Friday, June 02, 2006

Tri-Flow Lubricant

Tri-Flow in a spray can

In an email conversation with JimmyB, the Conservative UAW Guy, I mentioned using Tri-Flow lubricant on just about everything that moves and needs lubrication. It dawned on me that not everyone is familiar with Tri-Flow, and maybe I should do a little post on the stuff.

When I owned a motorcycle shop we used to buy and use Tri-Flow by the case. It penetrates like crazy, and it's amazingly slippery. Originally it was called Tri-Flon, but I think they got into a trade name conflict and changed the name to Tri-Flow instead. Unless the formula has changed, it contains some micro-fine teflon particles that make it so slippery.

It was very popular in Viet Nam for use on automatic weapons, but it was not available through military sources, so lots of it got sent to Viet Nam in care packages from friends. It's also good as a rust preventative, far better than some more well known brands of spray lubricants. It's now very popular with the bicycling crowd. It comes in several sizes of aerosol spray cans and screw top bottles. Auto parts stores, motorcycle, and bicycles shops should likely places to find it.

You might want to pick up a bottle or can of it and toss it into your tool box or range bag. You might be surprised how much you use it!

Here's Tri-Flow's website:

It's great stuff!

BTW: I have not received any free Tri-Flow from the company to endorse their products. No free Tri-Flow, no free hats, no T-Shirts, not even one dang decal! Nothing! Maybe they don't have my mailing address! Yep, I'll bet that's it! Any day I should be hearing from them by email, any day................



At Friday, June 09, 2006 10:17:00 AM, Blogger David said...

How's it compare to WD-40? I have a gallon can of WD-40 I bought ten years ago and I'm about to finish it off, so I might switch to your brand.

At Monday, June 19, 2006 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Rivrdog said...

What are the advantages of this whoosh-whoosh over Break-Free? I've used that brand for years and just a short whoosh will cure the "dry slide" problem in any autoloader, so I know BF penetrates.

I'm somewhat leery of lubricants that carry solid particles in their penetrator base solution. Those solids, no matter what (graphites were the first), have a tendency to set up either gooey or hard, and reverse the lubing action which was intended.

A lube that is all lubricant (teflon is a plastic with slick properties, but it itself is a solid), no matter whether short-chain molecule (natural oil) or long-chain (artificial oil) is going to be better for long-term use.

If you strip down your weapon every time you use it and detail-clean the parts, and lube it, then re-lube it before use, you're probably OK with lubes that have teflon in them, but unless you go to those PM lengths, you are better off with Break-Free.

LPS3, which used to be in that race, isn't. I have a weapon that I put away VERY clean with LPS3 in it, and took it out 8 years later and the action would barely operate. It is NOT the preservative/lubricant it claims to be.

WD-40 isn't really a lubricant. It's just a penetrant, and there's a difference. All the Army Field Manuals say don't use it on weapons. Its only value in firearms maintenance is in getting lube that's already in the weapon spread around. It thins the oil that's already there and allows it to spread into places that were unlubed, so you get the idea that you've lubed the firearm when you actually haven't.

If you use enough WD-40 on a weapon, you will eventually wash out all the actual lube, leaving metal-to-metal contact. The penetrating action of WD-40 is not as agressive as Brake-Kleen, which grunts also use to clean their weapons. It makes them REALLY clean, but is VERY agressive in washing away all the lube.

Take an old, blued gun barrel if you have one to spare. Hacksaw it into three pieces (or more if it's a long barrel). Cover one with a good gun oil and wipe down. Tag it "Gun Oil". Take the next and whoosh it with Brake Kleen (or carb cleaner or contact cleaner, they are all equal) and wipe down. Tag that one "BK". Take a piece and just wipe it down with a clean, unused rag. Tag that one "control". Do one with WD-40, and tag it that way.

Set all the pieces out in the weather on a piece of old astroturf or synthetic carpet. Leave for a month (longer if you live in the desert).

When you come back and look, you will find that the gun oil sample is ok, with minor flecks of rust (on the blued part, not the sawed part which will be totally rusty). The BK one will be totally rusty over all as will the WD-40 one, the control will have minor to moderate rust and the Break Free should be unrusted.

I've seen this demo done in a military unit, and done as a prelim to telling the troops who are issued weapons to care for that they will get an Article 15 for abusing GI property if they use Brake Kleen or WD-40.

The little comic books that we got for gun maintenance also carried this message.


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