Gun owners are aware that owning a firearm comes with responsibility. We aren’t talking about proper handling and gun safety, though those things are equally as important. No–we are talking about maintenance and care for your firearm. Proper maintenance, like cleaning and oiling, will help keep your gun firing accurately, avoid jams, protect against corrosion and rust, and improve the overall lifespan of your weapon. Proper oiling is also part of ensuring the gun is safe to fire, so choosing an oil is no small feat. Plus, oiling your gun keeps it shiny and looking like new.
If are looking for the best oil for your gun and don’t know where to start, don’t fret. We have compiled a list of some of the best gun oils available, as well as a buying guide to help you choose which one’s best for you. Check out our favorites:
This lubricant fashioned specifically for gun cleaning has become increasingly popular, and for plenty of reasons. This triple formula avoids the harsh chemicals used in many other oils, but still delivers high-quality solvent properties to help get your gun squeaky clean. The exclusion of these hazardous materials also results in a lighter smelling product than most lubricants. This product also includes ingredients that will protect your gun from corrosion and rust, and the special formula helps reduce the amount of carbon build up by reducing the amount of static (which helps carbon stick) during use.
The Sage and Braker formula has a few other unique properties as well. Use of this oil will result in increased heat dissipation, which helps keep your gun cool even during consistent use. The oil is thin and includes a misting spray cap for easy application, including on small internal parts of your gun that are difficult to reach.
This lubricant by Advanced WEapons Technology is another great choice for oiling your weapon. The bottle hosts a precision application tip so you can easily control the amount of oil you use and exactly where you apply it, as well as an interchangeable dropper lid for applying larger quantities to a cloth or large area on your gun. This oil also has an impressively long shelf life, and won’t thicken over time. The formula is slightly thicker than sprayable oils, so it will stick around the areas you applied it and provide an anti-friction coating to your gun’s insides. This oil is not thick enough to be considered a grease, however.
This oil is safe for use at temperatures ranging from -30 degrees to 450 degrees, so it can be considered an “all temperatures” oil. The formula also includes additives to prevent rust and corrosion.
This is another popular triple formula that Cleans, Lubricates, and Preserves your weapons. BreakFree’s CLP formula is made from special synthetic oils, so it won’t dry out or thicken over time, including when stored in extreme environments. This oil has a wide acceptable temperature range and can be used at temperatures from -65 degrees to 475 degrees. The oil is particularly thin and spreads evenly and easily across the surface of your gun, which helps the solvent to penetrate dirt and dust molecules, breaking them down to be easily removed. The high-quality oil is also great for reducing friction, even in your gun’s small moving parts.
BreakFree CLP contains a unique additive that sets it apart from other brands. This additive creates a boundary film on any metal area of your gun, which prevents possible dangers, like water, dust, sand, or hazardous toxins from sticking to its surface. The container is a squeeze bottle that will allow you to get medium to large quantities of oil at a time but includes a lengthy attachable straw for precision application.
This gun lubricant by Slip 2000 was specially formulated for use on automatic weapons, so you can rest assured it provides quality lubrication to all of your gun’s moving parts. This is a slightly thicker oil that comes in a bottle with an adjustable squeeze tip. This lubricant formula stays wet much longer than many other lubricants, which makes it easy to spread and work into the gun. This specialized formula actually burrows into the tiny cavities in the metal to provide lubrication from inside. The oil is safe to use on almost any surface, including metal, wood, and plastic. It includes additives that prevent certain materials from sticking, like carbon or copper residue. This formula also repels pesky dirt and dust and protect your weapon against corrosion and rust due to environmental factors, like moisture.
Though there is no exact number reported, this lubricant has shown to keep viscosity at temperatures as low as -59 degrees, so it is appropriate for colder climates. The formula contains no hazardous or toxic ingredients and has no harsh smell.
Here is another example of an all-in-one oil for your gun. Otis Technology Bio-CLP is a biodegradable formula that has a tame smell, but powerful lubricating and cleaning abilities. The solvent works well for removing all dirt and grime, as well as copper residue from the inside of your gun’s barrel. Aside from copper fouling, you can also expect this cleaner to remove all powder residue and carbon from the metal surfaces of your gun. It contains additives to protect your gun from rust and corrosion and is a good, long-lasting lubricant for all your gun’s moving metal parts. This oil leaves a thin layer of protection on your gun to seal out moisture and repel dirt. The container just includes a screw-on cap, so the oil should be applied directly to a cloth.
This oil is actually a multi-purpose lubricant and not specifically a gun lubricant, but that doesn’t stop gun owners from raving about how well this spray-on oil lubricates their gun. The aerosol can provide super easy application that takes no time at all and the thin formula is really easy to spread and rub into the surface of the gun. This oil is slightly alkaline, so it protects your gun against acidic bodily oils and sweat. The formula is biodegradable, so it is environmentally friendly as well.
The oil does have a semi-strong smell due to the aerosol can, but that is a small price to pay for its protective properties, which help to preserve wood, metal, plastic, and leather surfaces. Many gun owners love to keep this simple lubricant in their sporting bag because it is easy to apply in a hurry and allows you to quickly spray lubricant into the small, hard to reach parts inside the gun.
This lubricant was formulated with guns in mind and works well on semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons. It can be used in temperatures as low as -50 degrees without changing consistency or freezing up. This oil may be one of the best on the market in terms of reducing friction in your gun but surprisingly doesn’t contain additives like Teflon or graphite. It does, however, contain additives to help prevent corrosion and rust, even in extreme environments. The oil is pretty thin and sinks into the metal surface of your gun to better repel dirt and liquids. It also has a pretty long shelf life and remains stable in different environments, so it won’t get thick or gum up.
This oil is safe to use on any firearm surface, including metal, rubber, plastic, or painted areas. The container is a squeeze bottle with a twist-to-open lid that allows some control overflow.
Here’s one last three-in-one formula that works to clean, lubricate, and protect your firearm. Working Lube CLP is a non-toxic formula that is safe to work with and poses no dangers to your skin. It has no heavy smell and can be used on all different surfaces, like metal, plastic, rubber, leather, or wood. The formula is also completely organic and biodegradable, so it doesn’t have any adverse effects on the environment. This oil is slightly thicker than others, but it is very concentrated so a small bottle will last a long time. The strong solvent will break down and remove dirt, gunk, powder and copper fouling. The protective additives help repel dust, moisture, carbon build up to prevent rust or corrosion.
The formula is not combustible or flammable and has a high heat tolerance. It comes in very small quantities, like 2-ounce bottles, due to its high concentration. The quality glass container includes a “medicine dropper” style cap to help you control the amount of oil used.
Gun Oil Buying Guide
You know which products we consider the best and brightest, but how do you choose which one is best for you? Don’t stress too much, as we’ve taken it upon ourselves to write you a detailed and definitive buying guide to help you choose the best gun oil for your firearm. If you’re in the market for good gun oil, consider the following:
How, When, and Why to Use Gun Oil on Your Firearm
Oiling your gun is a great way to clean it and make it shine. There are many reasons to oil your firearm regularly. Actually, it is an incredibly important part of both gun care and gun safety. Oiling your gun not only protects it from damage due to environmental factors, liquids, or dust but ensures that the gun can function properly by allowing the metal parts to move against each other without friction and preventing jamming. Neglecting to oil your gun properly can result in serious malfunction, or just small amounts of wear and tear over time which will reduce the lifespan of your gun.
While the first step to oiling your gun is purchasing the right oil (that is why you’re here, right?) there are a few other materials you will need to clean your gun and give it a good protective coating. Some items that you may need or want include:
- The bore brush that came with your firearm, or one purchases to fit your bore.
- Gun cleaning patches.
- A smaller, lengthy brush that will reach small, tight spaces.
- An old toothbrush.
- An oiling cloth. You can buy oiling cloths made for oiling your weapon, but a microfiber cloth or cut up cotton t-shirt will work fine.
- Gun cleaner or solvent.
- Copper solvent, if not included in your other solvent.
- An oil appropriate for the stock of your gun, if yours is not.
If you’re a seasoned gun owner, you probably know how to clean your weapon. If not, here are a few (simplified) steps to follow:
- Unload your weapon and disassemble it completely.
- Use your solvent or cleaner and appropriate brush to thoroughly clean the inside of the barrel.
- Thoroughly wipe the exterior of each part with a dry towel to remove loose topical dirt and dust.
- Use solvent, along with the toothbrush or a cloth, to clean leftover dirt and dust from the exterior of every piece.
- Push a clean patch through the barrel several times, until it comes out mostly clean.
- Use oil and Q-tips or cloth to lightly oil all small or interior parts, like rails or springs.
- Use a barrel safe oil and clean patch to lightly oil the inside of the barrel.
- Use a clean, dry cloth to remove excess oil and work remaining oil into the parts.
- Use a stock oil to work the oil into the stock of your gun. You may need to spend a little more time oiling real wood stocks. Remove excess oil.
- Reassemble weapon. Check that the firearm is assembled correctly before use.
It is not necessary to use the copper solvent everytime you clean your gun. The purpose of the copper solvent is to remove the copper fouling, or residue, left inside the barrel after firing a copper jacketed bullet. Copper build-up affects the guns accuracy and can eventually lead to permanent damage.
Following these steps, you will be able to thoroughly clean your weapon. You can clean your weapon every time you use it, but it is not necessary unless the gun is exposed to large amounts of dirt or water, as build-up can cause permanent damage and jamming. You should also clean your gun immediately after use if you were shooting corrosive ammunition. You can clean your gun every few hundred rounds, but you should probably try to go no longer than one thousand rounds in between cleanings. Some people prefer to clean their gun on schedule, like once a week. If you clean your gun properly (and remove excess oil), you can’t really OVER clean it. Not cleaning can lead to real damage, though, so make sure you clean it often enough.
Choosing the Best Gun Oil for You
There is no one gun oil that is the best for everyone. In fact, which gun oil is best for you is determined by a variety of factors, ranging from environmental factors to the materials that make up your gun. Before choosing an oil, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- How often do you use your gun?
Depending on how often you use your gun, you may need to look for different formulas. For instance, if you use your gun almost every day, you may need to look for an oil that resists dirt build up, which will help your gun stay cleaner even through frequent use. If you oil your gun often, a thinner oil may go on easier and save time. However, if you only shoot occasionally and your gun otherwise is stored away, thicker oils or grease may work better, as they will last longer.
- What weather conditions do you shoot in?
This is one of the most important considerations to make when choosing an oil for your gun. There are oils made for specific weather conditions, like oils for using your gun in extreme cold, which especially important if you use a semi-automatic or automatic weapon, since the oil can freeze causing them to lock up. If you live in a particularly humid region, you may need an oil with rust prevention, since the humidity in the air can easily cause your firearm to rust.
- What type of dispenser do you need?
There are a few different types of container dispensers, and there is a reason for it. Each dispenser is made to dispense different amounts of oil over different area sizes, meaning you can control exactly where you put the oil. The three main types include the precision tip, the aerosol bottle, and the pour spout. You probably get the picture, so we will keep it short and simple.
The precision tip dispenser is used to dispense oils in very specific areas and usually includes a long, needle-like tip. This is good for oiling small parts or areas that are hard to reach, but may make it difficult to use your oil in large quantities, like to oil the entire exterior of your firearm.
Aerosol bottles will spray oil over a large area. With this type of dispenser, it can be difficult to control the amount of oil you apply to your gun. However, aerosol bottles are great if you frequently oil the exterior of your gun or for spraying larger quantities of oil into deep, hard to reach areas.
Some oil bottles come with an average dispenser, like a pour spout or bottle that requires you to remove the lid completely. This can make it a little easier to control the amount of oil you dispense if you are looking to use medium to large quantities. However, you will most likely need to dispense the oil to your oiling cloth, not directly onto the weapon.
- How much oil do you need?
Lubricants often come in different sizes, ranging from 4-ounce bottles to gallon size buckets. In order to determine how much to buy, you should refer to the first question. If you use your gun frequently and therefore oil it more frequently, you obviously should purchase a larger bottle. For those who clean their gun less often, smaller amounts will last a while. You shouldn’t use much oil when oiling your gun, though, so unless you have a small army to supply, you probably won’t need a gallon.
If you travel with your firearm or frequently clean it on the go, it may benefit you to purchase a small bottle that will easily fit in your gun case or sporting bag. If 4 ounces just isn’t enough, maybe purchase a bigger bottle of the same brand to leave home and use it to refill your small bottle as needed.
How to Choose Quality Oil
Aside from deciding which oil formula is designed to best fit your needs, there are a few other things you should consider to determine the quality of the oil. First, oil comes in two varieties: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based lubricants are definitely the most common, but water-based oils are the most modern technology. Both varieties will work fine, but water-based oils are more effective at removing copper fouling and generally have a better odor. They are also more environmentally friendly. However, water-based oils can be dangerous if your gun is left wet, as water can cause rust and corrosion.
Another thing to consider when choosing a quality oil is its temperature resistance. The product will usually specify its temperature range. In most cases, it is efficient to get an oil with a high-temperature range, which can be labeled as an “all-temperature” oil. It may read that the oil is safe for use at “extreme temperatures.” For general use, this standard oil is the best choice, unless, like we stated earlier, you constantly use your gun in one extreme temperature or the other. Then you may want to get an oil tailored to your specific needs.
Lastly, the quality of the product is sometimes related to the quality of the marketing and packaging. Although this is not always the case (especially with expensive products with fancy bottles and labeling), in most cases a cheap, leaky bottle with poor labeling often hints at an equally cheap product. Oiling your gun with poor quality oil can, at worst, cause lasting damage to your firearm. At best, poor-quality oil will just result in wasted time, as it may have little or no effect of lengthening the lifespan of your gun.
Grease vs. Oil: Is There Really a Difference
If you’ve searched through enough gun oils looking for the right one, you noticed that there are two general options: oil and grease. Both can be used, and both have their place in gun maintenance. If you’re confused, we’ll explain the difference.
Both are a form of lubrication that is safe for your gun. However, oil is typically thinner and easier to apply. However, oils may disperse more easily and have trouble staying in place, so they may need to be applied more frequently. Oil is especially convenient for lubricating your gun on the go because it is quick and to the point, and usually available in a small, convenient squeeze bottle.
Grease is a much thicker substance that is used to lubricate firearms. It can be more difficult to apply, but will often stay in place better and need to be applied a bit less often.
Often, gun owners use both when lubricating a weapon, putting grease where they want the lubrication to stay put and oil in places where they want it to spread out to surrounding areas. Either will work fine when used alone, though.
Be wary of labels though, because “grease” and “oil” are sometimes loosely used or generic terms when labeling these types of products. Check out the ingredients and product reviews to get an idea of what the product really is.
What is CLP?
Some gun lubricating products are not just branded with the simple “oil” or “grease” labels. You may have noticed products marketed as a “CLP.” This acronym stands for “Cleaner, Lubricant, and Preservative.” This means exactly what it implies. The product includes a diverse, but specific formula that will work as a solvent or detergent to clean the weapon, an oil or grease to lubricate all its parts, and a preservative to protect from things like corrosion or rust. Some people opt to avoid this all-in-one style product, saying that because it contains multiple chemicals meant to remain blended together in the same bottle for lengthy amounts of time, that the oils and solvents have to be particularly weak. If this is true, then the CLP may not work as well as using the products separately.
However, many gun owners rave about CLP’s and their one-stop convenience, saying that their gun ends up equally as clean in a fraction of the time. Honestly, it’s all about preference, so you may want to try it out and see what you think.
Additives Have a Reason
Gun lubricants come in many varieties, like the ones we mentioned that are made for special weather conditions, or formulas with anti-rust properties. Because different gun owners (and different guns) have different needs, the oil formulas may vary a lot. While there are some brands that feature recipes that are strictly oil, many other brands include additives in their products. These additives are generally not a bad thing. In fact, they often add convenient or necessary properties to the oil that make cleaning the gun easier, the lubrication last longer, or specializes the formula for special firearms. Here are some additives that are popular both with manufacturers and consumers:
- Anti-Wear and Extreme Pressure: You may have noticed that some different oils are marked with “AW/EP,” which stands for “Anti-Wear and Extreme Pressure.” This label refers to additives such as sulfurized fats, polysulfides, or antimony dialkyl dithiocarbamate. These probably sound intimidating, but they’re just the fancy words for chemicals that protect metal against extreme wear and tear, like the pressure caused when you fire a gun. Typically oils marked with this label are safe to be used across all temperature ranges. These additives aren’t necessary, but they are useful in lengthening the life of your firearm.
- Detergents: Some oils will include detergents in their formula, which work to break down grime and dirt that is built up on your gun. If you use oil to clean your gun, or your gun often gets pretty dirty during use, choosing an oil with an added detergent can make the cleaning process go much more smoothly and save you time.
- Teflon Formulas: Teflon is added to gun oil formulas to provide a solution that will help reduce the amount of dirt and gunk that sticks to your gun and make it easier to remove this dirt when cleaning. It also provides extra anti-rust properties and reduces friction between metal parts. If you think about Teflon coated cookware, you’ll get the idea. However, many professionals say that Teflon products should not be used inside the barrel of a gun because Teflon does not withstand high heats and instead can burn off and create toxic build-up.
How Much Should You Pay for Gun Oil?
There is really no definite answer to this question. Prices can range quite a bit, but a higher price is not always synonymous with a better product. Sometimes, oils are priced high due to their top-quality formula, but other times the high price may only reflect the use of designer labels and customized containers. Cheaper oils may be okay sometimes, but you should be wary. You are likely to get what you pay for and end up with a water-based oil that could damage your gun or with a cheap container that leaks. The best idea is to look for a mid-priced oil that fits your needs in other areas. Don’t put too much emphasis on the price.
Remember, Oil is Not a Fix-All
Many inexperienced gun owners are quick to run for the oil when they experience problems with their gun, and while not properly lubricating your gun can definitely cause serious problems, oil is definitely not always the solution. Guns can misfire, jam, or have complications for thousands of reasons. If the gun seems to have a jam, cleaning it is the first step to finding the issue. If the issue seems to include metal on metal friction, it may be due to lack of oil. It is generally safe to apply a lubricant to the gun to see if it corrects the problem, but you should always use an unloaded gun to test and see if the oil fixed the issue. If oil doesn’t seem to clear up the complication and put your gun back in working order, you may have a bigger problem than just grinding metal on your hands.
Our Overall Point
Lubricating your gun is an incredibly important part of the maintenance and upkeep process. A well-lubricated gun will function more fluidly without jamming, but there are other benefits to oiling your gun, like resisting dirt and grime build up, as well as protecting your gun from moisture and chemicals that can cause corrosion or rust to the metal parts of your weapon. In order to reap all of these benefits and more, effectively lengthening the life of your gun, you should have the knowledge necessary to choose the best oil for your weapon. Once you know what you need (thanks to this guide) maintenancing your gun should be easier than ever before. Our list of the best gun oils on the market will help you find an oil you love to use, and in no time at all you’ll be on your way to a well-oiled, protected firearm that shines like new.