Clean As A Whistle: Best Solvents and Lubricants

Most shooters like to maintain their firearms in a clean state. The industry has taken notice of this, which is why there is a bewildering array of gun-cleaning products on the market. Cleaning kits of all sorts abound, with various brushes, rods, and other doo-dads to help us keep our beloved shooting irons spotless. In addition to the cleaning kits, there is a staggering selection of solvents and lubricants out there. So much so that one could lose one’s mind trying to figure out which is best. That’s where we come in. We’re going to take a quick peek at some of the better solvents and lubricants on the market so you don’t have to lose your mind.


Some products lubricate, others clean, and still others both clean and lubricate. Thus, you can tailor the use of the product in question to match your tastes, so to speak.

Normally, I like solvents for cleaning simply because they remove fouling. Spray solvents, to be specific, get into all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that are so difficult to reach with gun cleaning implements.

However, I sometimes like to use a combination of solvent and lubricant. If there’s a moving part that I don’t want to remove but still need to clean around it and have it lubricated, then the combo is the way to go.

Take, for example, the bolt on Ruger’s 10/22 rifle. I have a difficult time getting it back in during the reassembly process. So I’ll often hit it with solvent, work the bolt, and get everything nice and clean. Then, I’ll spray some solvent/lubricant in there so it runs smoothly. Sometimes, I just skip the plain solvent and use the solvent/lubrication combination. Because it’s a spray, it gets in between the bolt and the top of the receiver, cleaning and lubricating that impossible-to-reach space. Is it the lazy man’s way to clean that rifle? Yes. Am I pleased that a product helps me clean it faster and more efficiently than I could without the combination spray? You’d better believe it!

Another awesome place to use spray solvent is in the AR-15’s gas tube. It’s very difficult to get anything in there to clean it with, so I spray solvent into the tube, which washes all the gunk out, and it works brilliantly.

These are just a couple of examples of why I’m a huge fan of sprays. It’s important to wear eye protection when you’re using sprays, though, because they sometimes splash back into the eyes of the person cleaning the firearm.


We’ll take a brief look at a few candidates for lubrication and solvents here to give readers an idea of what’s out there. I won’t list every product because I’d literally have to write a book on the subject. This is merely a tiny sampling of what’s available.

Breakthrough Clean Technologies All-In-One Cleaner

Breakthrough Clean Technologies All-In-One Cleaner is one of the do-it-all cleaners that I mentioned. It will not only clean your firearms as a solvent, but it will also lubricate at the same time. This can save shooters time and energy when they clean their guns.

Breakthrough All In One cleaner/lube.
Breakthrough Clean Technologies All In One is both a cleaner and a lubricant, covering all the bases. The product is excellent for reaching places that you can’t reach, leaving a film of lubrication behind after it cleans. [Photo: GunMag Warehouse]
This removes carbon buildup, lead, dirt, grease, and oil and protects against rust. As it does all the cleaning steps in one fell swoop, this spray would be a good candidate for those who want to keep their inventory simple and uncluttered.

One of the nice aspects is that the aerosol can has a nozzle, which helps to direct the solvent/lube where it needs to go. That’s a huge factor when using sprays such as this. As mentioned, be cautious because when the spray is directed into a tight area, it can spray back at the user.

It retails for $18.99 as this is written for a six-ounce can.

Bore Tech Blast Degreaser

Bore Tech Blast Degreaser is a solvent that simply cleans by removing carbon, oil, and grease. It does not have the harsh smell associated with many cleaning products, so it gets extra points for that. It is listed as being safe for polymer and will not affect bluing, anodizing, parkerizing, plating, or other surfaces.

Bore Tech basically blasts away the dirt and grime, quite simply. It sells for $19.99 as this is written for a 10-ounce can.

Bore Tech Blast cleaner.
Bore Tech’s Blast Degreaser is a solvent that removes carbon, oil, grease, and gunk. [Photo: GunMag Warehouse]

Breakthrough Clean Technologies Copper Remover Solvent

Breakthrough’s Copper Remover Solvent is specifically intended for removing copper solvent from the bore of firearms. This one is a specialty cleaner for bores rather than a general cleaner. Copper builds up in the bores of guns and can seriously affect the accuracy of a firearm. This cleaner is biodegradable, odor-free, and ammonia-free, so it won’t stink up the place and make your wife angry at you for cleaning your guns.

Breakthrough copper bore cleaner.
Breakthrough Clean Technologies’ Copper Remover is for the bore of firearms, and it removes copper fouling. Too much copper fouling will degrade accuracy dramatically. Photo: GunMag Warehouse.

Shooter’s Choice FP-10 Lubricant

If you’re strictly after a lubricant, Shooter’s Choice FP-10 Lubricant is a great choice. It comes in a four-ounce container and costs $9.99 as this is written.

FP-10 lubricant.
The author has used FP-10 for years and has found it to work well. The bottle has an applicator to get into tight spaces. [Photo: Shooter’s Choice]
It removes carbon fouling and powder while lubricating. It also penetrates deeply into metal surfaces. The bottle has a nozzle that helps to apply the lubricant precisely. Although this one is listed as removing copper and powder fouling, I prefer to use it mostly as a lubricant.

I’ve used this lube for years and have been seriously happy with it because it seems to stay where I put it for a long time. Where some other lubes seem to evaporate, FP-10 does not. For the price, it’s hard to beat.

Nano Oil

Nano Oil is a versatile lube that isn’t just for firearms; it also works on fishing reels, roller skates, bicycles, hinges, locks, appliances, folding knives, and just about anything else that has moving parts that you can think of. I actually used it on a squeaky set of door hinges, and it worked like a charm.

It comes in syringe-like container with long, metal applicators that allow users to apply a very tiny amount of lube precisely where it needs to go. You can also apply more than a tiny amount, as you desire.

Nano Oil lubricant.
Some lubricants have syringe-like applicators, which help to get the lube exactly where you want it. In this case, it’s the rail of a Glock 43X. This is Nano-Oil, which works well as a lubricant. [Photo: Jim Davis]
I received three syringes of Nano Oil in three weights: 5 Weight (the lightest), 10 weight (the best for all-around use), and 85 Weight (for heavy use). Most of the time, I use the 10-weight oil on firearms, and it seems to work efficiently. I also use Nano Oil to lube my knives when they need it, and I most often use the 5-weight oil for that.

Overall, it seems to help things run more smoothly, and I’m satisfied with it. They also have Nano Grease, which works amazingly well on the M1A; the action runs like butter after grease is applied.

Final Thoughts

We’ve listed several solvents, lubricants, and combinations thereof. There’s no shortage on the market, so you’ll have no difficulty finding a solution that works for you. Try out some different products, and make sure you ascertain whether they are safe for polymer or whatever surfaces you’ll be using the cleaners on. Most are good for all firearms, but it never hurts to confirm that. The spray cleaners today make the chore of cleaning guns far easier and more efficient than it was in my youth when the Mayflower was still on the high seas.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

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