Many modern gun care products are quite simply incompatible with the finishes used on classic and custom firearms. Many of these products contain silicone, teflon or some other type of "high-tech chemical enhancement" that is touted as the last word in gun protection, usually because these additives are used in some form in some unrelated industry. It's called marketing, which is the way bullshit is spelled in the language of business. The biggest hazards posed by these products are to organic oil-based stock finishes, including any variation of "London" oil finishes and oil-based film-type finishes. Silicone (NOT silicon, which is what computer chips are made from) rags and sprays should not even be in the same zip-code as a gun with an organic stock finish. Regardless of whether it's a spray or on a rag, IT WILL PENETRATE ANY ORGANIC STOCK FINISH and it will soften and ruin it. As a side benefit, it will also completely prevent refinishing unless the contaminated original finish is chemically removed. Depending upon the depth of the silicone contamination of the wood, complete removal ranges from merely damnably difficult, to almost impossible.
Keep the following AWAY from ANY organic stock finish:
- Silicone, in any form, be it spray, oil or cloth
- Rem-Oil in any amount, or really any gun oil for that matter
- Gun Scrubber, this stuff will dissolve even some synthetic finishes and some plastics
Probably 90 percent of the gun care products that exist only excel at separating money from one's wallet and the above are actually capable of damaging a fine gun's finishes. A good oil that doesn't contain silicone, teflon or powdered space-shuttle tiles is all that is needed for the metalwork and if you feel the irresistible urge to fondle the wood, please only use a drop or two of boiled linseed oil. Do NOT use LIN-SPEED or TRU-OIL (or their like) as "maintenance". These are FINISHES (they are in fact varnishes), they are not used for maintenance any more than one would wipe one's car down with fresh paint to "freshen it up". Speaking of cars reminds me of waxes and there is a certain brand of very expensive wax that some museums use, and many gun owners as well . Do not use this on any stock that you ever plan to have refinished either.
There, you can't say that you were not warned.
I'm probably going to be asked: "Well then, you miserable prick, what do YOU suggest that I use?"
I'm glad you asked. Below are my recommendations.
For general use (lubrication and "wiping down" of metal):
- Break Free CLP - I know, it's supposed to have teflon in it but it must be a damned small amount. In thirty years of using it, I've never seen it cause any issues with any finish. Use it SPARINGLY though, it will migrate everywhere if over applied.
- Hoppe's Original Gun Oil - Still the best mineral based oil, it contains no "high-tech" or "space program approved" ingredients. Again, as with any oil, use it sparingly. There is a reason that your car has a dipstick and your gun does not.
For hinge pin and bites:
- Mobil 1 Synthetic wheel bearing grease - This is the red grease that I use. In this application it will never get hot enough to turn to liquid and one tube will last even the most enthusiastic shooter at least one lifetime.
- Vaseline - This is the "classic" but its main problem is that in hot weather, it quickly turns from a grease into an oil. This also occurs with extended use, and it can get messy.
For stock maintenance and cleaning:
- Boiled Linseed Oil - A couple of drops rubbed on any stock finish and then wiped off with a soft cloth will lift accumulated dirt off of the surface. To clean out cruddy checkering, use a drop on an old toothbrush, followed by a dry old toothbrush. Dispose of any oil-contaminated rags in a safe manner because of the danger of fire.
One last point: If you store your guns in a safe, and you have the room, it is advisable that you store them muzzle down. The reason is that, even though flat-earthers deny it, gravity actually exists and it will push any accumulated oil into the head of the buttstock. The carpet in the bottom of your safe is much less costly to replace than the buttstock of a fine gun.