Rust on a firearm can be anything from a mild annoyance to a very costly issue. It can ruin the value of a collector’s piece or, worse still, affect the function of a self defense firearm. The best way to deal with rust is to prevent it and that is what the products in this review from Rusty’s Rags are designed to do.
Rusty’s Rags is a small company that makes unique silicone gun cleaning accessories. Their kits typically consist of 4 items: a bottle of Rusty’s “Famous” Silicone Gun Oil, a flannel polishing cloth, a pair of nitrile gloves, and – this is the really unique part – a small piece of sheepskin that is pre-loaded with the silicone gun oil. Everything comes packages in heavy mil resealable plastic bags that make them perfect for tossing in your range bag or hiking pack. They make a number of different kits that, while very similar in what they include, vary in size based on the product that they are intended to protect.
Why is It Better?
I have used silicone gun oil before on guns and knives. It works very well for preventing rust. The products that I have seen in the past typically had silicone oil loaded into a flannel cloth. It is common for gun shops to use these to clean the finger prints off of firearms that have been handled by customers. The silicone oil works great for this because it is a very light oil that goes on in a very thin coat that doesn’t feel wet or very oily. However, the flannel clothes are not really all that ideal because it tends to leave lint behind.
Rusty’s Rags kits are different because of their novel application method. These kits use sheepskin to apply the oil. The sheepskin holds together much better than the flannel type products. It just doesn’t leave little bits of lint or debris behind. The sheepskin also applies the oil into any nook or cranny that you pass it over with no extra effort. It really is a stroke of genius. It is just a better way.
The folks at Rusty’s Rags sent me 4 products to check out: a knife care kit, a handgun care kit, a rifle/shotgun care kit, and a sheepskin Q-tip. The kits are all very similar. The main difference is the size of the sheepskin. The rifle/shotgun kit comes with a larger 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ sheepskin while the knife and handgun kits come with a 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ sheepskin.
These kits are extremely easy to use. You just lightly rub the sheepskin over the surface of what you want to clean and protect. Then use the flannel cloth to wipe away any excess oil if necessary. If the sheepskin begins to dry out, just add a drop of oil from the included bottle. It is that easy.
The kit includes gloves that you can wear, but I didn’t. One of the advantages of silicone oil is that it doesn’t have that heavy oily feeling that some oils do, so I generally don’t worry about gloves.
I own a Marlin 336 lever action. It is blued, has tons of nooks and crannies, and has had rust issues in the past, so it was the perfect candidate for testing the Rusty’s Rag’s firearm kits. The sheepskin made getting oil into the space between the barrel and magazine tube effortless. Flannel clothes are too thick to get into this space but the small fibers of sheepskin worked the oil right in with no extra effort. That alone just about had me head over heals for these kits.
Many campers/hikers will be familiar with the flannel type silicone wipes. They are used to keep your knife from rusting and dulling when you are out in the elements on an extended trip. I found the sheepskin to be far better. It easily applies the oil to jimping and other unique knife features. Jimping are the small ridges that are cut into the spine of a knife to provide traction. These ridges can accumulate blood, guts, dirt, and moisture so they are a key place to protect. The sheep skin also works well to get oil right down into the corner where the handle scales meet the knife blade.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about the sheepskin Q-tip. Then it dawned on me that it was absolutely perfect for applying the silicone oil to your barrel underneath of a free float hand guard. I have had the distinct displeasure of trying to deal with rust that formed on an AR-15 barrel under the free float hand guards. The sheepskin Q-tip can be used to reach through all the holes in a typical hand guard to apply oil to the barrel to prevent rust. This would be a great thing to have in a range kit, especially if you attend a carbine class that can’t reschedule due to nasty weather.
I found that, in spite of their names, the handgun and knife kits work on long arms just fine. In fact, I think I prefer the smaller applicator pad. It makes the kit a bit more light weight and compact and really seems to apply the oil just as quickly, though it can’t hold as much oil so you may have to recharge the sheepskin more often.
I found that the Rusty’s Rags unique use of sheepskin makes them extremely easy to use versus similar products that use a flannel cloth applicator. The sheepskin applicator is what sets these kits apart. The kits are easy to carry in a range bag or backpack and could save you from a very costly outbreak of rust. Check out the whole product line at the Rusty’s Rags website and “Like” them on Facebook for a $2 coupon.