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FrogLube Investigates: Why Do Guns Malfunction?

Updated: May 30, 2019

To start, we examine what are the major components of the gun malfunction problem.

There are 3;

  • The gun

  • The gun care products

  • The gun owner

During the past 7 years of FrogLube's tech support service, the quickest way we find to identify the source of the malfunction is to begin by 'isolating' the 3 components. Any gun can malfunction and the source could be the gun if it has been damaged or has a construction or production flaw. The person could be failing to operate or clean the gun properly. The gun lube might be flawed or used in excess. In any case, the first step to isolate the problem is to thoroughly clean, degrease, strip and otherwise remove anything from the firearm which will isolate the lube as the cause. We recommend using FrogLube degreasing solvents such as FrogLube Solvent or FrogLube Super Degreaser for this task. If the gun is exceptionally dirty, the Super Degreaser diluted to 5:1 strength is the best cleaner to start with.

FrogLube degreasing solvents are compatible with ANY LUBE and will clean all existing gun lube products on the market.

This has been and continues to be tested continuously by the FrogLube tech support staff.

FrogLube is a complete bio-based firearms care system that packages degreasing solvents along with CLP lubricants to comply with weapons cleaning procedures developed by U.S. military and other professional sources.

Complete gun care requires;

  • Proper instructions

  • Proper cleaning tools

  • Correct cleaning and lubrication products

1. Proper firearms care begins with the use of actual reference document(s) to validate proper procedures and to identify the correct products to use. Most gun malfunctions result from a failure to follow basic instructions by the operator. Here's a list of some common references FrogLube recommends:

  • U.S. Military tech manual series (these small arms manuals are specific to each firearm the military uses)

  • NRA Instruction guides

  • User/owners manual for the specified firearm being cleaned, lubricated or maintained.

  • Armorers guides

  • Gun smithing manuals

2. Training is ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA for first time users or when acquiring a new firearm. Cleaning a firearm is relatively easy and done with simple tools; however, if done incorrectly will likely be the cause of unexpected failures.

3. Surface preparation and cleaning. The first step in proper care is to clean the firearm and prepare the surface for the application of lubricant. According to best practices and references, degreasing solvent is required to do this step. You should confirm that your selected cleaning solvent has been tested for compatibility with your lube. Use of cleaning solvent is common/accepted practice and is something if you deviate from, you will incur problems. FrogLube most strongly concurs with this practice. Here's the actual statement extracted from the attached reference, which we use and should be referenced EVERY TIME someone cleans their gun or changes to a NEW product:

'The weapon must be thoroughly cleaned during change from one lubricant to another. Dry cleaning solvent (SD) is recommended for cleaning during change from one lubricant to another.'

Excerpt from ARMY TM 9-1005-319-10

4. Product interoperability. FrogLube's solvent and lubricant products work together to complete the full system requirement for ALL cleaning, lubricating and preservation tasks. FrogLube degreasing solvents are compatibility tested and will clean and remove all current lubricant products on the market. Note: if the end user requires totally bio-based systems to meet non-hazardous, non-toxic and non-flammable requirements, FrogLube recommends the use of FrogLube degreasing solvents and FrogLube CLP products which are all non-toxic, non-petroleum and food-grade safe.

A. Degreasing solvents do THREE things; they are required for cleaning, degreasing and removal of excess built up lube. Second, they do REQUIRED SURFACE PREPARATION and must disappear and leave a clean/dry/no residue surface. PROPER SURFACE PREPARATION is necessary before you apply ANY lube. Third, they clean the broad span of fouling residues which include hydrocarbon, salts, copper, lead, brass, propellant and various other compounds found in firing residues and in the shooting environment. And is required by the professional references listed herein. Click here to access the Military maintenance cleaning, lubricating and operating extract

B. CLP lubricant is lube that has a cleaning property. The 'C' is the ability to clean and breakdown hydrocarbon, which is produced by both lube and propellant gun powder during firing. CLP lubricant does not remove heavy metals, copper, lead or brass. FrogLube is bio-based and designed to 'absorb'. IT DOES NOT GO ON, LAY ON THE SURFACE OR FILM. Specific lubricating instructions are written by the authoritative source and dictate where lube should be placed or not be placed. Always reference your gun's manual for the exact instructions for use.

5. Instructions for use. FrogLube's first suggestion is to 'REFER TO YOUR GUN'S OPERATING MANUAL FOR CLEANING AND OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS'. USE FROGLUBE'S CARE SYSTEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR GUN'S MANUAL. Gun manuals will direct that the gun be stripped/cleaned when purchased new in order to remove preservation materials and compounds used during shipping and storage. Apply your lube per your guns instruction.

6. FrogLube CLP is applied to the surface and absorbs into metal and is heat sensitive. It will become active when exposed to high heat, high pressure and will reappear in hot spots and where friction is occurring. FrogLube is NEVER DRY, nor does it dry out or burn. People will ask if they should completely disassemble their guns to pins and springs or should they field strip in order to apply FrogLube. Of course you could do this, but most people are not qualified to do this. We DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU DO THIS. We say to do a field strip in accordance with your firearms manual and apply your cleaning solvents and lubricants per your guns instruction. The use of a generous amount of FrogLube degreasing solvent will be like 'FLUSHING YOUR GUN'. It will get into all the nooks and crannies and dissolve and break down stubborn fouling or excess grease and oil. You may use 'mild' heat during this process. The manuals state to do gun care in room temperature or above. We concur with this instruction. Adding 'mild heat' to the application process is helpful but not required. It helps the CLP absorb quicker.

7. The repeated use of the FrogLube system will reduce your cleaning time from hours to mins. Typically, a 1 hour cleaning task turns into 3-5 mins. You can also use FrogLube degreasing solvents in an Ultrasonic cleaner with our Degreasing Solvent or Super Degreaser, to reduce the cleaning step further. Super D mixed at 5:1 ratio cleans in heated ultrasonics in 1-3 min. Applying lube is done in a few mins before the gun is reassembled and function checked. If the barrel requires cleaning, then scrub the barrel with a bore brush followed by a punch of the barrel with bore patches until they come out mostly clean and dry. Run a wet patch of CLP lube through the barrel to put a light coating on the barrel surface and let set for 5 min. Finish with a dry patch to remove excess lube.

8. Copper and other heavy metals. In our experience, we have seen 'good copper and bad copper' The good copper is bonded to the rifling surface and allows for ballistic stabilization over increasing round count. The bad copper is the copper that has not bonded. Something has to be used to 'manage' bad copper. This is what we call a copper cleaner. FrogLube's degreasers are all copper cleaners and will manage the removal of bad copper. Super Degreaser in a heated ultrasonic machine will penetrate metal and remove even the

good/bonded copper.

Now, when we think about malfunctions, we've isolated our gun lube and cleaners from the other two sources; the gun and the end user. The gun lube can be set aside on a small dish in a carefully isolated area and checked each day to see what it will change into or if at all. The malfunctioning gun can be stripped of gun lube and shot 'dry' at the range to ensure the gun lube is not the cause of the malfunction. Since we're a lube company, we'll leave it to gun manufacturers and trainers to solve the other two problems.

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