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Army Touts Improved Lube for Rifles, Machine Guns

 

The U.S. Army is touting a new and improved lubricant for small arms ranging from the standard M4 carbine to the M240 machine gun, officials said.

Unlike the conventional “wet lubricant” known as CLP (for cleaner, lubricant and preservative), the new product uses a dry surface treatment known as durable solid lubricant, or DSL, according to a press release on Tuesday from officials at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

The push to develop the new technology dates to 2003, when engineers realized soldiers were experiencing problems with weapon stoppages in sand and dust environments, including in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, if cleaning procedures weren’t followed, the release states.

The new durable solid lubricant developed by engineers at the U.S. Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or Ardec, uses a dry surface treatment that’s applied during the manufacturing process and has the potential to improve performance on any number of small arms while decreasing maintenance, according to the release.

Adam Foltz, an experimental engineer at the center, explained the differences in the technology.

“With typical wet lubricants, soldiers need to reapply in order for the weapon system to function properly. Soldiers also have to regularly clean off carbon residue that builds up from firing and it can be tough to clean,” he said in the release. “Our DSL has a high wear resistance and a low friction coefficient, so it’s easy to clean off anything that builds up. You can use a steel brush to knock off any residue, and you don’t even have to worry about reapplying anything.”

Doug Witkowski, a project officer at the Weapon Software and Engineering Center, said soldiers will appreciate the improvement.

“I know that it [weapon maintenance] is not a glamorous topic and when you’re briefing, there are higher profile technologies being briefed,” he said. “But this is a high-tech innovation and they [the warfighters] will love it, when they get it.”


After 15,000 rounds of live fire testing, Picatinny engineers studied bolt and bolt carriers to understand the wear difference between using a standard liquid lubricant (right) and a durable solid lubricant. The standard lubricant showed a complete loss of phosphate on approximately 75 percent of the bolt carrier and 90 percent of the bolt. However, the durable solid lubricant showed less than 5 percent wear on the bolt and bolt carrier.

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I hate CLP and love Slip 2000.  I wonder if the Army is reinventing Militec with this?  Also, is wear on the rifle's finish the only determinant of a quality lube?  No mention was made that this works in wet, sandy, dry, cold or otherwise obnoxious conditions.  Nowhere is there any mention of adding lube to a weapon and keeping it lubed when using it.  Anyone have additional insight?  Because my first instinct is that the Army again screwed the pooch with this innovation.  I'm hoping some folks with more direct experience with dry surface lubricants can chime in.

Tankersteve

Last edited by Community Member
Original Post

". . . .You can use a steel brush to knock off any residue, and you don’t even have to worry about reapplying anything.”

Oh, no.  Please - stop it.  How many people have claimed this so far?  

I'm sorry - but I've seen VERY RECENTLY some army guys squirt lube with a squirt bottle just on the outside of the BCG through the ejection port.  I didn't say anything, but they didn't seem interested in getting the lube where it needed to be.  That's what needs to be fixed.  Not apply a dry lube and tell people they don't need to reapply anything.  This seems like a recipe for disaster.

Ah, well.  I'm off to go scrub my compensator.  

Mac679 posted:

I have literally seen a basic training private turn a bolt silver because he was told to make it as shiny as his firing pin by his drill sergeant.... I don't think this coating will fair any better against an overly motivated and undereducated private. 

Education would be a simpler and much better solution, not to mention cheaper.

Guy in my basic training company thought he'd be high speed and used Brasso & some other cleaning goop to shine up his M16 A2. Took the finish right off his receiver. Drill Sgt. had a frikkin field day with that one. Lots of "It just needs pearl grips now" type comments.

Only issues I saw when in were due to improper maintenance or bad mags.

SPDSNYPR posted:
I'm sorry - but I've seen VERY RECENTLY some army guys squirt lube with a squirt bottle just on the outside of the BCG through the ejection port.  I didn't say anything, but they didn't seem interested in getting the lube where it needed to be.  That's what needs to be fixed.  Not apply a dry lube and tell people they don't need to reapply anything.  This seems like a recipe for disaster.

If they were applying it directly to the BCG that's a step forward for some. At most of our OSUT ranges we were instructed to lock our bolts to the rear. Someone came around with a spray bottle and applied a fuck ton (metric) to the upper receiver.... which immediately ran out the magazine well and onto everything.

I will predict that this is stupid and will turn out to be worse, rather than an improvement.  I can see this being promoted as the magic cure, and weapons maintenance will fail, 'cause they got that DSL shit on there, see.  A clean weapon, per most uneducated military knuckleheads, is a dry weapon, and we know how that works.  It chokes, and said knucklehead rants and foams at the mouth because it was "dirty".  Never mind that it was drier than Hillary.  

This is not hard.  After all this time, the eggheads in the research labs still don't get it.  LUBE THE FUCKIN' GUN and quit worrying about stupid magic shit.   

But I could just be old, jaded, and skeptical.  Maybe.  

Mac679 posted:

I have literally seen a basic training private turn a bolt silver because he was told to make it as shiny as his firing pin by his drill sergeant.... I don't think this coating will fair any better against an overly motivated and undereducated private. 

Education would be a simpler and much better solution, not to mention cheaper.

Nope.

Evidently "common sense" coupled with education is simply too expensive. It costs jobs, lays waste to Fiefdoms, bureaucracies,  needless contracts and removes job security from followers and adherents of the good fairy...

Last edited by Community Member
M. Wilson posted:
Mac679 posted:

I have literally seen a basic training private turn a bolt silver because he was told to make it as shiny as his firing pin by his drill sergeant.... I don't think this coating will fair any better against an overly motivated and undereducated private. 

Education would be a simpler and much better solution, not to mention cheaper.

Nope.

Evidently "common sense" coupled with education is simply too expensive. It costs jobs, lays waste to Fiefdoms, bureaucracies,  needless contracts and removes job security from followers and adherents of the good fairy...

Don't read too much into it.

Drill Sgts just want to be able to give troops something to keep them busy. And a shiny dry bolt is easier to inspect, and subsequently discipline a recruit for failing to meet the standard....kinda like spit shining boots.

 

 Note, it was right here on LFer where the virtues of Robar coatings were extolled....so if Robar does it, it's ok, but if the US Army does it, it's not?

A better finish is a better finish.

Should we have stuck with, or return to blued steel and walnut? After all, we just need to better educate the troops, and it'll be good enough.

R. Moran, this wasn't my basic training. I was cadre and the DS who gave the instructions to do so, should have known better since we were classmates in the armorer's course. Perpetuating the cycle.
I don't think anyone here is knocking improving finishes, rather that the Army will treat this as a stand alone to lubrication and as some sort of end all be all. I bring up the private as an illustration of how overly optimistic they're being with this coating eliminating parts wear.

M. Wilson posted:
Mac679 posted:

I have literally seen a basic training private turn a bolt silver because he was told to make it as shiny as his firing pin by his drill sergeant.... I don't think this coating will fair any better against an overly motivated and undereducated private. 

Education would be a simpler and much better solution, not to mention cheaper.

Nope.

Evidently "common sense" coupled with education is simply too expensive. It costs jobs, lays waste to Fiefdoms, bureaucracies,  needless contracts and removes job security from followers and adherents of the good fairy...

 

I'd be more apt to blame institutional resistance to change and simple ignorance as the culprit...not a cabal of individuals looking to maintain power. 

R.Moran posted:
Mac679 posted:

I have literally seen a basic training private turn a bolt silver because he was told to make it as shiny as his firing pin by his drill sergeant.... I don't think this coating will fair any better against an overly motivated and undereducated private. 

Education would be a simpler and much better solution, not to mention cheaper.

 

Don't read too much into it.

Drill Sgts just want to be able to give troops something to keep them busy. And a shiny dry bolt is easier to inspect, and subsequently discipline a recruit for failing to meet the standard....kinda like spit shining boots.

 

 Note, it was right here on LFer where the virtues of Robar coatings were extolled....so if Robar does it, it's ok, but if the US Army does it, it's not?

A better finish is a better finish.

Should we have stuck with, or return to blued steel and walnut? After all, we just need to better educate the troops, and it'll be good enough.

 

I was actually pretty surprised at how they handled weapons maintenance at BOC.  Emphasis was on keeping the weapon well lubricated and the only time we did a white glove type clean was halfway through the POI and when we turned in our weapons during check out.  The rest of the time the focus was on a functional clean which entailed hitting the crusty portions with an AP brush and wiping down everything else with a rag/Q-tip soaked in CLP and then sometimes a babywipe.  Followed it up with a light coat of CLP and you were good to go.  Anything other than a nylon AP brush or brass chamber/bore brush (for the chamber and bore) was verbotten.  The attitude seemed to be that the whole whiteglove old method of doing things was something they were moving away from.  Still probably a bit excessive by LF standards, but it was nowhere nearly as bad as I was expecting based on the horror stories I read here.  I do think that they're changing things up.   OCC was a different story, rifles had no finish, emphasis was on a dry, spotless weapon but that was OCC where the purpose of weapons maintenance was to harass us and keep us busy, not properly maintain the rifles.

 

 There has been a move in the US Army to get away from that shit for a long time. There was a PM Monthly out in the mid 90s...I was stationed in HI at the time, it stated that the 3 day cleaning regimen and white glove inspection was excessive, unneeded and detrimental to the weapon. It should be cleaned once in accordance with the operators manual, which is very minimal/basic, and thats it.

When I brought this to my 1SG...his response was..."I don't care, we are gonna do it the same way we've been doing it". Of course his actual line time was severely limited...he once wanted my troops to move their ammo & canteen pouches around so they could stand at attention better...that's not "institutional"...thats plain stubborn, ignorant and territorial.

 

 IIRC, these new cool guy finishes have been tested with little to no lube and performed well. Either better is better.

 

 This resistance to advancement is ridiculous...it is beginning to sound like the guys that bitched when kiwi and starch went away....something the Army had been trying to eliminate since the 80s.

Its this kind of thinking that got us stuck with the trapdoor, Krag, M14, and the M1 rifle & 1911 pistol for far longer then we should have.

I don't think I'm resistant to advancement as much as I am just plain skeptical about the need for lube to go away as is claimed in the article.  It seems like I've heard that claim more than once, and I have yet to see people going away from traditional lubes.

No argument that there are just plain ignorant dicks in the military - hell, I was one of them.  But I don't see this as a replacement for CLP (or did I miss that in the article?), and I think it is awful fucking healthy to mistrust some engineer who says you don't need to lube shit.  Time will tell if this is truly a better mousetrap - but I somehow doubt it based on the fact that no surface treatment has taken the world by storm yet.  If the army cracked the code on this - great for them.  But a picture of a little less wear on two BCG's beside each other isn't exactly a mountain of research results.  

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