Modern Gun Cleaners and Lubricants
By David Tong
This article is a review of products that the author has used for the past several months to seven years, in order to clean, lubricate, and prevent corrosion. The products include Tetra Gun Grease and lubricant, Eezox full-synthetic cleaner/lubricant/protectant (CLP) and LUCAS Gun Oil. All three claim to be useful for complete maintenance and the following are my own findings. While I am not a petro-chemical engineer, a one-product gun maintenance solution is convenient and economical.
All of these products come with instructions to clean your firearm of all prior products before application, to provide the protection promised. This makes sense. One has to re-train one’s thinking when using these newer products, in that older generations of lubes would often be used in quantity, with the resulting film of lube being both visible and tactile. With newer lubes, the operative words are “do not overuse.” This means to apply each sparingly, wipe off the excess and let it air-dry to a film barely visible or wet to the touch.
I have used the company’s Lubricant, a fluid, and Gun Grease products since 2004. I and was introduced to them by both a colleague and a company representative. According to the company website, Tetra products have the broadest temperature operating/protection range of any of the products I have used. This is from -100 deg. F to +750 deg. F, including the grease, which is surprising in that “conventional wisdom” suggests that standard petro-chemically based grease products are typically useless much below zero degrees F.
A graphic chart also illustrated the “seizure point,” which presumably is that point when metal-to-metal destructive contact or damage occurs, in foot-pounds. According to this chart:
Hoppe’s #9 Oil = 10 ft. lbs.
RemOil (with Teflon) = 17 ft. lbs.
Break Free CLP (U.S. Military issue) = 65 ft. lbs.
EEZOX = 85 ft. lbs.
Bonanza Case Sizing Lube = 118 ft. lbs.
Tetra = 160+ ft. lbs.
Tetra products are used by Beretta USA, Bushmaster, Kimber, Marlin, Savage and Walther either in production or recommended. The Tetra products are said to be identical in formulation regardless of their relative viscosity, with only a semi-volatile carrier’s percentage being the difference between them.
Tetra offers cleaning fluids that I have not used. Their lubricants are milky-white in color and have a distinctive odor. There was no mention online as to the product’s ingredients or formulation, so I am unsure whether it is petro-chemical or synthetic based. The grease, available in a 1 oz. tube for $4.99 and the 4 oz. lubricant is in a squeeze bottle for $8.99. These can be applied to all friction points, including trigger actions, bolts, slides and barrels on handguns.
I have used the lubricant a fair amount over the years. The company claims it is a good bore conditioner that fills micro pores in the steel and helps reduce copper build up on rifles. The grease bears special mention for auto pistol users, as it will not fling off the rear of the pistol on recoil onto one’s clothing or shooting glasses no matter how hot the temperature, a very good thing. In long-term (over three years) storage in a gun safe, I have noticed no deterioration, gumming or stickiness, as older technology petroleum based light gun oils were infamous for doing. Finally, when the grease is applied to a fresh, hard-anodized black pistol frame rail, it appears to delay wearing of the anodizing and prevents metal-to-metal contact, which is an indication of its shear strength under heavy loads.
Eezox Gun Care is based upon a full synthetic, very lightweight viscosity fluid that flows akin to water. It has a volatile carrier that readily evaporates. The manufacturer is emphatic not to overuse the product. Wipe it nearly dry after first application, allow it to air dry and reassemble your arm; thus, in service, it is a “dry lube.”
It differs from the Tetra products I have used in that it is also a cleaner, as well as lube and rust preventative. One can clean the bore with Eezox, dispensing with the Hoppe’s #9, Shooter’s Choice, or other specialized cleaner. It also claims to condition and seal the bore’s pores to ease future cleaning. While it would be difficult to prove this claim with the use of a bore scope of some magnification, the usual copper fouling from pistol shooting seems to be both reduced and very easy to remove in subsequent range sessions. Of course, this is not nearly as severe as what a high intensity rifle bore has to endure in terms of pressure and temperature.
The company claims that the product will operate between -95 degrees F and +450 degrees F. A 4 ounce can retails for $5.50, with larger and more economical quantities available on the company website. The product is also claimed to embed itself in the pores of blued steel and will prevent rusting and fingerprinting damage due to skin oils that are often corrosive. Make sure that the can is tightly closed when storing Eezox, as it will leak if not left upright and the carrier will evaporate.
LUCAS GUN OIL
This is the latest of the products I have been testing. This company is known as a maker of automotive oil and fuel additives, synthetic power steering fluids and stop leak products. At first blush, when one thinks about the sort of abusive environment, including heat, pressure, deterioration due to corrosion and heavy moving parts, it almost makes sense that a product derived from this industry might work well as a gun lube.
The company claims that its oil with petroleum additive package is also a cleaner, rust remover and corrosion protectant, so it is a “CLP” product. The company’s website shows an MSDS in pdf format and it is comprised of “hydro treated heavy paraffinic distillate,” with a flash point of 450 deg. F, a Health rating of 1, Flammability rating of 1 and a Reactivity rating of 0. It is not considered environmentally hazardous, but disposal into water sources or sewers is not recommended.
Lucas gun oil was developed by company founder Forrest Lucas for some friends who enjoyed shooting machine guns and were having problems with heat related malfunctions interrupting their fun. Thus, the emphasis was shear strength, though the “detergent” package in the solution probably enables it to be a good bore and action cleaner and the best of these three for light surface rust removal.
I work part time in a local gun shop and often am called upon to resuscitate some corroded long guns. While nothing is going to help steel pitted by rust, light surface rust can be successfully removed by applying Lucas oil liberally to the surface, using a nylon bristle brush to scrub it in, and waiting overnight. For slightly more stubborn, but small, corrosion patches, very light use of “0000” steel wool will help.
The Lucas product is the most conventional of the three in composition and I have not used it long enough to determine how well it works for long-term storage, but for firearms in constant use, the little 2 ounce bottle that sells for $3.00 at your local auto parts store is a good value. It should be used very sparingly. Make sure that the cap is fully tightened, as otherwise the product will seep out.
Copyright 2011, 2016 by David Tong and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.