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Need To Bury A Rifle At The Seashore?
By Phil Sanders

Testing rust preventatives has never been exciting; after all, most modern products provide fairly good protection. However, a new and promising line of anti-rust items arrived on my doorstep and they needed to be reviewed to determine their merits. Bull Frog™ has a number of products that promise a lot and I was set to determine if any of the impressive claims could be substantiated.

The package sent by Bull Frog™ included two sample bottles as a demonstration of the efficacy of their merchandise's rust protection. In one of the bottles the company had applied a coat of preservative to a swatch of steel wool and allowed it to soak in a partially filled bottle of water. The bottles could then be observed for possible rust development.

One bottle had been pretreated 6 months prior with Bull Frog™ Lubricant & Rust Blocker, while the other was left untreated as a control. The untreated bottle was completely filled with a black, opaque sludge. The steel wool sample that had been pretreated with Lubricant & Rust Blocker was absolutely pristine. In fact it was so clean I began to suspect there might be a gimmick involved. Who's to say that one of the samples wasn't composed of stainless steel or possibly even have been soaking in oil, not water? There certainly was no reason to be suspicious of anything; however, the results seemed just a little too good to be true.

My first step it was decided would be to re-test the sample sent to me, just to verify what I was working with. Removing a small portion of the treated sample it was examined thoroughly. There was no petroleum smell, and no indication that the sample was soaking in anything other than water. After careful degreasing, the sample was then placed in a new bottle of water and left to soak partially submerged overnight. In the morning the steel sample had indeed become quite rusty, and it was clear this wasn't just a tricky marketing ploy. This stuff really appeared to work.

Phil SandersIn order to provide a more meaningful test, it was decided that it would be beneficial to conduct further trials in a harsher but nonetheless real world environment. Testing products on steel wool or nails is fine, but the proof obviously was to see how it might actually work on gun steel. A quick trip to the local gunsmith provided me with an externally nice but hopelessly bent rifle barrel. My test procedure involved cutting the Remington 700 barrel into short chunks. These pieces were then stripped of bluing, polished and etched with a reference number for later identification. After careful de-greasing, one of eight preservatives from around my bench was then applied in a blind-test fashion. The samples were then taken to the beach in Kenai, Alaska and suspended from trees conveniently washed ashore during a winter storm. All of the samples were placed equidistance from the pounding surf located just a few yards away. The progress of the samples was closely monitored each day for the first 5 days believing that rust would soon be severe. I was wrong. Even products that were primarily lubricants, provided for a fair degree of rust protection. After three more weeks of monitoring, all of the samples were removed and evaluated.

Since the test was conducted in a blind fashion, one was able to objectively rate each product's performance. As you can see from the table, Bull Frog's products performed very well. I was especially happy with the performance of the Lubricant & Rust Blocker. And as you can see, it tied for first place with Sheath Rust Preventative with no visible rust after almost 4 weeks on the beach. An additional advantage found in Bull Frog™ Lubricant & Rust Blocker however is that it's also a good lubricant. This would make it a great all around product providing both protection and lubrication.

Product Ranking
Number of days until
visible rust formed
Bull Frog Lubricant and Rust Blocker
Tied for 1st
>21 days
Sheath Rust Preventative
Tied for 1st
>21 days
Bull Frog Rust Hunter Gun Wipes
3rd
21 days
Bull Frog Rust Hunter Spray
Tied for 4th
19 days
Remington Nitro CLP
Tied for 4th
19 days
Hoppe's Gun Grease
6th
15 days
Paste Wax
7th
10 days
Break Free CLP
8th
10 days

Rust Hunter wipes also performed extremely well. Their ease of use has made them my favorite new gun-cleaning product. The handy dispenser makes them very useful for a quick cleaning after a trip to the range.

Another item tested, almost as an afterthought, was the Rust Blocker Gun Sleeve. These light-weight cases appeared to be little more than gray tarp material sewn into the shape of a firearm. Despite the rust prevention claims found on the packaging, my expectations for this product were not extremely high.

Since even in Alaska a gun case hanging from a tree on the beach might arouse suspicions it was decided instead to partially bury the gun case on the beach. In spite of being semi-soaked in wet salty sand for almost a week the barrel came out spotless. That was truly amazing. I'm sure that's not what they had in mind when they designed them, but it definitely proved to me that the Rust Blocker Gun Sleeves really work.

For the technically inclined the success of the Bull Frog™ technology lies in their VCIs (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors). This means that all Bull Frog™ products emit VCIs as their key to corrosion prevention. The only difference between the various items is the carrier, some are liquids, and others are additives to lubricants, and some are emitter cups or foam.

The only issues found with Bull Frog's products are the similarity of their labels. It could lead to confusion when attempting to purchase the correct product. Much of their merchandise looks very similar and the nomenclature is somewhat confusing. Several times while writing this article I had to refer to the container to clarify which product I was using.

In the end, the more solvent based Rust Hunter Firearm Cleaner & Rust Blocker was proven to be a good product for cleaning a gunky firearm, but it probably wouldn't be the best choice for routine use on my .50. However, the Lubricant & Rust Blocker should work admirably to accomplish that task.

Reprinted with permission from the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association's magazine VERY HIGH POWER, issue 2003-3.

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