Saturday, May 10, 2014

The state of the art in firearm cleaning and maintenance

There's a fascinating thread on the Outdoors Directory forums.  The author, who goes by the splendid forum title of 'Rancid Crabtree', bought (at his own expense) 46 products used for firearms cleaning and lubrication, of which 33 were specifically intended for this purpose and the remainder were general-purpose products also recommended for firearms.  Here's part of the collection (click the image for a larger view).

He then put all of the products through an exhaustive series of tests, far more comprehensive than anything I've seen elsewhere in the user community.  He even set up multiple boards of metal strips treated with each product to see how soon corrosion would set in, and tested them under both indoor and extreme outdoor conditions.  Here's one of them after a week's exposure.  (Again, click the image for a larger view.)

At the end he compiled a 'scoreboard' of how the products compared to one another, and came up with a list of three products that far outshone all of their competitors.  I was frankly surprised to see some of my long-term favorite products so comprehensively outdone.  I can assure you, the moment I'd finished reading his evaluation I ordered a supply of one of the 'winners' to evaluate it for myself.

I think the author has done the entire shooting community an enormous service with his testing.  If you're serious about keeping your firearms in good order and condition, and safeguarding them from corrosion, then frankly his thread is a must-read.  I highly recommend that you take the time and trouble to read it in full, because later comments add details to (and sometimes modify) what was said earlier.  It's an eye-opener.



Robert Fowler said...

I received a sample of frog lube, enough to do a couple of guns. I did my carry gun and one of my AR's. I was so impressed I became a dealer. I like the fact that it is food grade so there is no danger to pets and kids and it's biodegradable. Right after I got my sample, they started producing a solvent. It's good stuff. The slide on my carry gun runs like it's on ball bearings and I have not had a failure (except for somebad ammo) in either of my AR's. If it's good enough for the SEAL's, it's good enough for me.

Rolf said...

Makes sense that a big dealer (like Cabela's or MidwayUSA) would not be interested in running such a test - they might lose a lot of products and sales. A product test run by a product manufacturer would be viewed skeptically, to say the least, for the obvious conflict of interest. "Gun Lubes" is not exactly a major category in Consumer reports. :-)
Thanks,Rancid, for spending the time and money to run the test, and attempting to make it reasonably well-documented even if some (that have never done a better test themselves) might quibble with aspects of it. And thanks, Peter, for bringing it to our attention.

Larry said...

excellent eval of the products I just sent a email suggestion for two further test of the top products from the corrosion tests

1. retest on the friction rig after 96 hours of outdoor exposure( this will give an idea of how the friction properties hold up)

2. repeat the exposure test using two samples of each that you rub against each other several times daily in simulation of moving parts in operation. this will further test the corrosion protection properties under wear.

PapaMAS said...

Huh. I had not looked at Froglube before. Maybe I will when I start running out of the stuff I have been using.