Gun Cleaning Solvent, Protectant, and Oil Review

Published by the Author on August 30, 2008 at 12:22 am > How-To Guides and Other Info > Gun Cleaning Solvent, Protectant, and Oil Review

The question of which gun cleaning solvent, protectant, and lubricant to use is one that comes rather often.  This article addresses my thoughts and recommendations insofar as gun solvents/oils/protectants are concerned:

Break-Free CLP
Break-Free CLP picture

I’m a fan of Break Free CLP, and use it on all of my firearms.  I’ve had no problem with rust, sticking parts, pitting, or other related issues.  I’ve used it on a variety of firearms, including a Ruger 10/22, a Springfield XD, a Remington 11-87, an FN Pump Shotgun, a Remington 870, a Springfield 1911, etc.  Out of all the combination solvent/lubricant/protectants I’ve tried, I’ve found BreakFree CLP to get my shotgun barrels clean after fewer passes with the bore snake or cleaning rod, even after firing hundreds of unplated lead shot shells.

When I bought my first shotgun (a Remington 870), the sales person threw in a can of Rem-Oil, which is Remington’s cleaning/lubricating product.  It works fine, although I’ve found Break Free CLP to work a bit better.  I still use Rem-Oil on the trigger group of my Remington 870, which is what Remington suggests.  I sincerely doubt anything bad would happen if I were to use Break Free on the trigger group, but since I have the Rem-Oil I might as well use it.

Automotive Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid is better than WD-40 (discussed below) but may not stand up well to the temperatures in some firearms parts, or to constant exposure to air. Transmission fluid is best used in your car’s transmission, rather than to lubricate your firearms.  Also note that unlike Break Free CLP, transmission fluid does not have cleaning properties.

ALSO READ:  Selecting a Defensive Pistol Caliber

I would not suggest using WD-40 in place of a proper gun lubricant.  WD-40 is designed to displace water, not to lubricate, which means it won’t offer the same type of protection that a proper gun lubricant would provide.  WD-40 also leaves behind a residue as it dries, which can attract dirt.  WD-40 also lacks the cleaning properties possessed by Break Free, Rem-Oil, and other products designed for use on firearms.

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  • Danny

    I use WD-40 for "melting" powder residue from the slide. It can really get those stubborn burnt powders out. I just make sure to wipe it off after use. The R.O. in our local range swears by it. For the rest of the pistol (especially the barrel), I use proper gun solvent.

    For lubricant, I use what comes with my cleaning kit (Kleen Bore). It gets the job done and my gun is always well lubed and protected. Once I use it all up, I'll try Break Free.

    • Dave

      WD-40 has no place around firearms. It has the potential to do far more bad than what good it can do. Unfortunatley WD-40 has been used by grandfathers, dads and then the kids. I think people simply use it for that reason. Grandpa used it, dad used it so it must be okay. I have had to repair several guns that had problems caused by WD-40. The residue will dry into a hard varnish that causes sticky action. Actually there is no reason to use it especially when the proper chemicals are so widely available. Throw the family tradition aside and use proper chemicals made for firearms. Some say is melts away powder residue. You can spray most anything chemical-wise on powder residue and you will see some of it washing away. Even water would to a degree. But that does not mean it is an effective cleaner. As the company will tell you WD-40 is not a lube. It is to displace water. And the number 40? That was the 40th attempt before they had the formula they way they wanted. WD? Acronym for water displacement.

  • John Diggs

    I currently own a Charter Arms snug .38 (not sure what the effective rating is on this firearm) but Im interested in purchasing a cleanin agent for up keep amd maintenace. I'm also looking for something with a little more power and easy on the trigger with not so much kick back. Can anyone recommend a good .45 handgun or even a variety of shotgun models (for family protecttion). I'm a registered gun owner but I'd like to upgrade my collection without going broke.

    Thanks for any feedback.

  • John Diggs

    Also, the best amnution brands for the gun.

  • Opas

    Yep, that’s excellent advice about WD40, and a word to the wise is sufficient, others will do as they ploease. DO NOT use it on guns. As to fathers, grandfathers or great grandfathers, we used WD40 to dry out wet ignition distributors and door hinges, we did not use it on guns.

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