Baked Handgun ala' FrogLube Gun Cleaner
The title may seem corny, but I think you will get the gist of the humor after reading this process and review. First let me stress, I have no affiliation with FrogLube other than as a happy consumer.
After reading very positive reviews and a related test of 40+ gun cleaning products, I was moved to try it myself. I was not disappointed and I now use FrogLube exclusively on all my handguns and rifles.
So where does the baked part come in? Part of the process of cleaning and treating recommended by FrogLube is that the gun parts be warmed before applying. They contend that the warm metal works better with their formulation. It is not absolutely necessary but as I have found out first hand, heat is a good factor in obtaining the best results.
FrogLube is unique in that it is environmentally friendly and completely non-toxic. In fact, it is edible with no ill effects (but so are dog biscuits; doesn't mean they taste good). As per their site, The Lube is "made from two 'food grade' products that have been formulated to work together to remove the fouling byproducts produced in a firearm; this includes carbon, copper, lead, firing residue and other non-specific build-up. A cleaning solvent is necessary to strip and degrease and a lubricant is needed to smooth actions and provide corrosion resistance. Both formulas have been carefully engineered to prevent interaction and residue formation."
What this means is as "food grade" products, there is no worry of accidental ingestion, absorption through the skin, irritation, etc. While some are less concerned about the contents and more about the effectiveness, it is reassuring to know that there can be bio based, eco-friendly products that can deliver superior results. In this respect, FrogLube tested out as one of the best cleaners, lubricants, friction reducer and it smells good too (mint scented).
The two products I use for cleaning and lubricating are the FrogLube Cleaner and FrogLube CLP. The CLP by itself is an excellent cleaner and lubricant but I have found the two step process yields the best results initially. It is recommended that the cleaner be used at least the first time to ensure all prior lubricants and oils are removed before using the CLP.
The cleaner has the consistency, clarity and smell of plain tap water. Trust me, it is not water. It does an excellent job of cleaning and stripping accumulated fouling, oil and old lubricant. Once cleaned, it easily wipes away leaving no residue. This can now be followed by the CLP which you will find offers a second level of cleaning. This is most noticeable in the bore and feed chamber as you will see more carbon residue will transfer to you cleaning clothes and patches when using the CLP.
So how does the baking recipe come into play? FrogLube recommends heating the firearms before applying and cleaning with the CLP. This supposedly makes the bio based solvent work better then on a cooler or room temperature firearm. Some recommended methods are a heat gun, blow dryer or even laying the parts out in the sun. After several experiments, I developed my own process which has proven extremely effective. All are valid in getting the parts warm.
First (especially if this is the very first time), I completely take down the gun to its component parts where feasible. I say where feasible because while I do field strip, remove the ejector assemblies, firing pins, barrel and recoil assemblies, I tend to leave trigger assemblies alone unless they are easily removable.
(Photo credit: C&R Arsenal)
For example, my Glock 19 can be taken down almost 100% whereas my CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical is more daunting. Use your own judgment as to how far to disassemble. I also remove the handgrips regardless of the material (rubber, plastic or wood) as there is no reason to apply this process to them and I can feel safe they will not deform in the later baking step.
Now that the firearm is disassembled, clean each part and section with the Froglube cleaner. It is safe to spray on all surfaces and parts. Clean thoroughly and remove any residual moisture so the gun is completely dry. This may require blowing out recessed spaces with air but is necessary to ensure good adhesion for the next step. You would not want something that serves as a degreaser in place while applying a lubricant.
The next step is to clean all parts again; this time with the FrogLube CLP. You will note that some areas get cleaner than originally observed due to the deep cleansing nature of the CLP. Once you have cleaned, reapply the CLP as you would a lube to every area (including the exterior finish) so that every part and piece of the gun has a thin coating. Now it is time to bake.
Please note: Do this next step at your own risk. I know what works for me and should work for most people however; there is always someone, somewhere who "cooks" their gun into an unusable state and they want to blame someone, point that they were told to do this. I am not telling you to do this; I am sharing what I do. So proceed with caution and note that any error in the process is user error. Sorry, but disclaimers are important.
Pre-heat your oven to the warm setting. Generally, this is between 125 and 150 degrees but since ovens vary, BE SURE. Some ovens will not warm below 170 degrees or higher. The object here is not to "cook" your gun but to simply get it warm. Do I need to remind you that ammo should not be placed in the oven? In all cases, after warming the oven, leave the oven door open so that it does not get too hot.
Place your handgun and parts on a cookie sheet that has been covered in parchment paper or similar. Parchment paper is used in baking so ask your wife. She will explain and you can say "Oh, that's what that was for". Set the tray on the center rack of the "warmed" oven and leave the door open. If you can hold your arm in there for a minute or so and not feel like you have to pull it out, then it is fine. If it feels like you are burning, it is probably too hot.
Use your judgment. It only needs to warm for a few minutes (5 minutes to 10 minutes) depending on oven temperature.
Remove the tray from the oven and let cool for a minute or two if it is too warm to the touch. Once able to handle the parts, wipe it all down with clean lint free clothes to remove the excess lube and get a smooth clean finish. If you need to, use Q-tips on hard to reach places. You will find you can wipe it all down and leave no oily sheen behind yet; the gun is clean and lubed.
Reassemble and test all the functions. You are going to be pleasantly surprised at how smooth the action will feel and how clean the gun will stay.
Future applications will only require use of the CLP unless you do use other oils that may need to be stripped away.
Author bio-Robert Arco, PNW Resident WA State, NRA member and Handgun Enthusiast. "My hobbies vary audio, video, photography and firearms. I have recently been learning tactics for self-defense and am highly immersed in handgun operation and repair. For the past 15 years, I have been working in the area or Risk Mitigation for various Fortune 500 companies. Some of those roles allowed me to work closely with State agencies such as NYPD, FDNY, OSHA, SEC and Offices of Emergency Management. I have also received CERT training in NYC."