The Conclusion to my FrogLube Adventure
Executive Summary. FrogLube is one of the best lubricants and cleaners that I have seen, but it requires learning a different way of keeping your gun running, and it is not suitable for revolvers. The claims that it gums up or otherwise causes a reduction in performance I have not been able to duplicate; I cannot rule out that these could be possible, but I find it highly unlikely that FrogLube will cause a reduction in performance of your firearm if used correctly. If used incorrectly, it will make your life hell. I would rate it high on protection and lubrication, and low on the cleaning side of the CLP metric. I can wholeheartedly recommend FrogLube for people looking for a good long term storage solution or for someone interested in getting the best lubrication and protective qualities. This would hold true particularly for extreme weather conditions, as FrogLube is effective even with basically "nothing" there, making cold weather and sandy environments excellent candidates. Again, FrogLube must be used correctly, and cannot be used like other lubricants. I have decided not to use it as my main daily lubricant for my daily shooters, primarily because I clean them regularly and prefer to have a product that makes it easier to clean compared to my experiences with FrogLube. For long term storage of firearms, though, it will be my main protectant, and I may use it selectively depending on the situation.
Introduction. There is a lot of talk on the Internet about FrogLube. I set out in previous posts to record my application procedures and document my experiences with FrogLube in such a way as to come to some understanding of whether or not FrogLube could cause problems in firearms as reported by some if used according to the directions.
I created a set of YouTube videos documenting my initial impressions and my normal work routine, and then I proceeded to use FrogLube for an extended period of time. I watched carefully for the sort of behaviors that people complained about with FrogLube, particularly focusing on reduction of readiness in the firearm, specifically:
- That FrogLube would gum up over time or in colder weather, leading to a reduction of performance.
- That even if properly applied, that the lubricant could migrate into unreachable places, such as the firing pin channel, that would eventually cause gumming up.
- That using FrogLube correctly could not be done at the field strip level, and instead required a complete breaking down.
I also set out to confirm generally the following claims:
- That FrogLube was an excellent and high lubricity lubricant that smoothed out actions
- That it was an excellent protectant.
- That it cleaned well and resulted in reduced cleaning efforts and a reduction in the need for harsh chemicals because of its design.
To do these tests I used the FrogLube paste exclusively with the FrogLube Solvent.
Negative #1: Gumming Up. Overall, I find zero support to back up the claim that FrogLube appears to gum up. I spread out a bit of it in a somewhat heavy layer such as what one might use to protect the gun during long term storage. I would say this layer was probably in the range of 0.5mm thick or less, being clearly visible. I left it in a temperature stable environment for an extended period exceeding a couple of weeks. At no time was I able to detect any significant change in the product, and especially no gumming up. The product applied as heavily as this would be absolutely inappropriate to use to lubricate the gun as it would be too thick and too much to allow for the proper movement in the action, much like an over applied grease. I also applied the product correctly to a Beretta ARX-100 and a Beretta Px4 Storm Full Size, which I would claim are excellent candidates for this lube. There was one case where I was able to find an excess of lubrication, which occurred with the ARX on the bolt carrier where there is a slight space under the light plate that covers the underside of the carrier. However, this causes zero function degradation in the gun because that surface never experiences contact with other rubbing surfaces or moving surfaces. Indeed, the amount that found its way in there was so small that unless one were intentionally looking for evidence of it as I was, it would not have been noticed at all. The Solvent was sufficient to remove this product. It was impossible to determine whether it was sticky or not, because I could not access the area under the plate, and I found the excess product there by using a can of compressed air to run solvent through that region.
In all other cases there was zero evidence of gumming up or even a reduction in overall lubricity from the initial application to the time of re-application. This is notable because many oils tend to "evaporate" over time and can cause a reduction in performance over time without consistent reapplication. I did not experience this with FrogLube.
While I am sure, looking at the paste, that you could find a way to gum up the product, I cannot fathom a way to do so after the gun has been properly lubed, I tried to figure out a way, but was not able to do so. Temperature did not affect the lubricity in any noticeable way.
Negative #2: Migration. This claim is that even when the product is properly applied, as the gun heats up, the lubricant liquefies and then is in a state where it will migrate into the firing pin channel or other places where you do not want it to go and then cool down again into a form that causes malfunctions.
I can see the logic behind this, but again, I was unable to find any evidence to support the claim. After a proper application, I would heat the gun up, both artificially and through firing, and then look over the barrel and other parts of the gun to see whether I could detect significant amounts of lubricant that I could manually force into migrating. I could not find any. There were occasionally very tiny patches of liquefied lube, but they were so small and minute that they could not be spread around, even manually. You would have to be using way too much lube combined with basically a zero cleaning policy where you just added more and more FrogLube without cleaning for many number of rounds over a period of extended time without cleaning to manage to even get enough lube into any of these channels to begin to approach a malfunction level reduction in performance. This would be even more true for a stock Px4 or other hammer fired gun with a strong hammer spring.
With artificial heating it was the same thing, when applied correctly, a second application of heat does not lead to enough lubricant in a liquid form to permit migration. You might get enough that you could feel a difference on your finger if you touched a visually liquid spot, but I did not find that I could then create another equally visible spot somewhere else after touching the spot. It's just so insignificant.
Now, this all assumes that you apply the lubrication in the same way that I did, which was with some degree of care and intentionally ensuring that my application was judicious in areas that could have some accidental migration. I was also judicious in other areas. This is even more true of a gun like the ARX, where the firing pin and firing pin channel are easily cleaned.
Negative #3: Field Strip Practicality. Based on the above, I was able to easily apply and regularly clean my gun to a satisfactory degree without needing to break the gun down beyond the field strip level. Using compressed air and the solvent I was able to clean all hard to reach areas and keep them dry to avoid some sort of oxidation. The one caveat I might have is that in extremely harsh environments, I would want to make sure that I had done something to treat these areas in such a way as to resist corrosion before entering the harsh environment. I would then feel confident in using FrogLube for the Field Stripping and cleaning levels.
The one case where this claim does hold water is with revolvers. It's just not possible to lubricate revolvers without getting the lubricant in spots where you cannot remove the excess. In these cases, you are asking for trouble with FrogLube, and thus I could not recommend lubricating a revolver with FrogLube.
Claim #1: Lubricity. Absolutely spot on. Even though I am no longer using FrogLube for my regular lubricant needs, it remains the best lubricant in my experience when it comes to how smooth and clean the guns feel when applied. They slide and slip like glass and are absolutely slick. They also do not have the greasy or oily feeling to them, further contributing to the excellent feel. In some ways it has the benefits of a dry lube with that of a wet one. While others have done a better job of handling actual lubricity tests, I feel that experientially, FrogLube is up there among the best, which jives with other reports that have been more scientific in nature.
Claim #2: Protectant. I did little to verify this claim except watching for signs of corrosion or other problems with my guns over the time that I used them. Others have done extended tests of the protective qualities of FrogLube, and they all come to the same conclusion, that it is among the best if not the best for protecting against the elements.
Claim #3: Ease of Cleaning. Here's where I was rather disappointed. While FrogLube is advertised as being a good way to keep the gun clean, as the carbon should not stick to the gun as does with other lubricants, and it should be easier to wipe down, I found that this is only partially true. It is true that it's not more difficult to clean, but the solvent is not particularly strong, though they do make an extra strength solvent now. Moreover, I found that getting the bores nice and clean was still a significant amount of work and normal cleaning didn't seem to be highly improved.
Overall, I would rate the cleaning action of FrogLube in the normal regiment as leading to an adequate cleaning experience, but if you want to do lots of heat-based reapplications, then your time isn't really saved, and could be extended when using this product. FrogLube excels in lubricity and protective qualities, so it's not surprising that it doesn't clean really well.
Another aspect to this is that if you put a gun in long term storage, it will not be suitable for bringing right back out of the safe and firing without a thorough cleaning and re-lubing after it is put in its storage state. Some people may feel like this puts FrogLube at a disadvantage, but I'd say that this same cleaning regiment would need to be followed for any suitable powerful protectant that was really going to keep your gun safe for long term storage. You don't get a ready to fire gun that is also prepared for long term storage at the same time. it's just not going to work like that.
General Conclusions. Basically, I've found that FrogLube does what it says it does, protects better than almost all, if not all, other common gun CLPs, and gives your gun the nicest feeling action and smoothness out of many lubricants that I have tried. However, it comes at the cost of a different set of reactions which requires treating it like its own thing and not treating it like just another gun oil. It doesn't really clean as well as some people would have you believe, though, and I would not call it a time saver. Depending on your operating requirements and what things you prioritize though, I would feel good about using it with any defensive gun other than a revolver, and most other precision weapon systems. A hunting rifle would be a great option for FrogLube, as it would be highly resistant to the elements while out on longer hunting expeditions, but it would deliver excellent performance.
However, the margin for error is much smaller with FrogLube than it is with other lubes. While you get great results if you can be careful and think about what you are doing, this is a thinking man's lube, and not the sort of lube for someone who just wants to slab something on and be done with it. You can get great results with it, but the incorrect application of FrogLube is guaranteed to get you in trouble.
I have no evidence to support an inherent flaw in FrogLube, however, and it seems to me that I have been unable to actually create any evidence supporting the negative claims or assertions that I have seen elsewhere. If someone could do so, I would find it very educational, but they would need to do by completely and clearly documenting their application strategies and the like.
In the end, however, I have not decided to continue using FrogLube for my regular lubricant. The reason is simple: I prioritize the down time effort of maintaining firearms that I am actively using or shooting. In other words, I was hoping that in addition to a less toxic lubricant, that I would also be reducing the cleaning time that I had to endure. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with FrogLube. I do not think that my time was significantly increased, but it wasn't decreased either. This could perhaps be because of my own care in application, but like I said, I tend to think that FrogLube warrants care in application if you want to get the best results from it.
Instead, I have switched to using FireClean for my regular lubrication needs. In my experience it does not lubricate as well as FrogLube and other people's experience seems to indicate that it will not do as well as a long term storage protectant either. Thus, for really extreme environments or other sorts of situations, I would be inclined to use FrogLube, and especially if I wanted to store my firearms for a long time in unknown environmental conditions. However, in the current conditions in which I find myself, the FireClean lubricates adequately and protects adequately, but greatly reduces the effort involved in cleaning. It requires no solvents, and I can do all of my cleaning with a set of rags and Q-tips. I am able to maintain all aspects of the firearm and reduce my overall maintenance load, which, with the regular shooting that I do, makes it more valuable to me as a regular lubricant than FrogLube. So, FireClean reduces my maintenance burden at the cost of a less ideal performance than FrogLube, though still quite adequate, and thus I use it instead. I feel that with FrogLube and FireClean, one has everything they need to handle protection, storage, lubrication, and cleaning needs for any modern firearm. They are excellent lubricants and I can heartily recommend them.