Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

AR Lubes

While working on a magazine article recently, on AR maintenance, I decided to do a poll among my friends to see what type lube they use on their rifles. Their answers were as varied the type rifles they carry, which is to say the responses covered a wide range of lubricants. Cleaning and maintaining your weapons is a very personal process, and everyone thinks their system is best. And, if it works for you, then there’s no sense in changing anything.

After getting everything cleaned up, it’s time to lube it. What type lube should you use? That’s the million-dollar question. One of my military guys, Justin, is deployed in very hot, sandy environments. “I use high-temp wheel bearing grease,” he told me. He buys a can of high temp grease from the auto shop, and uses it on AR’s, AK’s and pistols. A couple of other shooters replied that they also use grease. Other responses include Remington’s oil, which is a lightweight oil with Teflon, Kroil, an oil that apparently is absorbed into the pores of the metal, Break Free, CLP, and Gun Butter, a new one for me which I’m going to have to check into just because of the name. The lube that received the most votes was SLIP 2000 EWL. I have to say I’ve never used this one, but since it got so many votes I’m going to have to get some to try out.

The most common mistake most people make with the AR is not using enough lubricant. When you cycle the bolt and it sounds like sandpaper on metal and actually feels gritty as you pull back on the charging handle then you’re not using enough lube. On the bolt carrier, look at the spots that are worn bright or smooth with wear, and you know where to apply lube. You also need to apply a drop on the gas rings, the extractor and ejector, and a little for the trigger, disconnector and hammer.

Some shooters use a combo of grease and oil. They’ll apply oil to the gas rings on the bolt, and then use grease on the bolt carrier. Ultimately the lube you need depends on the environment and application. In hot environments, especially when you’re doing a lot of shooting, grease works well. When temps drop down into cold, grease can gum up enough to create malfunctions. Extreme cold is where a lightweight oil works best. You may have to vary the lube you use according to the forecast.

The key to keeping your AR running is cleaning and maintenance. Experiment with lubes until you find the one you’re willing to bet your life on, because for self-defense or combative applications that’s what we’re talking about. Remember, the chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. That applies to your gear, the lube you use, and you personally. Make sure each link is up to the task.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15, Gear

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