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Montana X-Treme Gun Oil and Bore Solvent Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Aluminum bottles are cool.

The aluminum bottles are a nice touch, but overall packaging leaves a bit to be desired. The lid shown on the gun oil here is a flip-up dropper type lid, but both products have child-resistant screw-on lids.

Photo courtesy of Western Powders, Inc
The Bottom Line

I like this gun oil okay, but don't like having to dig out the pipette every time I need a few drops. The bore solvent is effective, but its fumes are deadly. The packaging of both leaves something to be desired, as it's easy to spill most of your product, and difficult to access the pipette.

Pros

  • Made in USA.
  • Six-ounce metal bottles contain a lot of product.
  • I like the gun oil fairly well.
Cons

  • Although I like the oil, I find I rarely use it because the packaging is a pain.
  • Bore solvent has "X-tremely" strong vapors, and shouldn't be used without a lot of ventilation.
  • These jugs are very easy to spill, and the pipettes in the bottles are difficult to remove.
Description

  • Six-ounce aluminum bottles of gun oil and bore solvent.
  • Bore solvent has very strong vapors. We're not talking Hoppe's here.
  • Each bottle contains a pipette so you can apply it by the drop - but the pipettes are not easy to get hold of.
Montana X-Treme

I have to admire the confidence of the folks who make this stuff. When discussing the possibility of a review, I let them know that I never guarantee a positive review, and I always guarantee a fair and honest one. Their response was that they do guarantee a positive review.

Unfortunately, my experience with Montana X-Treme was not all rosy.

Nice Labels, Poor Packaging

The labels look great, and inform you of what you need to know. The aluminum bottles are durable and distinctive, too. But each one is simply an open-top bottle, and the only way to apply the product other than en masse through the bottle neck is to fish out the little plastic pipette that's down in the bottle, and use it to apply it by the drop or dribble.

X-Treme-ly Inconvenient

This might not have been a problem, had the pipettes been maybe 1/2" longer. But they sit about that far below the top of the bottle neck, and are not easy to get hold of. Needle-nose pliers or a hook bent from wire can do it, but why should you have to resort to that? The packaging should cater to the consumer, not the other way around.

Spill Hazard

I'm pretty anal about making the most of things like oil, solvent, and the like. I hate to be wasteful with anything, so I'm usually pretty careful about spilling. That didn't prevent me from knocking over the bottle of Bore Solvent, though - and the wide-open bottle top meant that most of the solvent spilled all over my work bench.

Thankfully, I had a couple of Drymate gun cleaning pads on my work surface, and most of the very pungent solvent was contained in them. But my work area stunk like ammonia for quite a while afterward, and that prevented me from using the solvent much after that. It seemed pretty effective in removing crud from a new, non-broken-in rifle barrel, but the spill put the skids on cleaning it and ran me out of my work area for a few days. I later learned that the manufacturer recommends neutralizing spill odors with vinegar.

A couple months later, I was using the oil when I spilled that, too. Knocking over a jug of gun oil shouldn't be a tragedy, but with this stuff, it can easily become one. Some kind of top that allows application by the drop or squirt (but not a spray) would be a vast improvement.

Talking With the Manufacturer

After using the product for a while, I talked with Keith Anderson of Western Powders via email, and learned a few things. First, the aluminum bottle was chosen as an unbreakable bottle (good choice) that doesn't deteriorate (as does plastic). Unfortunately for the sake of practicality, drip tops don't work on the aluminum bottles and law requires child-resistant packaging.

Western Powders initially began using this product because they found it to be the best at barrel cleaning, of which they do quite a lot. They did extensive testing on barrel cleaning solvents, and tried every one they could find. In Keith's words, "Our testing showed that there are a lot of products out there that start attacking steel in short order - which includes a lot of the low or no odor solvents on the market. Most of those that do not attack steel are not very effective. The Montana X-treme products were found to be totally barrel safe and very effective at removing both copper and carbon fouling.

They later bought the entire Montana X-Treme company.

How it Performs

The solvent is aggressive, and will surely eat up residue in your rifle barrel. It will also work on eating up your bore brushes and jags, too. And take care that it doesn't eat up your lungs - believe the warning about strong vapors, because even a small whiff can make your head swim. The manufacturer recommends keeping the lid on the bottle most of the time, to minimize odors and keep the solvent fresh.

Another piece of advice from Keith, who says a pipette will eventually break down if stored in the solvent bottle: "We just keep the pipettes next to the solvent bottles in an old tomato paste can."

The oil seems pretty good, though it's a bit light and doesn't feel like it has a lot of staying power. It does make blued guns look very nice for photos when they're wiped down with it. But even at that, I find that I only rarely use it because I dislike the way it's packaged.

Conclusion

I think this stuff is pretty good, but the poor packaging really falls flat with this shooter.

I think it's probably best for those who do a lot of gun cleaning, and always at one place. Keeping it in a portable gun cleaning kit, like the large tackle box of goodies that I often take with me, isn't practical with these products.

- Russ Chastain

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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