View Full Version : building an AR15 that runs dry?

July 24, 2012, 11:53 AM
hey everyone... been reading up on some debates, whether its better to run an AR15 dry, unlubricated and though it may wear your receiver out more, its an inexpensive replacement... also read how people prefer to run them well lubricated, but it collects more dust...

so i was wondering, is it possible to use self-lubricating parts such as various teflon or ceramic coatings, nickle boron components etc to have a rifle that can actually run dry without excessive wear?...

if this is possible, what is the best way to go about it, and which parts would need to be treated?

the rifleer
July 24, 2012, 12:07 PM
I don't have an ar, but you might try running a dry lubricant, like graphite.

July 24, 2012, 12:10 PM
I've seen a few ARs with the nickle - boron coated FailZero BCG and barrel extension. Thousands of rounds with no lube... just the occasional wipe off with a cloth.


July 24, 2012, 12:21 PM
how is the wear on the receiver of these nickel boron rifles?.. is it just the BCG thats coated or was there something done to the interior surface of the receiver as well?

July 24, 2012, 12:32 PM
Nope... just the BCG and extension. Both uppers were of the typical, forged 7075, hard anodized variety and although I wasn't in a position to measure them, they appeared no worse for wear than with lubed parts. One gun had the coated BCD since new... practically no signs of use at all in the receiver.

I really don't have more than that... other than I'm seriously considering the parts for any future hard use ARs.


July 24, 2012, 12:53 PM
its interesting... and apparently you can purchase nickel boron upper receivers as well for the interior coating.. rough up and apply a matte bake on paint to the exterior and have a self lubricated upper too.. but it seems only one of the surfaces against the other needs to be nickel boron, i could be wrong, but it seems if the BCG is nickel boron then the receiver wouldnt need to be?...

i wonder though... is there any other coatings i should look into?... this is the best (that im aware of).. should i be aware of any others? (this question is for anyone)

July 24, 2012, 02:46 PM
i wonder though... is there any other coatings i should look into?

Take a look at Robar (http://www.robarguns.com/np3%20plus.html) for NP3, NP3+ and Poly-T2. Bearcoat is also suppose to be quite good, but I have no personal experiance with it.


July 24, 2012, 04:18 PM
The thought of running any autoloading firearm without lube - just makes me shudder :eek:

July 24, 2012, 04:38 PM
Is it really the interior of the receiver that should concern you? The bolt inside the bolt carrier , the cam pin, and the bolt lugs are the areas that concern me.

July 24, 2012, 04:45 PM
If your worried about the insides of the AR-15 and their cleanliness affecting the function of the rifle, just look up the story Pat Rogers did on the "Filthy 14".

I would never want to run something with moving parts dry, but I'm not going to oil it till it starts dripping out of the rifle either. A light coat of oil with a few drops on the main contact areas is all you need.

July 24, 2012, 05:00 PM
dont worry about wear, even a bone dry AR-15 will only have minimal wear on the bolt carrier guide rails and the bolt.

the thing is the AR-15 should be run wet no matter the coating, and no fancy whiz bang coating is a cure for lubrication. NiB is not a good coating IMO there are numerous cases of it locking up a rifle, just google NiB coating and vuurwapenblog and watch his video.

also one the static 1 way range you can easily run 1,000-5,000 rounds with no lube, the issue comes when you are over seas in a dust, sandy environment. there you need lubrication.

also DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT use graphite, its corrosive to aluminum and guess what the upper and lower are made of? if you said aluminum you would be correct.

July 24, 2012, 05:15 PM
The thought of running any autoloading firearm without lube - just makes me shudder :eek:

I know how you feel. There are lots of things that people do with guns and ammo that give me the creeps... but an open mind is a learning mind, yes?

I've had a few opportunities to see first hand how well these "miracle coatings" perform. Robar (Robbie Barrkman) and NP3, in particular, have been around for a long time. A completely NP3'd gun is smoother to cycle, frequently will have a better trigger feel with no other modifications (even better on a gun with trigger work), is easy to clean... and to my eye, looks pretty darn good.

In the early 90s I had an old, rather beat-up series 70 commander that I "sacrificed" as a first NP3 test subject. I was curious, and at the time, Robbie's prices were pretty low. Not only did it come back looking beautiful, but it functioned and fired better than ever. Some lucky bastard in Mesa AZ has it now... wish I still did. :rolleyes:

It ain't cheap, but then neither is a good blue, regular nickel or hard chrome job. When you get a chance, pull up the Robar site and take a look at their price list PDF file. Aside from coatings, they are a full service gunsmithing operation with pretty reasonable turn-around.

IMHO... them "miracle coatings" can be a wonderful thing.

Speaking of which... Black Ice coatings is a company that I've been recently intrigued with... I'll be looking deeper into their process. They'll do an entire AR15 in Teflon for $200. I've been considering sending them my SS Gold Cup for a 2-tone finish.


July 24, 2012, 05:47 PM
seems the aluminum receiver would wear faster than the steel carrier... ive heard of NP3 coatings before.. did a lot of research into them before, but wasnt sure if its outdated or not, since its been around for a very long time

July 24, 2012, 05:53 PM
it would be cool to see a side by side test of otherwise identicle ar15s.. one regular, with regular lube, one regular without lube, both as controls, and then one regular with dry lube, and one nickel boron or NP3 and see how those compare with the control group...

basically what im wondering is if the dry lube mentioned will actually work as well as the nickel boron or NP3

July 24, 2012, 05:59 PM
jason the dry lube mentioned is graphite, it will corrode and destroy the aluminum receivers.

July 24, 2012, 06:31 PM
aah.. thought there may have been some other dry lube available on the market

July 24, 2012, 06:40 PM
the dry lube mentioned is graphite, it will corrode and destroy the aluminum receivers.

Sinlessorrow... There have been discussions regarding that concern. Graphite in and of itself will not cause aluminum to corrode, however... I've quoted a few relatively concise comments from metallurgists.
The potential for graphite being a "catalyst" for corrosion does exist... and, it's not that great as a gun lubricant anyway, which is why most dry film lubricants are Teflon or molybdenum disulfide based.

"In the presence of chloride ions (such as from sea-water or marine atmosphere) it can cause galvanic (bimetallic) corrosion to occur. Anodizing will however prevent the chloride ions from reaching the metal substrate for a long time - perhaps several years. So there should be no concern with moisture alone, but if chloride is present, there might be long-term concern." (John E. Leitch - Hulett Aluminium SA)

"Graphite is electrically conductive. One form of corrosion is a result of vibration (fretting corrosion). Solid Film Lubricant Coatings use primarily molybdenum disulfide for lubrication. Every military spec for solid film lubricants must be certified as graphite free. Graphite is also soft and does not provide heavy load lubrication." (Ed Andrews - EAI)

"Dri-SlideĀ® Improved Weapons Lubricant is a versatile penetrating formula of Super Fine grade Moly (Molybdenum Disulfide) and Graphite with rust and corrosion inhibitors in a fast-evaporating carrier solvent." (Dri-Slide advert)
No warning regarding usage with aluminum... it's possible that the other additives prevent the potential for galvanic corrosion? Gallons (perhaps hundreds of gallons?) of Dri-Slide has been (privately) sent to and used on firearms by many of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Interesting huh?


Coach Z
July 24, 2012, 06:43 PM
There are a number of dry lubes out there that are quite effective. I run a large race boat and the rudder bearings are housed in an aluminum race that is hard coat anodized. (same as ar receiver) and we run two dry lubes that have proved quite effective. Mind you these are drowned in salt water which is SHOCKINGLY corrosive. One is by amsoil which makes car oil and lubes and the second is by a company called McLube and their product is called Sailkote. Fantastic products. I have not had enough time off to requisition some to try on my ARs but when I do I will post about it.

As an aside properly anodized aluminum is incredibly durable. We pound the crud out of lots of parts that are cnc'ed out of aluminum and then hard Coated and it's amazing what they will take. I often wonder how many of the "super" gun oils are really snake oil

July 24, 2012, 06:53 PM
I often wonder how many of the "super" gun oils are really snake oil Funny you mention it.......


July 24, 2012, 06:56 PM
never run a semi-auto dry and never run it dripping wet. just use a few drops of lube on the moving parts and wipe off excess so it's not running out. Try Gun Butter or EEZoX few drops on the carrier, bolt and charge handle and good to go.

July 24, 2012, 07:19 PM
so... dry lube, regular lube used lightly, or exo nickel boron coating... what would you go with and why if cost was not a factor?

July 24, 2012, 07:43 PM
Monty... I choose what's behind door number 3!!!


Saying that, I've chosen what's behind door number 2 for about 40 years... but hey jason, as you have unlimited funds, you can pay for my nickel boron coating too!


July 24, 2012, 08:03 PM
Just shoot it. I would bet a std AR would run basically dry fine.

July 24, 2012, 08:35 PM
jason these whiz bang coatings are generally snake oil.

I tried NiB and has my bolt locked up tight, funny thing is alot of people called me a liar even when i posted proof. guess people like to justify when they spend $100 extra for a coating that does nothing.

stick to a good lube, SLIP2000 EWL, Motor oil, etc. (on a side not DO NOT use militec, it has chlorinated esters that can cause structural weakness and early breaking of the bolt.)

just run it wet and it will never give up, it will also make clean up easy by just letting you wipe down the whole rifle with a rag.

July 24, 2012, 10:27 PM
I've never tried running these dry, I'd be interested to hear from somebody who has.


July 24, 2012, 10:35 PM
Riggins its not worth the extra $100.

just run your rifle wet, not current day rifle runs good dry in all conditions. they will all run dry in perfect conditions but in sandy anything they will choke, so keep them lubed and have fun.

July 24, 2012, 10:39 PM
its called a fail zero AR kit

July 25, 2012, 08:52 AM
jason the dry lube mentioned is graphite, it will corrode and destroy the aluminum receivers.

Where did you get that idea? There have been a few reports of minor corrosion at the barrel nut threads when a graphite grease was used AND the upper was exposed to salt water AND several years went by before the barrel nut was removed. Besides the upper/lower is hard coated, the graphite does not contact the bare aluminum.

It's a proven fact that NiB BCG's allow you to use less lube. A friend was a M16 with the YM NiB BCG and he runs a few drops of oil on the gas rings only, the thing runs like a Swiss watch.

July 25, 2012, 11:34 AM
mad this is what my experiences with NiB left me with. also on the perfect square range I can run my AR-15 bone ass dry for 2-5k rounds, add in some sand and I need lube. NiB is not a proven BCG plating method and never will be proven except on the square range where anything basically works.

also if you actually use your rifle there will be parts of bare aluminum showing, my current rifle has multiple dings and scratches of bare aluminum that are showing so yes graphite would come into contact with aluminum.


July 25, 2012, 01:15 PM
hah..someone should just invent a rifle that would ride on easily replacable, but incredibly long lasting roller bearings... hmm, that reminds me of these coated plain bearings i seen once... never lubricated, but they had a way of removing dirt and grit without gumming up or stopping... you could dump sand onto the rails and it would do nothing... i need to find out the heat properties of this material..

i mean, what if instead of special lubricants, coatings, plating... what if in the front and rear portion of the receiver, instead of having the skis.. which is where the contact between the receiver and carrier is anyway... we had a different material, such as those used in the composite plain bearings which work beautifully with large amounts of dust and needs no lube..

just an idea of having a composite carrier with modern linear plain bearing technology applied to the carrier instead of plating or lubes

July 25, 2012, 01:41 PM
anyway.. on a more serious note.. is the failzero and exo finishes actually worth it? or would i be better off with a dry lube?

July 25, 2012, 10:08 PM
Jason see the video above and use your judgement.

also do not use dry lube, they generally are crap and dont lubricate well. just use a good wet lube and be done with it.