Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Testing Firearm Metal Preservatives, Preventing Corrosion and Rust on Guns and Tools

If you have a firearm, gun or plain steel tool you are probably concerned about corrosion and rust on it. Some people use a special gun oil, a wax or even just a simple spray oil or motor oil. I've seen a bunch of tests online where people test various metal preservatives, particularly those for firearms. Unfortunately, none of those really seemed to test to products I was interested in: EEZOX, Break Free Collector and Renaissance Wax. So I decided to do a simple test on my own and I added a few other protectants that were sitting in my garage.

A quick note: I'll explain at the end why I think the results might be bogus!

I just used regular washers, all purchased at the same time, coated them and put them outside in the San Diego weather (which isn't much!). I was reasonably careful with my testing, cleaning the metal with contact cleaner first, changing gloves in between the different products etc. 

Products tested:
Break Free Collector
Renaissance Wax
Turtle Wax Ice

Here is the "before" picture with the products on April 13, 2014:

And a close up "before" picture:

After a couple days, nothing was happening. The zinc coating was going to protect these for a while in the mild San Diego weather even without the protectants. So as others have done, I sprayed the washers heavily with a salt solution! I did this late in the evening so they would dry slowly overnight in the cool air, not in just minutes.

Poof, I got corrosion. I waited about a week and here is the result on April 22, 2014:

And here are the same washers after attempting to wipe them off. A little bit of the crud wiped off the washers.

My assessment from worst to best:
  • the control (no treatment)
  • Renaissance Wax (just as bad as the control)
  • WD-40
  • Turtle Wax Ice
  • Break Free Collector
BUT... there was a flaw in the test. On some of the washers, the salt spray beaded and on others, the salt spray sheeted off. So the washers with wax, like Renaissance Wax, might have ended up worse because they ended up being exposed to more beads of salt solution for longer as they slowly dried. You can also see how the bottom edge of the EEZOX coated washer did corrode, right where the salt spray would have accumulated.
Also, I'm concerned the salt spray test just isn't representative of the kind of corrosion environment my rifle will be exposed to. I'm not using it on the deck of a seagoing vessel in a storm and then hanging the rifle up wet! I'm more concerned with just time in ambient air and maybe fingerprint oils and the like. I have another idea for another test that maybe I'll try...

But for what it's worth (maybe not much given the beading issue), EEZOX and Break Free Collector crushed Renaissance Wax in this test.

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