Trent Marsh 04.23.21
The old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, might fit nowhere better than in firearm care. Keeping your gun cleaned and oiled means it should serve you flawlessly for decades. On the other hand, a gun that hasn’t been properly cleaned and oiled is a malfunction waiting to happen. Best case scenario, it just quits working. Worst case? You could be putting yourself in harms way with a firearm that malfunctions and injures you or those around you. Choosing the right gun oil ensures safe, reliable operation for your firearms (or other outdoor gear) for years to come.
Table of Contents
1. Lucas Oil Hunting Gun Oil – Editor’s Pick
If someone says Lucas Oil, your first thought probably goes to off-road or high-performance applications, but Lucas has quite the line of products for shooting and outdoor use as well. Lucas Original Gun Oil is trusted by multiple major firearm manufacturers, which should tell you something right off the bat. While it’s another excellent choice for your firearms for the same reasons that all gun oils are good, one great feature with the Lucas offering is that it is odorless. Is your firearm primarily used in the woods chasing wary whitetail bucks, or other elusive game? If scent elimination is critical for you, think about going with Lucas.
Pros/Odorless is a great choice for dedicated hunting firearms
Cons/If you’re looking to use your gun oil as a cologne, this won’t do
Bottom Line/Lucas has really made a name for itself in the lubricant industry in the last few decades, no reason that shouldn’t crossover to gun oil
2. Hoppe’s #9 Lubricating Oil – Classic Pick
There aren’t many products that have become such a staple in their industry that things like air fresheners are made to replicate their use, but Hoppe’s has. Ask 100 gun owners what their preferred gun cleaning products are, and more than a few are going to answer Hoppe’s, and for good reason. With more 100 years of history, Hoppe’s products, gun oil and the rest, have served millions of gun owners and their firearms. At the end of the day, choosing Hoppe’s won’t be flashy or trend-setting. But it will deliver a high-viscosity oil that keep yours gun, fishing reel, or any other precision machine working cycle after cycle.
Pros/Hoppe’s is the OG of gun care, so you know you can trust it
Cons/You might not impress anyone at the range by not using some new-fangled option
Bottom Line/The Hoppe’s name is synonymous with gun care for a reason
3. Hornady One Shot Gun Cleaner Aerosol Spray with DynaGlide Plus – All-In-One Pick
Products that claim to clean and lubricate are pretty common, but there have only been a few that I’ve been happy with. Hornady One Shot with DynaGlide Plus is one such product. This all-in-one formula was developed to deep clean as well as lubricate and prevent rust. What is really special about the Hornady product is that is does a great job of cleaning the grime out, and it leaves a micro-thin layer of dry lubricant. Dry lubricant is a big deal in my opinion, especially for those of us that live and hunt and conditions that are often below the freezing mark. Dry lubricants don’t gum up when they get super cold. Another plus is, this product comes from Hornady, a family-owned business that is as serious about firearms and accuracy as it gets. I trust them, and you can, too.
Pros/Cleans and adds a dry layer of lubricant
Cons/I do feel it is necessary to do a deeper clean when using a dry lubricant, as I worry about build up
Bottom Line/A great all-in-one product that does great in cold weather
4. Ballistol Multi-Purpose – Double Duty Pick
I knew Ballistol was really good stuff when I started seeing that ubiquitous green can in tool boxes and garages of folks who weren’t using it on guns. They boast “1,001 uses. That’s just the beginning.” We don’t have time to get into all of them, but more than likely, anywhere you think you can use it, you can. The slight alkalinity of Ballistol helps to neutralize powder and ammo reside so your gun isn’t getting gummed up with slimy residue. It’s also as good for your wood stock as it is for your steel barrel. But it doesn’t stop there. If you need to clean or protect leather, knives, marine or fishing equipment, tools, rubber, Ballistol can do it. We don’t have time for all 1,001, but you just might be able to add to that list yourself.
Pros/It really is an all-in-one firearm cleaner
Cons/Once you realize everywhere you can use it, you might find yourself using a lot of it
Bottom Line/That signature green can is found on gun benches and in garages around the world with good reason
5. Real Avid Gun-Max Gun Oil – Trendy Pick
Real Avid burst onto the gun maintenance scene about a decade ago, and they’ve been developing and delivering innovative and creative solutions for keeping your gear in top shape ever since. The Gun-Max gun oil was developed with modern firearms in mind, focus on an anti-friction formula that keeps semi-auto guns working for countless cycles without needing new applications. These guns also feature more metal-on-metal surfaces that are especially critical to keep lubricated, and free of moisture. Check out the Real Avid Gun-Max Gun Oil, and the rest of the lineup to keep your entire inventory working in top shape.
Pros/Formulated to excel in sub-zero temps, like late season hunting
Cons/Costs a little more
Bottom Line/Real Avid is a gun care innovator, and the Gun-Max gun oil is just another example
Can you use any kind of lubricant?
Absolutely not. Not all lubricants are formulated the same. The two biggest places gun oils set themselves apart is the ability to shed dirt and dust, and to displace moisture. Some lubricants actually attract dirt and water, and can spell disaster for the functionality of your gun. Use only solvents and oils that are intended for use on firearms to ensure that your piece keeps working as it should.
When to use gun oil
It kind of depends on how often you are using it. Like we said when we kicked things off, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Any time you shoot your gun, and don’t know that you will be shooting again that same day, or at the longest, that week, you should break down your gun and clean and oil the parts. Clearly, if you know you’ll be out again in a day or two, you can get away without a full break down, but maybe a light dusting would still be good.
Another rule of thumb I use, if I can’t remember the last time I cleaned or oiled a gun, that means it is due. Even if it has just been sitting in your safe, it can still attract grime or moisture that needs to be removed, and a fresh coat of oil to keep those performance-robbing gremlins at bay.
Is gun oil toxic to me?
Any kind of penetrating oil, or solvent contains chemicals that are not good for you. If you get some on your hands, you’re fine, but it should never reach your eyes or open cuts.
Does gun oil expire?
The products with solvents included in the makeup can evaporate to a point and lose effectiveness. Straight gun oil, however, should be fine to store as long as you have it.
Can I use gun oil for other purposes?
Yes, you can use gun oil for some other uses. Should you? Probably not as it is designed to be used for one thing – lubricating your firearms. There are better products for general use.
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