There is a vast array of products on the market for cleaning and lubricating firearms. There is also a vast array of claims made for these products and it is no wonder that shooters become confused and skeptical as to what product will perform the necessary tasks.
Before choosing a product we must ask ourselves what it is that we are trying to achieve. The number one requirement is the smooth and reliable performance of the firearm - highly desirable in normal use and absolutely critical in the lethal area of warfare. As a secondary requirement, the product must be able to prevent rusting and the corrosion of exposed metal parts.
Shooters will be aware of CLP-type lubricants - the letters stand for "cleans, lubricated, and protects". Milspec CLP is now being replaced in many areas by a new product called MILITEC-1. In August 2001 the US Coast Guard issued a directive that all of their firearms under .50 cal would be cleaned and protected using lubricant (a gun cleaner) and MILITEC-1. The reason behind this was the finding that in the harsh conditions in which these firearms were used, excessive build-up of detrimental deposits was putting the operator's safety in jeopardy.
Numerous other US Federal law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, FBI and Secret Service, have switched to the same procedure for firearms cleaning and protection.
Although they are not permitted to give endorsements, the US Shooting Team has been using this product and and seems impressed with the performance in their .22LR match pistols. I believe that they are treating their match ammunition with this product.
So what is this product that has changed the thinking of so many departments?
According to the manufacturer, MILITEC-1
is best described as a metal conditioner and as such is a lubricant, but not as we would normally know one. When it is applied to a clean metal surface it reacts and is absorbed by the pores of the metal. Heat is required for this reaction to take place - temperatures between 28 degrees and 66 degrees Celsius are recommended. Milspec Coating NZ claims that this reactions causes a stiffening of the metal surface, which can be up to 17 times that of normal. The treated metal surface will be quite dry to the touch and this has considerable benefits (more on that later).
The product is a synthetic-based hydrocarbon derivative. The exact composition is a proprietary secret, but it is made up of a blend of numerous extreme pressure lubricants and other compounds. The ingredients are blended in a chemical reactor into a uniform single substance. Shooters may appreciate that the product is listed as non-hazardous, non-toxic and non-combustible.
The product can be used on all types of machinery, wherever extreme lubrication is required. It can be mixed with the existing oil in a lubrication system in engines, differential or transmission. For this review I shall stick to firearms.
Not having a laboratory to test the claims made, I decided to fully treat one of my most often used guns - a Sportco model 62S rimfire. Following instructions, I thoroughly cleaned all the metalwork and finished off with Isopropyl alcohol to ensure that it was as clean as I could make it. The metal needs to be hot to make the MILITEC-1 react, so a hair-drier was put into service. A couple of drops were put onto a rag and rubbed well into all metal surfaces. The bore was anointed using a bore-mop.
I noticed that there was no oily surface film on the metal - it was clean and dry to the touch. This is important, as oil attracts dust and dirt and generally causes problems.
I can see why troops in harsh environments welcomed this product. It is claimed that it was used most effectively in Desert Storm, Kosovo and Columbia.
After several hunting trips throughout a one-month period, I noticed that just a wipe over with a clean rag was all that was needed to put the Sportco back into a clean condition, including one outing when the rifle was rained on. No additional cleaner or solvent was used during this time. It certainly felt like the bolt was much smoother to operate. Accuracy and velocity remained unchanged, although Milspec Coating NZ says an increase in both is possible.
A .257 caliber centerfire rifle was then given the same procedure, with similar results. The product claims to reduce fouling and there did appear to be a slight improvement in this area when using bare bullets instead of my usual moly-coated loads.
Big claims are made for MILITEC-1's performance and, as a metal conditioner, it seemed to live up to expectations. Shooters who operate in dusty conditions, such as pro'roo shooters, would benefit from its use and there are obvious applications for severe military conditions.
Prices, as currently listed on www.militec.co.au are $11.95 for a 30 ml bottle and $29.95 for 120 ml bottle.
Australian dealers are currently being sought.
Product supplied by Milspec Coating NZ.