Montana X-Treme: When is the Last Time You Used Really Good Gun Oil?

Various gun oils have been around for a very, very long time. Fundamentally, there are three considerations to firearms care: cleaning, lubricating, and protecting. These characteristics have been combined and recombined under various wonder formulas for years. I've used Breakfree CLP for a very long time by now. It was, and is a good protectant. It never has been the best or fastest cleaner, but it wasn't ever supposed to be. You can clean a barrel with it, but it sure takes a lot longer.

There has been an informal debate going on for many years about the suitability of some products, like WD-40, for firearms. The notion behind “Water Displacing Formula #40” is that the first thirty-nine tries didn't quite make it, but the fortieth attempt did-- hence the name. It never has been a particularly good lubricant, showing weak film strength, but being a good oil is a long way from freeing rusty hinges and quieting squeaky things.

Most automotive or industrial type lubes are far too thick to be suitable for firearms. The idea for good firearms function hasn't varied that much over the years. Clean and dry is good, with a thin film of oil. Why oil? Oil is a better lubricant than grease, grease being essentially a mixture of oil and soap.

An undesirable oil for firearms is an oil that tends to gum up when exposed to powder gases, gets clumpy and thick when the temperature drops, or attracts dust and crud. Those are the negative attributes that Montana X-treme Gun Oil does not have. What is so “good about it,” for starters, is that there is nothing bad about it.

Montana X-treme is is highly refined oil, completely colorless. For the last ten months or so, I've been using it on Benelli inertia actions, a variety of gas pistons, on A-5 magazine tubes, 1911 slides, and center-fire bolts. It is good for a film on bluing and as a general bore protectant. Though several manufacturers suggest that you keep gas pistons completely dry, gas-operated shotguns in my experience run a lot longer and are easier to clean up if you run them wet.

By “wet,” I don't mean dripping wet or sloshing wet at all. By wet, I'm referring to just wiping down the parts with a cotton patch with some ME Gun Oil on it. The same goes with a pistol slide or an A-5 magazine tube. Pop a couple of drops of Montana X-treme on it an wipe off all you can with a clean cotton patch. That will leave a light film, which is all you need or want. Puddling or over-lubrication is just as bad as ignoring lubrication altogether. So, I'm not referring to irrigating parts at all, just a light film. It doesn't attract gunk, it won't saturate wood, and it makes subsequent cleanings easier.

Another good thing about both Montana Gun Oil and their Bore Cleaner is that they aren't damaging to film-dipped (camo) barrels and plastic stocks. Some of the more radically aggressive gun cleaners, while rough on crud seem to be just as rough on polymer gun finishes. DEET insect repellant can start to melt camo finishes and plastic trigger guards for that matter, so some chemicals should never be directly applied to firearms. The Montana stuff isn't, even though there is no reason to oil a camo finish some incidental contact happens.

One of the issues with new guns, particularly autoloaders, is the heavy preservatives applied by the manufacturer on and inside the gun prior to packaging. In general, the manufacturers are doing a good thing. Who wants to buy a gun that is rusting in the box? One of the best things we can do with a new auto is carefully clean away all of the factory stuff, and start with a super-clean then lightly lubed action. There is a tendency when you get a new gun to head to the range and blaze away, but often we will be far happier than a through initial cleaning was ignored.

I had a lengthy conversation with a high-end O/U manufacturer a while back, the subject matter was customer issues. The number one customer “complaint” was rust. What can you say? All guns need to be cleaned as dictated by service and storage conditions. All guns need to be lubricated from time to time. If there is rust, we can just look in the mirror-- it means neglect.

This is particularly obvious in muzzleloading as well. Yes, some propellants are essentially non-corrosive, and modern primers are essentially non-corrosive as well. That is hardly any excuse not to clean a gun. Virtually any residue, no matter how relatively clean or relatively non-corrosive attracts moisture and should be cleaned as soon as convenient. It doesn't take much to run a rag with Montana bore cleaner up and down the barrel. Yet, the few moments of doing this and the abject failure of sticking a gun in the corner, leaving it in its case, or worse yet out in the car or garage is a golden invitation to pitting and corrosion. We should know better, but judging by all the rusty guns at pro-shops you see, apparently not all of us do. It's a shame. Particularly as the humidity rises, we need to ensure there is a light film barrier between atmosphere and metal. If we don't, then shame on us.

In any case, I can attest that two of the Montana X-treme products, their Gun Oil and their Bore Cleaner are particularly good. Montana X-treme claims that their bore cleaner can be left in gun barrels overnight with no damage. Though good to know, a couple of dry patches after cleaning followed by a patch of gun oil takes so very little time or effort that I'll not ever test to find out.

These two products are all you'll really need. They are both packaged in aluminum containers, a far better option than glass. Nothing gimmicky or mysterious, both of these items are just carefully mixed gun care products, made in the USA, that do their jobs extremely well.



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