Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
The inventor told me personally it is a lubricant that also displaces moisture. It was designed to lubricate very high voltage switches located in a high humidity environment.
That's strange. The company's own history
says it was invented at the Rocket Chemical Company in 1953 and was first used to protect Atlas missile skins from rust. No mention of high voltage switches or lubrication. It would surprise me to learn it was used in high voltage switches because those big switches draw an arc when they open that has to be extinguished. Unless it's an inert gas or CO2
extinguished type, an arc could vaporize and ignite WD-40 causing an explosion (though some use a controlled hydrogen explosion to blow out arcs). If you look at the foreign MSDS sheets for WD-40, which require revealing the content in greater detail than U.S. MSDS sheets do, you find the primary constituents are:
C9-C11, n-alkanes, isoalkanes, cycloalkanes, <2% aromatics
In other words, a form of kerosene. It's more refined, which is why the odor isn't so strong, but that's basically what's in it. Regular kerosene is mainly dodecane (C12
) size molecules instead of being centered around decane (C10
) as WD-40 is. But like any kerosene it will have some lubricating ability, but will have poor high pressure film strength. I don't know what the rust inhibitive element is, but it's a small percentage of the whole, which mostly evaporates. After it's dried for a time, the protective stuff is tacky and attracts dust. It could lubricated some, too, but it's not slippery enough feeling to be great at it.
As an example, a friend of mine I used to do machine tool repair work with when engineering was slow, found a place in south Columbus that needed some repairs. While he was there he saw they were sending a 3-axis machine out for rebuild because of worn ways, and the fellow commented they had to do that every 6 months or so. Well, that's pretty odd. So my friend asked what they were lubricating with, and the fellow proudly told him they sprayed everything down with WD-40 every morning to free it up before starting operation and how great that worked. So, my friend talked them into trying some Mobil Vactra 2 or similar way oil instead. He was back there again a couple of years later and in all that time they hadn't worn out or had to send a single machine back for rebuild. And, they no longer had to free anything up in the morning.
You want to pick your WD-40 apps carefully.
There are a number of good lubes out there. You need to decide what you want them to do and how you want to use them. Gunzilla CLP, if used for cleaning after each shooting session and wiped off with a dry rag will leave a thin lubricating film behind that does not get sticky and attract dust or lint, as dried WD-40 does. They claim they sold a lot to the military in Iraq, and it reduced M4 stoppages 75%. If you clean regularly, it's a good product in that regard. I don't know how well the lube film holds up if you don't get to clean regularly, though, or if you let the carbon age and harden over it, but the military application in Iraq seems like a pretty good test.
I've mainly been using Machine Gunner's Lube from Sprinco's pro line. It contains a NASA patent lube that bonds to the metal surface (as a number of lubes, like MotorKote, do) but it also has a colloidal suspension of micronized, acid-neutralize molybdenum disulfide that gets into and stays in surface imperfections and keeps working even when the main lube film is diminished, so it's a good wear preventive.
I understand from Hummer90 that the Mobil 1 mentioned earlier is used for everything by the AMU now, so it's a good, inexpensive recommendation. Synthetics have an advantage in a bore in that their higher combustion temperatures makes them less prone to burning off and leaving carbon behind. At chamber temperatures a full synthetic is actually going to be best of all to avoid carbon packing of surface imperfections.
Recently, in miscellaneous home and shop applications I've been using a plastic-safe vegetable-based lube sold in two forms (liquid spray and white lithium grease) at Lowe's called Ultra-Lube
. It claims 4× better lubrication than other products, and I have to say it does feel that slippery and works extremely well. It also bonds to metal and has a higher combustion temperature than petroleum lubes, so it seems like a good gun lube candidate and will be getting some experimental time out of me. The video at that link shows it tested against WD-40, silicone lube, teflon lube, and a thing synthetic lube.
You can also apply some permanent dry lubrication. A S&W armorer's school technique is to make up a slurry of JB Bore Compound and well-shaken (to get the Teflon in suspension) Break-Free CLP. This is put in the action of a revolver and it is operated until smooth. The Teflon embeds as the JB polishes the surface and the result is what has been described as the "buttery smooth" feel of S&W custom shop actions. I've subsequently played with a variation on this theme. I mixed JB with a little line of TW-25B out of the dispenser syringe to get a higher fluoropolymer concentration, then added a honing oil to thin the consistency to a slurry. I've used this to make some Lee Collet Dies operate more smoothly, and it worked a treat. I'll probably use it on a 1911 next, but I will wait until I next need to tighten one up. The Machine Gunner's Lube is doing fine and I've got a quantity to use up.