Which gun oil do I need?
When looking at the wide range of gun oil and grease we’ve got for sale, it’s absolutely understandable if you’re at a loss which one to choose. But knowing its purpose, will help you narrow it down. Enabling you to choose a suitable gun oil with confidence.
The main purpose you think of for gun oil will probably be lubricating. This is indeed a very important job, for which we’ve got multiple options on offer. However, there are also gun oils that are specifically designed to clean your gun. Some of them will be great for removing deposits from the barrel, while others are designed to tackle dirt and grime.
Finally, there will be gun oils that’ll do a perfect job of protecting your gun against corrosion. Some of the oils provide a double action, removing dirt, grime and dispersing water. After the solvent dries, they'll a protective film that prevents corrosion.
Gun oil for lubricating
When using gun oil for lubricating purposes, it’s good to know that silicone gun oil is perfect for synthetic parts. And they do a great job of keeping rubber parts like O-rings in tiptop condition. However, when metal parts are involved, you’re best off using a mineral oil, that will create a thicker film between the parts involved that will keep friction and wear at bay. It’s okay if silicone or Teflon are used as additives for less friction, but the main ingredient must be mineral oil. This is because a mineral oil film can withstand more force on metal surfaces than just silicone oil can.
When using oil for lubricating O-rings, for example in air rifles and airsoft replica’s, it’s best to use silicone gun oil, as mineral oils can have a deteriorating effect on rubber or plastics. Silicone is known to be very friendly for rubber and plastics. Often, specialist airsoft gun oil and grease has a very high percentage of silicone in it.
Gun oil for cleaning
How a gun should be cleaned, really depends on the type of gun. On air rifles, cleaning oil is only necessary on parts where excess airgun oil has accumulated dirt and built-up grime. This also goes for firearms, but these guns should be cleaned more frequently as they tend to have more moving parts.
There’s also burnt gunpowder that leaves acidic residue that will have a corroding effect on the metal parts of your gun. For this, we’ve got gun oils with additives that will neutralise and dissolve the gunpowder residue, making it easy to remove with cleaning aids like brushes and cloths. For barrels we’ve got cleaning oils that dissolve copper and lead deposits.
Gun oil for protecting
After cleaning, not only all harmful substances are removed, but degreasing also got rid of a lot of the protective film that protects bare and blued parts of your gun against corrosion. It’s important to use protective gun oil to give these surfaces a fresh protective and lubricating film.
It’s important to know, that you also should use protective gun oil after every use when you’ve got a gun with blued parts. Bluing doesn’t offer a huge protection against corrosion and even your fingerprints can be acidic enough to cause corrosion. So always wipe these parts with gun oil, before storing your gun.
When to use gun grease?
Gun grease is only used on parts that get to endure heavy friction, like bolts, slides and the ends of airgun springs. Sometimes a tiny amount of gun grease is used on some friction parts inside the trigger mechanism (but not much!), also because these parts are hard to reach and gun grease will last for a long time. Gun grease will leave a thicker film than oil, that’s better able to endure and minimise heavy friction. Only in harsh environments or when storing guns for a long period, gun grease is used more liberally to protect against corrosion. But most of the times, gun oil is used for most parts of the gun.
What is the best gun oil?
As we’ve pointed out above, it all depends on where you want to use the gun oil for. Metal parts need mineral oil-based gun oil for lubrication and protection against corrosion. Plastic or rubber parts will benefit from some silicone gun oil.
Cleaning oils are a completely different cup of tea, as these have additives that will dissolve grime, gunpowder residue and/or copper and lead deposits. Not necessarily all at the same time, as often it’s better to use purpose developed cleaning oils for different tasks.
As for protection against corrosion: you’ll want a gun oil that will leave a protective film that doesn’t evaporate quickly. However, the protective oil also shouldn’t attract dust or dirt, as this will end up becoming an abrasive paste. The same happens when you use too much gun oil for lubrication. The oil should just penetrate between moving parts and any excess should be wiped off.
Gun oil in bottles can be applied in two ways. Sometimes a cloth is held against the opening to get oily (or a Q-tip is drenched), other bottles have a small spout, a little pipe that helps you carefully place a drop of gun oil in the right place. Gun oil spray can also be a convenient way of distributing the oil. Especially when you’re covering larger surfaces. It’s also handy for hard to reach parts.
How to oil an air rifle?
We often get asked how you should oil an air rifle. This depends on what kind of air rifle you’re using. A springer usually only needs gun oil on moving parts like the break barrel pivot and trigger. As a rule of thumb you could say that where the surface finish has rubbing marks, a drop of oil is needed. But just a drop, preferably less. And wipe away any excess oil to prevent dust and dirt becoming a grinding paste.
All metal parts -bare metal, but also blued parts- should be wiped off with some gun oil on a cloth after every use. This’ll prevent corrosion, not only from your air rifle getting damp or wet, but also corrosion induced by the acidic sweat on your hands.
O-rings, as used plentiful on PCP air rifles, are best kept in top condition with silicone gun oil. Where mineral oil can sometimes affect the rubber of O-rings, silicone has proven to be harmless, while keeping the O-rings lubricated and preventing them from drying out. Silicone gun oil is also perfect for use on the breech seal in break-barrel air rifles.
Should I buy a bottle or spray of airgun oil?
A gun oil bottle is convenient when you plan to use the gun oil liberally for soaking parts prior to cleaning them or to oil a cloth for wiping down parts. Using a gun oil bottle also allows you to use a cotton bud (Q-tip). Some bottles are equipped with a tip for more precise dispositioning of the gun oil.
A gun oil spray will be convenient for larger surfaces too, while also helping you to oil hard to reach areas quickly, especially when the spray can is equipped with a straw. Gun oil spray is fast in application, helping you when you’re in a hurry. Also, there’s less chance of spilling than with a bottle.
Buying the best gun oil
Whatever you do and whatever others tell you that works perfectly for them, please don’t use 3 in 1 oil on your gun, even not for cleaning. 3 in 1 oil is designed to be able to do all things a little bit. It will dissolve some grime, it will offer some protection against corrosion and it will lubricate too. However, it never excels in all of these things.
As a gun is a high precision device, you want to give it the best maintenance you can give it. There’s a reason we’ve got so many oils and greases in our store. They all excel in what they’re designed for. So, if you want to clean the barrel of your air rifle, you should use a gun oil that will dissolve lead and copper deposits. A firearm will require an oil that will dissolve powder residue too.
The same applies to lubricating oils. Some parts of a gun will only have light friction, while others get to endure quite a bit. Gun oil needs to be viscous enough to creep where it’s supposed to go, but thick enough to stay where you applied it. There’s heat that can make oil thinner, pressure that can crack oil molecules that keep the film intact, et cetera.
Gun oils will work perfect because of the additives they have, making them specialist oils that will give you the best results. 3 in 1 oil won’t even come near the effectivity of specialist oils. That’s why the best gun oil will always be a purpose made gun oil. The best oil for an airgun will be airgun oil that has its additives mostly based on superior lubrication, while the best airsoft gun oil will have a high content of silicone that doesn’t affect plastics and will prevent friction. The best gun oil for cleaning will have additives that’ll do just that and be very effective at it too.
So, in short: the best gun oil is specialist gun oil and with the information given above, you should now be able to make an educated choice. However, if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask one of our experts for advice.