So I stopped in to talk to Scott Igert, my good friend who owns Michigan Gun Exchange, a few weeks back. Scott told me about a new gun oil that he had samples of that the maker had handed him directly and that I ought to take a look at it. I kind of groaned because everyone and their brother claims to have the best gun oil. Some have ok oil and some don’t (remember the canola oil mess some years back?) but nobody has THE best oil.
Many times the oils they are selling you are an existing product that has been put into tiny containers with some really splashy marketing and packaging. For example, if you find a red colored weapon oil that feels, smells and is colored red like ATF, then it is probably some variant of automatic transmission fluid – Dexron, ATF, etc. If it’s colored blue and smells and feels like hydraulic fluid then that might well be what it is. Now I am not saying all products are that way but a lot are.
So, somewhat warily, I took the sample bottle home with me. It had to wait a bit until I could get around to focusing on it. The product is “Enhanced Reliability Oil” From Kentuckiana Gun Works (KGW).
In looking at the oil, it was yellow-ish with a hint of red. It’s a blend of something – but not something right out of a bottle. I felt it and it had a nice 30 weight-ish feel to it. It wasn’t really thin but it was slippery.
The smell was that of a petroleum oil but nothing uniquely stood out.
Did I taste it … no, I have standards to uphold at least while I am sober.
Okay, those quick observations may sound ridiculous to you – well, the taste part was a joke – but many products you can kind of group by color, feel and smell. This one I couldn’t because the color was unique plus it felt like a decent lubricant so I decided to dig a bit more.
Did Some Digging
I visited their website and also did some searching. KGW is a new firm so there really isn’t much info out there which meant I needed to reach out to Kohl Oettle, the owner of KGW who developed the oil. Scott had his contact info so we traded some emails.
Kohl was a tanker in the Marine Corp Reserve for six years and had developed a dislike for CLP as a lubricant – CLP stands for Cleaner Lubricant Protector just in case you didn’t know. Kohl pointed out, “We used CLP on everything, m4, m16, 240, m2, m48 etc, and in every application it burned off and ran off so quickly that I developed a real hate for all types of CLP. I wanted something that was thicker, handled heat better, and just lasted longer. “
That resonated with me because CLP is just way too thin for me. When I have big clunking parts, I need a thicker lubricant such as as oil or a grease to have reliable lubrication especially during break in. I still use CLP as a cleaner once in a while but I haven’t used it as a lubricant for probably 16 years — tt dawned on me that I started working on AKs around 2006 and CLP was just too thin to use as an assembly lube on those rifles so it’s been more like 16 years.
So I asked Kohl what set his oil apart from the tons of other products on the market. He responded, “It’s not trying to do everything. It wasn’t designed to be a cleaner. It’s a damn good oil and protector, without all the cleaners that make so many others thin, and less heat tolerant. I do have a very small amount of carbon deposit reducers in my oil, but just enough help control the carbon buildup and thus make the bolt reciprocate much easier. It’s not nearly enough to be used as a cleaner, and that’s on purpose. “
For the last seven years, Kohl has worked in industrial maintenance working on a variety of machines ranging from food processing to automotive parts manufacturing. As part of this, he learned that one of the most effective means of keeping a machine running reliably was to use the proper oil and grease.
What I found especially interesting was that Kohl tinkered with the the blend until he achieved the viscosity and lubrication he wanted through trial and error. He primarily had the AR-15 and similar rifles in mind when he was designing it but it will work on other pistols, rifles and shotguns as well. By the way, I mentioned earlier I thought it was about 30 weight – Kohl told me it’s a tad thicker than that.
When he was ready, he took to shooting classes and and shot thousands of rounds through a variety of weapons. He also sent out samples to people and a local gun store helped him sell his oil and collect feedback for 18 months. He took this feedback and further refined his product.
I respected what he did. Both Scott and I started our respective businesses and learned over time the same way Kohl has done.
Assembly Lube Testing
My testing has been limited so far but I will update this post after my first range trip. I recently built two AR rifles and used Kohl’s oil as an assembly lube. I could tell everything was moving very easily. In this regard it worked great. Time is a challenge these days and I hope to get these rifles to the range in the next 3-4 weeks but didn’t want to hold up getting the word out there.
You can buy the oil direct from KGW’s website or you may find it at your local gun store as their business expands.
By the way, I don’t make any money off this post and Kohl didn’t ask me to. I just know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur trying to start a small business – I figured helping Kohl was the least I could do after all the folks who helped me.
Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.
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