WD-40

I know a lot of Shooters who insist that Good Old WD-40 is all they need.  Maybe it does a lot of things well.  Okay, I know it does a lot of things well… But Firearms, fishing reels, locks, is not something you want to use it on, because it gets gummy after awhile. Read this.  All the way to the end.  Do you really want that in your gun?  Seriously?  You can think of nothing better?
Okay, we all know WD-40 doesn’t really have any Fish Oil in it.  But the fact remains that it’s a Water Displacement product that functions as a poor cleaner and an even worse lubricant.  I’ve been told by a lot of old school gunsmiths that they always use WD-40.  That’s fine.  But these guys were not really good gunsmiths.  The better gunsmiths that I know, will use Kroil.  It gets under the gunk, rust, and stuck parts because unlike WD-40, Kroil is a Penetrating Oil.  And it’s awesome for that.  I’ve used it myself working on several firearms… most recently one of my own 870′s. It’s a liquid tool and does it’s job well for what it’s for.  But again, it’s not a great Lubricant.  If you want a good Lubricant, use Slipstream.

9 thoughts on “WD-40”

  1. From experience, I can say that one should not use WD-40 on firearms. For basic cleaning, good ‘ole Hoppes 9 works great, followed by a good lubricant. I use Mobile 1. Ogre is correct about Kroil. But it’s expensive and really only needed for “deep” cleaning. It’s the best for cast lead shooters. I’ll be ordering some Slipstream to try it out.

  2. Kroil and Lubriplate are two great liquid (or grease for Lubriplate) tools.
    Neither lubricate – but WD-40 just sucks. I wonder how many .22 semi-autos have been ruined by it.

  3. Another big Kroil fan here. I introduced it to my place of work over 20 years ago. It’s done some amazing things. If I were king, I’d ban WD-40 from the shop. One or two coworkers still use the stuff–I tell them it’s a terrible lubricant, they point at the can and say, “See?! It says LUBRICANT right there!” Geez, just can’t get through to some people.

    As for Kroil’s lubricity–I’ve had success mixing Kroil with other oils and greases for particular industrial applications. Try mixing Kroil with STP, for instance. I also mixed Kroil with an incredibly gooey, sticky and stiff moly grease from Germany to make it easier to paint onto bevel gears. Works great.

    One note–Old Painless over at Box O’Truth does use WD-40 to clean guns, but he then strips every bit of it from the firearm.

  4. For locking lugs on bolts, hinge pins on double shotguns, and choke tube threads I prefer something PTFE (Or Teflon, if you prefer the “brand name”.)
    I’d rather use Teflon based grease than Moly – but if I get a chance to try the Slipstream grease I could be influenced to use that instead. Teflon is good stuff and worked for me.

  5. True story…one of the sheriff deputies in Arkansas where we lived use to go home every night and spray down his duty gun with WD-40 and wipe it clean (note I didn’t say anything about removing ammo). After entirely too long he had to qualify with the same gun he had been taking such poor care of and never practicing with. He carefully pulled the trigger and…CLICK. No…not a bang…a click. WD-40 killed the primers.

    FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY…DON’T USE WD-40

  6. Years and years ago I was working in a rather humid shop. One guy sprayed WD-40 on his bare metal precision tools to protect them while he was on vacation. For some reason he had a nice coating of then rust on them when he got back. I figured the oily part ran off and the stick part must have trapped some moisture or something? I’ve never trusted it for anything but cleaning and penetrating since then. It may lubricate and protect but apparently not for any length of time.

  7. Say what you will about WD-40, it still does fairly well at a lot of different jobs. Fish oil? Okay, why not? You can lubricate with nose oil too. Sure, there’s better and longer lasting lubricants out there. There’s better cleaners, lubricants and protectors than Breakfree CLP too but that stuff does okay at those three jobs and a gazillion gun owners swear by it or one of the other multi-tasker solutions. Speaking of CLP, do you think 3-In-One oil might have been one of the first of those? That’s what the “3″ is about–cleaning, lubing and protecting. Lots of people disparage 3-In-One oil for firearms but it does as good a job as the higher priced CLPs. Just smells like a Tiki torch.

    Kroil? It’s okay but it smells funny too. I’ve read about it’s amazing penetrating abilities. But, truthfully, I’ve never found it to be as amazing as it is claimed. A little extra time with a bore brush, patches and any brand of bore solvent you have handy will work better than any of the “amazing” products out there. Occasional reapplication of oils (that always dries out or evaporates with time) works better than the longest lasting “amazing, long lasting barrier protector/lubricant”. I’m like most people when it comes to bore solvents and lubricants–I have my favorites based on personal likes and dislikes. Most of what’s sold today work fine for their purposes. None of them strike me as “amazing” anymore. Fish oil? Naw. All of them are simply one form or other of snake oil.

  8. The main ingredient is “aliphatic hydrocarbons” which is just a fancy way of saying “non-aromatic carbon compounds.” The fact is that the “gummy” over time is what happens when cross chain reactions happen, and it happens to ALL liquid hydrocarbons at the right temperature, oxidation, or exposure to the correct wavelength of radiation.

    Now, as a liquid aliphatic hydrocarbon mixture WD-40 is good at dissolving carbon deposits. However I find that the low viscosity makes it a poor lubricant for firearms.

    Grease on the other hand is simply a soap (metal ion salt of a fatty acid). Greases as we know them are mixed with a “carrier oil” which also imparts lubrication properties (most “synthetic grease” is just synthetic carrier oil). The more common metal oxide can be lithium, molybdenum, and aluminum.

    One of the craziest things I’ve noticed is that two products will be in different parts of a store with vastly different prices. In the automotive section you get a big tub or can for about the same price as the much smaller squeeze bottle or can.

    Case in point “Remington Dry Lube” and “Liquid Wrench Dry Lube” give them a google and see the price difference per can (small) but one can is almost three times the size of the other.

    I rarely buy any firearm specific CLP product any more, normally I stick with the automotive section to supply my cleaner, oil, and grease needs.

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