How often do you oil your handguns?

Mar 13, 2005
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Recently I read a article by Cylinder & Slide about oiling your handguns. Great article, but what surprised me was they say to oil your guns every 50 rounds when shooting. Also to oil them every time before you start shooting even if your semi or revolver was oiled and cleaned within the last week.

It seems like a great idea and easy enough to do but I've never seen any one do this. I've always just assumed that if my gun was oiled and cleaned recently when I had put it away, it was all right to use it with out oiling it. But their saying 3-4 weeks later the pistol is dry and has to be reoiled.

Also they say to use grease instead of oil if your carrying a semi. That the oil runs out of the semi and it has to be cleaned and greased has to be applied weekly.

It all sounds like a good idea. I was just wondering how many people actually do all this.
I'm with Jon on this one.

Clean and lube, put away, then shoot . . . then clean and lube . . .
LenS said:
I'm with Jon on this one.

Clean and lube, put away, then shoot . . . then clean and lube . . .

That's been my M.O. for almost a dozen years now.

And while I go shooting roughly every 3-4 weeks, I rarely take the same guns on subsequent trips. It may be 2-3 months from the time a gun is cleaned until it gets shot.

If it's been a year or more since I've shot/cleaned a gun, I'll run a couple of patches through the barrel just to be on the safe side. Other than that, though, you're generally good to go without all that oiling.

Now, that said, it's certainly not a bad idea. It can't hurt - far from it - and in the realm of "if I had all the time in the world" or "were I a competition shooter", I might do it. It would be interesting to see what Derek or Tony have to say about this, seeing as how they have shot in competitions...
Actually, too much lube can be just as harmful (if not more so) than too little. When you are shooting, you get all the carbon, and unburned powder residue. Those 2 things are very abrasive. Now mix in some oil on top of that, and you have just made lapping compound.

Oil will run out of a semi-auto that is carried in a holster. However, you are checking your carry weapon at least weekly for proper lube, clean, lint free, action operating correctly RIGHT?!

Now, if you are out doing a marathon shooting session, after 400 or so rounds, a drop of oil on each slide rail certainly will be within reason, however anything more than that, and you are asking for problems...

I'm with Len here, clean, lube, put away, and shoot...

To avoid all this cleaning business, I just throw the ammo down range at the targets while holding my pistol in my other hand. I might not hit much, but I think I still look tough.

All joking aside, with what I shoot with any regularity, I follow the steps mentioned above. clean, oil, put way, shoot, then repeat.
I don't have a safe queen (yet, just got into all this) but what if I do buy something that I will shoot every year or two or more? How often would I have to oil it? Metal does dry up. I realize that this is most likely a common sense thing, but as a rule of thumb. Would you check the metal every 3, 4, 6 months? Every year maybe?
I have a couple of rifles that don't get out to the range all that often. For those guns, every couple of months, they get taken out of the safe, and a light coat of oil (just enough to dampen a large patch) gets run over all metal surfaces. Then a slightly wet with oil patch gets pushed through the bore once, and they are put back. Before they get shot, I make sure the action is lubed sufficiently, then a dry patch down the bore and off to the range.

I don't do this on any type of schedule. Usually, I will be sitting in the office, checking the forum, and the safe door will be open. I will be getting bored, and keep looking at the open door. I will then get motivated to touch my guns, and will end up wiping them down before they go back to sleep..

I agree with the shoot-clean-lube school with one exception: blued guns that are in storage are taken out and lightly lubed (bore and exterior) once every six months. Probably unnecessary with a Goldenrod in the safes, but not much effort either.
bazfoo said:
Adam, it sure is hard ignoring the mesmerizing call of the safe, isn't it?

Yes it is... In fact, that's when I come up with some of my gun porn... Get bored, sitting in my high-back office chair with my hands clasped on top of my head just gazing lovingly into the nether regions of my safe, listening to the whispering of my beauties, telling me to show them off!

I do the shoot-clean-lube things.

But for ones that are sitting in my safe? I might not want to admit this.

I have rifles that have been in the back of my safe for maybe 6 years. I wiped them down before they went in there. But haven't touched them since.

Hell, and they might only get shot once every 4-8 years, if that. And I just make sure that they get lubed before we load them up. And I've never had a problem with them. Some of them have been treated like that since the 60's. I have a rifle and a shotgun that has been shot off and on every 4 years or so for over the past 15-20 years. And I've never had a rust or pitting problem with them.

But then that's me.
That's good to know, C-pher. I've heard all sorts of horror stories about guns deteriorating and rusting and becoming worthless. Good to know those are extreme cases.

I was watching the Antiques Roadshow one night and this guy brought out a really old Colt revolver. Turns out it was worth $125K!! But what the antiques guy said kind of shocked me. He said, "Get some gun oil on this. The metal looks really dry." I had no idea that metal could be dry/wet. I thought oil was all about lube. The owner obviously never shot it, and was never going to, but was still instructed to care for the metal with oil. Got me thinking ...
Yea, I put a light coat of oil on my guns before they go back into the safe.

If I know that they aren't going to be shot for some time, I have these patches that I wipe them down wiht. They are supposed to put a coating of some pertectant on them.

Don't really remember the name. Just remember that they come in a pack of like 20 pre-moistend towellets. The wrapping is white with blue writing.

Seems to work for me.

Big thing is that I also have my Silicon cloth that if I touch a gun, I wipe it down with that.

Just remember, I'm not in a very wet envrioment. This could change for someone else. I can only tell you what I do.
For the guns that I shoot: If it's my PP gun, I clean and oil after every shoot. For the students guns (like the .22's) we clean and oil after 100 rounds - give or take). If it's a gun I don't shoot (there aren't many, but some) then I'll take it out every 3 to 6 months and check it. If it needs a cleaning I'll do it, if not, then just a quick touch with the oil.
This is a copy of the paragraph in the article about oiling after 50 rounds.

lubrication procedure done every 50 rounds will keep you from having any malfunctions due to dry and/or dirty pistol. Your pistol is getting dirty with carbon fouling and unburned powder as you keep shooting. The lubricant will keep this fouling in a suspension with it instead of becoming hard and slowing down the cycle of the pistol as it would if it were dry.

The whole article can be read here.
Last thing I'd do is oil a gun while it is still dirty. Better to wipe it with a dry rag.
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