Gun lubricants and cold temperatures.

Gun lubricants and cold weather!
Let’s see the line up.

For today’s line up is

  1. Ballistol hailing from Germany.
  2. Break free CLP made In the U.S.A.
  3. Militec1 from the U.S.A.
  4. 10W60 motor oil made in the USA with a mix of domestic and imported components.
  5. 0w30 motor oil made in the USA with a mix of domestic and imported components.
  6. Heavy duty bearing grease. For out M1A, and AK guys.
    The set up is simple. Each product is introduced to a 7”x7” piece of polypropylene (nylon) today is a brisk 21degreed F, and windy.

    For a guide to know when to conduct the test here is a bag of tap water. Once the water freezes I will start the test. (I realize that 21F* is not extremely cold, but that’s what I have to work with today)

4:47.00 later

We got a little colder.

Now that the water is frozen we can start the test.

Bringing in the test (so I can be comfortable) as soon as I got inside I inserted 6 tooth picks into our lubricants and drew the pick across the board.

That didn’t prove much. All 6 lubricants where still of a liquid state. Even the grease was still soft.

Rubbing the tooth picks between my fingers one at a time and cleaning my hand between lubricants didn’t prove much ether. The Militec1 has a slight stickiness to it. Both the 10W60,and 0W30 both felt s little sticky. Funny enough the 10W60 felt a little more smooth between the fingers. Obviously the grease was still sticky, yet I was surprised how smooth it was. Both the Ballistol, and CLP felt good, no stickiness felt.

For the next test I held the board up vertically for :30 seconds.

Now we got something to measure.

The Ballistol did not move.
The CLP moved 2”.
The Militec1 moved 1 1/2”.
The 10W60 moved 1/4”.
The 0W30 moved 1”.
The grease did not move at all.

I personally have used Militec1, Ballistol, CLP, Motor oil,and grease for years.
Sometimes it’s nice having a spray can. Sometimes a tube of grease.
I have found myself using Militec1 for the most part for the last 8 years. After this test I believe that the Militec1 will take a back seat now, and I will most likely start using 10W60 more often.

I want to know what your thoughts on this test? What could be done better? Does it change your opinion about a product?
What do you like to use?

Leave a post, and let me know what you think!

As always be safe, and have fun!


In cold weather, wouldn’t you want a lube that stayed close to original consistency? If a lube gets thicker in cold environments, then it’s less likely to do it job. So from your test, seems my recommendation would be the following:

From best to worst

  1. CLP
  2. Militec1
  3. 0W30
  4. 10W60
  5. Ballistol
  6. Grease

there is always diesel


The reason for my selection is if the firearm is in one spot to long all the lighter oil will “flow” away from the wear points I wanted lubricated in the first place.
The lighter oils will also offer less protection during high temps (during firing)
The oil will evaporate, or cook off faster.

At least that’s my reasoning for the middle of the road lubricant.


Full synthetic lubricants are a great option, since they are less likely to evaporate or burn off. They are also less likely to gum up in cold temperatures. I experimented with synthetic grease in my AR this past summer and I really liked the results. I plan to do some cold weather testing this weekend.


I used to think that until my mobil 1 grease basically melted away here in FL, just ran out, dripped away, pretty damn messy too


RYeah. It’s hard to find the sweet spot.


Synthetic grease works good in small doses! I have used that before!


I used Super Lube Multi-Purpose Synthetic Grease in the AR during hot summer temperatures and it was great. It remained in place after 200+ hundred rounds. I didn’t experience any melting or mess after the gun heated up. So far, so good.


Great point. A little bit of grease goes a long way…a VERY thin layer is all you need.


I use liquid CLP from a bottle. I usually wipe down my guns with that or B-C Sheath (Barricade) for metal protection more than lubrication.

But for my semis I use as little white lithium grease as I can apply with a toothpick tip along the wear points.

I’ve been out hunting in -15 degrees F. I could barely move . . . but I did kill a buck. It was like sticking my hands in boiling water to field dress him. Now I stay indoors if it goes below 15 degrees above zero.


I have hunted in the same conditions. I agree with you. When it’s that cold it starts to become more of a chore.

Good reminder about white lithium grease!


Awesome post Captain, Cold weather gun lubrication tests :+1:
This post is appreciated! I’m in a cold-weather part of the country, it’s great to see actual real world verifiable tests being performed in a similar climates as my own.
This is what I’m using and it’s working really well I blast everything down with the GUNZILLA! then Lube all the contact points with the Lucas.
If anyone is in need of a quality knife lubricant/rust inhibitor the Benchmade Blue Lube is the best I’ve used yet.


Thank you Sak!

Benchmade blue lube? I will have to try that stuff!


Your test is good for a base line. Without taking away from your test or sidetracking it too much, lol, I can add a few thoughts.
Other very important factors to consider though are environmental variables. Such as dirt,dust, debris, water, ice, and things of that nature. For example. I have stopped using grease, because I find that it attracts a lot of fine dust, powder residue, primer sealant and such. This gets mixed into the grease and forms a gritty paste. Another thing to look at would be applying the lubricant, then misting with water or exposing to steam and allowing it to freeze. Some oils are more hygroscopic and other less so. When the gun heats up and moisture gets into the action, and then cools down, different lubes will behave in a different way. Ballistol for example is emulsifiable in water. If there is a high concentration of water to Ballistol, it will freeze.

I general I use lube sparingly, and have found that over lubrication causes more problems than under lubrication in most cases. So I error on the side of less. (again in most cases)

Also don’t forget dry lube for the cold. Graphite for example works good. Either from pencil lead rubbing, or the stuff you use in locks. I have read combloc military manuals that call for no lubrication at all in sub 20 below temps. And have also read about dry lube in extremely cold scenarios in various manuals.

Good write up @switchpod I appreciate your post.


I grew up on the west coast. So running around the Olympic Mountains and the Oregon and Washington coast likes with big trees and a LOT of underbrush.
Here in Montana, lubricants that worked out on the coast would not work. At all…
Frog lube is one of them…
Worked great in the rain forest… stopped the gun for functioning out here.
The gallatin valley has an interesting effect on firearms. Summer can be dusty and 100 degrees… winter it can be -30°
I shoot outside even when it is 0° out… and I have shot when it was -15°F what works and keeps working is Slip 2000, full synthetic 0w-20
I do not baby firearms that are my own. They HAVE to work… I have had way to many customers come in with issues with lubrication when it is cold. Even bolt actions. ARs especially of course. Just my input.


Good job comparing them. I’ve heard frog lube gets rather sticky in the cold. I’ve seen videos of the weapon firing and than slowly closing the slide.


Yes I have experienced problems with Frog Lube in the cold, and after storing a Frog Lubed gun for a few months in warm weather. I have not used it since. I will not use it again.


Personally I’ve never used it. I have tried several different kinds and never had any issues like that. And I’ve shot down to 20 below.


Yeah I would not recommend it. I have used just about everything and most of it works just fine. I don’t get hung up on lubes. I just thought I would bring up dry lubes in my earlier post, since they have been used in various military manuals for very cold weather. Over lube can be the biggest problem from my experience. And I see it a lot. lol