Montana X-Treme: When is the Last Time You Used Really Good Gun Oil?

By Randy Wakeman

Montana X-Treme Gun Oil?
Illustration courtesy of Western Powders.

Various gun oils have been around for a very long time. Fundamentally, there are three considerations to firearms care: cleaning, lubricating and protecting. These characteristics have been combined and recombined under various wonder formulas for years. I've used Breakfree CLP for a long time. It was, and is, a good lubricant/protectant. It never has been the best or fastest cleaner, but it wasn't supposed to be. You can clean a barrel with it, but it takes longer.


There has been an informal debate going on for many years about the suitability of some products, like fish oil based WD-40, for firearms. The notion behind “Water Displacing Formula #40” is that the first thirty-nine tries didn't quite make it, but the fortieth attempt did, hence the name. It never has been a good firearms lubricant, showing weak film strength and leaving a residue that builds-up with continued use.


Most automotive or industrial type lubes are too thick to be suitable for firearms. The idea for good firearms function hasn't varied that much over the years. Clean and dry is good, with a thin film of lubricant. Why oil? Oil is a better lubricant than grease, grease being essentially a mixture of oil and soap.


An undesirable oil for firearms is an oil that tends to gum up when exposed to powder gases, gets clumpy and thick when the temperature drops, or attracts dust and crud. Those are the negative attributes that Montana X-treme Gun Oil does not have. What is so good about it? For starters, there is nothing bad about it.


Montana X-treme is is highly refined oil, completely colorless. For the last ten months or so, I've been using it on Benelli inertia actions, a variety of gas pistons, A-5 magazine tubes, 1911 slides and center-fire bolts. It is good for a film on bluing and as a general bore protectant. Though several manufacturers suggest that you keep gas pistons completely dry, in my experience gas-operated shotguns run a lot longer and are easier to clean if you run them wet.


By “wet,” I don't mean dripping wet or sloshing wet. By wet, I'm referring to just wiping down the parts with a cotton patch with some ME Gun Oil on it. The same goes with a pistol slide or an A-5 magazine tube. Pop a couple of drops of Montana X-treme on it and wipe off all you can with a clean cotton patch. That will leave a light film, which is all you need or want. Puddling or over-lubrication is just as bad as ignoring lubrication altogether. It doesn't attract gunk and it makes subsequent cleanings easier.


Another good thing about both Montana Gun Oil and also their Bore Cleaner is that they aren't damaging to film-dipped (camo) barrels and plastic stocks. Some of the more radically aggressive gun cleaners, while tough on crud, seem to be just as rough on polymer gun finishes. Some chemicals should never be directly applied to firearms. The Montana stuff isn't, so even though there is no reason to oil a camo finish, some incidental contact happens.


One of the issues with new guns, particularly autoloaders, is the heavy preservatives applied by the manufacturer on and inside the gun prior to packaging. In general, the manufacturers are doing a good thing. Who wants to buy a gun that is rusting in the box? One of the best things we can do with a new auto is carefully clean away all of the factory stuff and start with a super-clean then lightly lubed action.


I had a lengthy conversation with a high-end O/U manufacturer a while back, the subject matter was customer issues. The number one customer complaint was rust. What can you say? All guns need to be cleaned, as dictated by service and storage conditions. All guns need to be lubricated from time to time. If there is rust, we can just look in the mirror, for it means neglect.


This is particularly obvious in muzzleloading as well. Yes, some propellants are essentially non-corrosive and modern primers are non-corrosive as well. That is hardly any excuse not to clean a gun. Virtually any residue, no matter how relatively clean or relatively non-corrosive, attracts moisture and should be cleaned as soon as conveniently possible. It doesn't take much to run a rag with Montana bore cleaner up and down the barrel. We should know better than to leave a gun uncleaned, but judging by all the rusty guns you see in gun shops, apparently not all of us do. It's a shame.


In any case, I can attest that two of the Montana X-treme products, their Gun Oil and their Bore Cleaner, are particularly good. Montana X-treme claims that their bore cleaner can be left in gun barrels overnight with no damage. Though good to know, a couple of dry patches after cleaning followed by a patch of gun oil takes so very little time or effort that I'll not ever test that assertion.


These two products are all you'll really need. They are both packaged in aluminum containers, a far better option than glass. Nothing gimmicky or mysterious, both of these items are just carefully mixed gun care products, made in the USA, that do their jobs extremely well.

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Copyright 2010, 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.