I was just sitting around thinking about how important it is to keep your semi-auto handguns well cleaned and lubed for maximum reliability. But when it comes to cleaning, there are about as many products today as there are different types of guns. This could make choosing the best solvent/lube/rust prevention a bit difficult.
For my solvent I use Hoppe's #9. For lubricant I mostly use either Break Free or Mil-tech. And I usually just use Butch's gun oil or WD-40 to protect the outside metals from rust.
What does everyone else use? And how do you apply it? My usual cleaning solvent is applied with a toothbrush and scrubbed well then. How do you apply the lubricant? Spray it on, wipe it on, or just pour it where it needs to go?
I do my general cleaning with Hoppes No. 9(bore brush, Jag, tooth brush, patches, pipe cleaners, Q-tips, etc.). I occaisonally clean the bore with copper solvent to remove all the copper fouling that I can. I lube the springs with oil as needed and the moving parts with grease.
I doubt there’s any one, best way of doing it. Here’s how I do it.
First, if I didn’t wear glasses (which I do) I would put on eye protection!
I scrub the bore with either a bronze bore brush with lubricant and/or a nylon brush with solvent (Shooter’s Choice - though Hoppes would do). I use pipettes to put solvent on the patches and brushes to avoid contaminating the entire bottle of solvent. I then use patches with solvent till the bore is clean, then dry patches to remove all traces of the solvent.
I then scrub the various pistol parts with solvent, patches, and a M16 toothbrush. I dry it off with more patches.
I coat the steel parts of the pistol lightly with lubricant using a shaving brush (old army trick!) and put a light coat of lubricant in the bore. For a while I used Militec-1, but it’s recently been suggested that while it is a good lubricant, it is a poor protectant. I now use Break-Free CLP.
However, I’m getting ready to switch over to Break-Free LP. In theory it should be a little less runny and more effective than CLP – and obviously I don’t need the cleaner anyway.
As I reassemble the pistol, I put additional lubricant on friction areas (slide rails and such). I then work the pistol a bit, plus do a function check. This spreads the lubricant and tends to force any excess out, which I then remove with a patch. The function check lets me know if something is amiss.
Every once in a while, I also disassemble and clean the magazines and put a light film of lubricant on the spring. If the magazine body is of a rustable steel (like a Sig mag), I apply a light coat of lubricant both inside and out, and then wipe most of it off – basically I’m just trying to darken the mag body with lubricant, nothing more.
Check any screws for looseness, hit the nightsights with a dry Q-tip to make sure they’re clean (they’ve got little windows, you know), make sure there are no leftover parts on the kitchen table, and you’re good to go.
I never use sprays of any sort, or WD-40, except when doing a flush during a detail (total) strip.
ken_mays: great site! You really do need to try out a Birchwood Casey Lead Cleaning Cloth for cleaning stainless steel revolvers – it’s almost magic!
My experience with WD40 is its a so so cleaner, totally useless as a lubricant, better than nothing as a general rust preventative, and outstanding for "drying out" guns when you get caught shooting in the rain.