View Full Version : Maintenance: lubrication of the recoil spring tube

Scott S
February 13, 2001, 04:03
While trying to diagnose a feeding problem I removed the recoil springs from the tube to give it the once over. When I reinstalled the springs I gave them a fairly generous coating of BreakFree CLP. Anyone recommend a different lubricant for the spring tube? I read in an archived post that someone recommended grease. Seconds on that recommendation?

[ September 10, 2001: Message edited by: gary.jeter ]

February 13, 2001, 11:37
Teflon lubes like Breakfree are probably superior. Grease is good, but if you put too much it will effect a hydrostatic seal and retard the rearward travel of the bolt and cause malfunction.
K-Y jelly and other intimate lubricants, while indeed superior, are not as durable, and thus require repeated application.

February 13, 2001, 17:23
I use Tetra grease.

February 13, 2001, 17:24
I use Gunslick a little goes a long way. It is a small tube of graphite in a very light grease. Stays well and does not form a seal like oils. Rick in Fl

February 13, 2001, 19:33
I agree w/ Tetra, a SMALL amount. Generous CLP is NOT appropriate.

1*.....Train Like You Fight: Second Place is NOT an Option.

E.M. (Ted) Dannemiller II

[This message has been edited by EMDII (edited February 13, 2001).]

February 14, 2001, 05:22
I remember someone recommending synthetic motor oil but I can't confirm.

Does anyone remember the thread? Application and weight of the oil?


February 14, 2001, 13:15
Why is CLP not accepticable?

February 14, 2001, 16:18
Originally posted by gunnut1:
Why is CLP not accepticable?
CLP isnt bad, my biggest complaint with CLP is it is a dirt magnet and collects alot of powder residue. I have been trying a oil from Castrol I picked up about a month ago and even in an AR-15 after about 100rds the bolt and receiver look better than only 20 if I had been using CLP.

February 14, 2001, 16:32
I usually use CAT dry film lubricant (graphite)on everything gas system too.

Scott S
February 15, 2001, 05:04
I appreciate the replies. I suspected that my question would prompt a variety of replies; of course, I was hoping that 20 folks would recommend the same type of lube. Wishful thinking. I suppose that in the grand scheme of things the type of lube doesn't matter as much as keeping the gun cleaned and lubed. It's just difficult to sleep well at night when you aren't sure whether your pride and joy has the best lube money can buy.

February 16, 2001, 22:53
Originally posted by Scott S:
I appreciate the replies. I suspected that my question would prompt a variety of replies; of course, I was hoping that 20 folks would recommend the same type of lube. Wishful thinking. I suppose that in the grand scheme of things the type of lube doesn't matter as much as keeping the gun cleaned and lubed. It's just difficult to sleep well at night when you aren't sure whether your pride and joy has the best lube money can buy.
You got that right dude. Kind of like 6 of one or half a dozen of another.

February 17, 2001, 04:01
It's true that you got a lot of replies but all you have to do is cull out the pertinent details. What I got out of the responses were to avoid lubes that attract dirt, don't last, and don't overlube. Tetra was preferred in more than one response and also some motor oils may work.

February 17, 2001, 12:57
I like Eezox. spray it in, it dries into a dry lube, no dirt magnet. It is an excellent lube, on par with tetra, just not messy. I used tetra exclusively until i discovered Eezox.

February 17, 2001, 18:26
I like tetra too. Who carries the Eezox? Haven't heard of that one.

NZ L1A1 Collector
February 17, 2001, 23:03
Australian & British regulations for the L1A1 state that the armourers should use only a light application of Graphite Grease XG340.

Kevin Adams
Rifle, 7.62 mm, L1A1 Collector & Researcher.

February 18, 2001, 11:18
I use Kroil spray and very little of it. Kroil rules!

Jim M
PCS, Inc.
Industrial Metal Coating
Industrial Metal Coating (http://frontpage.webzone.net/jimm/imc_home.htm)
Protect the Second Amendment!!!

September 10, 2001, 21:21
moved to FAQ

September 11, 2001, 03:41
I can vouch for Kevin Adams previous reply, I am an ex-Australian army trooper and thats what we were required to use. However I have successfully used CLP and also I have had pretty good luck (amazingly enough) with slick 50 motor oil. I have found that the best thing with the slick 50 (or similar products) is to get to your tube while it is in pristine condition (new or just bloody well cleaned) and give it a good soak in the oil. Then let it dry, wipe off the residue and then just use some decent gun oil on top of it. The slick 50 mainly helps to aide in removing gunk buildup and generally helps cleaning.

[ September 11, 2001: Message edited by: Kevin M ]

September 12, 2001, 22:10
Check out the above link.They have detailed
descriptions of several purpose specific
products from CLP.It's all new to me.
If the link doesn't work just go to :
cole-distributing.com & click on; Gun Care Products.

September 12, 2001, 23:08
Originally posted by Ape:
... Who carries the Eezox? Haven't heard of that one.

Eezox must be the stuff at www.eezox.com (http://www.eezox.com)
Described as a synthetic all-in-one product: C, L, &P.

I like oil on springs, because I trust it more than grease to prevent rust. Oil spreads and covers a surface better than grease. But I'm not gonna fight over it.

September 13, 2001, 13:45

September 15, 2001, 11:21
Interesting and informative responses. I've tried a lot of different products but seem to come back to CLP. It can attract powder residue but if you use it from the start it cleans quite easily. Even a heavily soiled firearm can be soaked in a generous coating and scrubbed the next day with banner results.

I have a good quantity of tetra grease I got from a "group buy" on the crffl list a couple years ago. Several people had problems with rust when using it as a "preservative" for long term storage. Hygroscopic? I never passed judgement since a board member bought a huge drum and repacked it for individual use. I was in the habit of lightly applying tetra grease to slide rails and areas of heavy friction or metal impact just before going to the range, and cleaning exclusively with CLP before storage. I really like tetra grease and thought that the combo of tetra oil and grease would be superb, but it is expensive in the quantities used. CLP is effective and quite economical in quantity.

I suspect the reason Slick 50 works well is the teflon content, similar to CLP. I wonder if it has more than CLP? If you can believe the ad hype about the teflon filling the metal pores. I've had tremendous results with Slick 50 back when I maintained older vehicles. CLP has worked for me since boot camp, and after 17 years it is very hard to plunk down cash to try new stuff. It has worked well on my hand and garden tools as well.

The graphite lube seems to warrant exploration given it's military heritage, although I wonder if the teflon lubes were in existance then?

September 15, 2001, 15:45
I mainly use a high quality Teflon lube. It's called tefoil and made by Applied. It's extremely sticky but not some kind of dirtmagnet.....super slick and a very good anti rust preservative!

Teflon based oils are good in general.....I like the more thicker lubricants instead of those extremely thin Teflon based lubricants.

Hopes this helps.....

March 09, 2011, 15:54
For low temperatures I use only graphite. By low I mean below zero. Coldest shots I fired this winter were @-25F, and all oil based lubricants were very, very sticky at that point.

Apply only after cleaning the part(s) bone dry. You would not want graphite+oil+dirt+powder goo all over the place.

May 11, 2017, 11:27
I'm going to be removing the stock on my 12 year old DSA SA58 for the first time (disassembly tool is ordered and on the way...thanks W.E.G. :eek: ) to do a bit of file work on some sharp edges. Perfect time to clean and lube the recoil spring tube, and I wondered if there are any new products on the market that FAL users have switched to since the last update on this thread.

May 11, 2017, 17:37
Tri-Flow Synthetic Grease avec Teflon.

Food grade waterproof grease that is non staining, prevents corrosion and is compatible with most rubber and plastics.

My observations are that it is a super-gooey white stuff that sticks to anything and is very slicker. The kitchen faucet I lubed up with the stuff is still working like a champ and the 1911 slide never worked so good.

OK, I bought it because the stuff really appealed to my Scottish ancestry at $2.00 for a one pound can. Hope my grandkids appreciate my thoughtfullness.

koponen will not be using the stuff as it's only rated from -10 to 400 deg's, not 110 to 400 as shown in the link. I use koponon's lube technique on my 94 Winchester that has been tested to -40 deg. The rifle may work at that temp, but I refuse to, unless the Bear is trying to break into my stash of biscuits and beans.

May 11, 2017, 18:06
:D Living in Arizona, so hopefully won't have to test the low temp rating. I see there is a local bicycle shop that carries Tri-Flow products...

May 16, 2017, 02:32
Bitron can be had from Canada, the soviets developed it for their submarine screws--Gear drives, they were Noisy to sonar and the USN could pick up their noise, Bitron, made from Used Motor oil, cleaned and Irradiated, made the sub screws undetectable for noise, works excellent in any mechanical device I tried it in, the FAL Para at --18F, set for two hours outside, worked just the same as 70F*, Ten rounds no malfunctions.

May 16, 2017, 08:24
I use tranny fluid, thinned with kerosene.

AKA Ed's Red (w/o the acetone)

Any light oil is fine. People overthink this shit all the time. Millions spent on convincing you to use this special ninja-sweat lubricating oil. Look at cars. Engine is far more hostile environment than gun.

Nice resurrection by the way.

May 16, 2017, 10:11
I have heard of Ed's Red but didn't know anything about it...just did a Bing search and it sounds like a versatile lube and cleaner. Also, when mixed with acetone, it cuts through the plastic wadding that builds up in shotgun barrels. THAT right there is some solid gold info I plan to put to good use in the future. :thumbsup:

May 16, 2017, 11:24
I looked up the flashpoints of the various ingredients and noted the acetone lowered the flash point dramatically - not something I want to use indoors. So I leave that out.

Here's the notes I've collected on it with my own tweaks.

5 gallon bucket
1 gallon ATF
1 gallon oderless mineral spirits
1 gallon oderless kerosene
1 qt mobile synthetic
2 large tins kiwi mink oil or other lanolin type product.

Around $50 for a lifetime supply.

Since mine is in an open dunk tank, I occasionally add more kerosene & mineral spirits to maintain a viscosity that runs off the gun when hung.

Maybe twice a year I run it through a 100 mircon filter

"Ed's Red" - - Revisited
By C.E., "Ed" Harris
Since I mixed my first "Ed's Red" (ER) bore cleaner five years ago, hundreds of users have told me that they find it as effective as commercial products. This cleaner has an action similar to military rifle bore cleaner, such as Mil-C-372B. Itaner, such as Mil-C-372B. It is highly effective for removing plastic fouling from shotgun bores, caked carbon inn semi-automatic rifles or pistols, or leading in revolvers. "ER" is not a "decoppering" solution for fast removal of heavy jacket fouling, but because is more effective in removal of caked carbon and primer residues than most other cleaners, so metal fouling is reduced when "ER" is used.
I researched the subject rather thoroughly and determined there was no technical reason why an effective firearm bore cleaner couldn't be mixed using common hardware store ingredients. The resulting cleaner is safe, effective, inexpensive, provides excellent corrosion protection and adequate residual lubrication. Routine oiling after cleaning is unnecessary except for storage exceeding 1 year, or in harsh environments, such as salt air exposure.
The formula is adapted from Hatcher's "Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18," but substitutes equivalent modern materials. Hatcher's recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and (optionally) 200 grams of anhydrous lanolin per liter into the cleaner.
Some discussion of the ingredients in ER is helpful to understand the properties of the cleaner and how it works. Pratts Astral Oil was nothing more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. Today you would ask for "K1" kerosene of the type sold for use in indoor space heaters.
An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron III automatic transmission fluid. Prior to 1950 most ATF's were sperm oil based. During WWII sperm oil was mostly unavailable, so highly refined, dewaxed hydrofinished petroleum oils were developed, which had excellent thermal stability. When antioxidants were added to prevent gumming these worked well in precision instruments.
With the high demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to produce ATFs in the needed quantities needed, so the wartime expedients were mass produced. ATFs have been continually improved over the years. The additives contained in Dexron include detergents or other surfactants which are highly suitable for inclusion in an all-purpose cleaner, lubricant and preservative.
Hatcher's Frankford Arsenal No. 18 used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is both expensive and also highly flammable, so I chose not to use it. Much safer and more inexpensive are "aliphatic mineral spirits," which are an open-chain organic solvent, rather than the closed-chain, benzene ring structure, common to "aromatics," such as naptha or "lighter fluid." Sometimes called "safety solvent," aliphatic mineral spirits are used for thinning oil based paint, as automotive parts cleaner and is commonly sold under the names "odorless mineral spirits," "Stoddard Solvent" or "Varsol".
Acetone is included to provide an aggressive, fast-acting solvent for caked smokeless powder residues. Because acetone readily evaporates and the fumes are harmful in high concentrations, it is recommended that it be left out if the cleaner will be used indoors, in soak tanks or in enclosed spaces lacking forced air ventilation. Containers should be kept tightly closed when not in use. ER is still effective without acetone, but not as "fast-acting."
"Ed's Red" does not chemically dissolve copper fouling in rifle bores, but it does a better job of removing carbon and primer residue than most other cleaners. Many users have told me, that frequent and exclusive use of "ER" reduces copper deposits, because it removes the old impacted powder fouling left behind by other cleaners. This reduces the abrasion and adhesion of jacket metal to the bore, leaving a cleaner surface condition which reduces subsequent fouling. Experience indicates that "ER" will actually remove metal fouling in bores if it is left to "soak," for a few days so the surfactants will do the job, when followed by a repeat cleaning. You simply have to be patient.
Addition of lanolin to ER is optional, because the cleaner works perfectly well and gives adequate corrosion protection and lubrication without it. Inclusion of lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, increases its lubricity and film strength and improves corrosion protection if firearms, tools or equipment will be routinely exposed to salt air, water spray, or corrosive urban atmospheres.
I recommend the lanolin included if you intend to use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage or for a "flush" after water cleaning of black powder firearms or those fired with military chlorate primers. This is because lanolin has a great affinity for water and readily emulsifies so that the bore can be wiped of residual moisture, leaving a protective film. If you inspect your guns and wipe them down twice yearly, you can leave out the lanolin and save about $10 per gallon.
At current retail prices you can buy all the ingredients to mix ER, without the lanolin for about $12 per gallon. I urge you to mix some yourself. I am confident it will work as well for you as it does for me and hundreds of users who got the "recipe" on the Fidonet Firearms Echo.
CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner
• 1 part Dexron ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.
• 1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1
• 1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits
• CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent.
• 1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.
• (Optional 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, or OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)
Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is permeable, because the acetone will slowly evaporate. Acetone in ER will attack HDPE over time, causing the container to collapse, making a heck of a mess!
Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the otherainer to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved. I recommend diverting up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix to use as "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the remaining mix. Label and safety warnings follow:
Contents: petroleum distillates, surfactants, organometallic antioxidants and acetone.
1. Flammable mixture, keep away from heat, sparks or flame.
2. FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.
3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with itsonsistent with its labeling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.
1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.
2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.
3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled service rifles, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.
4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for 1 year under average atmospheric conditions.
5. If lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years, even in a humid environment. (For longer storage use Lee Liquid Alox or Cosmolene). "ER" will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.
6. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes.
7. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if the bore is cleaned as described.
8. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and shots and areand shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a flush with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the corrosive residue out.
This "Recipe" has been placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all current revisions, instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.
Reply To: ed_harris@p3006.F120.n109.z1.fidonet.org
--- msged 2.05
* Origin: Home of Ed's Red (1:109/120.3006)

≥Machinist Workshop Magazine≤ did a test on penetrating oils. Using
nuts and bolts that they rusted to a uniform degree by soaking in salt water, they then tested the break-out torque required to loosen the nuts. They treated the nuts with a variety of penetrants and measured the torque required to loosen them.

This is what they came up with:

Nothing: 516 lbs

WD-40: 238 lbs;

PB Blaster: 214 lbs;

Liquid Wrench: 127 lbs,

Kano Kroil: 106 lbs

(ATF)/Acetone mix (50/50): 50 lbs.

May 16, 2017, 16:21
This is what they came up with:

Nothing: 516 lbs
(ATF)/Acetone mix (50/50): 50 lbs.

That is pretty amazing. Thank you for digging up this information!