View Full Version : Trigger group lubricant?

February 28, 2008, 11:08 PM
I was told by someone to clean the trigger group out with brake cleaner and leave it dry... Lubricant attracts abrasives. Any thoughts on this? If I should lubricate what's the best product?

February 29, 2008, 12:58 AM
The instructions that came with my Jewell trigger say to simply flush with lighter fluid after cleaning barrel and not to lubricate.

February 29, 2008, 01:07 AM
Lighter fluid, i.e, Ronsonal. It will flush the trigger and when the volatiles have evaporated, there is just enough residual lubricity to get the job done without serving as an attractant to dust and other debris.

February 29, 2008, 01:11 AM
Great! Now that makes more sense. Thanks.

February 29, 2008, 02:22 AM
Or you can use a dry lube. Nothing there to attract or hold dirt.

February 29, 2008, 01:59 PM
What action, what trigger?

From Maple Valley I'd ask the guys at Ben's Loan or the Dan Cowan around the corner if he's still there.

Bill Wilson for example has specific suggestions for the fire control parts on the guns with his name on them and they aren't about running dry.

For the M4 and MForgery Pat Rogers did a piece for SWAT a while ago -

For this that and the other there are different rules and different products depending on the firearm and the environment.

I used to use Iskendarian Cam Lube but that's not necessarily the best for your trigger and your environment. Last I heard Maple Valley wasn't exactly a desert though.

February 29, 2008, 02:37 PM
Maple Valley gets some rain. I'll probably hunt out towards North Bend in the fall and they get more. I've just inherited a 25 year old Interarms Mark X sporter .25-06 with the factory adjustable trigger.

February 29, 2008, 02:40 PM
No lube is not enough, but if you can see it there is to much.
You need the barest film to prevent corrosion while not atttracting dust and grit.

March 2, 2008, 12:38 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. The Mark X is a little obscure these days so it's hard to find specifics on what to do for lubrication, etc.. I bought the Ronsonol and although I was sceptical (I've never noticed a residue left over from it and yes I used to smoke). It was cheap so what the hay.. The trigger feels much smoother now. Unless I hear otherwise for this trigger, all is well.

Bill DeShivs
March 2, 2008, 01:29 AM
All is well-until it rusts.

March 2, 2008, 07:38 AM
Dry Slide.


March 2, 2008, 10:28 PM
Dri slide... I've seen it for sale online. I'll check into it. My dad says they would use gun oil when he was a kid in NE Oregon. It would freeze during elk season if it got too cold so they would always bring a jug of Prestone antifreeze to splash on the trigger group. Would have been in the mid to late 1950"s. He says that was the ticket, and it protected against corrosion!

March 2, 2008, 11:31 PM
Depends on the platform and what it is spec'd to do best with in and in certain environments.

On a shotgun, I have shot 25K rds and more in a year, never cleaned a trigger group, and just concerned myself with chamber and extraction.
I ran one shotgun, for one year and put over 40,000 shells through it, and never dropped trigger group.

Who has time to clean when they shoot, and if not shooting, reloading, and if not reloading driving somewhere to shoot?

40,000 rds and I used the Kleen-bore Formula 3 that was the free kit for shooters...when Kleen-bore came onto the shooting scene.

That shotgun still runs, and has over 300,000 rds thru it.

Just shoot the darn thing....

March 4, 2008, 09:48 AM
for a "normal" rifle trigger or an after market like a timney I use the brake cleaner (if your trigger is plated this will eat off the plating) or just compressed air. To lubricate I either use a good teflon spray or graphite. Always make sure to inspect your weapons before going to the range or out in the field. this will help to alleviate a lot of the "oh sh!!!" when you get out to the range or on the opening day of the season and realize you have a problem with the weapon.


March 4, 2008, 07:03 PM
You'll find lots of opinions. Frank White at Compass Lake Engineering wants you to use Neco Molyslide on his AR trigger. It is a two-stage trigger, so you have the take-up portion of the trigger to press through, and lubrication keeps that stage smooth.

I am a little leery of using brake cleaner or any other degreaser and not following up with a lubricating material that will offer some corrosion resistance. I've left 1911 trigger groups unlubricated for extended periods (7 or 8 thousand rounds) and not had a problem. This was shooting lead bullets, and some of the lube seems to vaporize and blow around and condense all over the gun, and that may help?

The last couple of years I've been experimenting with two permanent lubricants. One is Moly-Fusion (http://www.shootersolutions.com/molyfusion1.html), which puts a micro-thin lubricating metal conversion layer on parts. This is completely dry and very durable (you can put it in a barrel and it withstands firing and keeps fouling down) and offers some added corrosion resistance. The other is Plate+ Silver (http://www.sprinco.com/plateplus.html) which is based on an older NASA technology, but which also withstands firing in a barrel for quite a number of rounds. Though Moly-Fusion should have it beat on peak temperature tolerance, it seems to work as advertised. Plate+ Silver is a colloidal suspension of acid-neutralized sub-micron size molybdenum disulfide particles in a petroleum-based lubricant that bonds electrostatically to iron.

To use either lube, you would start by cleaning the trigger group parts. Mineral spirits works fine to final clean before treating with Moly-Fusion. The Moly-Fusion is applied in a mix with mineral oil or mineral spirits. You warm the object to be treated and, keeping it warm, rub the treating mix in for 20 minutes or so (I use a Q-tip for trigger and sear engagement surfaces). Then you can clean the parts off with mineral spirits and wipe them dry.

For Plate+ Silver, you would first clean the parts. Mineral spirits works, again, but there is a Plate+ Green that is the petroleum-based Plate+ component only (no moly) and which can be used to prep the surface like a pre-cleaner. Once you are ready for the Silver version, soak the parts in it for 72 hours at room temperature, then remove them and wipe all visible traces off the surface with dry patches.

In both cases you will have lubrication in place and working. The limitation of Plate+ is it does not work on aluminum, while Moly-Fusion does. Moly-Fusion, for my money, gives a more positively smooth feel to two sliding surfaces, while Plate+ has a slicker feel. Both lubricant's have much lower sliding coefficients of friction than steel on steel; 0.07 is advertised for Moly-Fusion, and 0.02 is advertised for Plate+ Silver. Hardened steel on hardened steel is about 0.78 static and 0.42 sliding, by way of comparison.

I prefer Moly-Fusion on a two-stage trigger and Plate+ Silver on a single-stage trigger. The former seems to clean up hesitation a bit better in the first stage of the trigger, while the latter seems more inclined to allowing a sudden slip, which a crisp trigger should have. I suspect the difference in static and sliding friction coefficients is lower for Moly-Fusion, but would have to test that carefully to be sure my perception isn't just subjective?

Plate+ is simpler and more idiot proof to apply, but also more prone to creeping into places you don't want it or to having excess remain behind on pins and in holes and springs, from where it can splash or creep out onto other things. You just have to make your own choice about that aspect of it, and make your own decision as to which you might prefer to use? I have not tried applying one over the other on purpose, though I have used one on surface A and the other on surface B of two sliding parts, and it worked, but nothing special happened. I suspect Moly-Fusion, since it will work through oil, can probably be successfully applied to something previously treated with Plate+, but the reverse would not go so well other than to fill in any defects in the Moly-Fusion coating. More fuel for experimentation, there. Knock yourself out.

March 4, 2008, 10:07 PM
I've used brake cleaner with good results. It's non corrosive to aluminum and steel, won't hurt springs, etc. (what it was designed to clean safely on a car). I use the non chlorinated type to eliminate unneeded exposure to methylene chloride. The drawbacks are that it is quite flammable and because it causes metal to get cold, it can make rifle parts sweat. With a trigger group I spray short bursts with time between for the metal to warm back up to ambient. I noticed no condensation with this method.

As far as lubricant goes, I'm looking for something that does well in rain and prevents corrosion yet doesn't get gummy. I'll be using this rifle on the west side of the cascades in an area that averages 100 inches of rain a year and temps typically run 35-45ºF during deer season. Deer season here is often a constant cold rain for days on end unless you hunt on the east side.

March 5, 2008, 01:19 AM
I generally choose between 3 options:
- Break Free CLP
- Tetra Lube
- PTFE-based dry lube

CLP and Tetra will protect from rust and maintain lubricity. PTFE dry lube will coat all the parts with a very thin coat of PTFE (Teflon). I use Tetra for all my trigger mechanisms.

March 5, 2008, 09:22 AM
Never lubed a bolt rifle trigger assembly. Never had any rust in the trigger assembly, either. I've used the lighter fluid method, successfully. I'm using a JP trigger/hammer assembly in my AR, and I either use a judiciously-applied drop of Mobil 1 or Brownell's Action Lube Plus on the sear engagement mating surfaces.

March 5, 2008, 05:29 PM
In Jewell's own words.

Performance Shooter: What maintenance does the trigger require?

Jewell: I recommend they use it clean and dry. No lubrication whatsoever. The metal surfaces are hard as hell; they’re heat-treated to a 58 or 59 Rockwell C hardness. We don’t have to worry about galling because the loads are so light at the sear.

Performance Shooter: Still, no mechanism is perfect. What’s the biggest problem customers have with the trigger?

Jewell: Allowing it to get dirty. They’ll let that Shooter’s Choice cleaning solvent get down in there, and I’ve seen that stuff actually solidify. I’ve seen these parts welded to the sideplates. People will let solvent trickle down into the action when they’re barrel cleaning. It will eventually build up and make the trigger quit working. But because my triggers require so little effort to make the levers move, they are probably more susceptible to getting gunked up.

March 5, 2008, 05:34 PM
I use 1qt transmission fluid, 1/2qt motor oil, and hoppes9 to thin it. I vary the amount of Hoppes9 to get the consistency that I want for the weather conditions- more if it's colder, less if it's warmer.

March 18, 2008, 12:27 PM
Just a tip to anyone who uses 'lighter fluid'. Coleman Camp Fuel, also known as white gas is the same thing as Zippo fluid/lighter fluid ... only MUCH MUCH cheaper.


March 19, 2008, 10:48 PM
Dude... Incredible idea... Hey, I could go into business. All my stuff runs on propane so after I buy a gallon of fuel I can like sell it by the ounce to people that need to lube their triggers on ebay... Oh, and offer a full trigger lubrication service.. I could set up a contract with UPS, or I could go to the gun range and set up a booth, yeah thats it!!! Now I'm on a roll, I'm gonna buy a 40,000 gallon tank and fill it so i have gas for my Neon...:cool:
Really though.. I paid $2 for enough lighter fluid to do a hundred triggers. I hope you use that stuff in your stove or lantern..

But thanks!:D

March 20, 2008, 09:28 AM

Here's some stickers you can sell in that business of yours too :)

With your personality and brand of constructive criticism, I'm sure you would make an excellent traveling salesmen. Keep up the good work!

March 20, 2008, 01:50 PM
Some people can't take a little teasing. Holy cow, calm down man. I thought you might see the humorous side of what I posted. Sorry if I offended you. Traveling salesman?? hehe Now what if one reads this? I bet he'll be more offended than you.

March 20, 2008, 02:06 PM
I reread my reply to RandyStacyE's post. I can see where someone might think I was being a jerk. I have sent a apology PM. I thought it was a light hearted funny reply at the time. Didn't mean to be hard on anyone. The coleman gas is way cheap, I just don't have need for that much of it. Limited storage space in my house. I went too far. I'm Sorry.

March 20, 2008, 08:16 PM
Wow... anyone needing a chill pill, please take a seat... :) I thought it was light hearted and funny. But, hey, some things that would be funny as hell face to face don't always get interpreted as they're intended when in text form.

This is an interesting topic, though. I'm in the final stages of rebuilding my Remington 700, and re-installed the trigger last night. It may be a tad gummy, I can't really tell... I used some spray bore cleaner to flush it out, and put a couple drops of Smooth-Kote on it. Smooth-Kote seems to be very similar to Dri-Slide, which I also have a decades-old can of. Interesting to see the responses that pretty much affirm what I suspected.

I may re-clean mine using isopropyl or something, since I don't have any brake cleaner handy. I do have some flux remover if I can ever find the can, it's similar - will dissolve ANY sort of oil or grease and flush it out.

March 20, 2008, 08:49 PM
lots of folks use rubbing alcohol (the pure grade stuff though) for flux remover on the circuit boards. So I am guessing your flux remover is just a very purified version of isypropal alcohol.

March 21, 2008, 01:49 PM
Good thing I'm used to getting the finger. I am an Inspector after all.. Or is it traveling salesman? Either way, I'm used to it.
Isopropyl works well too, but the idea behind brake cleaner was to blast the crud out without having to tear it down. You could go with alchohol and compressed air but then most home compressors don't have dryers so you may be forcing some moisture into the assembly. Brake cleaner was just over $2 and was very effective. If you use it get the non chlorinated (less toxic) and shoot short bursts. As I stated earlier, this stuff can get your metal parts real cold. If they get cold then condensation will form and the rust problem comes up.