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Ballistol—a Review (Read 5602 times)
M1911A1 Steve
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Ballistol—a Review
Aug 30th, 2011 at 12:51am
 

Ballistol:

This pH-altered mineral oil was originally formulated before 1914, for use by the German Army. It was designed to be so general in its purpose that it would satisfy almost every requirement of the German soldier.
It was to clean and lubricate firearms and other metal equipment, waterproof and polish wood, condition and preserve leather, and was even supposed to be a remedy for minor wounds, skin abrasions, and rashes. Whether it prevents or cures sexually-transmitted diseases is not mentioned in its accompanying instructions.

To date, I have not yet used Ballistol to actually clean a gun, but after lightly lubricating my carry pistol I found dirtied oil creeping out from between several of the gun's joints. I added a little more of the oil, and found that it did indeed loosen and lift crud out of crevices. Further, being pH-altered, it seems to prevent the rust that forms from contact with human sweat; however, I have not been using it long enough to have made a real test of this feature.
Next, I used it on a folding knife that had sustained rust damage from exposure to Coca-Cola. The more easily reached oxidation had already been treated successfully with a rust remover, after which Ballistol caused the hidden remains to flow out of the niches in which rust persisted. Once that was gone, no more reddish discoloration has been observed, following subsequent oil applications. Further, after using the knife to open some taped boxes, Ballistol immediately and effortlessly removed all traces of sticky tape residue from the knife's blade with just a wipe of a paper towel.
In the cases of both pistol and knife, Ballistol has continued to act as a satisfactory lubricant, requiring normal reapplication at a rate of about once a week.

Since Ballistol does not seem to polymerize, I am not sure if I would recommend its use on gun stocks. A quick wipe of it will certainly make a stock gleam, but if it soaks into the wood, it may become as harmful to accuracy as it proves beneficial to appearance and waterproofing.

Ballistol is a good dressing for leather that should be kept as flexible as possible. Small amounts of it will keep a leather rifle sling in good shape. It would also be good for shoe leather, except for the fact that any oil will eventually destroy the cement that helps hold shoes together. In the WW1 era, shoes were assembled using hot hide glue, which is not affected by oil; however, nowadays shoe cements are plastic- and rubber-based, and oil reacts badly with them.
Ballistol is most definitely very bad news for wet-molded leather holsters. It will soften the leather to the point that it will no longer retain the pistol it is supposed to fit. Do not use oil, or saddlesoap, on any wood-hard, wet-molded holster.

Ballistol is a "creeping" oil. It cleans by flowing under dirt and lifting it from the affected surface. The creeping feature also gets it into hard-to-lubricate places. As a cleaner and a lubricant, it works very well indeed. It is, however, not "resident" in the pores of a lubricated surface, so it wears off in a short time, and must be replaced.

Due to its chemically-altered pH, it seems to be an effective rust preventative, warding off the effects of body salts on the metal it coats. But the Ballistol coating needs to be renewed fairly often.

Ballistol does some things quite well. You might like it. But be warned: Its odor is a bit unpleasant, with slight fecal overtones.

Oh, yes: It is no longer recommended as a cure for minor wounds, abrasions, and rashes. It is not manufactured to medically-pure standards.
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Steve
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NYCNoob
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #1 - Aug 30th, 2011 at 11:09am
 
Wow who knew it did all that stuff! It does more things then a Chinese herbal remedy.

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Dave49
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #2 - Aug 30th, 2011 at 1:14pm
 
Steve,
Good review!  I'm thinking why not use Ballistol four times a year, or whatever frequency based on shooting habits,  for a good deep cleaning and then a more conventional lube?
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M1911A1 Steve
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #3 - Aug 30th, 2011 at 3:26pm
 
NYCNoob wrote on Aug 30th, 2011 at 11:09am:
Wow who knew it did all that stuff! It does more things then a Chinese herbal remedy.

It is a Chinese herbal remedy—by way of the Deutsches Heere.


Dave49 wrote on Aug 30th, 2011 at 1:14pm:
Steve,
Good review!  I'm thinking why not use Ballistol four times a year, or whatever frequency based on shooting habits,  for a good deep cleaning and then a more conventional lube?

It seems to be somewhat like Kroil, in its creeping-and-cleaning effect, plus it protects against sweat.
That combination of features seems very useful to me.
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Big Mickey
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #4 - Aug 30th, 2011 at 5:40pm
 
Looking at the MSDS sheet it looks like the primary ingredient is a high purity mineral oil often referred to as "pharmaceutical oil."  To this, apparently, are added some esters and alcohols that act as surfactants. 

I think it smells a little more like anisette (or licorice) than ... well that Steve said.  Perhaps that's wishful thinking?  Now I can't get it out of my head and will think of it that way every time I go to shoot or to clean. 

Anyway, it's neat stuff.  It's also good for cleaning fine mechanisms in mechanical watches and clocks, some parts of mechanical cameras, etc.  (It's one of the best ways I've found to "flush" an old railroad watch.  Even with screw on faces and backs it's amazing how much gunk can get into one.)  I'm about out so I guess I'll have to buy some more.
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #5 - Sep 22nd, 2011 at 1:09pm
 
I've been using Weaponshield for awhile now and have been getting curious about how ballistol compares to that.

I would kind of like to switch to ballistol but not sure if it works as well as WS.
I know the stuff is safe and been around forever.

Any opinions as to which one is safer and or better?

thanks
And hello
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Big Mickey
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #6 - Sep 23rd, 2011 at 7:31am
 
Perhaps others have, but I've never used Weapon Shield before, so I can't make a comparison.  I don't think either one of them would do any harm, though, but a good label read should alert you to any potential problems.
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #7 - Oct 2nd, 2011 at 10:50am
 
If you are really looking for an inexpensive lubricant/rust preventative, look no further than you local John Deere Dealer and purchase an age-old product named "Fluid Film".....a WW2 product developed for use in our US Military in 1944....I have used this product for 40 years and have found that it's the best "bang for the buck" to date. I use this product on all my weaponry and have had no problems....give it a try & compare it with the latest expensive products currently on the market....I think that you will be satisfied with the results! Wink
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #8 - Oct 2nd, 2011 at 4:23pm
 
tkirk wrote on Oct 2nd, 2011 at 10:50am:
If you are really looking for an inexpensive lubricant/rust preventative, look no further than you local John Deere Dealer and purchase an age-old product named "Fluid Film".....a WW2 product developed for use in our US Military in 1944....I have used this product for 40 years and have found that it's the best "bang for the buck" to date. I use this product on all my weaponry and have had no problems....give it a try & compare it with the latest expensive products currently on the market....I think that you will be satisfied with the results! Wink


I looked it up it sounds a lot like Ballistol I may just pick some up it's cheap and can get it about 25 miles away.
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Re: Ballistol—a Review
Reply #9 - Sep 6th, 2012 at 8:15pm
 
Thank you, Steve for posting that review. I came to this board to post a question about Baristol, and lo and behold...

I'm thinking of ordering one can to give it a try. I don't trust any "one product does it all" claims for anything, but it seems that Baristol would be a great "first blush" cleaner for guns. After which, I would wipe everything down and apply gun oil as always. Of course, it would probably remain in the nooks and crannies, which is okay.
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