So you just bought a new rifle, or that brand new rifle custom action and you want to ensure you prepare it correctly so it is protected and runs smoothly. Or you already have a rifle that you just want to protect better, or want it to run more smoothly and last longer. Here is the tried, tested and proven method and products needed for how to make a bolt action rifle smoother.
The answer is proper lubrication. Both for brand new rifles and actions and also for older rifles and actions that have just been cleaned thoroughly. The lubrication of the rifle action, not only protects it’s component from rust and other corrosion, but also from dirt, dust, friction and other forces that can prematurely wear you action, gall you bolt lugs or cause your bolt to get jammed during use. What’s more is that the lubrication also provides a protective barrier that prevents carbon and dirt sticking to your action and parts during use, making future cleaning quicker and easier.
Oil / Lube
An oil or protective film over the entire bolt will help protect it from corrosion and let the action run smoothly. We do not like wet oils because they attract dirt, but more importantly because if a drop or so of it finds it’s way into the barrel, you risk hydraulic pressure damage to your barrel or worse when firing a shot, so because of this, dry-film type lubricating products are better. The two that has been tested and proven better for lubrication and corrosion protection than almost all other products are Eezox and Hornady One Shot Gun Cleaner and Lube (NOT the One Shot Case Lube).
Hornady One Shot Gun Cleaner and Lube
Able to withstand greater temperatures than standard automotive EP (Extreme pressure) greases, and also more sticky so it does not rub off the lugs as easily, this is the perfect rifle bolt lug grease and best gun lube product overall if we had to just choose one. You even just spray it on all you carbon steel weapons that you just leave in your collection or safe collecting dust so they do not rust.
They both go on easily, and once dried, protects and lubes the metal without an oily, greasy or sticky residue. Rimfire shooters, who are notoriously bad at cleaning their rifles, with most just shooting them until they stop firing, swear by these products.
Although in corrosion protection and prevention the Eezox equals the Hornady One Shot Gun Lube for firearm related corrosion prevention products, the Hornady one shot slightly beats the Eezox for lubrication during testing so if you can choose, we would prefer that one for this purpose. If you are dead-set on getting an oil, Eezox is definitely the best gun oil for both lubrication and corrosion protection from all the products on the market.
You simply hold the bolt by the handle, and spray the whole bolt down with the Hornady One Shot Gun Lube and let it dry, then you apply the grease and you are good to go. This will make any bolt action rifle run smoother.
Bore Tech Extreme Grease
Able to withstand greater temperatures than standar automotive EP (Extreme pressure) greases, and also more sticky so it does not rub off the lugs as easily, this is the perfect rifle bolt lug grease and compared to all the other EP and rifle greases we have tried before, this is the best rifle bolt grease we have tested overall.
Bolt action grease in a rifle needs to meet a few criteria to be able to not only preform well, but also stand up to the use. The grease needs to be extreme pressure resistant to withstand the pressure and forces at play during firing a rifle cartridge and the case pushing the lugs back into the action, and then it needs to be resistant to rubbing off so it does not all just get rubbed off the lugs when closing the bolt.
How to grease a rifle action:
Use a tooth pick, scoop a little grease and then apply it lightly on the flats on the back of the bolt lugs, and then put some in the guide notch too. Applying rifle bolt lug grease from the start with a brand new rifle or action will ensure the best protection from galling the lugs, but if you did not do it from the start, you can start from now onward for further smooth operation and protection.
Another important step to remember to ensure proper coating and lubrication of lugs and rifle bolt lug grease, is make sure that the gun is unloaded, then install the bolt into the action and while holding the trigger back. This allows the firing cocking piece and firing pin to go forward and you push the bolt as you close it. By doing that, allows you to push the bolt forward past the lug abutments in the action and then when you go to open the bolt pulls the bolt back against and wipes the internal lugs with grease. If you don’t hold the trigger and you’re cocking the firing pin assembly back it applies pressure right away to the action abutments in the bolt and it wipes all the grease off and you don’t actually lubricate the action.
Bolt Action Grease vs Oil?
It is hard to know when to oil or when to grease and where on the rifle actions, especially with contradicting information like Brownells recommending oil above grease for lugs and Accurate Shooter recommending grease and not oil for those. The general rule with bolt action grease for rifles is the same as the old adage for cars: “Grease it if it slides, oil it if it rolls.” So going on this and our own experience with both, we recommend the grease mentioned above for all the sliding parts and lugs taking pressure and then the Hornady One Shot Gun Lube for overall bolt protection and corrosion resistance as well as some lubrication for areas that you cannot reach or miss with the grease. This same rule is true if you want to know how to lubricate a lever action rifle, you grease the sliding parts then spray the rest of the moving parts down with the Hornady One shot gun lube.
Tipton Gun Butler rifle rest we use
It stows away flat, catches dripping oils, chemicals and greases, has spaces for solvents and oils, and holds the rifle steady, this is what we used and always use to stand our rifles on when cleaning or working on.