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The Shotgun Shop, P.O. Box 212, Arnold MO 63010 (636)-282-4379

Kirby’s August 2009 article

Early Bird Attitude


It is a truism that sometimes “time” can get away from you, and you are left with little leftover “time” to react to a problem that has been left for another “time”. And now it is near that “time”. For outdoors enthusiasts, grabbing the fishing pole is second nature as soon as hunting season wanes. Now is the time to reflect on any firearm maintenance or alterations that are necessary for a prime shootin’ iron itchin’ to be used. End of sermon.

Something to consider for mechanisms not thoroughly disassembled and cleaned for a number of years is that the lubricant initially and subsequently applied may have gone beyond the useful lifespan and be turning into a harmful residue. Old lube has a tenacious hold on any dirt or grit that can cause excess wear, and the thickening and stickiness factors inhibit free motion. Low temperatures during typical hunting situations can increase lubricant viscosity and part motion resistance.

A bad lubricant case can also be caused by a poor choice of lubricant or possibly just an inappropriate amount of lubricant. An excess amount of oil in a firing pin channel has provided enough cushioning to soften the firing pin fall and cause a misfire for the first shot. A “pal” providing a clean-n-lube decided to thoroughly grease the firing pin in a rifle, but packed the bolt rather full (instead of maybe just a touch, if any) and caused a hangfire at the range on a cold day. The owner had fortunately decided to go to the range for one last time before leaving on an expensive Elk hunt the next week. He had just enough time to have the overly-generous wheel bearing grease removed and re-test his rifle before leaving.

Naturally that was an extreme case, but well worth the lesson element embedded inside that grease. Incidentally, grease is typically best used only on high pressure surfaces with slow rubbing motions, such as hinge pin and cocking cam surfaces, or where other lubricants might flow out of position. A small amount is usually better than a glob.

Picture 1 has a nice view of a barrel breech that had been over-oiled or lubricated, and the amount applied has collected across the surface with a minor amount of “droop”. The barrel extractors fail to move freely, but haven’t gotten totally sticky, so one might presume a cleaning job could be postponed a little longer. If a cold shooting day had been in the offing, there would be some possibility of shell ejection failure.


extra shotgun lubricant

Picture 2 has evidence of extra lubricant collecting at the breechface of the frame, and the openings present above and below the firing pin holes were channels available for any excess residues to flow after each lubricant application.  Go to Page 2

Past Articles:
Cleaning Products
"Basic Shotgun Cleaning"

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