Vaseline as a lubricant for rifles?

Vaseline as a lubricant for rifles?

This is a discussion on Vaseline as a lubricant for rifles? within the Firearm Cleaning & Maintenance forums, part of the General Firearm Discussion category; I'm young, 20 Years old to be exact. My Grandpa owned many rifles and shotguns. He died when I was very young. My dad inherited ...

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Thread: Vaseline as a lubricant for rifles?

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    Member Array blinville2's Avatar
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    Vaseline as a lubricant for rifles?

    I'm young, 20 Years old to be exact. My Grandpa owned many rifles and shotguns. He died when I was very young. My dad inherited all of his guns, but he had nothing to do with the guns growing up so he doesn't know much about them. My dad and I are the complete opposite on firearms. They are my main hobby. With that being said, it's my responsibility to take care of said guns. My Grandma didn't have much to do with them either, but according to her, the outside of all the barrels was lubed with a very thin coat of Vaseline. I guess my amateur question is, should I continue to lube with Vaseline or can I switch to the bottle of CLP I use for my own Pistols for the lubricant. Is there something I should use to rid of all the Vaseline or can I simply just apply the CLP to the barrels?

    Any old timers out there that used Vaseline or still do that can shed some light and or teach a thing or two? Man I wish my Grandpa were still around to show me the ways in this awesome hobby. Thanks for reading and any advice.
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    I've not heard of using vaseline, but were the guns put in long term storage? Many guns used to be coated in cosmoline for shipment and storage. I think vaseline has a lower melt point than cosmoline, too.

    If the guns have not rusted, and you don't plan on shooting them any time soon, I'd leave them as is. Otherwise, if you want to "bring them back to life," then I'd give them a thorough cleaning, remove the remnants of the vaseline, and use regular lubes and cleaners going forward.


    EDIT: I've used mineral spirits to remove old coats of cosmoline, and I imagine mineral spirits would be just as effective on vaseline.
    Last edited by PEF; September 20th, 2015 at 07:10 PM.
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    From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_jelly

    "Petroleum jelly can be used to coat corrosion-prone items such as metallic trinkets, non-stainless steel blades, and gun barrels prior to storage as it serves as an excellent and inexpensive water repellent."

    Follow the link for advice on removing it, it may take several steps to get all of it off. But I don't think it's harmful.

    ETA: It is a real pain to remove from stainless steel, but shouldn't harm it.
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    The advice above is sound. All I can offer after that is this


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    When I was your age I used it on some old bolt action shotguns I purchased at the Pawn Shop.

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    I wouldn't use it as a "lubricant" in the sense that one would lube the slide or trigger/action.
    But as the others have explained, it can be used to store them for extended periods of time(years)
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    Member Array blinville2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies fellas. So I will be safe rubbing some isopropyl alcohol on the blued barrels to rid of the petroleum jelly before I lube it with clp? Like I said I'm new to this so the last thing I want to do is put a damaging chemical on the outside of the barrel on my grandpas guns. Thanks again guys.

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    As a preservative maybe, but as a lube I don't think I'd do it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blinville2 View Post
    Thanks for the replies fellas. So I will be safe rubbing some isopropyl alcohol on the blued barrels to rid of the petroleum jelly before I lube it with clp? Like I said I'm new to this so the last thing I want to do is put a damaging chemical on the outside of the barrel on my grandpas guns. Thanks again guys.
    Check the alcohol mixture carefully. Some mixes are 30 percent water. Wouldn't want that in contact with my guns.
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    I agree with other don't use vaseline as lube. I don't know about its use for long term storage, but suspect better stuff out there now. Isopropyl alcohol is probably large part water. If use only on exposed surface and put on clp immediately after use should be ok. I would worry about getting isopropyl alcohol on inside where may not be about to get at with clp. But a spray product should get inside to remove water. Thinking maybe WD 40 spray. Or breakfree/clp in spray can. I have used non chlorinated brake cleaner to remove heavy grease. It however leaves metal very dry and without protection. So again follow up with clp, WD 40, whatever to get some protection on metal.

    I really think safe with most stuff to remove grease on metal if follow up to clp, WD 40, etc. But want to be careful you don't get this stuff on wooden stocks as it will probably remove finish.

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    Yep, Vaseline lacks high-temp capabilites as a lubricant. Probably not bad as a corrosion inhibitor, in the absence of better commecial products like RIG.
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    Member Array blinville2's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, these guns were always well taken care of when he was alive and they have been sitting ever since. I'd say close to 20 years and still look great. Now, I am starting to get some of them out to shoot, thats why I started this topic.

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    For removing Vaseline you would want to use Mineral Spirits (common paint thinner) and not alcohol.
    Or you could just clean your barrels with CLP which would remove the Vaseline when you wiped off the excess CLP.

    Just as a side note...neither Alcohol or Mineral Spirits will harm the bluing on your barrels but, alcohol is not the correct solvent for petroleum based coatings.
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    Before a jar of Vaseline, I'd probably use a decent motor oil. They are both petroleum products. Vaseline's known as a general rust preventive, water displacer, mild surface lube (ie, squeaky hinges). Can't imagine it would outperform even an average motor oil, which IS specifically engineered for metal-on-metal contact and which does do a fine job of keeping rust at bay.

    Don't know about all the contents of Vaseline, but I'd first want to know about the additives ... you know, resins, stabilizers and other crud that might be in there but which might not be nearly as good as a decent gun cleaner/oil or motor oil for general metal lubrication and protection. It might not be the jelly itself that's a problem, per se, but rather the unwanted additives that might not be nearly so good. (Don't know, but it's worth evaluating before using, IMO.)

    Any cheapie quart of motor oil ought to last you years. Far better value than, say, the average "gun" oil/lube that's priced at 50x (or more) of that price. Probably not as function specific, but not all that different from what gun parts need to be protected from.
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    Get the best---Mobil One 10w-40. full synthetic !

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