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Freezing Shotgun Test | Lubricant Showdown

product reviews shotgun showdown Feb 24, 2022



We have a different type of showdown going on today ladies and gentlemen. This was a cold one to film; freezing in fact! Today we're going out to see just how well different types of shotgun lubricants perform in the freezing cold.

To reduce the amount of variables, I selected the Winchester SX4 12ga since that is the only shotgun that I have four of the same models. Each shotgun was cleaned the same exact way but then lubricated using different lubricants/oils in each shotgun to see if there is performance difference.

The lubricants are

  1. Hoppes 9
  2. Otis Dry Lube
  3. Otis Mission-Critical
  4. Rem Oil

Over the course of this experiment, I shot 100 total rounds through each gun. After the first 25 (each) all guns and lubes were operating just fine. So then, we threw them in the snow, filled the chambers with snow, and started shooting. This is where the lubricants had to step up to the plate. 

Hoppes 9: Right out of the gate, the Hoppes had a hard time cycling the gun, and keeping the shell lifter running. Halfway through the shell box, the Hoppes started running. Not quickly, but at least it was still running. Re-applying the Hoppes in the field was not easy - It had almost fully frozen up leading to another reason to not prefer it. For the second half of the experiment, we dumped dirt from my vacuum into the chambers. The Hoppes would fire but not cycle, even after getting more oil applied to the action.

Otis Dry Lub: I ran this through my TFL show gun. This is my personal favorite lubricant and I have been using it for a long time. The application is really slick with its aerosol spray bottle. You can quickly apply it and get into all the hard to reach areas of the action. I'm not going to lie-it took a bit longer than I was expecting for it to get going  after freezing the guns it took 6-7 rounds to start cycling properly cycle but then it was cycling shots without issue.

After dumping the dirt in this gun became a single shot, firing the shells but not cycling. I love how I could easily spray into the action in the field but to my surprise, it didn't make a difference. Usually when I am in the field and I have a shotgun acting up, just a touch of oil in the action helps things get running again.

Otis Mission Critical: This stuff is expensive and not quite as easy to apply as the dry lube but I had high hopes. Once this gun was frozen and chalked full of snow, it was the quick to get back up and running and it was the smoothest operating shotgun too. But then I had to go and dump the dirt directly down the chamber and just like to the Hoppes 9 and the Otis Dry Lube, it became a single shot semi-automatic. With another application of lube in the field the shotgun starting ejecting shells but wouldn't bring another round up into the chamber.

Rem Oil: Last but certainly not least was the Rem Oil. The Rem Oil used went on difficult and was a pain to apply but it performed well in the field. After getting doused with dirt and a replication of oil, the Rem Oil Shotgun was the only one to properly cycle. This really surprised me.

Take Aways

  1. If you have your guns well cleaned, all of these lubricants will work in sub zero temperatures.
  2. Don't dump a vacuum cleaner full of dirt into the action of your shotgun.
  3. If your shotgun does get full of mud or dirt, give it a quick clean.
  4. If you are in an extreme pinch in the field, Rem Oil may be able to get you back up and running.
  5. I am stubborn. Even though I did this test, I have had such great success in real life, practical situations with Otis Dry lube, I am still sticking with it.

 Remember, whether in the field or in life, to LIVE Target Focused




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