Category Archives: Quartermaster

The Goops, Soups & Sauces Project

For over two years now my go-to gunsmith and I have been conducting structured, methodical, documented tests of cleaners, lubes and protectants. Yeah, I know: you wouldn’t expect “structured and methodical” from me. Neither would I. But that’s where K comes in. With an extensive background in design engineering, metallurgy, precision machining and 40 years of gunsmithing, well, if you have an infestation of nits that need pickin’, he’s The Man. K will inspect, mike ’em, tune ’em up and arrange nits in neat ranks. I’m sworn not to reveal his name, because he already has to turn business away; says he can’t do any more without lowering his standards. As long as he makes time for my guns, that’s cool with me.

We’ve focused on new and “emerging” products, and even that has proved overwhelming. Some don’t take much time. If we quickly determine a product performs in the, “OK but nothin’ to write home about” range, we drop it. Real attention-getters, those producing immediate noteworthy results, then get hammered, put under the microscope, subjected to hard runnin’ in varying conditions, and proven positively. There’s far more data than we can pack into this article, and even the deep-cleaning process preceding each test would make an article of its own, but here are some highlights on our champions.


Top performers in the “New & Emerging Products” category:
FIREClean, FrogLube and SLiP2000.

The Big Three

If any product we tested rates the word “amazing,” it’s FIREClean Advanced Gun Oil. The advertising says “Cleans, Lubricates, Conditions,” and it does all that extremely well. But the big bottom line is, following the instructions, once treated and then maintained with FIREClean, carbon caking and buildup on your worst carbon-magnet firearms are eliminated. Cleanup is quick and easy, and you should never have to scrape carbon again, or even have to use a harsh solvent. Carbon residue simply wipes off.

If you have problems with hardened lead fouling—on semi-auto .22’s or centerfire guns shooting lead slugs—what would be tough lead fouling instead manifests as a soft gray moosh. In FIREClean-treated weapons, the worst lead fouling we’ve encountered could be cleaned with a cotton swab using light finger pressure.

FIREClean is non-toxic, non-flammable, odorless and biodegradable. It is expensive by the ounce, but after initial treatment only very small amounts are needed for continued excellent performance. Every DGI carbine, .22 semi-auto and the piston systems of semi-auto shotguns coming through K’s shop are now treated with FIREClean (250 per year on average). His customers have been unanimously pleased—and so have I. K calls it “a liquid tune-up for 10-22’s.”

Tip: If you run select-fire weapons and suppressors hard, FIREClean is your magic juju.

FrogLube in its original paste and liquid gel forms performed impressively from the start of our project. This went up several notches when the product family was rounded out with FrogLube CLP Spray, Solvent Spray and pre-soaked FrogLube Wipes. Now it’s a complete system, and an excellent one. Thoroughly cleaned and then FrogLube-treated arms should need nothing else for long lives of hard service. Endurance testing with single applications of FrogLube exceeded all expectations. Our tests on carbines and Glock pistols were astounding.

As you might expect from a product developed by a former Navy SEAL officer, it’s a great all-around performer but turns in its best performance on weapons subjected to wet, even salt water conditions. Even with sand and grit introduced, its residual lubricating and anti-corrosive properties are tenacious. All the FrogLube formulations are “food-grade,” and completely non-toxic and biodegradable.

Initial application and occasional refreshment treatments are best done on warm or even hot components, and you should let it soak into the metal for hours or overnight. Bores and chambers should be soppin’ wet. Just wipe off the excess, dry the bore and chamber, and you’re ready to rock. You’ll have little need to refresh it through thousands of rounds, but when you do re-apply, use the liquid where it needs to migrate, and the paste on chatter-and-bash points where you want it to stick. FrogLube will not harm any known polymers or rubber compounds.
Many of K’s shotgunning clients hunt the marshlands, both saltwater and fresh. Regardless of what CLP’s he uses on the innards, he treats the exterior metal with FrogLube. Customers praise it.

Tip: Take FrogLube Wipes and cleaning gear with you when shooting. When you’re finished, while the weapon’s still hot, cut wipes into patches. Wipe the bolt face, run the patches through the bore and chamber, then run dry patches through later or the next day. You’ll be ready to rock again.

My intro to SliP 2000 EWL (Extreme Weapons Lube) came in testing a Barrett REC-7 5.56mm carbine on a morning dawning at 23 degrees F below zero, continuing into wind chills to minus 40 degrees F through the day. The weapon was lightly lubed with EWL and it ran flawlessly. On that day and on another sub-zero session, without refreshing the lube, the REC-7 was repeatedly shot too hot to hold, left with the receiver open to blowing ice dust until cold, then fired smokin’ hot again. We have since torture-tested it on several other rifles and pistols of various types and calibers, with uniformly superb results.

This is some of the slipperiest, most highly lubricious and long-lasting stuff we’ve ever used. In fact, small parts lubed with EWL are hard to hold onto and will squirt right outta your grasp. It does not thin out or gum up, and it’s very tenacious when used on components cleaned of other formulations. We highly recommend it on hot-running weapons with tight tolerances used in extreme heat and cold. K also uses it extensively inside shotgun receivers and trigger groups, especially when the user shoots notoriously dirty-burning ammo.

The SLiP 2000 lineup includes their 725 Gun Cleaner Degreaser and Carbon Killer Bore Cleaner. Both have worked just fine—no fireworks—but if you’re using EWL, keeping your chemicals in the same family is smart.

Tip: SLiP2000 EWL has become my default “add-to” lube on weapons when I don’t know what they’ve previously been treated with. I haven’t found a petroleum-based or synthetic sauce that EWL doesn’t play nice with. No gumming, separation or varnishing under load. Great stuff!


Established winners that keep on shining: The Mil-Comm family and Militec-1.

Established Goops SHARE TOP Honors

SIG SAUER uses only Mil-Comm products, from their heavy manufacturing through every firearm rolling off the production lines. It’s a huge product family, but all you need is their TW25B Light Grease, Mc2500 Oil Lubricant/Protectant (AKA “TW25B Oil), Mc25 Weapons Cleaner/Degreaser and TW25B Weapon Wipes to fill your needs. I’ve run seven SIG’s—three rifles and four pistols—on nothin’ but Mil-Comm with consistently superb performance.

Just a note: Mil-Comm is the only lubricant/protectant authorized for use on certain naval automatic weapons systems. Now that’s a recommendation!

Established winners that keep on shining: The Mil-Comm family and Militec-1.

All Kahr firearms are lubed and protected with Militec-1 synthetic liquid lubricant and metal conditioning grease from the factory. It’s a high-tech formulation called “dry impregnated lubrication,” essentially, micro particles in liquid suspension. Throughout our project, I’ve run five Kahr pistols hard on Militec-1 with outstanding results. One thing I’ve found is if you clean and maintain with nothing but Militec-1 you should never need to use a solvent, and it is particularly good for break-in work. In the tropics, Militec-1 earns praise for its retained lubricity and anti-corrosive properties under hot, steamy conditions.

A 1/3-ounce tube of the grease, a 4-ounce bottle of the liquid, and a 1-ounce bottle with their 3-inch syringe applicator makes a great initial setup.

There’s much more, but that’s all for now. The GS&S Project goes on; shootin’ cool guns and stackin’ up hot brass. It’s a tough job, but… You know the rest. Ha! Connor OUT
By John Connor

P.O. Box 192
Ashburn, VA 20146
(703) 362-3752

P.O. Box 327
Wellington, NV 89444
(855) 376-4582

SLiP2000 / SPS Marketing Inc.
4697 Fairway Dr.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 665-0592

Mil-Comm Products Company
2 Carlton Ave.
East Rutherford, NJ 07073
(201) 935-8561

Militec Inc.
11828 Pika Drive
Waldorf, MD 20602
(877) 222-5512

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Gunfighter Grip

The lightweight Key Mod rail on my Bravo Co. AR-15 upper allows the installation of a variety of proprietary accessories, such as the Bravo Gunfighter forward grip along with M1913 rail sections for other accessories. The Bravo grip is smaller than many and only fits three fingers. Even with my pinky dangling, the palm-filling grip gives me full control of the front of the rifle without the illusionary lack of confidence often given when short handgun grips leave my little finger dangling. If you prefer your pinky engaged, running your forefinger along the fore-end will give your pinky purchase. A real benefit of this reduced size forward grip is it reduces the possibility of snagging in close quarters.

The forward pistol grip installs easily. Push up the spring-loaded latch on the upper left side and rotate the pistol grip a couple of turns to free up the key mod studs for installation. With the studs engaged, rotate the grip until the latch springs into place. The grip is locked.


Jeff got the Gunfighter Grip along with two extra rail sections for his AR-build. The Key Mod
fore-end is wonderfully versatile maintaining a slim profile and allowing the installation of
accessories where they are desired. The Gunfighter Grip is compact and gives the shooter better
control of the rifle.


The Gunfighter grip installs easily and securely. Press the latch at the top and rotate the
grip, freeing the studs for insertion in the key-mod fore-end. Rotate the grip back until it
latches and the grip is securely locked. The base of the grip is hinged and hollow for storage
of batteries or parts.

At the base of the grip is a trapdoor for storage of batteries or spare parts. Simply pinch the bottom edge of the twin latches at the base of the grip and pull. The trap opens on a hinge. The space is long enough to hold one CR123A battery but will need something packed around it to keep it from rattling. There is a pocket at the base deep enough so one AA battery can be held securely enough it won’t rattle, although it was hard for me to retrieve it with my fingers.

Shooting game enthusiasts will find the forward grip offers greater control of the rifle when swinging between targets. For self-defense, the grip makes tucking the rifle into your shoulder easier, since you’re pulling straight back using arm strength rather than hand strength the conventional method involving a tight grip on the fore-end requires, translating into less fatiguing practice sessions.
By Jeff John

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Queen Cutlery Fisherman’s Barlow

My pocketknife fetish pretty much peaks out at traditional folders. And the Cool Factor is usually off the charts with quality ones (and, no, they don’t even have to lock open) I always like to keep up with what Queen Cutlery is offering in the way of the “newest” old-timey pocketknife patterns. Some of them are flat-out iconic as far as I’m concerned—Stockman, Coke Bottle, Barlow, Trapper, Copperhead, Toothpick, Scout—you name it. Most guys I know would forget their wristwatch, cellphone or wallet before they’d neglect to drop a folder in their jeans before going out the door. And one made by Queen would be pretty tough to leave behind.

The company was started by employees of the storied Schatt & Morgan Cutlery Company. (Queen still uses some of the old S&M equipment and keeps the name alive on several models). I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I hit the Queen booth during the last SHOT Show. They’ve got more than a few dandies on the current manifest, but one in particular caught my eye. The Fisherman’s Barlow is a big, good-looking single clip-blade with jigged bone scales. Although it doesn’t lock open, it really doesn’t need to—it isn’t a fighter, it’s a worker. (Hmmm, carbon steel, nickel silver bolsters, no lock, one blade, a handle made of natural materials—now there’s a concept!).

Unless you figure on hacking your way through the Amazon, dragging your canoe behind you, it should handle most outdoor—and indoor—chores. But the Fisherman’s Barlow is a big one, so make sure you got lots of pocket. In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain writes of local loafers sitting on wooden crates while “whittling them with their Barlow knives.” How could any pocketknife style be more American?
By Payton Miller


An open-and-shut case: Queen Cutlery’s Fisherman’s Barlow scales a hefty
9 inches when open (above), 5 inches when closed (below).


Fisherman’s Barlow
Maker: Queen Cutlery Company
507 Chestnut St.
PO Box 408
Titusville, PA 16354
(814) 827-9693

Blade length: 4 inches
Style: Clip with scales
Steel: 1095 high carbon
Handle: Jigged bone
Rockwell: 57-59
Length open: 9 inches
Length closed: 5 inches
Weight: 4.2 ounces
Price: $71

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Crimson Trace Master Series LaserGrips

As undeniably useful as they’ve always been, Crimson Trace Lasergrips have usually occupied the “utilitarian” side of the ledger when it comes to fancy custom stocks. The value of Lasergrips has always been more a function of technology rather than tradition. But that’s pretty inconsequential when you consider the company has pretty much revolutionized the concept of “low-light” shooting since they’ve been in business. In commemoration of their 20th Anniversary, however, they pulled the stops out with their Limited Edition Master Series. We stuck a pair of these rosewood beauties on to a full-size S&W Performance Center 1911 and the end result was—shall we say—dressy indeed.

But whether of fancy exotic wood or Plain-Jane synthetic, all Lasergrips offer the same features still keeping the company running hot, straight and normal since its inception. Namely, perfect frame integration, complete windage and elevation adjustment, micro laser diode optics and instinctive activation. Once the panels are installed—with the supplied CR2025 3-volt lithium batteries—and the master switch is activated, the beam appears once the gun is gripped in a firing mode. If there’s a simpler, more intuitive and foolproof way of taking advantage of laser technology, I’d like to hear about it. Once installed and zeroed, your Lasergrips can shoulder the burden normally handled by the “irons” after sundown or in indoor “low-or-no-light” situations. Only 1,000 of these Commemorative sets were made, but you can still get sets in the Master Edition in either Rosewood or G10. They’re cut for full-size or compact 1911’s, even those with a bobtail grip configuration. Price: $399.
By Payton Miller

Crimson Trace Corporation
9780 SW Freeman Dr.
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(800) 442-2406


The Limited Edition Master Series Lasergrips do a bang-up job of dressing up this
S&W Performance Center 1911 (inset). Nicely figured rosewood for looks, Torx head
screws for secure installation, and an intuitively accessible “on” switch make for
a pretty good form/function combination.

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PrOlix Lubricant

If you’re looking for something that’s pretty much a “one-stop” squeezable solution to your gun-cleaning problems, PrOlix Lubricant may be what you’re looking for. A “multi-mission” solvent, it cleans, lubricates and preserves. During the cleaning process, it leaves a dry lubricant, which is drawn into the pores of the metal. The end result is a skin-like protective coating.

My first experience with PrOlix was a rather heavy-duty one. I had several revolvers in various stages of what I’ll simply refer to as “uncleanliness.” Some were blued, some were stainless (PrOlix is also equally effective on—and kind to—nickel finishes). All had light leading in the barrel as well as surface carbon burns, burnt powder and assorted contaminants—petrified lube and oil residue—in various nooks and crannies.

After scrubbing a couple of fairly dirty revolver barrels with a copper brush soaked in PrOlix, I ran a couple of patches through to see what came out. (For this stage of the operation, some guys I know like to use a wet patch wrapped around a slightly undersize brush). Normally, I’d go with a bore snake for this to avoid pushing a rod down from the muzzle end, but I wanted to see to see what was getting dredged up. The first patch, of course, was pretty cruddy, but after one or two more, things brightened up considerably.
The dry lubing did create a protective byproduct I particularly appreciated when I cleaned the yoke assembly and ejector rod on a fairly well-used (and occasionally shamefully abused) old S&W Model 15.

Much of the prior gumminess was due to semi-petrified lubricants combined with the gun’s lengthy hiatus from the range. I confess to occasionally committing the original sin of over-oiling revolvers, which, no doubt, was a result of having lived in a very humid area of the Midwest for a couple of years. So, after an initial blast of aerosol degreaser and a wipe-down, I applied the PrOlix and a touch of PrOlix X-Tra T Lube and the old M15’s cylinder was once again back to its freewheeling ways.

For removing burn rings from the cylinder face of a stainless Ruger GP100 Match Champion, I found scrubbing with a PrOlix soaked steel brush removed the “bulk of the black,” but resorted to a Birchwood Casey Lead Remover & Polishing Cloth for final touch-up.

Editor Jeff introduced me to a lazy man’s technique he uses on his pet rimfires. Simply squirt a bit of PrOlix near the embedded brush bristles on a .22 Bore Snake before you pull it on through. No muss, no fuss and no smelly mess. That’s about as easy a method of cleaning your .22’s barrel as you’re likely to find.

If things have really gotten out of hand, of course, you can soak your handgun—or rifle bolts and assorted AR parts—in a shallow pan full of PrOlix (but first remove the grip panels). In fact, the company offers metal mesh dip baskets—not to mention mega-containers of PrOlix in 64-ounce and 1-gallon sizes. For seriously fouled bores, the company recommends thinning J-B’s Bore Cleaner with PrOlix as an initial scrubbing mixture. The stuff is biodegradable, practically odorless, and about as environmentally righteous as you’re going to find. And it will not harm Glock polymer frames.
By Jeff John


For initial scrubbing of burn rings on revolver cylinders, scrubbing with a PrOlix-dipped brush
is very effective (below). If you’re dealing with stainless steel, a final touch-up with a
lead-removal cloth will make things perfect.



Maintenance department: PrOlix Lubricant (left) cleans as well as serving as a conventional
gun oil substitute. PrOlix X-Tra T Lube takes care of chores normally handled by grease


PrOlix Lubricant is odorless, biodegradable and very efficient at cleaning and preserving
your gun’s bore. This PrOlix-soaked patch brought out a bunch of gunk after initial
scrubbing with a brush.


PrOlix Lubricants
7244 South 3100 West
West Jordan, UT
(800) 248-LUBE

Birchwood Casey
7900 Fuller Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
(952) 937-7933

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Clean Scene

Every once in awhile you come across a product delivering more than advertised. Such was my discovery of Shooter’s Choice new Aqua Cleaner and Degreaser. I had purchased an Enfield No. 5 Mk I Jungle Carbine from Old Western Scrounger last summer. Dated 9/44, it is one I like to imagine as having “seen the elephant” during WWII. It was certainly well used, still having all matching serial numbers, but showing some rust peeking out from under the wood. In fact, it appeared the handguard ring was rusting through even.

Disassembly showed pockets of rust under the wood and other areas still protected by dried up old cosmoline. I have a protocol for removing rust, and it does not affect existing finish. Since I wanted to clean all the old cosmoline off, this seemed a perfect test for Aqua Clean. A water-based cleaner, Aqua Clean is “50-state legal,” ideal for jurisdictions limiting the use of petroleum-based cleaners. I sprayed it on the metal and let it work for 5 minutes.

I began cleaning with an old nylon toothbrush and, to my amazement, saw the rust lifting off the gun with the dried grease. I used a bronze toothbrush to get the rust out of the deeper pits and have never seen rust dissolved so quickly and easily. I had no need to follow up with my proven rust removing method! Another new product, Ramrodz, was dragooned into the chore of digging out the cosmoline from other assorted nooks and crannies—especially inside the capacious flash hider.


Shooter’s Choice MC 7 (above) removed extensive copper fouling in the WWII-era Enfield.
The well-cared for Swiss K-31 rifle still had plenty of copper fouling in the barrel and
Aqua Clean Bore Cleaner (below) easily removed it all. Because it is a water-based cleaner,
follow-up protection with an oil like FP-10 is a must.


Aqua Clean packaging says the product is safe on wood, but that isn’t entirely accurate. Aqua Clean will attack and lift the linseed oil finish most military rifles have, so keep it away from any wood finished as such.

After getting all the rust off, I cleaned the Enfield barrel’s interior with ammonia-free MC-7 aerosol, following the directions on the bottle (although it is indeed ammonia free, it still has quite an odor). I wore nitrile gloves and kept a fan going. Throw the patches away outside when you’re done or the odor will linger.

A better bet if you don’t have a garage or live in an apartment is Aqua Bore Cleaner. It is water-based and also removes copper fouling quickly and easily. I used a pristine Swiss K-31 acquired from Classic Arms for this test. Following the instructions, I cleaned first using a bronze Pro-Shot bore brush. The bronze brush will also leave some copper fouling, so I routinely switch to a nylon bore brush for follow-up passes. Patches came out clean after the third trip down the bore. I then lubricated the action and protected the bore with FP-10. One real bonus? The brushes cleaned up with a water rinse, and there is almost no odor.


Upon removing the fore-end (above), surface rust and dried grease greeted Jeff on his
newly-acquired Enfield Jungle Carbine. Although not billed as a rust remover, Shooter’s
Choice Aqua Cleaner & Degreaser (below) ate right through rust without affecting the
finish underneath.



Two recently acquired rifles—a nice Swiss K-31 and an Enfield No. 5 Mk I—were
the test mules for new cleaning products from Shooter’s Choice.


Think of Ramrodz as a giant bore-size Q-Tip. I decided to give them a tough job—removing heavily crusted black powder fouling on a Stoeger/Uberti Old Model Russian .44 after a day at the range.

It was a hot, dry day and the fouling became pretty crusty. Because Ramrodz give full contact with the bore and grooves, the cotton swabs—soaked in Aqua Clean—quickly loosened and removed the fouling. They also compress more easily and make cleaning chamber throats much easier than using a patch. The swab stays on its bamboo rod and can be pushed back and forth to quickly loosen the crud. Another place they work great is cleaning large bottleneck chambers like those found on the Mosin-Nagant after shooting corrosive ammunition.


This Stoeger/Uberti Old Model Russian .44 (above) was fired with black-powder ammo.
In the dry desert, the fouling became hard and thick. Aqua Clean cut through the heavy
fouling and the Ramrodz made cleaning the bore and chambers fast and easy (below).


Pro Shot

Back in 1994, as the riots began in Los Angeles where I then lived, I took my M1 Garand out of the safe as my “defensive” rifle, since I had traded my AR’s away rather than register them. I had lubed the rifle with yellow GI grease after the last shooting session, and the lube had dried and frozen the bolt to the point I had to rest the butt on the ground and use my foot to break it free. I cleaned off the old grease and relubed it with Pro Gold grease, a product I used on my shotgun’s hinge pin. I haven’t shot my M1 for probably 5 years, yet it stands at the front of the safe still (although now it has my AR to keep it company).

Occasionally I still take the M1 out of the safe and open the bolt. To this day it opens smoothly (I can feel a little residual grease on the bolt still, but it’s probably time to clean and re-lube Old Faithful.) Pro Gold is a heavy petroleum-based grease with bronze flakes suspended in it to add lubricity. It’s perfect for high load areas and withstands high operating temperatures quite well.

I’ve also used a Pro Shot pistol rod for the last 20 years or so as well. It still works fine, and the new ones are even better.

Since Pro Shot bronze bore brushes are twisted around a brass core, they can be made with larger bristles and last longer than aluminum core brushes. I find they remove lead fouling quicker, too.

Pro Shot jags are very good, and the patches are flannel, finished on both sides. They hold plenty of solvent and fit the jags well. There are no surprises when I match up Pro Shot brushes, patches and jags. The patches can be purchased in large quantities such as 500-count bags. I rarely run low anymore. I find the patches useful for plenty of other chores around the shop—if they are abundant.
By Jeff John

Pro-Shot Products
P.O. Box 763
Taylorville, IL 62568
(217) 824-9133

16 Yerry Hill Road
Woodstock, NY 12498
(855) 486-7922

Shooter’s Choice
15050 Berkshire Industrial Pkwy
Middlefield, OH 44062
(440) 834-8888

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Crimson Trace’s New Red Green Show

Too many years ago I slid headlong out of my invincible period directly into my fragile period. If you date back to pre-TV days you probably understand exactly what I’m saying. If you’re younger, not to worry, it will eventually catch up with you. One thing I am extremely thankful for, actually two things, is my trigger finger still works and I can still see sights clearly. However, seeing sights well is totally dependent upon bright light outdoors; in dim light I basically become very close to being a point shooter with any handgun with standard sights. That is precisely why several of my self-defense guns are equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips.

Crimson Trace has been producing laser sights for 20 years. They started out very small in a little tooling shop in Oregon as engineers and toolmakers came together to come up with laser sights, which could be standard equipment on self-defense handguns. They now have produced more than 150 different products.

Two of the newest products from Crimson Trace are Lasergrips for the Glock pistol. These latest Lasergrips are made to fit full-size Glock 3rd Gen Models 17, 17L, 22, 24, 31, 34, 35, and 37. Model number LG-637 emits a red beam while LG-637G projects a green beam. Under normal circumstances across a dim lit room they both work very well; however the green laser works better outdoors or in a well-lighted room. The more powerful green beam requires four batteries for operation while the red beam does its job with only two batteries. Batteries fit inside the slip-on laser grip, which is not a full grip but rather only covers the backstrap and wraps around the factory grip about halfway.

In continuous use, which is not ever very likely to happen, the red laser will last for 4 hours while the green laser can stay on continuously about half that time. All Crimson Trace lasers are fitted with a master switch, which can be turned off, however leaving this switch on does not drain the batteries. With the master switch on the shooting hand will normally activate the pad on the backstrap when the firearm is grasped for shooting.


When shooting both the red and green Lasergrips, John found his
technique needed adjusting, and once he got used to the Glock
trigger, his accuracy improved.


John’s wife Diamond Dot prefers the Crimson Trace equipped
Glocks for use around the house.

Both the red LG-637 and the green LG-637G are very easy to install. The trigger-housing pin on the Glock is pressed out from right to left using a tool provided with the Lasergrip. Batteries are then placed in each side of the Lasergrip, the grip slides onto the backstrap, seated in place over the beavertail of the frame and the holes in the grip lined up with the trigger housing pin hole in the frame. I found it helpful to have two sets of hands for installation. One set holds the Lasergrip in perfect alignment with the trigger-housing pin hole while the other inserts the replacement pin. Two pins are provided with the instructions to try the one-groove pin first from left to right and if the holes do not line up replace it with the pin with three grooves.

Once this installation is finished the laser and iron sights must be placed in alignment. The laser dot is adjusted to rest on top of the front sight post when using a correct iron-sight picture. Lasergrips are sighted in at the factory to 50 feet, however they can easily be adjusted for windage and elevation using the tool provided. Either I didn’t understand the directions for adjusting the laser sight, or I don’t know the difference between clockwise and counterclockwise, or the directions are backwards. Whatever the case, my first attempt at adjusting the sights saw me going the wrong direction in both cases. It didn’t take much to figure out how to do it right.

Crimson Trace provides everything needed for installation and also provides free batteries for life. Normally you should get at least a year of service from a set of batteries. If they run down a call to Crimson Trace will result in more being sent. The Lasergrip must be removed to insert new ones. Retail prices for the red and green Crimson Trace Lasergrips are $249 and $329 respectively; however, they can be usually found at a lower price.


The New Crimson Trace Lasergrips for the Glock are available in both red and green,
and the company supplies everything needed for installing the Lasergrip. The entire
unit installs easily on the backstrap.

It does take some training to use lasers. One of the things I have found is I had a tendency to try to line up the laser sight on top of the iron front sight. This is the wrong way and it is also much slower than necessary. Instead of looking at the original sights on the Crimson Trace Lasergrip equipped handgun it is only necessary to look at the spot the beam is projecting. The Glock 9mm Models I placed these Lasergrips on are definitely not target pistols—at least in my hands—the problem is not the Glock but my finger on the safety trigger. However, by projecting the beam on the target and then quickly squeezing the Glock Trigger without trying to get a target let off, I can get very good results.
By John Taffin

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Crimson Trace
9780 SW Freeman Drive
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(800) 442-2406


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Cowboy Cutting Edge

I’m a sucker for distinctive-looking pocketknives, particularly when they work as advertised and don’t cost the better part of a house payment. But sometimes to stand out from the pack, they need their own color theme. Bear & Son Cutlery’s new Cowhand Lockback features cowboy-appropriate, “blue jean blue” G10 scales and a large oval hole atop its high-carbon, stainless spear-point blade for 1-hand opening.

Its solid construction, heavy-duty steel pocket clip and nickel-steel bolsters belie its light-weight and 6-5/8-inch overall length (open).
Like all B&S knives, it’s made right here in the good old USA. I found it easy to pack, easy to sharpen and an eminently sensible design for a no-nonsense working knife.
By Payton Miller

Cowhand Lockback
Maker: Bear & Son Cutlery

1111 Bear Blvd. S.W.
Jacksonville, AL 36265
(256) 435-2227

Blade steel: 440 high-carbon stainless
Closed length: 3-3/4 inches
Blade length: 2-7/8 inches (taper-ground modified spear point)
Weight: 1.4 ounces
Handle: G10 (blue)
Carry: Integral pocket clip
Price: $95

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Triple K Vintage Grips and Buttplates

From the later decades of the 19th century until the early years of the 20th, ornately figured grips made from “plastic” were an industry standard for revolvers pretty much without regard to the quality or price of the arm. In the pre-petroleum era, gutta percha and other tree-sap material were state of the art. They were very attractive but approached mother of pearl or blown glass in fragility. It is almost a given that vintage revolvers encountered in the present day will have some portion of the original grip missing. This was the case with an otherwise pristine H&R American Double Action I found recently, and I wanted accurate period proxies for my 1925-made Police Positive in .38 Colt New Police as an alternative to the well-worn walnuts original to the revolver. Both were readily available from Triple K Manufacturing at a very reasonable price.

The grips are made from molds directly copied from original grips and resemble the historic items exactly. The sets proved a perfect fit to the grip frames of my revolvers and the only departure from complete authenticity is the use of petroleum-based plastic that is virtually unbreakable under normal usage. The screw/escutcheon kits are separate items available in case the originals are not available. The set that came with my Police Positive grips were a perfect fit but the H&R grips required (careful) drilling for flush mounting of the escutcheons.

A wide variety of vintage pistol and revolver grips are available with more on the way as Triple K locates originals to copy. Another item on my wish list is a copy of the original horn buttplate on my Browning Sweet 16 that has, like almost every member of that family, been mined by boring insects. Not surprisingly, these are prominently displayed in the Triple K Online Store.
By Mike Cumpston

Triple K Manufacturing Co.
2222 Commercial Street
San Diego, CA 92113
(619) 232-2066
Colt Police Positive “C” Grips: $33
Screw and escutcheons: $13.50

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The DIY Rust Blue

I’ve reached a conclusion about rust bluing. It’s mostly superstition, with a few facts tossed in as a distraction. Practically everything I’ve read on it made it sound like a complicated, difficult and mysterious process. However, here are some hard facts and techniques on the rust bluing method:

First, you have to know the chemicals used for the processes, and the humidity and the quality of water you’ll be working with. Such facts are fairly well settled, since they’ve been in use for a few hundred years. Today, instead of rainwater, the use of distilled water ensures the desired consistent, repeatable results with no surprises. Judging weather and application technique is mostly superstition, although a home weather station takes some of the mystery out of humidity.

Second, you have to know the type of steel you’re working with. Practically all carbon steel will rust, but stainless steel won’t. Softer steel—often used for buttplates and triggerguards—can finish before the barrel or barreled action. Continuing the acid treatment may begin to etch those parts before the others are finished. Degreasing thoroughly is paramount. Get all the oil off the steel.

The only major purchase involved is a water tank big enough to hold a barreled action and a method to boil the water. Brownells has both at a reasonable price. The set up I use runs off a standard BBQ propane tank. Brownells sells rust blue solutions, too, or you can mix your own. I once mixed my own, but don’t anymore. I’ve been using Pilkington’s American Rust Blue solution for more than 20 years now with good results. It works so well I haven’t switched (yes, I’m superstitious).

Pilkington’s solution will give you good results on the first try if you follow the instructions carefully. His instruction booklet is clearly written and the first one I read that gave me the confidence to think I could rust blue successfully.

After you have a couple of jobs under your belt, you’ll begin to see ways to do the task your way—which is where you begin to form your own superstitions!

I get pretty good results using nothing more complicated than files, stones and aluminum oxide wet/dry sandpaper for polishing and steel wool for “carding” off the rust, with a minor assist from a soft wire hand brush. Most directions say to polish to 320 grit, which is fine as long as you get the scratches out, or blended in the right direction. If you don’t, the scratches will enlarge as the acid etches them. These days I polish to 600 grit. At the higher polish, I sacrifice some depth of color for the sheen the high polish gives.


This Krag sporter was polished to 320-grit and only three long passes of the solution were used
to give it a soft matte gray finish. The safety and extractor were heat blued on the stove using a
cast iron pan. (Heat bluing in this fashion is time consuming, but inexpensive.)


Since the acid etches the metal, it would seem counterintuitive to give the parts a high polish, but I don’t leave the barrel under the acid as long before boiling and carding—how long the metal stays under the acid affects the final look. Since the humidity is low where I live, I let the steel rust for four hours in the first four passes, and I can do two passes a day. In areas with higher humidity, I’d follow Pilkington’s instructions of three-hour passes. Then I go to six hours of rusting until I get the color I desire (it only takes one or two more passes). It takes about five minutes to apply the acid to the barrel, maybe 15 minutes if a lot of other smaller parts are blued, so I can get a lot of other work done while the parts rust.

The blue is accomplished by applying the acid-based formula (typically a solution of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid with iron dissolved in it and diluted with water), allowing red rust to form on the steel, then submerging it in boiling distilled water for 10 minutes to convert the red oxide to black oxide and carding the surface “velvet” off.

Most instructions call for the use of power equipment to card the rust. I don’t use it. Since I’m doing this for myself—not as a business—working around my lack of power equipment isn’t too arduous, but it does take a little more time. I use 0000 steel wool (factory coated with an oil preservative) degreased in hot, soapy water and dried with paper towels. Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber works well to degrease the steel wool, too. I spray it over paper towels so the oil is soaked up.

Most instructions insist you wear gloves to keep from contaminating the barrel. If any oil gets on the steel during the application of acid, it will not rust in that spot. I wear nitrile gloves to apply the acid, but not to card. After carding, I clean the bore and barrel with mineral spirits (I use mineral spirits and Gun Scrubber to degrease the parts initially as well). This removes any fingerprints or oil left by the steel wool if it wasn’t completely degreased. Running a patch wet with mineral spirits down the bore keeps the inside of the barrel from rusting. This is important because the bore isn’t going to have any other protection for several days.


Jeff’s first effort at rust bluing a barrel was on this Ballard No. 5 Pacific (above).
It turned out poorly (he didn’t boil it long enough), and he had to repolish and do it
all over again to 400 grit, which gives it a matte finish. The Remington-Gove underlever
(below) was polished to a higher 600-grit for a much more pleasing finish.


I keep plenty of wooden dowels which loosely fit the bore (too close a fit and the water will swell them tightly in the barrel) and place a dry one in the barrel while the acid works. I use a broomhandle with soft iron wire hangers on it to suspend the barrel on the dowels in the water. As I lift it out of the water, I use a hair dryer to blow the water off the barrel and parts, especially around dovetails. Any water allowed to puddle will create a spot as it evaporates, and the barrel will be hot enough to evaporate the water very quickly. In fact, the water will evaporate so fast it must be blown off as the barrel as it is (literally) rising from the water. I lift it on an angle so I can blow out one dovetail at a time. Even this must be done quickly.

Brownells offers inexpensive soft iron wire. It is very useful for suspending small parts or run through the barrel of smallbore rifles, since dowels smaller than .38 caliber often aren’t strong enough to support the barrel. I also use a retired stainless steel cleaning rod through the barrel. Just make sure it has no oil on it either! Any oil in the water can spot the blue upon removal. Oil floats, so get it off the surface with a paper towel if you see any.

The fixtures I use to suspend the parts while the rusting occurs are just knocked together from scrap wood. The fixtures differ slightly depending on the parts to be suspended, and how I want them suspended while applying the rust. Being able to turn them without touching them is a big help.

When I lived in Southern California, I found rust bluing wasn’t hard in the summertime, but I had a brand new learning curve here in Northern Nevada where the air is much drier. Humidity is necessary for the acid to create rust. I managed to accomplish the Wesson No. 1 barrel without the use of a “sweat box” to maintain consistent humidity, but getting one is on my to-do list.

Try not to touch the metal if at all possible during the process, as the blue is tender and will show handling marks. When I’m satisfied with things, I allow the barrel to sit overnight with nothing on it. The next day, I coat everything generously with Rig and leave it on until assembly. Don’t use a rust removing oil! It will try and remove the blue and ruin all your hard work.


John King and Jeff collaborated on this Wesson No. 1 in .45-90 Sharps on a Steve Earle
action with a 34-inch Krieger barrel. It is Jeff’s first bluing effort here in Northern
Nevada. Mike Gouse engraved the action and barrel.


Brownells’ tank, stand and LP gas burner is pretty much a turnkey operation for rust
bluing. Add a propane tank and a hose and you’re up and running.

In all, the one-time cost for the tank, stand and LP burner are around $500 or so. Rust bluing handguns is even cheaper yet, since you only need a pot big enough to submerge the handgun completely in boiling water on a stove (with the little lady’s permission, of course). The store-bought chemicals are relatively long lived, and you’ll use small amounts per job.

The beautiful silky blue is its own reward, and a gift you give yourself. If you make a mistake, be prepared to repolish and try again (yup, done that—twice, so far). My first successful job was on a 1917 Enfield triggerguard done in an old turkey roaster some 30 years ago. My second was a 1911. I did both with homemade solutions. I only do a one or two pieces a year, but the results have been well worth it. They’ve allowed me to aspire to more highly finished arms than I can otherwise afford.

I purposely left out “in progress” photos. Frankly, the parts just look like blobs of, well, rusting metal. My goal is to inspire you to try by showing the finished product. I was too intimidated to try for a long time, because a lot of the stories I read on rust bluing made it seem more like voodoo than work.

What sealed the “do it yourself” deal for me was the high cost and long wait times involved in having rust bluing done at a shop. I know many GUNS readers have the attention to detail to give it a try and do as well.
By Jeff John

200 South Front Street
Montezuma, IA 50171
(641) 623-4000

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