Illustration courtesy of Audemous, Inc.
We will be right up front and state that we have never been fans of petroleum-based CLPs. The reason being is they are trying to do too many things at once. They may clean well, but if allowed to remain on metal parts, they function as dirt magnets. So much for the lubrication/protection function. Ask any AR shooter if they think it is a good idea to leave a petroleum-based product on the action of their rifle. They will tell you that's how to guarantee a jammed or malfunctioning firearm.
We have always believed that it was better to clean our firearms with a good solvent, wipe it off and wipe the action with a silicone cloth. That seemed to provide all the protection we needed. While that method keeps most rust away, we still had to regularly clean the actions for them to function properly. Our moist house air from the swamp cooler in the summer can really do a number on firearms. We check them regularly.
With all of the above said, we were somewhat skeptical when George Marshall, the FrogLube distributor at AAA Sports in Albuquerque, gave us some samples to try at the 2013 SHOT Show. He informed us that it was the best CLP on the market. We've heard that before, but we are always willing to try something "new". Thus, we spent the last six months using FrogLube on a several of our firearms.
FrogLube is not petroleum-based. It is made from plants, not industrial plants, we mean living plants like those that grow in our yards. Of course, you can't make FrogLube by putting a bunch of fresh grass and weeds in a blender, but given the right plants, that is exactly what the makers of this CLP did. Ok, it is a bit more technical than that, but the idea is that this stuff is all natural, biodegradable and non-toxic. In fact, in their literature they state that the ingredients are food grade and USDA Certified Biobased (98%). George even dipped his finger in the stuff and put it in his mouth to prove it. This is something we would not recommend with any other CLP.
A lot of folks use a good commercial solvent or CLP (petroleum-based) to clean their firearms and then follow up with a coat of light oil. Despite the claims, any CLP that is petroleum-based will attract dirt over time. That is the problem with CLPs, they try to clean, lubricate and protect, all at the same time. It is an impossible task with a petroleum product. They may clean well and lubricate, for awhile; but, in time their lubricating characteristics are absolutely going to attract dirt and gum up the works. As a result, the protection aspect becomes almost irrelevant, as a malfunctioning firearm is of no value, even if the metal parts are protected.
Given that problem, a lot of folks choose to wipe their firearms dry after cleaning and apply a light synthetic grease, such as TW25B. Granted, the synthetic grease does not seem to attract as much dirt and dust, but our experience has been that any kind of grease, over time, can impair the function of a gun. We all need to give more thought as to how we clean, lubricate and protect our firearms. That is the reason we decided to try FrogLube.
FrogLube makes claims similar to other CLPs; so, we put it to the test. Six months ago, we bought an unfired Ruger Mini-14 at an estate sale. The gun had been sitting in a closet gathering dust for five years. The action was stiff and the bolt tended to stick. We cleaned the entire gun with FrogLube and wiped off the excess, leaving a light film. That was six months ago. After multiple trips to the range, it has yet to jam or misfire. Rather than putting the Ruger in our gun safe, we leaned it up against the wall behind our bedroom door. A surefire way to attract surface rust from to our swamp cooler. To date, there is no surface rust. That says a lot, as our experience with Rugers, as much as we like them, is that their bluing process is prone to surface rust.
Claims from FrogLube literature and the results of our tests:
FrogLube makes the additional claim that it has a metal seasoning effect. Their brochure states the following:
"Because of the metal seasoning affect, you will find that the myriad of other cleaning, lubricating, preservative and solvent products currently in use will no longer be required to attain complete gun care. Bore cleaners can be eliminated because mirror finish FrogLubeŽ bores no longer allow fouling particles to stick. The amount of FrogLubeŽ required will be a function of the amount of use, environmental conditions and/or storage."
We did not test the metal seasoning effect, as different barrels (hardness, stainless, blued) would require varying amounts of time for this to occur, if in fact, it does. As such, we will have to leave it up to regular users to determine if this is an additional benefit, or simply advertising hyperbole.
FrogLube is a good product which accomplishes what CLPs are supposed to do. It is no surprise that military and police personnel around the world swear by it. While we won't be throwing away our other cleaning solvents, you can be sure that for normal cleaning, lubricating and rust protection, we will be using FrogLube. By-the-way, it is non-flammable, non-hazardous, safe to use around children and your cleaning rags are safe to launder.
FrogLube comes in two forms, as a 4 oz. paste with an MSRP of $12.00 or 4 oz. liquid with an MSRP of $19.00. You can find it in most gun shops and sporting goods stores, or order direct from www.froglube.com.
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