In a recent discussion about gun lubricants, several people stated that they used Mobil 1 Synthetic oil as a gun lube. This got me to thinking……
As a guy that worked in an oil refinery, I knew that different oils are developed for different uses. Some can be used in other applications and work well, but as far as I am aware, none had been specifically designed as a gun lubricant. I thought what we really needed is a true expert in lubrication design to answer some questions. And then I remembered that I knew exactly the guy to ask, my old buddy Joe.
Joe holds a doctorate in analytical chemistry and is retired from a research laboratory where he played a significant role in lubricant testing and evaluation.
I took Joe shooting a while ago and asked him a bunch of questions. Here are his suggestions regarding gun lubricants.
- The most important thing in any lubrication oil is the “base oil”. Joe said information led him to believe that Mobil 1 contained a highly stable synthetic base oil that would not lead to gumming or varnishing due to heat or long term oxidation.
- He stated that Mobil 1, like any premium engine oil, also contains additives such as detergents and anti-wear components. Some of these may not be necessary for gun lubrication, but probably should not cause any harm.
- He stated that contrary to what some might expect, the use of a lubricant on an AR-15 is not anywhere as hard on an oil as the use in an internal combustion engine. But higher viscosity (thicker) oils will work better as they will stay where they are applied. He suggested a 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil as a good range for an AR-15. (This would also disqualify lighter oils like transmission fluid, as their viscosity is too low.)
- While Mobil 1 is not “designed” as a lubricant for guns, it should work well in that application.
I bought a quart of Mobile 1 Synthetic oil for about $9. I found a small container to use to apply it to the guns. That ought to last me for the rest of my life.
There you go. Lubrication advice from someone that is a true expert on the subject.