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Old October 11, 2018, 03:00 PM   #1
Fallen God
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Question regarding lubing and storing guns

Hello,

I am fairly new to guns and a new member of The Firing Line, and I have questions regarding the proper lubing of guns for storage. I apologize if this question has already been answered or is in the wrong place.

So, I've been told that when storing a gun, to make sure to lube it as you normally would with a thin layer of oil on the inside of the barrel and outside of gun to prevent against corrosion. But, to run a patch or two through the barrel before firing to remove the oil.

Here are my questions:

-when firing a semi-automatic pistol, is it safe to have the OUTSIDE of the barrel lubed? I know these barrel get hot, but I'm just thinking of proper lubrication since slides rub against barrels.

-When storing a gun (whether rifle or pistol), is it okay to keep it lubed both inside and out like you normally would, but chambered with a round with a thin coat of oil in the barrel? Same with bullets in the cylinder of a revolver with the holes oiled? The bullets wont cause any issues over time to the gun will they and vice versa? If I were shooting it, I wouldn't do It. I'd wipe it out.

-Can I carry a gun with the barrel lubed inside? I know If I shot it in an emergency, it wouldn't be good, but since it is unlikely to happen and would be an emergency, I shouldn't worry?

Thank you for the help
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Old October 11, 2018, 03:39 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Lots of nice folks here to help.

The outside of the barrel of pistols is routinely lubed. Most people do this by wiping it with an oiled patch or a corner of a rag with gun oil.

For long term storage, I wouldn't leave a round in the chamber. I prefer to take the tension off all the springs, hammer down, striker released, that sort of thing. For short-term storage it shouldn't be a problem. Likewise carrying a pistol with a thin coat of oil in the barrel is not a problem.

The key to all this is understanding that proper lubrication is thin coatings of lube. You should be able to feel it but not see it when you are done. Oil shouldn't drip off or fly off when you shoot. When people say to lubricate a gun thoroughly (like Beretta does in their manuals) it means everything is oiled, but lightly. Other brands, like Glock recommend only certain parts receive any lubrication at all. Follow your manual, but use a light touch. Needle oilers are used a lot on firearms to keep the volume down. If you get to much, wipe it off, and you will almost certainly leave an effective amount behind.

Long exposure to a heavy amount of oil can cause ammo to be unreliable, but those are amounts of oil that you don't need and shouldn't use, anyway. I have a hard time imagining a properly (lightly) oiled gun contributing enough oil to a round to cause it to misfire, honestly.
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Old October 11, 2018, 05:59 PM   #3
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I field-strip and clean my guns annually, whether I fired them over the year, or not.
Internal areas that were lubed are often bone-dry; running a patch through the barrel of a gun that was stored having had an oily patch down the bore prior to storage is not going to be necessary.

Guns that are being maintained strictly for storage get oiled, inside and out.
Guns that might be pulled out of the safe and put straight into action get a coating of grease on the internals, so the lube is still there months down the road.

Leaving a loaded round in the chamber(s) of a freshly lubed gun could result in the primers being rendered inert via oil contamination.
I've read some stuff about using water, oil, and various other substances to intentionally kill primers, they're more durable than you might think, but I wouldn't want to count on a round that had spent appreciable time in a lubed gun.
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Old October 11, 2018, 09:07 PM   #4
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Thank you for getting back with me everyone.

The reason why I was asking about an internally oiled barrel with a bullet in the chamber was because I was thinking about home defense. The gun, at least mine, would remain in my nightstand for a very long period of time; years probably. I dont get out and shoot much; hardly ever. Of course, I do take it out and lube it internally once a year, but I didnt know what position (clocked and loaded, or with just the mag in the mag-well without a bullet in the chamber) to have it stored in since it would be for home defense.

So, just to clarify, keep all guns not being used that are stored away without ammunition in them, and ones that are for home defense, with only the magazine in?
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Old October 11, 2018, 09:47 PM   #5
Don Dayacetah
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If possible store the guns in a low humidity environment, like inside an air conditioned building.
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Old October 12, 2018, 12:07 AM   #6
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The amount of oil needed to protect from rust in a non-hostile environment is almost insignificant. The surface certainly doesn't need to be wet or dripping.

For protecting the inside of a barrel, I would run an oily patch down the bore and then follow it with a very loosely fitting patch to remove any excess oil.

As for lubricating the rest of the gun, it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions as different guns have different lubrication requirements.

That said, there are some "dry lubricants" like Hornady One Shot that spray on wet and then dry completely, leaving a very light dry film that not only prevents corrosion but also provides lubrication.
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Old October 12, 2018, 10:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
So, just to clarify, keep all guns not being used that are stored away without ammunition in them, and ones that are for home defense, with only the magazine in?
The first part, storing unused guns empty, yes. The second, a home defense gun being unchambered, I would tend to say no, because of the delay in making the pistol ready for use. The event that makes you pull that pistol out may give you time to chamber a round, or it may happen so fast that you regret not being able to pull the trigger without further delay.

Quote:
The gun, at least mine, would remain in my nightstand for a very long period of time; years probably.
That's not great, honestly. It should be cleaned and lubed periodically at the very least, even if it is lightly. Over years of time, lubricants can thicken and become more adhesive than lubricant in character. And you really need to stay more familiar with the operation of your pistol - safety, trigger, slide, magazines - and basic marksmanship if you expect to be effective. Revolvers often fill that lost-in-the-drawer role with greater reliability than a semi. I understand the time issue - it is all I can do sometimes to get to the range once a month - but if you are going to have a loaded pistol around, you really need to get to the range, and to clean and lubricate it, at least a couple of times a year. Much less than that and I would have to worry about the reliability of both pistol and shooter.

Not trying to bust your chops, just offering advice from my heart.
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Old October 12, 2018, 11:54 AM   #8
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To prevent corrosion during long term storage use grease, not oil. Oil will drain off with gravity over time. Grease will not. Just remember it'll have to come off before shooting.
The OUTSIDE of the barrel lubed doesn't require lube. The slide should not be rubbing on the barrel anyway, but lubing it will result in a cloud of smoke when the very hot barrel cooks the oil off. It's not dangerous or unsafe. Just unsightly.
Your firearm's manual should tell you where it should be lubed for shooting. Anything else isn't needed.
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Old October 12, 2018, 01:06 PM   #9
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Depending on the gun. A little oil on the outside of the barrel is a pretty good idea. Sigs, in particular, are known for wear. It’s referred to as “Sig Smileys”.
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Old October 12, 2018, 01:39 PM   #10
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Too much grease can dry and cake and gum up the works, oil attracts dust.
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Old October 12, 2018, 05:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
The OUTSIDE of the barrel lubed doesn't require lube. The slide should not be rubbing on the barrel anyway, but lubing it will result in a cloud of smoke when the very hot barrel cooks the oil off. It's not dangerous or unsafe. Just unsightly.
Your firearm's manual should tell you where it should be lubed for shooting. Anything else isn't needed.
If youre shooting your autos much, you know the barrel and slide do in fact, interact. Most will show a pretty good "smiley", and especially with regular use.

Glock for one, specifically shows the barrel as a lube point in their literature.

Ive always lightly lubed the outside of the barrels on all my autos, and never saw "a cloud of smoke" come off the gun because of it, and I normally shoot more than just a box or two at each outing, so I know the gun is "warm".

What I dont do, is lube or oil the inside of the barrels/chambers.


Whatever you use, the less the better. You really dont need very much to actually lube the gun. Storage is no different.

If youre worried about rust, Eezox works well for that, and when applied properly, isnt an issue with gumming or anything you often hear. But again, less is better.

What I will recommend you stay away from, is Frog Lube. And especially if your not going to use the gun for more than a week or two. I used it exclusively for a short while, and followed the (ever changing) directions to the letter, and still had problems with it, and especially with gumming when the guns sat, and for only a short period of time.

Ive used most of the commercial gun oils, lubes, and greases over the years, and for the last 4 or 5 years now, have been using Mobil One synthetic motor oil for everything but guns that do require grease, like my M1's.

The Mobil One works great, and a quart will last you forever. Im still on the first quart I bought, and theres still about 3/4's of it left in the bottle.
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Old October 12, 2018, 09:11 PM   #12
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I hear people say to get out stored guns and check them monthly, and to recoat the outside of gun and inside of barrel then put back. Then, field trip annually and clean and oil them. Is this all true? I field trip once a year for my guns.

Should I clean and lube more often then just once a year for stored guns? I hear it can be rough on the gun to.take it apart and clean and lube a lot.
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Old October 12, 2018, 09:58 PM   #13
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Get yourself a quart of Ballistol (mineral oil). Use it liberally on the exterior of your guns -- metal as well as wood. It does not harm wood like typical gun oil. For storage use it in the chamber plus down thru the barrel. Ballistol is wonderful stuff. I happen to live in Florida -- pretty humid. No rust issues.
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Old October 12, 2018, 10:28 PM   #14
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IDK, some people take extreme care of their weapons. Checking and cleaning every month sounds good, certainly wouldn't hurt. I clean my hunting rifles and store them in silicone gun socks until the next season. I've never had a problem with rust doing this. I ensure I wipe the metal down good before I put it in storage, if you don't, you chance rust formation.
I also keep all my firearms loaded, 24/7-365. But that's just me. As I am a firm believer that an unloaded gun kills more people than a loaded one while messing with it. ("Honest Officer, I thought it was unloaded").
I also lightly wipe my cartridges (the ones I'm loading into a firearm) with a silicone cloth, then I wipe them down with a dry rag and load them into a given firearm or magazine. I do not touch the cartridges with bare hands if I do not intend on using the firearm anytime in the near future. I do this to keep any corrosion or discoloration from forming on the cartridges.
Follow the advice TailGator gave you, as that's good advice, if not the best. g/l
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Old October 13, 2018, 01:18 AM   #15
Fallen God
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Zeroed, you keep all your guns loaded with a round in the CHAMBER?

So, there is nothing wrong with having the inside of the barrel lubed with a round in the chamber?
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Old October 13, 2018, 06:33 AM   #16
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Welcome to TFL, Fallen God! I'm not going to answer everything point by point, because others have already answered most of it. There are, however, a couple of quick points I'd like to make.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallen God View Post
. . . . The gun, at least mine, would remain in my nightstand for a very long period of time; years probably. I dont get out and shoot much; hardly ever. Of course, I do take it out and lube it internally once a year, . . . .
You really should get out and shoot more. Shooting is a perishable skill. Should you ever really, and I mean well-and-truly need your HD gun, you will want to put rounds on target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallen God View Post
I hear people say to get out stored guns and check them monthly, and to recoat the outside of gun and inside of barrel then put back. Then, field trip annually and clean and oil them. Is this all true? I field trip once a year for my guns.

Should I clean and lube more often then just once a year for stored guns? I hear it can be rough on the gun to.take it apart and clean and lube a lot.
I guess it's theoretically possible to wear out parts by dismantling guns for cleaning, but if you do, I suspect you are either: (1) doing it wrong; or (2) doing it hundreds (if not thousands) of times. Most modern guns are pretty durable.

I don't check mine as often as I should, and I have always leaned towards low-maintenance finishes like parkerizing, Melonite, or Tennifer. My maintenance schedule (if you can call it a "schedule") goes something like this:

1.Carry Guns:
a. About once a month or every other month:
i. Field strip
ii. Check lube
iii. Blow out dust and lint
iv. Clean and lube as necessary
b. Do the same every 2-3 range trips
2. Range Guns:
a. After almost every range trip*:
i. Field strip
ii. Clean
iii. Lube
3. Safe Sitters:
a. Once a year or so, field strip, clean and lube
b. If I actually shoot them, do the same
* = I say "almost" every range trip. If I know I'll be headed back to the range soon, I'll skip the cleaning between trips.
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Old October 13, 2018, 09:36 AM   #17
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I am a terrible person. After I shoot my semi-autos, I field strip my them, clean them, lube the rails lightly, and rub everything with a slightly oily rag. That's it. Then they go back in the gun safe. On one hand, my ex-military relative claims that I'm "ruining them through neglect". On the other hand, I've never had one come up rusty, malfunction due to dirtiness, or wear out. What I'm doing is apparently enough.


If I were going to have a HD handgun sitting around for months or years at a time loaded and unused, it would be a revolver.
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Old October 13, 2018, 10:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Use it liberally.....
I think this is the cause of most of the trouble, when it comes to generally lubing, and even more so, with storing guns.

For decades, before I found better things, I used to use WD 40 for wipe down and general preventive type stuff. I never had any of the gumming, varnishing, etc issues you hear so much about, but I also didnt use it "liberally", and hose the guns down with it.

I think if you do that with any of them, thats when youre going to run into troubles, especially if youre letting things sit over long periods of time.


Quote:
Zeroed, you keep all your guns loaded with a round in the CHAMBER?

So, there is nothing wrong with having the inside of the barrel lubed with a round in the chamber?
I carry a couple of guns daily, and both are carried fully loaded and have rounds chambered. As I said before, I dont oil or lube the chamber or inside the barrels of any of my guns. I do maintain them regularly though.

Ive done this daily, and for extended periods of time, for decades, and never had any problems.

Now the outside of the gun, WHOLE different story, especially in the days prior to hard chrome and kydex.
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Old October 13, 2018, 11:01 AM   #19
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Moisture is the enemy

Here's a handy tip, and it's 100% free!

Whenever you get a new TV set or other electronics it's really common to find little packets of Silica Gel crystals packed with them.

The packets are typically white fabric, they look like pillows for Leprechauns. They vary in size and invariably will have Do Not Eat printed on them.

Save them!

Throw them in your gun safe. Silica gel will absorb moisture from the air and trap it in the crystals. Most gun safes are pretty well sealed when they are locked up. Silica gel inside the safe will absorb moisture and reduce humidity, that's a good thing for your guns.

The silica gel packets can be placed in a WARM not hot oven for a few hours to drive off the moisture, thus regenerating the crystals. The Silica gel packets are good pretty much forever.

Control the environment and you will eliminate rust and corrosion.

There are several commercial products on the market that use Silica Gel crystals. My method is free, and does exactly the same thing. I would not use the Dri-Z-Air type, those use salts, not Silica gel.
Silica gel is quite inert. Spilling some of the stuff or the liquid collected by the Dri Z air things would trash a fine firearm in minutes...that stuff is nasty.
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Old October 13, 2018, 11:12 AM   #20
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Fallen - you have gotten many good answers to your questions, but it seems this one is the one that you are still most interested in:
"So, there is nothing wrong with having the inside of the barrel lubed with a round in the chamber?"

The definitive answer is - no, there is nothing wrong with having a round in the chamber with the barrel "lubed". The gun won't explode if you fire a round with a little oil in the barrel.

That is, if you understand what most have said about the subject. A light coating of oil is sufficient. Like JohnKSa said, a good method is to run a lightly oiled patch down the barrel and then a dry patch. Don't worry, there will be enough oil left to do the job it's supposed to do.

I hope that puts that question to bed for good.
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Old October 13, 2018, 03:56 PM   #21
Fallen God
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Thank you so much everyone for taking time to answer my questions. I get a bit OCD about taking care of things and I guess I should worry less and shoot more.
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Old October 14, 2018, 07:06 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallen God View Post
Thank you so much everyone for taking time to answer my questions. I get a bit OCD about taking care of things and I guess I should worry less and shoot more.
I think you'll find that our members here at TFL are pretty patient with new shooters. (That's one of the things that I really like about being a mod here.) If you have questions, ask away.

As to the OCD, shooters' schedules for maintenance runs through a wide spectrum. If you read posts here long enough, you'll find that there are people who are absolutely meticulous in their gun care. I'm clearly not one of them.

Shoot more. Enjoy it. Become proficient if you can. I understand that range trips take a chunk out of the day. That said, there are bigger things to worry about than whether you'll wear out a gun by cleaning it too much, IMNSHO.
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Old October 14, 2018, 07:16 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallen God View Post
. . . .-Can I carry a gun with the barrel lubed inside? I know If I shot it in an emergency, it wouldn't be good, but since it is unlikely to happen and would be an emergency, I shouldn't worry? . . . .
Let me just circle back to this one real quick. Yes, you can carry with the barrel lubed. Like others, I run an oily patch down the barrel of my carry guns, then a clean patch. So I carry with a lubed barrel every day.

If you have to shoot someone in self-defense, the question of "was the inside of my barrel lubed" is going to be way, WAY down on the list of things to worry about. As in, right below whether your socks match your underwear.
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Old October 14, 2018, 09:28 AM   #24
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In regards to the "lubed" barrel, I think what needs to be stressed is, the dry patch after you lube it.

Leaving the bore sloppy "wet" with anything oil or lube related is not a good thing, especially in guns with a small bore diameter.
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