Best Gun Oils of 2019: Review

Gun oils and lubricants are a necessary fact of life in the gun world, and just about everybody has their preferred brand to keep their firearms fighting fit and free of rust.

But what if you don’t? Or what if you’re unhappy with the lube you’re using?

Well, I’m happy to say that there’s no shortage of gun lubricants out there that will keep your guns functioning smoothly for years and years, provided you use them properly. As a machinist and a hobby gunsmith, I’ve used just about every oil, grease, and lubricating product on the market over the years and these are the best ones, in my humble opinion.

Note: Almost any oil will work for your firearms, from mineral oil to heavy motor oil. Same goes for grease. This article is specifically going to discuss firearms-focused oils as these have all been engineered specifically to lubricate and protect in the presence of the heat and powder fouling associated with firearms. If you want to keep on using motor oil or KY jelly or grape jelly or whatever, that’s on you.

Alright, let’s get started with an old standby…


1. Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil

Product

Hoppe's No. 9 Synthetic Blend Lubricating Oil, 2.25-Ounce

Top Overall Pick

  • 100 percent designed and tested for the toughest situations and...
  • Provides a barrier against moisture and corrosion
  • An advanced oil especially designed for the modern firearm
  • Superior lubrication and protection to all areas of your firearm...
  • Also works great on fishing reels and other mechanisms
  • Made in the USA

Our rating

Details

  • 100 percent designed and tested for the toughest situations and...
  • Provides a barrier against moisture and corrosion
  • An advanced oil especially designed for the modern firearm
  • Superior lubrication and protection to all areas of your firearm...
  • Also works great on fishing reels and other mechanisms
  • Made in the USA

Hoppe’s No. 9 bore cleaner is probably familiar to most of you. Hoppe’s has owned a good portion of the gun cleaning and maintenance market for decades now, and there’s a better than even chance that you, if you own even one gun, you already have a bottle of Hoppe’s No. 9 bore cleaner somewhere.

Their lubricating gun oil is less popular, but only slightly, and that iconic orange bottle is probably somewhere in your house too. It’s

That’s not to say that this stuff doesn’t work, oh no. It absolutely works, and between the Original Formula, the less odorous synthetic version, and the host of other solvents and cleaning supplies you can get from Hoppe’s, you should be able to find everything you need.

Not everything is roses with the old school stuff though. This is a great light machine oil for just about anything you want to lube without gumming things up (I’ve used it for all kinds of finicky little internal mechanisms, including watches) but as a result of that it does tend to run more than some other oils, especially at higher temps associate with modern semi-autos like the AR-15.

It also doesn’t protect from rust as well as some other oils on this list, and the non-synthetic version has a strong kerosene/gasoline smell that is either a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. I personally don’t love the smell, even though I do like the smell of most machine oils, but they make air fresheners with the scentso clearly some people enjoy it an awful lot.

2. FireClean Gun Oil 

Our rating

Details

  • FIREclean
  • Misc.

No, it’s not Crisco.

There was an ugly PR shit show a while back surrounding FireClean, with some allegations from bloggers and other people (that offer competing products) that FireClean is just Crisco or vegetable oil with no additives.

That’s not true. It’s just not, and anyone that’s ever used it can tell you that. I’m not going to go to deep on this, but you can look into it if you’re concerned.

Now, if you want to know why I like the stuff and recommend it, it’s really simple. It claims to make the cleaning of your guns easier because it helps to prevent carbon fouling from sticking to the internal parts of your firearm that have been treated with it. And it does that.

I have tested FireClean gun oil against many other products by starting with a dirty rifle (150 rounds through a Ruger 10/22) cleaning it with the test oil, and then dirtying it up again, and then cleaning a final time with my preferred solvent to see how much effort it took to clean with a control oil.

This allowed me to isolate the fouling prevention properties of the gun oils, and in almost every case it took less effort to clean a rifle that had been treated with FireClean.

Now, FireClean is not the best overall lubricant on this list, nor is it the best at breaking free carbon fouling on its own, but if you’re looking for something that will make cleaning easier overall, run a few patches of FireClean through as the end of your cleaning routine. It definitely makes a difference.

3. M-Pro 7 Gun Oil

Product

Prom Hoppe's M-Pro 7 LPX Gun Oil, 4 Ounce Bottle

Top Pick

  • Manufactured by M-Pro7
  • Cleaner - Lubricant - Protectant

Our rating

Details

  • Manufactured by M-Pro7
  • Cleaner - Lubricant - Protectant

If you’re looking for what I think is the best lubricating oil on the list, you can stop reading now. This is the one.

Let me be clear up front, I am in no way sponsored by M-Pro 7, I have never received anything for free or even at a discount, I don’t know anybody there, and I personally will receive no money even if you follow the link on this page and buyout their entire stock.

With all that being well understood, this is just about the only oil I use on my guns, and if you’re going to use any dedicated oil instead of a 3-in-1 product, this is what you should use as far as I’m concerned.

I made the switch to the M-Pro 7 oil about five years ago and I have no plans on using any other gun oil if I can help it. I see less wear, less gumming, less corrosion, and have an easier time cleaning my guns than with any other product I’ve tried, and Lord knows I’ve tried most of them.

This oil is a good bit thicker than the Hoppe’s stuff, and is more akin to a mid-weight motor oil in consistency. You’ll probably want a squeeze bottle with a fine tip to repackage it in so you can get it into harder to reach areas.

You can also use this gun oil as a cleaner in the field, and many military units do, but it’s mainly a lubricating oil so you’ll need a solvent and a cleaner to go with it for deep cleaning. The M-Pro 7 cleaners are alright.

They’re certainly better than a lot of stuff out there, but like most people I still use a 3-in-1 for actually getting the rifle clean in the field or just after a big competition or range day, and then an oil to lube and protect when I’m doing a deeper clean. When I’m doing a deeper clean, the M-Pro 7 oil is the only stuff I use, and I couple it with Hoppe’s Solvent (not the oil).

4. Ballistol

Product

F W Klever GmbH Ballistol Multi-Purpose Aerosol Can...

Top Pick

  • Biodegradable; won't harm the environment
  • Perfect for lubricating and protecting firearms and just about...
  • Preserves and protects metal, wood, leather and plastics
  • Slightly alkaline in nature; neutralizes the effect of sweat and...
  • 1.5 oz. Aerosol Can

Our rating

Details

  • Biodegradable; won't harm the environment
  • Perfect for lubricating and protecting firearms and just about...
  • Preserves and protects metal, wood, leather and plastics
  • Slightly alkaline in nature; neutralizes the effect of sweat and...
  • 1.5 oz. Aerosol Can

Speaking of 3-in-1 products, I would probably be burned at the stake as a heretic by my fellow gun enthusiasts (rightfully so) if I made a list of the best gun lubricants and didn’t include Ballistol gun oil.

Ballistol is a 3-in-1 product that acts as a cleaner, lubricant, and protectant (CLP) all in one. It is a classic product that has been much beloved by the gun world, both civilian an MIL/LEO varieties, for decades.

The big selling point of an CLP product is that it does the job of three products on its own, and while they very rarely will get your gun as spotlessly clean as using dedicated cleaners, lubricants, and protectants…you probably don’t need your gun to be that clean anyway.

The truth is, a lot of gun owners over-clean their guns and at best their wasting their time, and at worst they’re damaging material in the chamber and barrel and shortening the lifespan of their equipment.

Ballistol is great if you are looking to keep your weapon clean and protected from the elements (and your greasy, sweaty hands). I like it for a few big reasons.

First, its convenient. I like shooting, not cleaning, and I don’t get the sort of samurai zen feelings some people do when they clean their guns. It’s a chore, and anything that makes that chore easier I like.

Second, it’s both biodegradable and non-toxic, which is nothing to sneeze at. As shooters, we are exposed to lead and other dangerous carcinogens, so if I can limit both my own potential exposure to dangerous chemicals, as well as my environmental impact, so much the better.

Finally, its is safe to use on a variety of materials, and is basically able to protect every material you’re going to find on a firearm from corrosion. It’s good for wood, metal, plastic/polymer, leather, whatever. It will protect from moisture, and since its a slightly alkaline solution it will also protect from oil and sweat from your hands as well.

5. Breakfree CLP

Product

BreakFree CLP-4 Cleaner Lubricant Preservative Squeeze...

Top Pick

  • Penetrates and spreads along metal surfaces into every pit and...
  • Long-lasting lubricating film dramatically reduces adhesion of...
  • Corrosion inhibitors prevent the formation of rust while...
  • Specially formulated synthetic oils won't lose viscosity, dry out...
  • It has been proven to preform in temperatures ranging from -65F...

Our rating

Details

  • Penetrates and spreads along metal surfaces into every pit and...
  • Long-lasting lubricating film dramatically reduces adhesion of...
  • Corrosion inhibitors prevent the formation of rust while...
  • Specially formulated synthetic oils won't lose viscosity, dry out...
  • It has been proven to preform in temperatures ranging from -65F...

Breakfree is another classic gun oil that is much beloved by many shooters and armory techs. I love that its available, but frankly I don’t use it. Why?

I started using Ballistol first. That’s the real reason. Performance wise, anyone that tells you there’s a significant advantage between Breakfree and Ballistol is either just set in their ways, or is selling something.

The one significant factor for most folks is that Ballistol is non-toxic and Breakfree isn’t, but that may not matter to you. For me, I’d rather have the non-toxic version, but I have to bring up the Breakfree CLP because it doesn’t have the licorice and battery acid smell of Ballistol. If you’re safe with the stuff, its fine, and it doesn’t have that smell.

Personally, I’ll take the smell, but if you can’t stand it, or are worried about the smell on a hunting weapon, Breakfree is definitely the way to go. I had a bottle fall off a shelf in my shop once and the top came off, it went everywhere, and there was very little smell at all.

6. Sage and Braker CLP

Product

CLP by Sage & Braker. Our Gun Cleaning Formula is an Oil,...

Top Pick

  • UNBEATABLE GUN CLEANING // Other CLPs leave an oily coating,...
  • PROTECT YOUR FIREARMS FROM FAILURE // Feel confident that your...
  • SMOOTH ACTION FOR RELIABLE PERFORMANCE // Our CLP coats and...
  • SAFE FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES // No harsh smelling chemicals...
  • MADE WITH PRIDE IN THE USA // Our CLP was designed with our...

Our rating

Details

  • UNBEATABLE GUN CLEANING // Other CLPs leave an oily coating,...
  • PROTECT YOUR FIREARMS FROM FAILURE // Feel confident that your...
  • SMOOTH ACTION FOR RELIABLE PERFORMANCE // Our CLP coats and...
  • SAFE FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES // No harsh smelling chemicals...
  • MADE WITH PRIDE IN THE USA // Our CLP was designed with our...

Sage and Braker Mercantile is a Colorado-based company that has made a name for themselves lately for producing really well thought out firearm cleaning products. They make the only BoreSnake I will ever use, and they also make my favorite CLP.

This stuff is a little pricey, but in my informal testing and experience it works better than both Ballistol and Breakfree, so you end up using less and the cost almost balances out. It also combines the best of both Ballistol and Breakfree in that it is both non-toxic AND odor free.

This stuff works for all firearms surfaces and is one of the best things on the market for keeping your gun running in all environments. It was actually designed with input from Afghan war vets who found sand to be a big problem with the function of their firearms.

Sage and Braker designed this CLP to reduce static on treated metal surfaces, which actually helps keep sand, dirt, and powder fouling from bonding to the area in question. As far as I can tell, it absolutely does that.

I’ve been using this stuff for almost a year now, and while it hasn’t dethroned the M-Pro 7 oil as a lube just yet, is the only solvent I use on my firearms. This is the primary product I use to clean all my firearms these days, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Finally, I’m not sponsored by Sage and Braker either (although I’d love to be, so if you guys are reading this and want to send me your absolutely beautiful heirloom-quality gun cleaning mat or cleaning tool roll for a review, feel free). I’m just telling you what I use to clean the guns I put a few thousand rounds a year through. Do with that information what you will.


Parting Shots

These are all great gun oils, and they are all great choices for cleaning and maintaining your firearms. I’ve used them all pretty extensively, and I hope my thoughts were helpful in your decisions.

Don’t care what I think? As always, test this stuff for yourself and find out what you like the best. What works for me may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for me. Either way, the stuff on this list is definitely where you should start your own search for the best gun oil.

By

Matthew Collins is an active contributor here at GunBacker. He’s enjoys both competitive shooting and gunsmithing. When you don’t see him at the range, you can catch him on Instagram and other gun related websites.

The Daily Ammo

The latest firearms reviews, gear reviews and safe shooting tips for responsible gun owners.

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