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Lube slide rails?

This is a discussion on Lube slide rails? within the Maintenance forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Is it necessary to put any lube/oil on the slide rails of a polymer frame gun (P95)? I have read/seen both and just wondering people's ...


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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:56 PM   #1
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Question Lube slide rails?

Is it necessary to put any lube/oil on the slide rails of a polymer frame gun (P95)? I have read/seen both and just wondering people's opinions. I think I read a post by Iowegan saying the polymer is self-lubricating, but I can't find it and may be mis-remembering.



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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #2
 
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I use a very minimal amount on the rails when reassembling but I probably wipe 95% of it back off just to stop it from running out.I would think if you applied/sprayed a little CLP on them and wiped them down it would be fine.Just my .2 cents.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #3
 
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I refuse to buy into any of the self lubricating finishes. I have never heard of the P95 being self lubricating but if Iowegan really said it then it's true. But the steel rails still ride through the steel slide and that means they should need some kind of lube. I use a light grease like the Tetra brand, but I have no idea what type it is. You don't need much at all. I prefer to grease rails since grease won't run like oil will. If you wipe on a thin film of any CLP before shooting you will be fine. If you are doing and extended range visit then you should bring an oiler with you so you can lock the slide back and add a drip to each side of the slide and then work the action to distribute it evenly. The P95 will take a beating but nothing likes to run dry.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #4
 
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I would think that everywhere that there is metal sliding against metal a tiny bit of lubricant (I use grease) is needed. The rails are made out of metal. So a tiny bit of lubricant is advised. Even if you lube something and wipe it off, a sufficent amount of lubricant will be left and it will be enough to get you through your next firing session. I clean and lube after every trip to the range.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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Tweezer: What kind of grease do you use? I am pretty much a newbie in the gun world but I thought grease was just for long-term storage? Isn't it real thick? I would imagine it is like a magnet for fouling.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iatrest View Post
Tweezer: What kind of grease do you use? I am pretty much a newbie in the gun world but I thought grease was just for long-term storage? Isn't it real thick? I would imagine it is like a magnet for fouling.
Yeah it's thick so it will stay where you put it and won't run. I use Birchwood Casey SNO Universal Gun Grease. The trick is to use it sparingly. I am talking about a pencil point dab on each side of the slide. Then rack it a few times to distribute it evenly.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:02 PM   #7
 
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My LGS recommends a reasonable amount of lubricant on the rails of a semi-auto such as the Colt 45 or Beretta 92fs. Most polymer guns have steel embedded in the polymer slide. (Not all.) No way this could be "self lubricating." When you think about it, if polymer-on-steel were "self lubricating" this would have to mean that polymer was wearing off to "lubricate" with the steel slide. Or something.

Anyway, the slide is a high-stress area of a semi-auto, and I think it needs to be lubricated. I use either Hoppes gun oil or Mil Pro 7 gun oil. YMMV.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #8
 
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I wipe a light coating of Hoppe's oil on my P95 rails.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #9
 
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i use some gun grease during the first 100 rounds or so, then a coating (light) of Break Free. i shoot a fair amount and this has worked for me. i'm not sure you need anything special but i think you need some lube on the rails.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #10
 
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If you do lubricate polymer parts, make sure the lubricant is polymer-safe. Break-Free is polymer-safe; FP-10 is not.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 07:29 PM   #11
 
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i use synthetic grease my frame rails are still black .


just use a little on the rails and the pin . solvent will take it off if needed
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Old June 27th, 2011, 10:07 PM   #12
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Hey guys ... let's get back to basic mechanics 101. There is no load bearing pressure on a pistol slide ... only a backward and forward motion. The amount of friction between the slide and frame is almost nonexistent. If you don't believe it ... just remove your recoil spring and see how easy the slide moves with no lubrication at all. If the slide had upward, downward, or side pressure then it wouldn't move easily and I could see a reason for lubricant ... but that just isn't the case. For some reason, people tend to think guns are like axle bearings and need grease or oil ... they don't and in fact lubrication is often counterproductive. For blued guns, you do need a very token amount of surface oil to prevent rust .... maybe for stainless guns too if they are subjected to a moist environment .... but you don't need a bunch of oil or grease for lubrication.

You can use any lubricant you want and as much as you want ... your gun, your money, but here's what I recommend. Place a tiny dot of gun oil on each slide rail. Use a clean patch and distribute the oil over the top and bottom rails leaving a very thin film ... dry to the touch. That's all the lubricant you need and your gun will last much longer using this method.

Here's why: With the exception of Desert Eagles, all other pistols are either straight blow back or delayed blow back operated. That means some of the pressure in the barrel is used to thrust the slide or bolt back. Along with the pressure blowing the slide or bolt back, you also get a considerable amount of powder residue that finds its way into every nook and cranny inside the pistol, to include the slide rails. Any surface that is "wet" with oil and especially grease, will attract powder residue. Powder residue is made up of soot, unburned powder flakes, and burned powder. Soot will get the gun dirty but is not abrasive ... not an issue. Burned powder is made up of very abrasive carbon particles and when mixed with oil or grease, it forms a mixture much like lapping compound. Unburned powder flakes are also very abrasive. So, each time the slide it operated, the abrasive sludge wears the rails just as if you applied lapping compound to them. In time, it will take its toll on wear.

Proof: Having been a gunsmith for over 30 years, I got many guns in the shop with excessive wear and with rare exceptions, it was always contributed to excessive oil or grease. Pistols that were basically run "dry" would last forever. My own Series 70 Colt Govt Model has over 60,000 rounds of hardball down the pipe and after 35 years, it is still tighter than many new guns. I did have to replace a barrel after 50k rounds but that was because the rifling got so thin it wouldn't group well. I never used grease at all and only used a tiny drop of oil as mentioned above.

Yes, polymer frame Glocks do have steel inserts in the frame's slide rail. There is a .4" insert on the front and rear (both sides) of the 4 3/4" frame rail. What does that tell you? If the slide rails were prone to wear, don't you think the inserts would be the full length of the 4 3/4" frame rail? When Glocks were first introduced to the US market, potential customers were afraid of the polymer frame so Glock did a grueling torture test with several 9mm Mod 17 guns. Before the test, each frame and slide were measured and documented. Each gun was fired 12,500 rounds without being cleaned or serviced in any way. At the end of the 12.5 k test, all the pistols were field stripped and the barrels, slides, and frames were swapped so no one gun had the origional parts. Another 12,500 rounds were fired in each gun, again with no cleaning or service. At the end of the test, all guns were still working perfect and were measured again. There was no appreciable wear in any of them. What does this tell you? If a Glock with a total slide bearing surface of .8" can pass this extreme test, do you really think lubrication is necessary in a pistol with a full length slide rail?

Polymer frame pistols without steel inserts are indeed "self lubricating". This doesn't mean there's a little hidden oil can squirting on the rails ... it means the dry surface of polymer is slick enough where it acts like it had oil on it. If you oil or grease a polymer frame, likely it will reduce life expectancy just like a steel frame.

Like I said above ... your gun, your money .... hose your pistol down with goose grease for all I care ... but if you want your pistol to last a lifetime or two .... forget the grease and go very sparingly with the oil. That goes for the internal parts as well.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 01:26 AM   #13
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For all my semi autos I use one small drop of oil on a Q-Tip. This drop is more then enough to hit all the necessary spots that need it.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #14
 
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I always thought that oil would just attract the residue resulting from firing.
Now I know.
Cleaned four this afternoon after shooting over the weekend.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 03:09 AM   #15
 
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Now that Iowegan has posted, I am somewhat at a loss. I know you don't need oil or grease oozing out from the rails, but I thought you needed something. The Cobra Patriot .45 is the only gun I know of with polymer slide rails. Most autos if they have a metal frame these days are aluminum like the Beretta 92 series or the Sig P2xx guns. I would have thought you need something to prevent the steel from wearing away the aluminum. As long as the barrel is above the rails then there should be some kind of slight pull on the rails. It isn't as dramatic as the rearward thrust, but it should still be there. True to what he is saying though, I use very little lube for shooting and much more for storage. But I still would say that a very light oiling between extended periods of firing would help protect the gun. Steel gets hot and will expand. Fouling that starts to cling to steel will act as an abrasive. A little bit of oil will help the metal on metal wear and as long as you aren't letting the oil and fouling turn to paste then the oil should keep the grit from doing a number on your gun. Add to this that in my experience if you add too much oil then it will dry or squirt out pretty fast when shooting the gun. I learned a good reason for wearing safety glasses while shooting from forgetting to wipe the excess oil from a gun once. Oil went right back into my face. Some gun designs seem to be inherently self cleaning or are just able to put up with more filth in the action. If I tried to go through a few bulk packs of WWB in my 1991A1 without some oil then it would start jamming up from the buildup of crud that was left behind by the cheap powders that ammo uses. If I kept her oiled a little then she would keep spitting bullet and brass and I would have black and brown sludge starting to weep out the sides and back of the gun. But I would never just keep shooting it until it jammed up again. And much as Iowegan stated, my frame and rails are still as tight together as when I bought that gun. If anything I would contribute excessive wear to the fact that most people either don’t clean their guns at all until they lock up on them or become jam-o-matics or they over do the oil and grease and let it run with fouling in it and no lube to keep the gun from polishing itself into an early grave. I’m of the belief that you can’t over clean a gun unless you are using an overly solvent happy cleaner or too much of an abrasive cleaner. I constantly hear about guys using lead away cloth or metal polishing compound on the front of revolver cylinders and all they are doing is slowly opening up the barrel to cylinder fit. Cleaning like that is very detrimental in the long term to any firearm. And dear Eugene Stoner, don’t ever let a AR15 run dry… Have fun with that if you do.

EDIT: I did not know the P95 is a poly rails design. Interesting. Now I want one. I don't even know why. I am 9mm'ed out already. But I want one. Dang Rugeritis...

Last edited by Maximumbob54; June 28th, 2011 at 04:20 AM.
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