View Full Version : shelf life of gun oil and solvents

January 14, 2011, 01:00 PM
My apologies if this has been discussed before, but I never seem to find the right info when searching past threads...

Is there a shelf life to RemOil and other gun oils? Hobbes No 9? I've got a few bottles of cleaning solvents and gun oils sitting around that I never used up and wonder if I should throw them (excuse me, dispose of in a green manner) or if they are still usable after 4-5 years.

January 14, 2011, 02:36 PM
Crude oil sits in the ground for many millions of years without going bad, and that's often in heat. So petroleum distillates in general are not prone to spontaneous break-down. The only thing I can think of would be thickening of a refined product that included higher fractions that evaporate easily. If you had a container with an improperly tightened lid, that might happen. A plastic bottle of the wrong kind might be an issue. Polyethylene will soften and start permeating alkenes (paraffins) if you store it at temperatures above about 84°F. That's why polyethylene gas cans and fuel tanks are lined or co-extruded with layers of other plastics to line them. Leaving the lid off is also a bad plan.

Same applies to bore cleaners. They may have some more volatile constituents, such as the acetone in Ed's Red, which is prone to evaporation. Ammonia in copper solvents will outgas into air, too. Use glass containers with good caps and I doubt you'll see an issue with any of them, except maybe No-Lead, which is shipped in two unmixed parts because of a tendency to outgas after mixing.

January 15, 2011, 09:51 AM
I've used Hoppes 9 that sat unused for over twenty years and it seemed to work as well as ever. A totally un-scientific answer for sure, but true nonetheless.

January 15, 2011, 04:40 PM
20 year old Hoppes should work better than the present offering on the shelf's now.

Peter M. Eick
January 16, 2011, 08:56 AM
Educational side point here....


As a geologist/geophysicist working for a major oil company I must take issue with your statement that oil sits underground and does not degrade for millions of years.

Actually oil is constantly degrading and fracing down to lighter and lighter products. It occurs all day long every day of the week. It is just not a fast process. Also there are biologics that eat the oil if it gets too shallow in some formations which cause biodegredation of the oil.

There is also a reasonably strong argument that most of the oil is not as old as one would think. Oil is being generated all day long by the same processes that made it in the first place. We are only capturing the accumulations that have occurred in a steady state system.

This is occurring as the source rock is being heated and forced through the oil then later the gas generation window with continued loading of sediments or subsistence. If you take the accumulations that have been captured and then force them though the same windows, the same process will occur and they will frac off to lighter constituents.

Remember, Geology is not "static".

Back to the topic at hand.

January 16, 2011, 09:05 AM
Peter, scientists have a way of taking fun out of things with facts. ;)
But, for the question, no problem. They last and last and last.

January 21, 2011, 11:37 AM

Interesting post. I take it the new creation argument verses the older carboniferous period plant remain origin idea has been winning, then. I think I heard about it first about a decade ago, but have not followed it.

When you say the process is slow, then, what sort of shelf life are we looking at?


Peter M. Eick
January 22, 2011, 06:24 PM
The argument has been made that from shale source to oil can be done in under million years but we are not sure by how much. The main issue is how quickly the oil becomes mobile. In peat bogs it can be in the range of 100,000 years or so or at least that is the last I heard on the matter.

The key with geology is to remember it is not a frozen thing. Geologic processes are happening every day at the normal rate and we just don't see them. Thus oil is being generated today, it just happens slowly.

We have one field that has produced now 4 times as much oil as could possible hold in the structure. Obviously a deeper target is perking out the oil filling our shallower reservoir. We have drilled for the deeper target several times and never found it. Finally we concluded that due to a very well connected deep growth fault, we just are getting enough leakage up to keep our reservoir doing fine and nearly full. As long as we don't pull too hard or long it will probably produce forever. Not a lot of oil, just a consistent amount. I know of two examples of this. One in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Indonesia. In both cases they were small fields that have produced more then can possibly hold in the structure.

Now back to the shelf life of cleaning products.

My opinion is if they are not highly volatile, then they should last decades on the shelf.