
Application Method: Needlepoint
Specific Features: Prevents jamming and overheating in large machine guns.
Best Use: Temperature control in large machine guns and protection against dirt, grime and water.
Description: A very strong and reliable oil that will help give you steady, long-lasting protection against humidity.
Lucas Oil 10006 Gun Oil – 2 oz. is quite thick so you do not need to worry about evaporation, which means if your gun is in storage you won’t have to worry about reapplying when you go to use it.
The red color provides a nice contrast against most gun surfaces so that you can be sure it has been applied evenly and effectively. If you are in the market for an oil that will give great protection, this is a fantastic option to consider.
Slip2000 EWG Lube, 4-Ounce
Weight: 4.8 oz.
Dimensions: 3.2 x 2.8 x 3.8 inches
Application Method: None
Specific Features: Contains specific formula to reduce heat and eliminate excessive wear. Good for protection against dirt and rust.
Best Use: Automatic rapid-fire and machine guns.
Description: Slip2000 EWG Lube, 4-Ounce is the only true grease being looked at on this list and for that, it is the best option we are looking at in terms of protection. Dirt, dust and water will not be a problem with this heavy, thick grease.
However, we need to remember that grease was on the other end of the spectrum from lube and is, therefore, better used in mechanisms that slide and not rotate and won’t do as good of a job of reducing friction as a lube. If you have a shotgun or something similar this is a great option.
It is a bit more expensive than the other options, but its thickness means a little goes a long way and you won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.
FireClean Fouling-Resistant Oil 2 Ounce FC-2
Weight: 2 oz.
Dimensions: .8 x .6 x 3.4 inches
Thickness: In the middle
Application Method: Small spout
Specific Features: Removes and prevents carbon fouling. Long lasting, 2 oz. bottle will last you months
Best Use: Cleaning and protecting all pieces and parts of your firearm.
Price: $16. 60
Description: This FireClean Fouling-Resistant Oil 2 Ounce FC-2 serves a very specific purpose: to remove and protect against carbon fouling. This is the tendency for a gun to misfire because of buildups of carbon deposits in the mechanism.
When you take your gun apart and find parts that have a dirty, black buildup, you will see what carbon fouling looks like.
We said it was all-in-one to a certain extent because if your gun has some carbon fouling this product will remove it and then applying it will prevent it from returning again.
It is an oil so it is better served to protect than to lubricate, but since it was designed for such a specific purpose it could be perfect for you if you are worried about or have had problems with carbon fouling.
So…Which to Choose?
There are clearly products that are designed to do specific things. If you are looking for sheer protection or resistance to something like carbon fouling, then you should have a pretty good idea about which product is best for you.
If what you prefer is something a little more multi-purpose, then you have a few different quality options available to you. As always, it is important to first get an idea of what it is you need and what will work best for you so that you can find the product that will best serve the purpose you want it to serve.
If you have any experience with the products we have reviewed please weigh in and let us know if there is anything we have missed and that you would like to add. Do you prefer thicker or thinner oils? Lubes or Greases? We’re always curious to hear what you think and to learn about what our readers are doing and what products they are using.
We hope the information provided here has been helpful in guiding you to the best gun oil and that when you finally do make a decision you will be confident you are getting something that will be exactly what you wanted.