Can Over-Lubrication Cause an AR-15 To Malfunction?

BY Herschel Smith
1 week ago


Comments

  1. On April 7, 2021 at 8:08 am, George said:

    These two are not AR15 shooters. They have said other things that have shown that in the past. I was an M16 Instructor with the U.S. Border Patrol and I have been a 3 gun competitor for the past 19 years. ARs run wet. As to the bolt; you can grease the cam pin but oil works just as well. Oil the bolt, even the back end; it makes clean up easier.
    There should be no reason whatsoever to lube the chamber. Keep the chamber clean, but I know of no one that lubes the chamber.
    Oil any surface that shows wear.
    Then, last but no least, clean it well.
    I have never had a oil induced malfunction.

  2. On April 7, 2021 at 8:50 am, Fred said:

    The AR is such a great platform that its owners have the luxury of discussing the intricacies of lubrication.

    There is one reason not to over lube your AR; they can spit oil at you. If it goes in your eye you have greatly reduced your ability to be effective at problem solving.

  3. On April 7, 2021 at 9:41 am, parab said:

    Too much lube in cold temps has turned my otherwise reliable AR’s into malfunction-machines.

  4. On April 7, 2021 at 11:31 am, Bram said:

    From personal experience – CLP + Arabian sand = cement. To get M16’s to run at all in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait meant running them as dry as possible after cleaning. I’ve heard from younger guys that synthetic lubricants work much better now.

    Back in the U.S. I’ve never seen an AR/M16 jam up because of too much oil. It will spray oil and smoke all over whoever went overboard with the lube.

  5. On April 7, 2021 at 12:14 pm, George said:

    As Bram said: keep it clean. The sand box definitely could gum up the works.
    Some folks neglect to clean the carbon out of the bolt carrier. That will definitely cause the bolt to hang up, lube or no lube.

  6. On April 7, 2021 at 12:21 pm, Randy said:

    The idea that someone would clean and lubricate the bore without cleaning and lubricating the chamber makes my brain hurt. How or why would you even do that.

    If I still remember my infantry training from the early 1970’s, and, more importantly, the history of M16 rifle, the original M16’s sent to Vietnam DID NOT have chromed chambers and soldiers were absolutely advised to lube the chambers.

    Multi-day patrols and the climate of Vietnam often caused the 5.56 brass corrode and then to stick in a chamber that was not chromed and was not not lubricated. After all the lessons learned in Vietnam, back in those days we (Infantry) were generally encouraged to keep a very light coat of lubricant on the ammo as well (both M60 and M16 ammo).

  7. On April 7, 2021 at 12:54 pm, Whynot said:

    From a Brit Para, he never cleans his AR, just kept it well-lubed. From a LRP in the sandbox, he never cleaned, only kept well-lubed with SLIP2000.

    Have taken multiple classes and usually go through about 5K rounds annually, including mag dumps. Put 12K through 1 barrel before replacing, only cleaned it once (before and after using simunition for a scenario). On my 2nd barrel with 5K through it, still haven’t cleaned it.

    Had a SGM with the unit tell me, he only cleaned the chamber, and that was a chamber brush on a Dewalt drill.

  8. On April 7, 2021 at 1:37 pm, ExpatNJ said:

    On April 7, 2021 at 9:41 am, parab said:
    “Too much lube in cold temps has turned my otherwise reliable AR’s into malfunction-machines.”

    A special lubricant is available for AR-15-style rifles intended for extremely cold temps. An internet search will find it. US military uses it in Alaska, and other cold-weather environments.

    (please don’t ask me how I know …)

  9. On April 7, 2021 at 3:30 pm, DTG said:

    I was taught to run an AR virtually dry in cold weather, and oiled in warm weather. I’ve always followed that lesson, and my AR’s have never stopped in the winter due to too much oil. I clearly remember in hot weather, squirting .mil issue “LSA” onto the phosphorous bolt, and, yes, it spewed oil everywhere, but it never stopped running.

    Sometimes old school is the best school. That’s my .02

  10. On April 7, 2021 at 3:32 pm, DTG said:

    PS – My ‘cold’ weather is always both ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ cold in all of Michigan, but especially in northern MI and the UP.

  11. On April 7, 2021 at 4:29 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ DTG

    Re: “I was taught to run an AR virtually dry in cold weather, and oiled in warm weather. I’ve always followed that lesson, and my AR’s have never stopped in the winter due to too much oil.”

    Years ago, a gunsmith – a retired Green Beret scout-sniper who’d “been there, done that” – taught me basically the same lesson, which applies not just to AR-platform rifles/carbines, but many other small arms besides, the FN FAL for example.

    For arid/dry desert environments, his take was to run the M-16/M-4 as-clean as possible and as-dry as possible, unless he had access to “dry lube,” i.e., some form of lubrication which is designed to work in the absence of moisture, in which case he would use that as well.

    In hot, dusty environments typical of much of Africa and the Middle East, fine talcum powder-like grit is the biggest enemy of mechanical devices, not just small arms and weapons, but automotive internal combustion engines, aviation power-plants (including turbines, which are used by the American-made Abrams M-1 series of main-battle tanks), and so on. In such environments, the presence of excess moisture, including wet lubricants, will cause dust and grit to be retained, eventually resulting in an abrasive paste which will, in time, cause any mechanical device to malfunction.

    Most militaries have enhanced or special maintenance procedures in place for operations in arid environments, for this reason. Including climate-specific lubricants and other forms of POL (petroleum-oil-lubricants). More-frequent cleanings, shorter intervals between overhauls, etc.

    The FN FAL, by all accounts a very rugged and reliable weapon during its many years of service, encountered problems operating in the Middle East during the 1960s and 1970s, before being replaced by the Galil automatic rifle. Some reports claim that the IDF – the Israeli Army – did not properly care for the rifles; others maintain that the weapon itself was the problem – too-tight manufacturing tolerances, and lack of special lubricants and procedures for care in desert conditions.

    In any event, special fine-grit sand was imported from the ME as FN strove to recreate, isolate and fix the problem. The now-famous “sand cuts” in the bolt-BCG are one result; maintenance and cleaning SOPs were also modified. Thereafter, the FAL acquitted itself very well in desert operations in a variety of places around the world.

    Getting back to the AR, take care of it, and it will take care of you. Because they have tighter tolerances than the AKM/AK47, they are better precision instruments, but that comes at the cost of having to stay on top of PM. If you want to treat your rifle or carbine, in the memorable words of our CJ host – “like a shovel” – then get an AKM. If you plan upon treating your equipment, gear and personal weapon like a professional, then get an AR.

  12. On April 7, 2021 at 5:29 pm, Geoff said:

    When my ARs start acting up, it needs cleaning and lubrication. The main indication is extraction failures from carbon buildup. The bolt slows down. After cleaning and oiling, it runs hundreds of rounds just fine.

  13. On April 7, 2021 at 9:12 pm, Jack said:

    My AR voodoo…

    Keep her wet, she’ll reward you.
    My Lube of choice, Slip2000, either one.
    My trainer always comments on my Racoon Face and that my gun(s) have never gone down.
    Well…Except if i blow a mag status check.

    I live where it gets nasty cold sometimes.
    That don’t stop the training at there prices.
    A typical winter day, i haven’t had trouble with oil.

    But….if i step out the back door and my nasal hairs freeze instanly..i go clean it real quick and use spray “dry type” lube.

    Anyway, thats my voodoo

  14. On April 7, 2021 at 9:29 pm, Christopher Leavitt said:

    I will never use WD-40 to lub an ar-15 again. As the WD-40 dries, it leaves a sticky residue. Like shooting thru glue. Fortunately no injuries except to my pride – which I deserved.

  15. On April 7, 2021 at 10:12 pm, Andy West said:

    In very cold weather, extremely dusty conditions, or even tropics, you can’t beat dri-slide.
    I use Mobil 1 synthetic spray in general, or dri-slide when conditions warrant. Never had a hiccup.
    https://www.drislide.com/

  16. On April 7, 2021 at 10:15 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Christopher,

    Yea, WD-40 is more of a penetrating oil, not a lubricant. It’s good for what it does.

  17. On April 8, 2021 at 10:19 am, Sanders said:

    Has anyone ever messed with Lucas Gun oil? I couldn’t resist and bought a bottle at the counter of an auto parts store. I’m a sucker for snake oils.

    As for never cleaning your weapons? I’ve seen too many go *click* when they should have gone *bang*. All because someone failed to keep theirs clean.

  18. On April 8, 2021 at 10:51 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Wilson Combat makes a gun oil that I’ve begun to use on just about everything.

  19. On April 8, 2021 at 11:19 am, Fred said:

    Something called Lucas Gun Oil has appeared all over in East TN. The logo appears to be that of Lucas Oil poper. They offer “exrememe duty” or something like that as well as a regular gun oil. Have not tried it.

    Here under the “outdoor” department.
    https://lucasoil.com/outdoor

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You are currently reading "Can Over-Lubrication Cause an AR-15 To Malfunction?", entry #27246 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) AR-15s,Firearms,Guns and was published April 6th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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