The Truth About Gun Cleaning Kits

Welcome back, amigos. Gun care kits. Today we consider their makeup, efficacy and real versus perceived value.

There have been SO many gun cleaning kits on the market over the years, mainly originating from some of the historically biggest brand names in gun care for the firearms industry. The formerly independent Kleen-Bore company thoroughly covered the gun cleaning system concept with a comprehensive portfolio of products, from an array of solvents to jags to fit every caliber barrel. We know they put a strong emphasis on hunting, but the concepts apply to all firearms and the market niches therein.

Kits almost always contain caliber-specific parts, such as bronze bore brushes in sizes catering to: .17 to .50 caliber rifles, .17 to .50 caliber pistols, and .410 to 12/10 gauge shotguns. Bronze brushes are also made as chamber cleaning brushes shaped like a toothbrush — though a nylon brush is a better bet because nylon is less harmful to metal surfaces. Bronze has been used widely over the years because it effectively scrapes hard buildup off the bore and other parts. But, more recently, the more enlightened thinking here is to clean and lubricate with materials that will minimize if not negate the need for bronze — by preventing hard buildup in the first place.

Think about it. Hard buildup is caused by one of several factors or a combination of factors, among them: carbon and carbon fouling combined with heat; petroleum-based solvent residue — and surface abrasion caused by bronze brush usage that establishes a conducive footing in the metal for further debris attachment. Metal scraping metal can be a bad thing in gun care.

The practice is like a dog chasing its own tail — a vicious circle that actually creates unnecessary work, while unnecessarily slowing down working parts along the way.

Next-generation synthetic lubricants and safer cleaners create a friendlier environment in the bore, where buildup becomes much less prevalent, and cleaning can be done easily while sing gentler materials, with less effort. As good as that sounds (and, yes,  it’s even proven to be true) there are still loyal adherents to the old way…gun owners mindlessly scraping the hell out of their metal just because Grandpa always did it that way. It feels manly, or something.

We’ve heard from many users of Mil-Comm’s NRA Licensed GUN CARE SYSTEM products (TW25B synthetic gun grease; MC2500 synthetic gun oil and MC25 enzymatic cleaner/degreaser) that they can, in most cases, simply dry wipe parts clean after a shoot and not have to clear or clean as much. One of the newer gun cleaners is going to clear the way for the lubricant protectant, which can then act as the friction barrier for a smooth operating firearm.

Other common gun care cleaning kit components include a cleaning rod or, alternatively, a bore cable or rope product; a pick or obstruction remover; a brass scraper; a patch saver; a bore mop; a bore reflector; a copper solvent; a bore solvent –all of which typically fits into a nylon case or hard container. In all, we’ve seen kits that contain in excess of 40 individual parts. So it would probably blow your mind if someone told you that you can get better results using only four items.

Why, then, would people keep buying bags and suitcases of unnecessary stuff that doesn’t do the best job possible? Yeh, we don’t know either.

Under the heading of GUN CARE ESSENTIALS, you have to put cotton patches at the top of the list. Square cotton patches measuring: 7/8” for .17 cal. barrels, 1 3/8” for .22 – .270 cal.; 1 3/4” for 7mm – .38 cal. / .357 cal.; 2 ¼” for 9mm / .38 – .45 cal. / .410-20; 2 ½” for .35 rifle / 20 gauge; and 3” for 16 – 12 gauge shotguns. Cotton swabs are used about as often; people have personal preferences based mostly on barrel fit.

Now that you have your wiping applicator, along with a nylon brush and some cotton swabs for those tight, hard-to-reach grooves, you move on to your all-purpose gun cleaner to pre-treat the surface. Think beyond the old fashioned, chemically harsh, nasty smelling cleaners of another generation.

There are newer formulations, including some good enzymatic gun cleaning solutions that perfectly fit into the modern gun maintenance regimen. Use heavy solvents only as a last resort — and, again, these will be increasingly less necessary once you adopt newer enzymatic gun cleaning and synthetic gun lube products.

Next, lubricate all friction points, wear surfaces and the bore with your light grease or light oil depending on the application need or your personal preferences. Some folks like an oil finish, while others prefer a dry-like finish. Thick greases are bound to slow down parts, so keep them out of this discussion. Think synthetic, light greases and light oils.

And that’s it – cotton patches, gun cleaner, gun grease and/or gun oil.

Easy, right? You can build your own gun care kit with a few essentials that truly result in gun cleaning made easy.

 

LESS CLEANING, MORE SHOOTING? REALLY?

Hello, again, patriots and parrotheads.

For many years, when asked, ”what’s so great about TW25B synthetic gun grease and MC2500 synthetic gun oil?”, we stammer and hesitate — because there are so many performance features that distinguish our highly engineered lubricants from others. Like heavy-load-bearing and extreme pressure strength. Like anti-corrosion protection. Like extreme cold temperature (-90 degrees tolerance) and heat (+450 degrees) performance. Like their resistance to sand, dirt, dust, debris and water. Like the superb protective barrier the grease provides for long-term storage. We could go on, sisters and brothers!

Then we exhale…take a step back…and think…hmmm…why do WE ourselves, in our own lives, love using the gun lubricants of the NRA Licensed GUN CARE SYSTEM? And the answer is, as we’ve been telling folks for years and years, in a nutshell, write this down – LESS CLEANING AND MORE SHOOTING.

It may sound like just another decent marketing slogan, but in the case of our synthetic gun cleaning lubes, it’s the gosh darn truth. And WHY it’s true might be of passing interest to you.

The bore and barrel of any firearm is, of course, a forged metal surface. If you could see the bore metal under a microscope, you’d see its sandpaper-like surface, a friction field for the projectile — and a very porous surface to keep lubricated. Most gun lubes sit topically on the metal and are quickly “sacrificed” during the firing event. They do a little decent lubricating at first, but get splashed off rather quickly.

Now imagine that same metal surface treated with millions of micro-particles, ten times smaller than the pores of the metal if you could view it under a microscope. Millions of little bee-bees spread into the metal itself. That’s the first good thing that happens using NRA Licensed GUN CARE SYSTEM’s TW25B synthetic grease as a bore treatment. The second good thing is how well and how long our gun grease stays in place. That part took years to figure out, a lot of testing and re-testing many blends of various synthetic oils. Our chief chemist and gun care guru, John, finally got the combination of synthetic oils he’d been searching for — and it’s that unique blend of synthetic oils that keeps the micro-particles suspended in the metal for prolonged periods of time.

Instead of splashing off during the firing event, the micro-particles of TW25B gun lube actually get packed in tighter for a time. And the consequence of that: LESS CLEANING AND MORE SHOOTING. For this reason: because the bore metal has been treated microscopically, “filled in” the way RAINEX makes glass impervious, the FIRING DEBRIS that normally burns onto the metal and collects in the barrel can’t get to the metal footholds the way debris customarily accumulates in a gun.

It’s a little like the difference between cooking an egg in an iron frying pan versus a teflon frying pan. Stuff can’t stick the way it likes to!  After treating the bore of any firearm with NRA Licensed GUN CARE SYSTEM’s TW25B synthetic gun grease, notice the difference the first time you think it’s time to clean your gun. The very little debris that you might see there (chances are you’ll see none at all) can typically be wiped off with a cotton cloth. Heavy cleaning not needed!  You should get six times more rounds from your gun — or more — before basic cleaning, simply by super-lubricating the metal with TW25B gun lube.

ERGO: LESS CLEANING, MORE SHOOTING. Yeh, it’s true.

Now others have studied our formulations and unique chemistry and brought to market some copycat products. Problem for them is that our micro-particles and synthetic oils are custom-engineered, impossible to duplicate…different science working here. Which is why all branches of the U.S. Military, more than 20 U.S. Allied Forces, leading Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies — and precision firearms manufacturer SIG SAUER – use or specify TW25B synthetic gun lube and its derivative formulations.

Final word today, fellow patriots: the same chemistry works wonders on all the friction and wear parts of your firearms — slides, rails … anything that goes squeak or bang.

Thanks for checking in with us today. We hope you’ll take a look at our past and future posts.

PEACE

GUN CLEANING 101: KEEPING SAND OFF GUNS

We’re often asked to recommend the most effective cleaner or maintenance procedure for removing sand and dirt from working gun parts. 

Before we divulge the possibly surprising answer, consider what a bunch of Marines told us at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, two years ago following their return from recent deployment in Iraq. Standard issue for these warriors is the Bereta M9 pistol, and standard maintenance calls for “CLP” Cleaner/Lubricant/Protectant be used to maintain the gun. Now, life in a war zone, becoming someone else’s target, is no academic exercise. You read and react, change and adapt. And very quickly these soldiers learned that the more “CLP” they doused their guns with, the more sand accumulated on gun parts – and the more stoppages occurred. They volunteered to us that there was ONE EFFECTIVE way to keep the sand off and their guns firing. The answer in a moment.

This came to mind yesterday when a retired Army armorer wrote us an unsolicited email about his experience in the desert. Here’s part of what he wrote: “I served for six years, working mostly on the Apache system, and for a long time we used the generic CLP stuff I’m sure you are familiar with … that and the mil-spec lube together would soak up dirt out in Iraq … and then we started using your stuff and it dried pretty much on contact with the metal, which resulted in a lot less gun jams, not to mention cleaner guns come time for maintenance. We started using your grease instead of the mil-spec grease on the parts that required packing, i.e., parts that used bearins and seals. So naturally we figured if it’s good enough for a 30mm gun, we started using it on our M4′s (AR’S), and, same thing, we didn’t clean our rifles near as often because they hadn’t collected the regular dust and dirt. I recently moved to the southwest and was frustrated by what the stores were selling, so I was glad to find you yesterday through Google. You’ve got a damned good product, and I’m eager to use it on all my firearms…and I’m not surprised the NRA likes you, too.”                   

Now back to the discussion of sand and dirt on your gun parts. Lesson learned from both the Marines and this Army soldier is simple: don’t waste time getting sand off your guns — keep the sand from fouling your guns in the first place, to the fullest extent possible.

This next part might sound hard to believe, but stay with us. To prevent sand and dirt-build up, coat the working parts (and bore) of your firearms with GREASE. Huh? Isn’t grease sticky? Won’t grease turn my firearm into the metal equivalent of a sugar cookie?

Yes, if you use a standard, petroleum-distolate, thickly constituted grease. You might just as well use pork fat or lard and roll your gun around in a sandbox. BUT the opposite happens if you make use of a well-engineered, synthetic light grease (officially categorized as an NLGI Grade 1 grease) that has the consistency of cold cream.

A synthetic gun grease such as TW25B will actually penetrate the pores of the metal and coat the surface in such a way that sand and dirt can’t adhere to the surface. Think of the way an egg being fried in an iron frying pan sticks to the iron surface versus the way a TEFLON pan prevents the sticking. The synthetic light gun grease is working to make gun metal surfaces impervious in roughly the same way. It’s IMPORTANT to polish the gun grease into the metal and not leave gobs of it on the surface (which will attract dirt). 

The same grease coating action will also keep firing debris from fouling the metal and make the need for gun cleaning significantly less frequent. If more shooting and less cleaning holds any appeal for you, make the application of synthetic light grease part of your regular firearms maintenance regimen.    

   

The Problem with “CLP” Type Gun Lubricants

You remember what your mother or father once told you: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is… 

Which today, ladies and gentlemen, leads us to opine on the value of so-called, “CLP” gun treatments. The letters C-L-P stand for, “Clean,” “Lubricate” and “Protect.” Meaning that one whiz-bang application of some “CLP stuff” will satisfy all your gun cleaning needs in one easy step. Splash some “CLP lube” onto your firearms parts, and, bang, you’re done. Nice if life were that easy.

Here’s the problem — and you don’t need a degree in tribology (the study of friction) to figure this out for yourself. ”CLP” gun lubes are simply trying to do too much. Actually, they are trying to do the impossible in terms of gun cleaning (and practical chemistry).

In “CLP” formulations, there are chemical components that are engineered to do the “C” part — the gun Cleaning part – while the “L” and “P” parts of the formula are trying to Lubricate and Protect. But the “C” part of the formula doesn’t know when to STOP cleaning. Oh, it does clean some, maybe even much, of the debris and fouling you want to remove from your dirty firearm — but then the “C” molecules keep right on cleaning. They actually attack their own brothers-in-arms, the “L” and “P” foot soldiers that are formulated and packaged together with the “C” soldiers.   

It’s our considered opinion that the exclusive use of “CLP” products on firearms is akin to a dog chasing its own tail.

While “CLP” lubes may prove to be adequate in clearing guns that have jammed – it’s also true guns will tend to jam more often and fire fewer rounds if they are treated solely with “CLP” liquids in all maintenance events. That’s because “CLP” gun oil cleans/flushes a lot better than it lubricates or protects, so you are always starting with a less than optimal lubrication treatment of a gun right from the start. (A dumbing down of all three desired gun cleaning actions for the sake of selling an “all-in-one” formula).

Now add to that the well-known behavior of oil on gun parts as a debris magnet, attracting sand, dirt, dust and debris, and it becomes pretty obvious that “CLP” type products used at the very outset help create future incidences of stoppages and firearms failure. Locksmiths learned this a long time ago – lubricate a lock mechanism with an oily lube and the lube itself immediately becomes a debris magnet, causing lock mechanisms to gum up, clog and stop working … a direct parallel to “CLP” type formulas’ effect on gun parts.

There is a reason that one of the world’s most valued, precision-engineered, volume-made pistols – SIG SAUER – are made with synthetic grease during the assembly of tightly-fitted, heavy wear gun parts. Experience has proven that firearms that have a preliminary treatment with synthetic grease (TW25B® to be exact) perform more reliably, with less frequent maintenance than firearms treated with inferior lubricants.

What we’re saying is simple. If you’re serious about getting optimal performance from your firearms, separate the “C” work from the “L-P” work. Clean the gun well with one of the more newly formulated enzymatic gun cleaners … focus first on preparing metal surfaces properly for the follow-on work — the lubricating and protecting part. Gun cleaners like MIL-COMM’s MC25 and more agressive MC50 out-clean any “CLP” type formulation.

Then get the “Lubricate” and “Protect” part right by polishing a synthethic, light grease into the metal wear parts (slides, rails, etc) and the bore. Synthetic light grease like TW25B hangs around metal parts a lot longer than gun oil, and MIL-COMM grease will actually repel sand, dirt, dust and firing debris.    

Is it worth touching your guns twice? Separating the “C” from the “L-P” work? Cleaning first, then lubricating? Well the resulting benefits to you include likely fewer stoppages and more “fire-ready” reliability; the extended life of gun parts; six to ten times more rounds fired between cleaning; increased muzzle velocity and a more accurate round (because synthetic light grease applied to the bore smooths out the mircoscopic imperfections of the bore-metal, creating a more perfect trajectory).       

Cleaning and lubricating your gun in separate steps will actually prove to be a time-saver for you, because doing the maintenance in that sequence will absolutely, positively give you a lot more shooting with a lot less cleaning.  

What else did Dad always say?  No such thing as a free lunch!

 

 

BAD WEATHER VERSUS GOOD GUNS

It’s 19 degrees outside this morning as your faithful Blog Editor stirs his coffee and tries to warm his frosty toes by the space heater. Which brings to mind an email we received the week before last from a long-time user of MIL-COMM extreme performance gun care products:

Since retiring from the entertainment business in L.A. and moving to northwestern Montana 6 years ago, my habit of using only the TW25B family of weapons products has really come in handy. It gets really, really cold, rainy, snowy, damp and dangerous up here, with wild critters everywhere, and an ever growing population of big wolves adding to the common threats from the coyotes, the big cats and both grizzlies and black bears. Two months ago our dogs treed a big puma that had gotten into our fenced in property in the middle of the night — within 100 feet of the house. My wife and I use the Mil-Comm/NRA Licensed Gun Care System TW25B line of lubes and cleaners on all of our many firearms and all the outdoor hardware, gating and hinges too. Whatever goes squeek or bang! The stuff just won’t allow any of it to freeze and fail. It doesn’t seem to absorb any humidity or moisture, and doesn’t seem to care if it is 95 degrees in the summer or 35 below zero in Winter! We trust our lives to our guns up here in Big Sky Country, and we trust only TW25B to make sure they work for us every time, no matter what Mother Nature is throwing at us.”

Steve B. / Trout Creek / Montana

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HOW GOOD IS YOUR GUN LUBE?

It’s been said that the making and selling of gun care lubricants and cleaners is a snake oil business — like the old-time medicine shows, everybody’s got a story to tell…everybody makes claims about being the best, the most effective, the stuff you just have to buy and use.

Well here’s a little-known fact. It is relatively easy to make a gun lubricant that does one thing well…or one thing reasonably well. Example: certain “CLP” formulations (for “CLEAN, LUBRICATE AND PROTECT”) actually clean a lot better than they lubricate — but, okay, at least something’s getting done. Motor oil and mayonaise will also make things slippery for awhile.
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GUN CLEANING EVOLUTION

For too many years, and for too many firearm owners, cleaning was about using toxic chemicals with noxious fumes, applied by aggressively scrubbing metal surfaces with damaging bronze brushes, and alike. The end result was the need to repeat the process over and over, because as the shooting event created and attracted more fouling, which accumulated, you would have to clean again to free the surface of debris. That made sense back then since there weren’t many alternatives.
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HOW TO KEEP FIREARMS IN FIRE-READY CONDITION

Not everyone does a great job keeping their guns in good working order while storing them for future use.

Check out this real-life occurrence: Steve Schultz, Shooting Sports Editor for Texas Fish & Game magazine, was working in his garden late one fall, and he absent-mindedly left one of his firearms resting in the garden bed. The following spring he was horrified to find his missing piece resting in the dirt under some decaying foliage.

What happened next amazed him. Instead of finding a rusted out pistol unable to fire, his gun worked just fine…like he had cleaned and lubed that week.
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How To Clean a Handgun

After shooting a handgun, whether it be a revolver handgun or a semi-automatic, cleaning a gun is not difficult if you start with the right gun cleaner and gun lubricant grease or oil.  In fact, you can actually clean a gun better than most gunsmiths.

Cleaning gun or gun parts involves first getting cotton patches and brushes if needed, which should be nylon and not bronze if you can help it.  Metal will scratch your gun parts easily, leading to hard buildup and the need for deeper cleaning.
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Pistol Shooting: Increase Accuracy with Proper Lubrication

Guy goes into buy a new German-engineered car, spends a lot of dough. then ignores the manufacturer’s basic maintenance procedures. What’s he thinking?

If the same guy also spends time pistol shooting, odds are he’s being equally dumb about getting the maximum performance from his firearm, ignoring the fact that gun cleaning and proper gun lubrication can actually make his rounds more accurate. Yup. Tighten the spread down range on that old BULLSEYE. Be a better shot, just by using the right gun cleaning lubricants.
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