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I was wondering what you guys recommend as a gun oil or lubricant for low temperatures. I'll be hunting sub-20oF weather for a week, something unusual in my neck of the woods, and am concerned with gun oil freezing.

Kerry:)
 

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I recommend nothing. Wipe it all off. A few shots with nothing but what is left after a cloth wipe will be just fine, and you will have no problems related to cold oil at all.
 

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During WWII, the Russians mixed gun oil with gasoline to keep their rifles from freezing up. The Germans weren't so smart.
 

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I would say no lube would be ok for a couple of shots if you have a manually operated action but I would not run a semi auto that I own that way ever. The acuracy in most simi autos depends on very consitant tolerances in the bearing surfaces in the action too much to let them wear much at all from running unlubed. I had an FAL clone that wouldn't run at all without copious amounts of lube so I started keeping a bottle of break free in my kit just for that.

If you are going to have to confirm your zero which might be advisable if you zeroed at higher temps I would lube up as you'll need to run several rounds though it to confirm, in that instance I would also let the gun cool fully between shots as a cold gun will often have a different POI than a warm one regardless of powder temp.

You might consider a dry lube like the Hopps Moly spray which drys and looks like a silvery gray coating and will wipe off your action with hopps #9 solvant with no probelm. I also have a lube that contains teflon that will dry minutes after being applied but leaves a slick almost waxy in appearance coating. Can't remembr the name of it though... It comes in a blue squeeze bottle and ran great on a mini 14 as did moly spray when I tested that with no wet lube. I've never had Breakfree freeze to the point that an action won't cycle. I suppose it does become more viscous at cold temps as it is a petroleum product. I guess a good test would be coat up a nut and bolt with whatever lube you plan to use and put it in the freezer overnight. If you can't get it apart with your fingers in the morning that lube might freeze while hunting.

The other consideration is corosion resitance. The air may be dry at 20oF but any moisture you encounter will stick to a cold gun with no problem. Like when you get in your truck on the way home. A frozen gun will fog up worse than the windows, then you have a frozen gun with actual ice/water, a good recipie for rust. That happend to a camera I had with me on a snow shoe trip. At about 15oF the camera was working fine until I dropped it in my jacket pocket. I knew I had messed up bad when I pulled it out a minute later and it was covered with ice. The moisture from my sweat condensed and froze to it and infiltrated the camera. The rest of my pics from that trip looked like a snow storm from all the ice inside the lense even though it was a clear day. Also a good idea would be not to put cold ammo in you pocket for the same reason.

Sorry for rambling. I love cold weather topics.
 

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I vote with saskshooter for hunting. "Near nothing" would be my choice. Just enough, like wiped on with a patch. Not enough to "jell", just enough to keep away from "metal on metal", no more.

Thats a cold hunt. Dress and prepare for it!

Cheezywan
 

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Clean and dry unless you plan on shooting several hundred rounds. Been shooting every day outside since it stopped snowing and my temps have ranged from -11 to+18. The only oil on them is from my gun wipe rag on the outside metal.
 

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I've used BreakFree at -19 F, and it worked the same as if it was +70 F.
There are a lot of dry Moly based lubes on the market, which shouldn't be effected by temperatures. Any of those should keep a rifle working smoothly. Do keep in mind that moly is a lubricant, but has no corrosion resistance.
I do know of one lube that goes on wet but leaves a dry waxy coating on metal, like what Helix mentioned- the name I'm familiar with is Tri Flon. I have not used that in very cold conditions.
 

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You never said what kind of rifle you are using.
I finished my last hunt at -32 deg C, and I didn't do anything to my rifle. However, I also don't drench the firing pin in oil, nor the trigger. The bolt gets a wipe of oil, but it is not a visible layer.
It seems to me that most of the stories about freezing problems in cold weather come from over-liberal use of oil squirted into any holes that present themselves on the rifle, without going in and cleaning up.
 

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At Aberdeen Proving Ground we tested weapon lubricants to -65F. In order of performance the following is what I would use:

Lubricant Arctic Weapon LAW. This is the gov't issued lubricant for extreme cold. It is red in color and looks like Mercon Dexron Transmission lube.

Next I would go with Ed's Red (homemade lube 1/3rd Mercon Dexron Transmission lube, 1/3 K1 Kerosene and 1/3 rd Mineral Spirits. I asked a PHD Chem Engr to run the calculations and he thinks it should be fine to about -55F.

Next I would go with 0W20 Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor oil. It is supposed to be good to about -45F.

Here is a excerpt from the Aberdeen Test Report for the M16A1E1 rifle concerning CLP: Page 49

"2.4.4.2 Low Temperature Test

a. It was found immediately upon firng commencement at -46C that the weapons would not function with CLP. TECOM was notified and a driective was received to clean the weapons and relubricate with LAW. Firing was resumed."

Page 56

"2.4.5.2.F "The CLP appears to be a unsatisfactory lubricant in the low temperature (-46 C) environment with both the test (M16A1E1) and standard( M16A1) rifles; whereas LAW,performed satisfactorily."


CLP was also used in the 9MM handgun test with same results.


When getting bolt guns ready for sub zero operation you need to disassemble the bolt and remove all the grease/oil from striker and spring and I would make sure I had a new striker spring as they lose energy in low temperature and you need all you can get when it gets cold. I would get extra energy springs for sub zero operation.
 

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Interesting.... how low should CLP work to? I'm guessing much lower temps than I want to be out in ;)
 

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From reading History, During the Korean war the Soldiers found that they had to remove all lubricants form their rifles (M1, BAR, Etc.) to keep them functioning reliably in the deep winter cold temperatures, any lube would freeze and jam them.
 

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MikeG, sent you a PM.

Chevwilliam, I didn't think to check the drawing for the production date, just read the performance requirements which were impressive least ways to me but I do know there was a lot of work done during Korea in cold weather clothing as we had so many guys with frost bite etc.

I was told at the Corrosion Control/Materail Deterrioration course that the Germans came up with synthetic motor oil because of the Eastern Front problems. I have also read they had catastrophic failures with 98 Mausers in Army Group North.
 
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