Gun maintenance and preventative gun maintenance are important aspects of responsible gun ownership. It’s not supposed to be something boring, like washing the dishes. There is nothing worse than carrying around an untested, dirty weapon.
Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also a reflection of ownership and responsibility. Even if you don’t fire it very often, it’s still worth your time to break it out of the closet, dust it off, and clean it up before it goes back in the corner again.
Cleaning a gun has a sort of ritualistic aspect to it. We’ve been cleaning, sharpening, and oiling our weapons since the first stone bludgeon was put together with rope, a good rock, and a stick. The point is to clean your weapon. You take care of it, and it will take care of you.
Gun Maintenance Guide
The term, “responsible gun ownership” gets flung around pretty often, even here. But it’s one thing to read the words and another to take care of your rifle, pistol, or shotgun. There are a lot of reasons for keeping your gun clean and maintained.
- Maintain the accuracy of your weapon
- Extend longevity
- Familiarize you with the weapon and its functions
- Avoids accidents
- Creating a habit of responsibility
Regular maintenance of your weapon will ensure the gun’s longevity and dependability. An improperly maintained weapon can malfunction in a lot of ways, but the worst would be to explode, injuring yourself or others, or possibly worse.
Disassembling and reassembling a weapon is one of the best ways to get you intimately familiar with its inner workings. It also builds confidence, which is important when you are using it.
You’ll also become more proficient with the weapon and the cleaning process. What once took several hours to work through will take 45 minutes of your time when you know the ins and outs of the gun.
How often should you oil your gun
Well, that depends on the gun, how often you fire it, and whether you’re referring to oil, CLP, or grease lubrication. You’re not going to treat a black powder rifle in the same way you treat your AR-15. You’ll also want a good gun cleaning kit so you can oil it right, to begin with.
One thing is for sure—you clean your gun after every use and pay attention to the manual and what it says. Take the Sig Sauer P320 .45 ACP, for instance. The manual calls for oil only in specific areas. You can clean it with CLP, but you have to carefully remove all of the applied CLP before oiling the slide grooves and over the top of the barrel.
Any remaining oil you apply goes on moving pieces, levers, etc. You don’t coat the thing in oil as some people think. You only need to do this every time you are done firing it or every 5 to 6 months if it’s been kept in a safe. That’s it.
One thing beginners get wrong with firearms is overindulgence in the oil and the CLP. With CLP, it’s even more dangerous because its job is to strip carbon deposits off the weapon. CLP is not designed to sit on the weapon for months while it’s in the safe. CLP can become as destructive as rust that way.
You also don’t want to saturate the gun with oil. Just use light applications when and where your firearm manual says to do so. The manufacturers of the gun are more than aware of the crucial components of the gun.
How to oil a gun
You don’t start the oiling process until the gun has been completely disassembled and cleaned. If you use CLP, it should be a part of the cleaning process, not the oiling process. You have to remove the CLP first, once it’s done its job.
Then you apply the oil, and it’s not a matter of drowning the gun in the stuff. The oiling process is more of a light application. When it’s all said and done, you want the metal or polymers to have a sheen, rather than seeing your reflection in them.
A gun is like a combustion engine in a lot of ways. It deals with metal-on-metal friction and intense heat on the firing range. Like a combustion engine needs quality motor oil, a gun needs the same.
The moving parts are your primary focus. Gun oil, like motor oil, is designed to resist heat and maintain a level of lubrication between the moving, metal parts of the weapon. Focus on the grooves of the slide, springs, levers, buttons,
People will tell you to use grease on the sliding actions and oil on the turning actions. That’s great, and, in many ways, they’re right. We’ll cover grease further down, however, if what you have is oil, it will do on the slide grooves. Lightly oil the rail, bearing, and spring areas.
When you have reassembled the weapon, oil the surface area and wipe it down thoroughly. The oil that isn’t wiped off will absorb into the metal, giving it that clean gun smell along with a wicked, well-oiled machine appearance.
Black powder rifles
These bear mentioning because the way you oil them after cleaning is different. However, it’s only different in what you use to oil it. Some like to use bore butter on their cleaned bores, and others swear by Ballistol.
You need to stay away from petroleum-based oils with black powder rifles, with Ballistol being the lone exception. Ballistol is a German product, and it was manufactured with black powder rifles a well-known and understood weapon in the country at the time.
Jojoba oil, Olive oil, and sperm whale oil are excellent alternatives to Ballistol, as well, so it’s up to you which one you go with. Outside of that, you want to oil black powder rifles the same way you oil a regular rifle, with special attention to the bore.
Depending on your barrel, you may have to bathe it first and clean the powder residue out. After which, you want to give it a very light oil in the bore and a light coating on the outside as well. Stainless steel barrels just need a light coating on the outside.
Too much oil and the first few shots from a black powder rifle might be a little off until the black powder ignition burns off the interior oil.
Should you oil the inside of a gun barrel
This is an issue that divides the gun community endlessly. The fact is, if you’re going to be storing your gun for quite a while, you need to run a light oil patch through the barrel to prevent corrosion.
If you fire your weapon a lot and it’s never stored for a long period, you can get away with not oiling it so long as you thoroughly cleaned it. If you do oil it, fire off a round or two when you’re at the range or in competition before everything takes place. This is called an anti-fouling round.
There are no studies on the negative impacts of oiled barrels on accuracy. It’s not likely to hurt it at all. But, if you tell the wrong person that you oiled your barrel on the inside, just prepare yourself to be received as if you’re the antichrist.
Best oil for gun cleaning
Ask this question in the midst of any gun community, and you’ll quickly realize you’ve stepped in it big time. The only thing you should consider is the different aspects and uses of gun oils and lubricants.
- Gun oil for both function and lubrication
- Greases for maximum, long-lasting lubrication
- Oils used for preservation
As the saying goes, “the only two enemies of guns are politicians and corrosion.” Using the right oil is important. Since we’ve described three different types of petroleum products, there are three “best oils,” including grease.
Hornady One Shot Case Lube
Hornady is a preservation oil, applied only when you are done breaking down and cleaning off the carbon deposits. It’s an aerosol, but it’s easy enough to spray the tip of a Barber’s Shaving Brush and apply a light coat across the weapon before rubbing it in.
You should also spray a light coat on your bore patch and run it through a few times. Hornady One Shot Case Lube isn’t the only product they make for gun oil preservation, but it’s the best of the lot.
Hoppe’s No. 9
Some people like CLP, but this stuff is just as effective at breaking down carbon deposits, and it doesn’t have the drawbacks of CLP. You need to use it in a well-ventilated area and avoid getting any of it on your hands. Hoppe’s No. 9 is an outstanding solvent, and many gun owners will enthusiastically recommend it.
Lucas Extreme Duty Grease
This stuff is great in combination with Hornady. As the saying goes, “grease the sliding parts and oil the spinning parts.” Lucas Extreme Duty Grease is best when you use a very light amount on your rails.
Gun grease vs. oil
One is not better than the other. It’s just a matter of application. Grease is best when applied to metal-on-metal sliding actions. It’s long-lasting and prevents unwanted metal friction. Like oil lubricants, it’s highly resistant to heat and it lasts a long time.
Oil is great for light applications in areas that move but don’t necessarily grind against one another. For instance, your springs, BCG, buttons, and levers. The latter two don’t need anything as excessive as grease. If you can find a happy combination between the two, you’re doing great.
Are there any substitutes for gun oil
Absolutely. It might surprise you to hear that motor oil is a viable substitute for gun oil. After all, it’s designed to resist heat and provide excellent lubrication between moving metal parts. Jojoba oil and olive oil are decent substitutes as well.
However, you should depend on olive oil and jojoba oil as preservatives rather than lubricants. They can’t withstand the heat generated from the weapon for more than a short time.
Gun maintenance is every bit as important as safety, mostly because part of maintaining a weapon is safety. An unreliable, corroded weapon is the furthest thing from safety there is. The more time you spend disassembling and reassembling your gun, the more familiar you will become with it.
Regular maintenance helps you understand its functions better, and you will get faster at cleaning it each time. There are a lot of good preservatives, lubricants, and cleaning solvents available on the market, but the above three are some of the best you will find.
Take care of your rifle, and it will take care of you. That goes for pistols, shotguns, and black powder weapons as well. Clean it every time you use it and never neglect it in the safe for too long.
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