A test of gun oils vs multipurpose oils
Every time I enter a gun store, I see a lot of new, “miracle” gun oils. Some of these will even publish results of tests showing how their product is superior to every other product on the market.
I decided to run a test to compare some of these products to see if any really were superior, in regards to lubricity.
As a disclaimer, I realize lubricity is only one of many important characteristics of oil. Some others are film strength, viscosity, corrosion resistance, ad infinitum. The scope of my testing did not test any of these other characteristics. I was only interested in how slippery the oils were. One of the claims of the newer oils, which looks promising, is that they penetrate the metals on a molecular level, leaving a slippery surface, even after the oil is wiped off. I also tested this claim.
My apparatus consisted of two 1 ¼” chrome plated steel ball bearings, welded together. I also had a piece of extruded aluminum angle, hinged at one end. I put the balls in the “v” groove of the aluminum, and elevated one end. From the angle of the aluminum at which the balls began to slide, I could calculate the amount of force necessary to move the balls (Force=m*a*sine?). From this I could calculate the frictional force we had to overcome (Friction=N*m), and the coefficient of friction for each oil (N). However, all of these numbers are proportional to the angle involved, so I am simply showing the angle involved in each case. The smaller the angle, the slicker the oil.
Upon completion of one sample, I would clean the apparatus by wiping everything with a solvent. Then, I would re-test the balls dry (no oil present), as a control. In this manner I felt that I could determine if any of the oils really were penetrating the metal. If this occurred, I would abrade the surface of the aluminum with Scotch-Brite until the control returned to normal, before going to the next sample. The oils which penetrated the metal are marked in the note section as leaving residue after cleaning.
|3 in 1||oil||18|
|Corrosion X||19||left residue after cleaning|
|Dillon Case Lube||Dillon||17||Lanolin with alcohol carrier|
|Hoppe's gun oil||Hoppe's||23|
|Imperial Sizing Die Wax||Redding||18|
|Lee Case Lube||Lee||13|
|Marvel Mystery Oil||20|
|Mil Oil 46||17||left residue after cleaning|
|Militec||Militec||19||left residue after cleaning|
|Moly Dry Spray||32|
|No Oil (dry)||27|
|Penn Reel Oil||Penn||22|
|RemOil w/Teflon||Remington||17||left residue after cleaning|
|RP-10 MPC||Reel Power||21|
|Shimano Reel Oil||Shimano||19|
|Silicote Reel Oil||Abu Garcia||21||left residue after cleaning|
|STP Oil Treatment||STP||19|
|Suber Lube||21||left residue after cleaning|
|SynFilm 32||Royal Purple||18|
|Tetra Gun Grease||Tetra||21|
|Tetra Gun Oil||Tetra||20||left residue after cleaning|
|Ultra fine Gun Oil||Browning||17|
|Vacuum Pump oil||Varian||24|
|WD-40||15||left residue after cleaning|
|ZeroFriction||19||left residue after cleaning|
Initially, I expected to see a few oils which would really stand apart from the crowd. This did not prove to be the case.
As far as firearms and fishing reels are concerned, a person would do well to try any of the oils which do, in fact, penetrate the metal. Please note that these types of oils should be applied to a clean metal surface to work properly. Also note that some of the synthetics will not mix with the hydrocarbon oils. However, it is a mistake to assume that the $10.00 per ounce oils lubricate any better than the cheaper ones. The differences are relatively minor.
As for myself, I will not be concerned for many years, as I still have to use up all of these samples I purchased for testing.
November 19, 2002