Back to the 600 Yard Line

Several years ago – okay, seven or eight – my friend Greg Fallon invited me to the informal 600 yard matches he sets up at a local range. They’re monthly, early in the morning, and the range is an hour away from me, so I’ve been an infrequent competitor -especially the last few years, with regular trips up to Utah for the Sniper Country range, which offers shooting to a mile and beyond.

Most of the time, I just went to mess around and have fun – I’d take my 5.45 AK, or an Ishapore Enfield, or some other random non-precision rifle just to see how I could do all the way out at 600 yards.

But when I saw this month’s reminder email, I decided that if I was going to make the trip, I would make it worthwhile.

I had just put together an AR with a V7 stainless barrel – provided by AIM Surplus, I should note – and wanted to see how accurate it could be. Unfortunately the rifle has a stock trigger, but with about fifteen thousand rounds on the odometer, it’s pretty smooth.

Heading to the local gun store, I perused match .223 at a dollar a round before deciding I could make my own for free – or at least, for a sunk cost.

So I put together some shiny bullets, made sure the ACOG was zeroed, and woke up at the crack of dawn to head to the range.

I wasn’t sure how my ammo would do – I hadn’t loaded rifle ammunition in probably two years. Surprisingly, though, I found that everything worked very well. Over two strings of fire, twenty rounds each, my scores were 190-4X and 186-3X out of a possible 200-20X.


For those who are unfamiliar with the scoring system, the X is worth 10 points and also counts as, you guessed it, an X. The X ring at 600 is 6 inches, the 10 ring about a foot, and so on. I dropped a few outside the center because I wasn’t paying enough attention to the wind, but overall the loads were consistent and the barrel did as good a job as I could have ever expected.

One other note – I removed and replaced the ACOG, swapping it with a Vortex Viper HS scope, many times throughout the match. All recorded scores were with the ACOG, and both optics were in GDI mounts. The ACOG was provided by Trijicon through Deliberate Dynamics and the optic mounts were provided by GDI. I did not notice any shift in point of impact over the course of the match.

Overall, it was a fun match and a good chance to see if I still knew how to shoot long range.

For those who are interested, here are the rifle and ammunition details:


  • V7 16″ stainless midlength gas barrel
  • Silencerco Trifecta muzzle device
  • Spike’s Tactical hard chrome BCG
  • Spike’s Tactical upper receiver
  • Seekins 12.0 MCSR handguard
  • Rainier Arms Raptor charging handle
  • Bushmaster lower receiver with stock LPK
  • Magpul fixed length stock
  • Trijicon TA02 ACOG
  • GDI R-COM E-Model mount


  • Prvi Partizan once fired brass
  • Berger 73gr HPBT seated to AR mag length
  • Varget, 24.1 grains
  • Federal GM205M primers


A Closer Look at FireClean and Canola Oil

If you read the first article on this blog regarding whether or not FireClean is the same as Crisco, you are aware that people became really, really upset over the results.

Lines were drawn, accusations were made, the science was championed by some and attacked by others.

A second round of testing, conducted at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, sheds more light on the controversy. I submitted eighteen samples for various tests, including gun oils, gun pastes, cooking oils, and gear oils. If you would like to read about the methodology, you may do so here – straight from the horse’s mouth. These tests included IR spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance testing. Click that link to learn more about both.

In addition, separate testing of FireClean and a different brand of canola oil was conducted by a different individual (who has a PhD in chemistry) at a different lab. This testing included HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) and two variants of NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). I did not supply the samples for this test, but the results were remarkably similar.

Some of the people involved wished to remain anonymous after they saw the vitriol directed at various parties after the first test, but others did not. Everett, who conducted the bulk of this testing, wanted me to thank the following people:

-Professor Drew Brodeur of Worcester Polytechnic institute for advising the project
-Daryl Johnson, Andy Butler, and Professor John MacDonald of WPI for help with the methods and testing
-Curtis of The VSO Gun Channel for help with the methods

Several of these tests of the eighteen various lubricants will be of interest to those in the firearm sphere, but perhaps none will be as interesting as this one. Summarized in one sentence, here’s why:

According to every PhD who looked at the NMR results, FireClean and Canola oil appear to be “effectively” or “nearly” identical.

This was also the opinion of the chemistry student conducting the testing (Everett) and two other people with similar undergraduate degrees.

Here is the data:

NMR Sample #6 (2015 production Crisco brand canola oil)

NMR Sample #8 (2015 production FireClean)

Here is the NMR data superimposed upon one another:


NMR Sample #6#8 merge
Here is some additional IR data which also includes sample #16, generic corn oil:

6 v 8 v 16

Here is what people with chemistry experience and/or degrees had to say:

“For NMR, you have environment, shift, area and splitting.  Presuming these samples were processed identically, I find the NMR spectra to be effectively identical.  Each peak in a carbon NMR spectrum identifies a carbon atom at a distinct place along a molecule.  Each place reflects its local environment.  You can look up the peaks in the spectrum to referenced guides to then identify where along the spectrum the peaks correspond with molecular species in the molecule.  For instance, is it next to another carbon atom, or an oxygen or hydrogen, etc…  The important part is that the peaks overlap precisely.  I made an image attached below that shows sample 8 superimposed in the green channel of sample 6 (see above).  The height of the peaks is slightly different reflecting effectively nothing as it is the area under the peak that matters which here is negligible.  Sample 6 and 8 are effectively identical.” – PhD (Neurophysiology, BS Chemistry/Biology)

“Height from one spectrum to another is irrelevant and can vary with a slight difference in amount of sample put in the NMR tube. As one of my professors put it “NMR is the gold standard for structural chemistry.” Structural chemists that know the molecular formula of their compound can combine NMR with IR data to figure out what the structure of their molecule is. The chances of two different molecules having the same NMR spectra is almost zero.” – Everett (conducted testing)

“In terms of your data, the two 13C NMR spectra look nearly identical and are expected for a vegetable oil blend. Some differences are apparent in the ‘alkene’ region (~129 ppm), and this is likely due to varying ratios of different unsaturated triglycerides being present in different products. Wikipedia has ratios of the various fatty acid compositions for different oils (here). The minor differences between oleic, linoleic, paltimic, stearic, etc acids will result in slightly different peak patterns in that region of the spectrum.” – Anonymous, PhD (Chemistry)

Here is the second NMR test – two types of NMR, actually, proton (1H) and carbon (13C) done at a different lab, by a different individual, using different samples of FireClean and Costco brand Canola oil:

Canola v FIREClean 13C NMR jpgFIREClean v Canola 1H NMR jpg

Here is what he had to say about the results:

“The structure I pasted over the spectrum is not the exact identity of the canola or fireclean, it’s just a representative. These products contain a mix of various compounds, so the carbon chain length, number and placement of double bonds, etc will all vary between various chemical species and vegetable oil blends. The paper sums that up, for your more demanding readers. I haven’t kept up with the press on fireclean all that much, but if they are claiming any addition of anticorrosives or stabilizers, they would likely show up in either the IR or NMR spectra unless in very small quantities. I would feel confident claiming that FIREclean is just a vegetable oil or vegetable oil blend of some sort.

Some differences in the NMR spectra are apparent, but they are relatively inconsequential and easily explained by the complexity of lipids derived from natural sources. In the 13C NMR, we see some variation in alkene peaks around 128 ppm (peak b) that are likely due to di- and tri-unsaturated fatty acids, and similarly in the 1H we see changes in the relative amounts of allyl protons due to additional unsaturation (2.7 ppm, peak c) between fireclean and Costco canola oil. There’s still nothing about the NMR that would indicate that fireclean is anything but vegetable oil. 

This means that some of their claims are true. Vegetable oil is certainly nontoxic/biodegradable, and somewhat odor free. However, it would be difficult to argue that vegetable oil possesses “extreme heat resistance” when it is known to degrade in the presence of heat and oxygen. As far as conditioning the metal substrate to resist further carbon buildup, a good comparison might be that of seasoning a cast iron skillet, where oil or fat is heated to the point of degradation, leaving behind a complex layer of polymerized triglycerides. If you are comfortable with this on your firearms’ internal components, then this would be a good product to use, otherwise a more thermally stable product might be in order. The attached paper (Review of Food Lipids 2014) details the degradation of food lipids under conditions relevant to firearms use, so readers may make their own determination.” – Anonymous, PhD (Chemistry)

As I have continued to state since forming an opinion on the product, FireClean works very well as a lubricant for the AR-15. I chose it for the LuckyGunner 40,000 round ammo test because I had used it with good results – I was provided with samples early in 2012 – and wanted to give a fledgling company a chance in a crowded field. I don’t regret that decision – the lubricant worked well for the test. The FireClean folks must have felt the same way, because my work on that test is in almost every sales pitch they’ve made about their product.

That said, even the best lube can’t make a bad rifle or a bad magazine or bad ammunition function 100%. All of those items working together – a good rifle built by Bushmaster, Magpul PMags, Federal brass cased .223, and a good lubricant (FireClean) came together for 10,000 rounds with no malfunctions in that particular carbine. The steel cased carbines didn’t perform at quite the same level, but still performed remarkably well, all things considered.

FireClean is, as stated previously on this blog, a common vegetable oil, with no evidence of additives for corrosion resistance or other features. The science is solid in this regard. Questions or concerns about the limited value of IR testing should be, I would think, put to rest with two discrete tests – tests regarded as “the gold standard in analytical chemistry” – and analysis by multiple sources.

Viewed in this light, FireClean’s recent claims that using cooking oils such as canola oil on your firearm could lead to serious injury or death are simply laughable. They also claimed that it should not be used for cooking due to health concerns – but they also claim that it’s non-toxic. Well, which is it?

I have absolutely no issue with the concept of making money (I applaud those who make money hand over fist), or taking a product from one sphere and introducing it to another. I think a certain amount of “finder’s fee” is absolutely reasonable. If they discovered that the product would work as a gun oil, introduced it to the gun world, etc., then they did people a favor by telling them about something they never would have discovered on their own. There are also marketing costs, packaging, etc. We couldn’t expect them to sell a 2oz bottle of Fireclean for the same per ounce price as a gallon of Walmart brand Canola oil.

That said, I don’t think I could look someone in the eye and tell them that a bottle of vegetable oil was the most advanced gun lube on the planet, but those who can? Well, they’re good salesmen, I guess.

What I do take issue with are attempts to mislead consumers and distort the facts. There is a line between being an aggressive and effective salesman and not being entirely truthful about your product, the way it works, or what it contains. It is my belief that FireClean crossed that line long ago – and that many of their recent statements are simply egregious.

FP-10 and WeaponShield Infrared Spectroscopy Comparison

If you have read past articles on this blog, you know that I like Shooters Choice FP-10 as a lubricant for the AR-15. I have been using it for years and am consistently impressed with its performance. I generally just call it FP-10 because I was unaware that it was available from multiple companies.

FP-10 was developed by George Fennell, who later developed a product called WeaponShield. I had never heard of WeaponShield until about six weeks ago. In researching WeaponShield, I discovered Mr. Fennell’s connection to FP-10 and saw several posts by him on various forums which I took to be him disparaging the quality of FP-10 in favor of WeaponShield.

In conversations with him since, he told me that he was not criticizing Shooters Choice FP-10, made by people he sold the formula to, but rather MPC FP-10, which is his old company that has apparently allowed quality control to slip. In any case, he says that WeaponShield is better than either FP-10 formulation.

Confused yet?

Given recent…revelations…about other products in the gun lube industry, I wondered if Mr. Fennell had simply repackaged FP-10, or added something simple such as an eye of newt, and called it WeaponShield. No one else seemed to be wondering this, but I was.

So among other samples of oils I sent off for testing recently, I included two examples of Shooters Choice FP-10 – one new and one purchased approximately seven years ago – as well as a sample of WeaponShield.

Here are the results, and also what Everett (who conducted the testing, click the link to read more about the science) had to say.

2 v 7 v 9

“Based purely on IR it looks like #2 and #9 are extremely similar, #7 is not at all.”

Samples 2 and 9 were the new and old FP-10, and Sample 7 was Weaponshield. It is easy even for the layman (such as myself) to see how different WeaponShield is from FP-10. For those who wondered if all oils looked alike on IR (such as those who didn’t want to believe that FireClean was similar to canola oil), this should give you a good frame of reference for such things.

Does WeaponShield work better than FP-10? It would take me years to answer that question. I have been thoroughly satisfied with Shooters Choice FP-10, going so far as to fire over 2700 rounds through a 5.45 AR lubricated with a minimal amount of FP-10 – and no further lubrication – before encountering a malfunction. One drop of FP-10 was added to the most critical lubrication point on an AR, and the weapon continued to function for another 150 rounds without malfunctioning, at which time I ran out of ammunition.

In comparison, I have about 100 rounds downrange with WeaponShield since receiving some free samples from Mr. Fennell a few weeks back.

I can’t say if WeaponShield is better, but I can say definitively that FP-10 and WeaponShield are not the same, or even similar – answering a question no one seemed to be asking.

Everett (who conducted the testing and is linked above) wished me to thank:

Professor Drew Brodeur of Worcester Polytechnic institute for advising the project
Daryl Johnson, Andy Butler, and Professor John MacDonald of WPI for help with the methods and testing
Curtis of The VSO Gun Channel for help with the methods

CLP Changes Over Time

Several weeks ago I submitted eighteen samples of various gun lubricants and cooking oils for infrared spectroscopy and other testing. If you would like to read more about how the testing was conducted and learn some science, read this article written by the man who was instrumental in this second round of gun lube chemical analysis.

All eighteen will be the subject of future articles, many of which will be published this week – but we’ll start with the mundane. Four of those samples were CLP, and they are the subject of this post
(It’s important to note that from manufacturer to manufacturer, the term “CLP” may not mean the same exact thing, even though they might be intended for the same purpose).

The oldest was a bottle I’d been issued while in the military. It was manufactured by Royal Lubricants Co in March of 2000. This was sample number 15.

The second oldest was a bottle of Otis CLP I’d also picked up in the military, but it was made in (roughly) 2005.  This was sample number 10.

Next was an aerosol can of Break-Free CLP purchased in 2010. This was sample number 14.

Finally, I bought a new bottle of non-aerosol Break-Free CLP in September of 2015. This was sample number 5.

5 v 10 v 14 v 15

The IR spectroscopy showed that they were all similar, but…well, here’s what Everett had to say, before he knew what they were.

“Samples #5, #10, #14, and #15 are all similar, but the varying height of the 2000 to 500 cm-1 peaks indicates that there are some differences. I almost wonder if they are the same starting material but some samples broke down more than others.”

Seems he’s a pretty smart guy, or at least, he knows chemistry. Yes, it would appear that CLP breaks down over time. Is the older stuff less effective as a result? I’ve no idea. The Y2K tube was one I’d used without issue over the last ten years, but that is not conclusive proof that old oil is as good as new oil. We can see that there are some chemical differences, so we should expect some difference in performance at some point. Hook me up with a million rounds of 5.56 and a dozen people whose fingers never get tired, and I’ll find that point.

Everett (who conducted the testing and is linked above) wished me to thank:

Professor Drew Brodeur of Worcester Polytechnic institute for advising the project
Daryl Johnson, Andy Butler, and Professor John MacDonald of WPI for help with the methods and testing
Curtis of The VSO Gun Channel for help with the methods

Scary FireClean Press Release Warns Of Doom

FireClean, in a new press release, states that the use of cooking oils as firearm lubricants is dangerous and could lead to the destruction of your firearm and injury – potentially even loss of life.

FireClean has in the past stated to me that they have NEVER used or even tested canola or soybean oils such as Crisco cooking oils as part of their formulation.

Furthermore, they have repeatedly said that the only relevant testing when it comes to a firearm lubricant is lots of shooting. Lab tests and assumptions about chemical characteristics need not apply.

So if they have never live fire tested these common cooking oils, how do they know that using them as firearm lubricants could lead to firearm damage or injury/death?

Severe Problems With Vickers Tactical FireClean Video

Over the weekend, I posted an article which showed the results of some infrared spectroscopy tests comparing FireClean and two types of Crisco cooking oils. I was not expecting the firestorm of controversy that has erupted.

However, none of that controversy matters.

It doesn’t matter if FireClean is pure canola oil or a mixture of astroglide and peanut butter.

I made a discovery which calls into question any claim or statement made by FireClean as a company and Ed and Dave Sugg as individuals. As for Larry Vickers… did he have knowledge of this? Which is worse, him knowing, or him not knowing?

Some people – a lot of people – are probably rolling their eyes right now. Well, check this out.

On December 26, 2014, Vickers Tactical uploaded a video to YouTube called “FireClean Lube Test.” I watched this video in its entirety for the first time today. In the video, the Sugg brothers are interviewed by Larry Vickers about their product. Larry then proceeds to shoot a Beretta M9 and a BCM carbine with three different configurations:

– Dry (no lube)
– FireClean

The weapons were reportedly cleaned between each firing.

The video purports to show minimal amounts of smoke coming from the firearms when dry and lubricated with CLP, but excessive amounts of smoke when lubricated with FireClean. The smoke, we are told, is carbon being pushed away from the weapon by the super effective FireClean formulation, which is composed of (redacted).

Now, Vickers Tactical has some awesome cameras and production equipment of which I am quite jealous. Don’t get me wrong, I have nice stuff. But I don’t have something that shoots high speed frame rates in 1080p, like Vickers Tactical. That’s the sort of equipment I enjoy seeing in use, especially when firearms are the subject, and I am likely to rewind and watch several times in order to see things I missed.

Things like this.

Beretta M9, dry, PPU headstamp
Beretta M9, dry, brass colored primer, PPU headstamp

This is a screenshot of the Beretta M9 being fired, dry, at approximately 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the video. It shows minimal smoke and a 9mm case with a PPU headstamp and a brass colored primer being ejected from the firearm.


After some discussion, the Beretta is fired again with CLP applied. This can be found at about 7 minutes into the video.

Beretta M9, CLP, PPU headstamp, brass colored primer, shiny projectile likely FMJ
Beretta M9, CLP, PPU headstamp, brass colored primer, what appears to be a shiny projectile, likely FMJ

Again we see a PPU case with a brass primer ejecting. There is a little more smoke and we are told it is because of the CLP. We can see the projectile of the subsequent round and it appears to be shiny, as we would expect a factory FMJ projectile to be.

Finally, at approximately 8 minutes and 30 seconds, Larry fires the M9 again, this time having been cleaned and lubricated with FireClean. Immediately upon ejection, the spent case emits quite a lot of smoke – much more than the previous two rounds. And then the case spins around and the headstamp comes into view…

Beretta M9, FireClean, Cor-Bon case, nickel colored primer
Beretta M9, FireClean, Cor-Bon case, nickel colored primer

That is a different colored primer. More than that, it’s a Cor-Bon 9mm Luger +P headstamp.


And when the projectile of the subsequent round comes into view, we can see that it has a more matte finish, as we would expect, say, a copper plated bullet to have (if you’re not a handloader, the projectile differences may not be as apparent to you). Alternately it could be a DPX bullet which is used by Cor-Bon in its +P line.

Cor-Bon case. Nickel primer, with a little more space between the primer and the case than the PPU. Super smoky powder. Possibly a plated bullet.

I’ll bet you four bottles of FireClean that was a factory +P Cor-Bon load; +P loads being hotter and having more powder than standard, bargain ammunition like Prvi Partizan. Barring that, it was a handload, with a smoky powder selected for maximum effect.

I have major concerns with the rifle ammunition used in the BCM carbine as well, but due to the design of the AR, the depth of field of the camera, and the length of the 5.56 case, my suppositions would be much harder to prove. Still, the pistol evidence is so overwhelming as to make the rifle almost irrelevant.

Whether it was a handload or a factory Cor-Bon round, it is indisputable that the cartridge fired for the FireClean demonstration was significantly different than the cartridges fired for the dry gun and CLP demonstrations.

Indisputable differences.
Indisputable differences.

No factory Prvi Partizan (made in Serbia) ammunition would ship with a random Cor-Bon (not made in Serbia) case and a different primer.

No honest person with a basic understanding of the scientific method would use handloaded or +P ammunition in a comparison with standard pressure bargain priced ammunition if the comparison was meant to show differences between lubricants and their effect on how much smoke comes out of the chamber during firing.

Smoke after firing is put forth as evidence of a cleaner gun. The cleaner gun concept is central to the ethos of FireClean; it’s even their URL. Different ammunition was selected for the FireClean portion of the demonstration to give the appearance of more smoke and thus a cleaner gun.

As I said at the beginning, the “FireClean Is or Is Not a Common Vegetable Oil Used for Cooking” controversy matters not. All the information required to judge the integrity of statements made by FireClean is contained in that Vickers Tactical video.


Infrared Spectroscopy of FireClean and Crisco Oils

If you have been on the internet and have visited a sampling of firearm related blogs or social media sites in the last few weeks, you have most likely come across reports or claims that FireClean is nothing more than Crisco vegetable oil. I had heard it from two people in the industry whom I respect around the same time it started being mentioned all over the place (I had previously been aware that it was a food grade oil, but did not know anything more than that).

The first real attention-grabber was this video, which has since been removed. It showed FireClean and Crisco vegetable oil smoking and burning off at the same time on a stovetop (my friend Brett replicated this test and saw the same results). Still, this wasn’t the sort of conclusive proof that would sway me one way or the other. It’s possible that two oils could have the same smoke point and not share other properties.

I did not – and still do not – believe that FireClean is Crisco, but not for the reason you might think. Although such statements make for shocking arguments, it wouldn’t really make sense to buy a name brand product at a high price if the goal was to resell and make money.

Still, the claim that FireClean is nothing more than Crisco is not one to be taken lightly by anyone – not by consumers and certainly not by the company. I spoke at length with one of the makers of FireClean, Ed Sugg, and he assured me that not a single drop of Crisco has ever been part of their formulation, even during initial testing with various mixtures. Interestingly enough, he specifically mentioned that soybean oil had not been part of their testing.

Despite these assurances, which I was inclined to believe, I sought to undertake my own testing to determine whether or not these claims are true about FireClean. Trust, but verify.

I also contacted the man who seems to have originated the “FireClean is Crisco” claim. George Fennell of WeaponShield posted on his personal Facebook page that FireClean was Crisco several weeks back (I am told that this has been removed, but I cannot view his Facebook page any more).

It was claimed by various people, including the guy who first posted that now-removed stovetop video, that he had scientific proof of this claim. I asked Mr. Fennell if he would provide a copy of the analysis, which he refused to do. He told me all I needed to do was look at FireClean’s patent application to see that it was Crisco and/or other vegetable oils. When I asked again, rather politely in my opinion, he sent a very long and agitated message again refusing to supply the test before blocking me on Facebook.

Mr. Fennell was the developer of FP-10, a gun oil which, I should mention, I have recommended in the past and said I would purchase over FireClean for reasons of cost. He has since left the company which produces FP-10 and started at WeaponShield. Since then, he has criticized FP-10 as well as FireClean and other oils. I will reiterate that FP-10 provides excellent lubrication characteristics at a competitive price, if you’re looking to buy a gun oil.

But the question of the day is about FireClean and Crisco. There was clearly only one way to settle this, and that was to engage in some science.

I contacted a professor at the University of Arizona – a very nice man with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry – and he agreed to help with an infrared spectroscopy test of FireClean and two types of Crisco.

Two types, you ask? Not generally using anything other than olive oil in my cooking, I was somewhat surprised to find a wall of various types of cooking oils at my local grocery store. There were two types of Crisco oils prominently featured in the display – Pure Vegetable, and Pure Canola. I stood there in the aisle for quite some time, trying to figure out which one to buy. Sensing my puzzlement, a helpful lady asked me if I needed assistance deciding which oil was right for whatever it was I wanted to cook. Suddenly, I understood what it must be like for girls who visit gun stores.

Remembering the earlier comment about soybean oil, I determined with the help of the label that Crisco Pure Vegetable oil is made from soybean oil. Crisco Pure Canola is made from, you guessed it, canola. There were also probably half a dozen other brands of canola oil on the shelf. I decided to take both types of Crisco for testing.

The test took a week, and here are the results.

vegetable oils IR data


What did the tests show?

FireClean is probably a modern unsaturated vegetable oil virtually the same as many oils used for cooking.

The professor had something to say about the formulation and its relevance as a gun oil. “I don’t see any sign of other additives such as antioxidants or corrosion inhibitors.  Since the unsaturation in these oils, especially linoleate residues, can lead to their oligomerization with exposure to oxygen and light, use on weapons could lead to formation of solid residues (gum) with time.   The more UV and oxygen, the more the oil will degrade.”

In my 2013 article about gun oils, I mentioned that FireClean wasn’t advertised as protecting against corrosion. Given the results of this test, I suppose that makes sense.

When I fired this AR which had been sitting for years with FireClean on the internals, it hadn’t been exposed to UV, although it certainly saw some oxygen. Since that test, several friends told me privately that their 1911s did not function properly after sitting for six months with FireClean on the internals. It would seem that these results are highly dependent on the weapon.

Given that people in the military are often exposed to both UV and oxygen (such as when they go outdoors) and also need corrosion protection for their firearms, I would not recommend FireClean be used by members of the military.

I offered FireClean a chance to respond to the findings of this test, and, among other things, they asked to review the draft of this article for a few days before it was published. That is not how this blog works. I assume they will be publishing a response through other channels.

Does FireClean Cause Malfunctions After Prolonged Storage?

In the last week I have noticed allegations made by the maker of a gun oil that FireClean is a) nothing more than Crisco vegetable oil, and b) will cause the action of a weapon to “gum up” if left on the weapon for more than six to twelve months.

While I am investigating both claims, I happened to have a Spike’s Tactical AR15 in 5.45×39 which had last been fired and lubricated with FireClean in September of 2013 and, to be clear, not been cleaned, fired, or lubricated in any manner since. I took this rifle to the range this morning and fired a magazine of surplus 5.45 in order to determine if the action had been “gummed up.” This weapon has only seen surplus ammunition in its life, has been shot a lot, and has rarely if ever been cleaned. I can hardly think of a better candidate for such an experiment and I am, I guess, fortunate that my dad didn’t shoot it much (rather, at all) after I loaned it to him.

The video can be found here.

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Which is The Most Racist Flag of All?

After reading the Newsweek article originally known as “It’s Time to Haul Down Another Flag of Racist Hate,” I was moved to write about what I feel is the most racist flag around. After all, we’ve managed to rid Amazon of the Confederate flag and Dukes of Hazzard reruns from late night TV.  With this remarkable victory against the forces of evil under our belt, what’s a socially conscious and (inherently guilty) white man to warn America about from the rooftops of the internet?

A brave, intrepid journalist named Rick Perlstein has informed us that the POW/MIA flag that we all thought was a reminder of those who didn’t come home was actually a symbol of how much racism was still alive and well in America. As he said, the silhouette on the flag represents a white man, even though he’s black on the flag. It’s definitely not that the POW/MIA flag represents all those missing in action regardless of race. It’s another symbol of white America’s efforts to keep all the other races under our thumb.

With that in mind, I move that we should move another flag into the museums and history books. The true symbol only used by “right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage” as my new favorite scribe Perlstein put it? Definitely the American flag.


What does it represent, really? Each star represents the fifty states of the Union. A white star, of course, representing the white people who stole each state from the Native Americans. They reside on a blue field, which represents the sky under which these atrocities took place. The sky cries because of the atrocities it has witnessed under the American flag.

The red stripes represent, of course, the blood of all the innocent people we’ve spilled over the two-hundred-odd years of our unfortunate existence. These red stripes are on top of the white stripes, much like the blood of the innocents is all over the skin of white America.

The best way forward for our country is to rid itself of all symbols of racism wherever they exist. Alexander Hamilton, who was probably racist because he existed in the 1700s, should be replaced on the ten dollar bill by Harriet Tubman driving an underground railroad-themed monster truck over a line of General Lees. Seinfeld reruns should come off the air, because Kramer went on a racist rant during a stand up bit. Finally, the American flag should be replaced by a simple white banner with the words WE’RE SORRY, in all the languages of the people we’ve killed, written in non-racist fonts – something like Comic Sans.

I know what you’re thinking – what’s this guy’s address, so I can kill him? But on the long drive from Mississippi to Arizona (go fast, turn left!), please reflect on all the racism you’re perpetrating by continuing to love America. Racism racism racism. I don’t have much of an argument, but I said racism a lot. That’s the key to journalistic success, if Rick Perlstein is to be my guide.

We Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Nuking Imperial Japan

Earlier this year as the 70th anniversary of VE day approached, major news outlets discussed the upcoming festivities and showed interviews with veterans and speeches from politicians about the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation. We were reminded of the evils of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. All of this is, of course, true.

As the 70th anniversary of VJ day approaches – especially today as this marks 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima – nearly every media outlet seems focused on hand-wringing over the use of atomic weapons against Japan. While I noted one interesting article from the LA Times about the Japanese nuclear program, everything else has almost completely omitted any mention of the evils Imperial Japan perpetrated on its side of the world during the war. It’s as if the Japanese have gotten a pass on a lot of the stuff they did because we condensed the killing of many of their civilians into two bombs.

Hiroshima after the nuclear explosion.
Hiroshima after the nuclear explosion. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

We killed a ton of German civilians from the air too – depending on who you ask, between 350 and 650 thousand, between the RAF and the Army Air Corps. There is essentially no handwringing over this in the modern media. It isn’t even mentioned. Mention Dresden to the average person, they won’t know what you’re talking about. Hiroshima? Most likely. But no one cares about bombing German civilians because the Nazis were really bad, right?

In terms of evil, I think the Germans and the Japanese were about neck and neck. We just don’t hear about what the Japanese did to the Chinese (or the Koreans, or the Vietnamese, or…) nearly as often as we hear about what the Germans did to the populations of Europe. And so we have the term “Nazi” to neatly package all that evil and, in modern times, describe a bad person or someone who is mean to you. But we don’t have a companion term for Imperial Japan. Call someone an “Imperial” and they’ll just look at you funny or tell you they are disturbed by your lack of faith.

The morality and/or necessity of using nuclear weapons against Japan had been discussed in full twenty years before I was born, and so I will not delve into that – but I will say this. Between an almost overwhelming and constant reminder of the evils of Nazi Germany  during World War II and a near-total lack of knowledge of what Imperial Japan did during the war, it’s not totally surprising that most people are more concerned about apologizing for American actions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki than efficiently ending a reign of terror that lasted for almost fifteen years, spanned a continent, and cost millions of lives.

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