Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How I used to clean and lube my guns

And how I have evolved.

Aerosol spray of some combo solvent.  Scrub with paper towel and toothbrushes and a brass brush.  Swabbed the barrel with the wrong size patch.  But I always sprayed too much.  Or the can stopped working even when there was a quarter left.  Or the skinny red straw went AWOL.  But mostly, I spayed too much. 

Lube?  Well the can of solvent is also oil, right?  And there was enough left over even after a wipe down.  Maybe a tough of gun grease on the rails.

About the best thing I did was a bunch of passes with a bore snake.


I cut up old t-shirts for rags and patches.  I soak a patch with fresh Hoppes (bottle, not can) and use it to wipe everything down and get a thin coat of solvent.  Then I leave it for a while.  Get some lunch, watch some TV.  Then I come back an hour later and repeat the process.  Thin coat of solvent on everything.  Then the brushes and the scrubbing and the q-tips.  The let it sit and soak method seems to help.  If you can do it while the gun is still warm at the range, that might be better, but that opportunity is rarer for me.  If I use grease it's high moly content (and stains EVERYTHING it touches...) Neco Moly on internal parts like sear and disconnector and hammer hooks and trigger bow track.  But that's only for a detail strip.  To lube the rails, I like FP10 because that's what the Army Marksmanship Unit uses.   Lock the slide back.  Use a needle oiler to get a drop on both back rails.  Two drops on the barrel where it lies inside the bushing in battery.  Wipe it around with a finger.  Gently* release the slide and with that we finger wipe it on the barrel hood.  Done lubing.  Heck I've heard this technique for lubrication from multiple separate sources.  I figure it's established Best Practices, now.

*Remember, don't let the slide close on an empty chamber if you can help it.  It bangs up the internals.  Never dry fire with the slide off, either.  The hammer can peen up the frame.  You did that?  You are probably fine.  Check it next time.  Just try to avoid it in the future. 


Arthur said...

For anything with a significant load on it - rails for instance - I stick with grease.

Oils just don't have the film strength to handle heavy loads.

For grins, get a couple of blocks of aluminum. Lube the blocks with your test lubricant and see what the sliding friction is like. Then really bear down on the pieces. More than likely your oil will turn black pretty quickly and you'll feel the pieces start to stick.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

No, you see, rails is where I want to stick with an oil like FP10. I want it sluff away dirt and grit, too.

abnormalist said...

Nobody else uses mobile 1?

Really works well on my pistols. Lately though I've found myself buying guns in stainless more and more so I dont feel as bad when i dont clean em. :-)

Will said...

To help with the sit-n-soak, Throw it into a small box with lid. Lack of airflow will help keep it from evaporating too quickly.

You could warm it up with a hairdryer. Easier and less odor: build a hotbox. Line the inside of a cardboard box, of sufficient size for the object plus a 100w incandescent bulb, with aluminum foil. I used to do this with a heatlamp, to cure spray paint on small bike parts.

Will said...


Using aluminum may be part of your problem. Try it with steel, or at least hard anodized aluminum. Bare aluminum can be quite porous. Some varieties can soak up an amazing amount of lube.

Tam said...

"Remember, don't let the slide close on an empty chamber if you can help it. It bangs up the internals."

That used to be a big deal when people did match trigger jobs by whittling knife edges on butter soft GI sears. Dropping the slide on an empty chamber would beat up the sear nose and you'd start getting hammer follow in short order.

Nowadays, when you're getting EDM wire cut tool steel sears, this isn't really all that big of a deal.

Jesus, where are you taking these gunsmithing lessons? 1982? ;)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

21st century Army Marksmanship Unit best practices, Tam. But that is a unit with a lot of old guys.