Gun Hub Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Browsing through a Brownell's catalog, I found for sale some extra long pipe cleaners marketed as "gas tube cleaners".

Now back in the last century when I was issued and carried an M-16 or the grandpa of the current M-4, we were taught to clean the barrel, the chamber, the bolt carrier, the bolt and wipe out the crud on the inside...oh yeah, and to pull the buffer and spring out once in a while and wipe it down with an oily rag. But nobody never, ever said we had to clean the gas tube.

I guess it makes sense...it carriers exhaust gasses back to the bolt carrier, and we know how dirty that can get. But is it really necessary for most shooters? And are these pipe cleaner like things the way to go? Any possibility of one maybe breaking off a small piece and blocking your tube? Are there better ways to accomplish this?

Silly questions, I suppose...but just trying to update my admittedly out-of-date knowledge on the care and upkeep of my new toy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
I've always heard that running them wet was more crucial than making sure they were squeaky clean from a function standpoint, but I'd defer to Snake or others who have had more experience with that particular platform.

I'm running an AK almost exclusively now, and the challenge is making it not work...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,499 Posts
I've heard contradictory things about the gas tubes.
They probably don't need cleaning as often as other parts because it's the real hot gasses that go through the tube. It's also under pressure and tends to blow out any residue.
Like the short-stroke tappet assembly on the M-1 Carbine the standard advice might be "if it ain't cruded-up, don't fool with it.";)
I concur with Walt Graham's observation that the AR likes to be run "wet." That's what I've heard; it can run pretty dirty as long as it's lubed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,432 Posts
The gas tube is totally self cleaning.
Sticking ANYTHING in the tube is only an invitation to get something stuck and blocking the tube.

The gas tube has super-heated plasma gas under about 20,000 pounds PSI of pressure running through it. It will burn and/or blow any fouling out.
The only part of the tube that should be cleaned is the outside of the rear tube inside the receiver where the bolt carrier key slips over it.

The gas tube is cheap and easy to replace. Any problems, the correct fix is to just replace it.
Friends have told me that in the military, getting caught sticking anything in the gas tube will have your Sargent sticking something up your gas tube, sideways.:oops:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,543 Posts
Cleaning the gas tube was a necessity back when. There was an additive to the powder, forget what, that was a flash suppressant. However, whoever was making the powder (Olin?) got sloppy and used too much for awhile, leading to gas tube blockage in extended use. They eventually figured out the issue and corrected it.

I've been using the things (ARs) for 42 years off and on. I've never seen a manual-including the one from Colt- that showed what properly had to be lubed to allow the piece to run and not cause excessive carbon buildup. Lubrication is a variable thing. The need does vary by environment and the AR system does need TLC in dusty areas. I long ago learned what a good thing Dri-Slide is, it's a moly dry film lube in an evaporative carrier. When it's dry, there's no liquid to run off or hold dirt and/or combustion products.

If you lube the contact surfaces of the carrier: the sides of the gas tube block, the contact rails at 4:30 & 7:30 at the lower front of the carrier and the cam pin, you're good to go. I've done week long carbine classes without cleaning/lubing using this system and firing beau coup rounds.

Slopping lube over the entire exterior surface of the carrier does little, it doesn't touch anything except at the contact surfaces noted previously. Slopping lube over the firing pin and gas cylinder area simply provides something to be turned into carbon by the hot combustion gases. If you feel you just have to lube this area, Mobil 1 is supposed to be a good idea, as a synthetic it's less likely to form carbon and allegedly keeps carbon in suspension and makes it easier to clean. I wouldn't know, but it sounds logical.

BTW, I've got a Force Recon AAR from the early days of Afghanistan where a company commander is complaining about the differences between functionally clean and white glove inspection clean and how his troops are wasting time and breaking things prematurely to maintain a meaningless state of cleanliness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to one and all. I thought maybe they came up with some new first echelon maintenance requirements since my exposure to the good ol' AR platform decades ago.

I tend not to over lube, and haven't had any problems. A light coating of oil or CLP on the bolt carrier, bolt and firing pin, maybe a drop on the trigger group when I felt necesary and that's about it.

The gas tube was never part of our maintenance regimen back in the day. I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed something important. :ehsmile:

As always, you guys kept me straight. God, I love this forum!
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top