Maintaining your firearms is a must for every gun owner. However, when it comes to cleaning your firearm, one question inevitably comes up; “should you oil the inside of the barrel?” For long term storage, you can oil the inside of a gun barrel to protect against rust. However, it is not necessary to oil the bore for regular use or long distance marksmanship as gun oil can lead to inconsistent first shots. Although, having a small amount of oil inside the barrel will not drastically impact your shots at a self defense distance.

bedside safe: should you put oil in the barrel of a gun for storage

For anyone who has looked down the barrel of their firearm, you’ll notice the rifling (lands and grooves) and that the metal of the bore is polished. The polished exposed steel inside your barrel that is exposed to contaminants is more apt to rust. Therefore, if you’ll be storing your gun for an extended period, you may want to provide a layer of protection.

Another reason to run an oiled patch down the barrel is to pick up any remaining residue inside the bore. Even after cleaning thoroughly with a rod and steel brush, some amount of particulates remain in the barrel. An oiled patch will pick up this material and leave behind a film of oil.

Impact Of Putting Oil In Your Barrel

The community remains divided on whether it is beneficial to oil the inside of your barrel. However, one thing is universally agreed upon; excess use of oil as a whole is actively bad.

Regardless of the impact on accuracy, excess oil can seep into your ammunition and cause problems. Primers and powder contaminated by gun oil can result in misfires, hangfires, and squibs. Therefore, use your gun oil sparingly, including when oiling the bore of your gun.

Does Oiling Your Barrel Affect Accuracy?

I was unable to find any scholarly studies on the effects of oiling your bore on accuracy. However, I did find a fair amount of forum entries that discussed the use of fouling shots for competition shooters and hunters alike. Basically, a fouling shot is used to burn up or expel any foreign materials left inside the barrel — which includes gun oil — to achieve optimal accuracy and performance.

Although the evidence is anecdotal at best, many posters claim that shots are high after cleaning and oiling the barrel. This leads to inconsistency and makes it difficult to attain tight groups. However, many of these posts refer to rifle accuracy as opposed to pistols.

Method For Using Oil In Your Barrel

s&w 6906 in desperate need of cleaning

If you’re going to oil the inside of your barrel you should ensure that your firearm is clean. As you can see in the above image, this old S&W 6906 is in desperate need of a cleaning. This needed some oil in the barrel (and elsewhere) prior to storage!

Afterwards, run a soaked cleaning patch down the bore. Remember to run your cleaning rod in the direction of the muzzle. This will coat the interior of the barrel.

Finally run a dry patch through your barrel to soak up excess oil. The result will be a clean barrel with enough lubrication to get you through until your next range session without any negative consequences.

Parting Shots

Hopefully you’ve found this information useful. When in doubt, remember that a little oil goes a long way. You don’t need to flood any part of your firearm to be effective. If you have input you’d like to share with the community, leave a message below. Thanks for checking in.