FireCLEAN Files Lawsuit against Bloggers

fireclean sues bloggers

In the aftermath of what some have nicknamed “CanolaGate”, gun lube manufacturer FireClean is suing a pair of bloggers for publishing their analyses of FireClean lubricant. The information released by the pair shows the similarities between the lubricant and refined vegetable oils.

The defendants, Andrew Tuohy of the Vuurwapen Blog and Everett Baker for Granite State Guns, were testing claims that “FireClean is Crisco.” Many people have questioned and disputed the composition of FireClean since it was brought to market, from recreational shooters to industry experts. Tuohy was the first to test the lubricant and publish the findings.

Those findings caused a lot of commotion in the gun industry. According to FireClean’s complaint, “revenues have fallen by over $25,000 per month since Tuohy’s first tortious act.”

Working with a doctor of organic chemistry at the University of Arizona, Tuohy performed an infrared spectroscopy test of FireClean and Crisco Pure Vegetable oil and Crisco Pure Canola. Their findings? “FireClean is probably a modern unsaturated vegetable oil virtually the same as many oils used for cooking.”

Tuohy’s initial results had a polarizing effect on much of the shooting industry. Many avid FireClean supporters dismissed the findings and continue to buy and use their products. To many shooters, the makeup of the lubricant is irrelevant. As long as the product works and does what it promises to perform, people will continue to use it.

FireClean’s list of users is long and the product has been used by professional shooters, military and law enforcement all around the world. On the one hand, this means there are many serious shooters who use and endorse FireClean every day. But on the other hand, if FireClean is ordinary–if very expensive–vegetable oil, then they are exposing those very same shooters and their firearms to real risks.

See Also: Tannerite Files Lawsuit Against NBC for Libel, Slander

Given the sharp decline in sales it’s clear that Tuohy’s analysis turned a lot of people off FireClean’s products. Things took a turn for worse when Baker published his findings that largely reflected the first round of testing.

“According to multiple tests and after analysis by several different chemists, FireClean is pure and unmodified canola oil,” wrote Baker. Baker is a student at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and used both infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in his analysis.

FireClean was quick to respond in a social media statement. “We would like to address recent false or misleading allegations that range from simply misguided to false, defamatory, and libelous. These attacks have been made by competitors and others that paint our product in a false or misleading light. The allegations do not focus on actual performance or relevant tests, and draw a misleading picture.”

The company declined to discuss the composition of their products, saying “We believe that our performance speaks for itself. We offer what we and many others regard as the best, highest performing product on the market. We have not commented on the formulation, nor will we do so now.”

FireClean has disclosed some information about the composition of their lubricant already, in the form of their patent application published by the Firearm Blog. The patent describes FireClean as a “vegetable oil composition.”

In their lawsuit, FireClean seeks damages for what they claim is defamation as well as a violation of the Virginia Business Conspiracy Act. Tuohy and Baker in turn are looking for supporters to help raise money for their legal defense through GoFundMe.

For FireClean this lawsuit may represent the means to repair their shrinking reputation, but it’s also a risk for the company, as many people–customers or not–will only see this as a large company attacking a couple of gun guys speaking their minds.

“I did not–and still do not–believe that FireClean is Crisco,” said Tuohy in his original post.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • MrWonderful June 3, 2016, 2:12 pm

    Make your own gun oil:
    Actually the guy made this vid as a spoof. I asked if using canola oil instead of vegetable oil in his formula would work better and he responded thus: “I most use ATF and Chainsaw bar oil. Whichever one I grab first. This video was more about poking fun at the Crisco firestorm that erupted a few months ago and whether a popular and expensive gun product was really just veggie oil. The problem with plant based oils is that they tend to get sticky over time. If you need lubrication now and you’re going to clean a gun within a few days of use then I don’t think it matters much. Here’s something to try. Take a plate or piece of metal and glaze it with canola oil. Leave it out for two or three weeks and come back to it and see how it feels. If it’s sticky to the touch, I don’t think I would be using it on a gun unless that gun is getting cleaned and lubed every week or so.”

  • Ymmot May 27, 2016, 12:55 pm

    Sounds like ANOTHER manufacturer of a product that has been WAY OVER HYPED and sold for an OUTRAGEOUS amount of money, that have been caught in their own web of deceit and now want to blame the messengers for being caught!
    The company must be run DEMONCRATS and Billary Clinton supporters, it’s the same line of shite!

  • Gary April 22, 2016, 9:48 am

    This is just an attempt to stop free speech. Its contents are what they are, and the truth is the truth. You can not be sued for telling the truth. This is an example the bullying thru the law. They will need to counter sue to get their legal fees back plus damages to put these a** hole in their place!!!!!!

  • Eric X Equis April 11, 2016, 4:54 am

    How about those of us duped into buying Crisco at $10/oz sue FireClean for ripping us off?
    Here’s the thing… it worked. Yes, canola oil DOES keep carbon from jamming up your weapon. But by FireClean deceiving us into thinking this was anything but an organic and common (cheap) oil then charging us at a 10,000% markup amounts to little more than a scam!
    It’s all about the ETHICS.
    The best gun oil I have ever used is Lucas Gun Oil… yea, it’s the same thing they make their transmission & engine stuff from (with a corrosion inhibitor additive) and when you break that down to a 2oz bottle, the markup is little more than a convenience for a bottle that fits in your cleaning kit. Hell, I STILL buy Lucas oil in the marketed in the 2oz “Gun Oil” bottle simply for that convenience (and, with my current situation, it’s easier to buy in the small bottle than a big $100 bulk purchase). At least they’re not jacking up the price to $20 for $1.60/oz claiming it’s some super-secret high-tech crap that doesn’t already come in a much larger bottle for less. Here’s the deal – Lucas gun oil runs $100+/- a gallon… that’s roughly $0.78 an ounce. A 2oz bottle runs $3 or so… 2oz in bulk (gallon) is $1.50sh… $2.50-3.00 for a convenient bottle is NOT a bad deal. However, with FireClean, a bulk gallon-sized bottle of Canola oil runs $5.17/gallon (Wesson brand at WalMart). That’s $0.31 an ounce. Even at a 200% markup like Lucas does for their convenience bottle, FireClean is worth no more than $0.65 or so for a 2oz bottle… BUT NO… they charged us $20… $17 if you found a special buy.
    Feel duped yet?
    So FireClean was ripping us off… well, the product DID work but they used unethical marketing practices and sold it to us at a markup that makes penny-stock scammers go “wow… really?”
    Then they got exposed… someone used science to uncover their scam. Then they get mad and instead of apologizing for ripping us off, they go after the people that exposed their bullshit! REALLY?
    FireClean should feel lucky if the whole goddamn gun community that bought into their scam doesn’t go after THEM!
    What they did to us is worse than that asshole cruising the highways late at night looking for someone who ran out of gas – refusing to take them to a station and insisting they buy their gallon of gas for $100. Yea, that’s about the moral equivalency. And to relate to that – the highway scammer tries to sue the unfortunate motorist for exposing his scam.
    I mean, seriously… what do they expect out of this? They scammed us… they got busted… science exposed them… do they think the courts will reward them for scamming people? Well, this IS ameriKa… land of the $12-million hot coffee suit so you never know.
    But it’s OK, a class action suit from tens of thousands of gun owners will recover that loss for the ones who exposed them.
    I was content to take it on the chin and live and let live but if FireClean goes through with this bullshit… add me to the list of plaintiffs who bought 3 or more 2oz bottles of fuckin Crisco/Wesson oil at $10 an ounce like I did!
    Sorry for the language but when confronted with megastupidity, I get a little emotional.

    • Matt May 23, 2016, 7:52 pm

      Eric right. The buyers of Fireclean should file a class action lawsuit.

  • Barry April 9, 2016, 2:28 am

    So it’s a win, win- you can lubricate your weapons, use it in your lawnmower and when your hungry to can use it to fry up some French Fries! How can they sue someone for for telling the truth?- now if they disclosed the seven herbs and spice they add to their product then that would be crossing the line. All I want to know is what isle can I find it in at my grocery store? Now I know why cleaning my rifles makes so damn hungry. Fire Clean should capitalize on this and make an advertisement with a Navy Seal running across rough terrain stopping only to clean his rifle and cook his supper using a single bottle of Fire Clean. What really scares me though is when you have a Chemist telling you that it’s simply cooking oil and people still willing to pay top dollar for it.

  • frank April 8, 2016, 6:25 pm

    The Forest Service, as well as many private chainsaw operators, have added canola based chainsaw bar oil to their toolkit. For those unfamiliar with a chainsaw, ‘bar oil’ lubricates the chain as it runs around the bar. I have found canola based bar oil to be as effective as traditional mineral oil based bar oil when utilized in saws that are run often. Canola based bar oil cleans up easier and the majority of the ‘spent’ oil, that oil thrown by the chain and/or mixed with cut chips biodegrades within a few weeks. One issue that may relate to using canola in a firearm is that we have found our seldom use emergency saws’ chains bind up. I have assumed that just as the canola based bar oil quickly biodegrades in nature, a similar situation is set up in the seldom used chains. I have not used Fireclean, but can only wonder if long term users may notice a loss of lubricity in seldom used firearms (as if there were such a category!). Oh yes, I forgot to mention that mice love the canola based bar oil. That is a situation that I might see applying to canola based firearms lubricant(s).

    • Joel April 9, 2016, 1:31 pm

      Yes! I cleaned all of my rifles with Fireclean 2 years ago. When I took s couple out that I rarely shoot I found their actions to be gummed up and had to be stripped, cleaned and relubricated. Just my $0.02

    • Eric X Equis April 11, 2016, 5:00 am

      I used it… mostly in suppressors (coating the baffles) and in AR15 direct gas impingement systems.
      Thing is… IT WORKED.
      Of course you DO have to apply it regularly (as with any lube, CLP or the like) but it DOES keep carbon from sticking to metal and clogging your system up.
      However, FireClean’s 10,000 markup of Crisco/Wesson oil leaves me feeling a damn bit ripped off.
      Hopefully, will allow my post (something they don’t seem to do much recently) and you will see a comparison I made about all this and the suggestion that IF FireClean happens to win this suit, all us users duped into buying 2oz of Canola oil for $20 will file a class-action suit and help those that exposed this scam to us.

  • Campbell King April 8, 2016, 1:37 pm

    The link posted by Grant on lubes is very good and well worth a read..I used lubriplate when I built race engines yrs ago,,can’t beat the stuff..

  • Buck April 8, 2016, 11:21 am

    Searching the memory banks I recalled that vegetable oils were some of the first lubricants in gasoline engines. Castor bean oil was used in WWI aircraft engines. I, and many others, used it in racing engines through the 1970’s. Various bean oils have been used for specific lubrication properties through the years. (centuries?) Just because it is what it is doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, as a previous commentator noted.
    The tone of the release of “the findings” wasn’t indicated but offense has been taken and it’s up to the courts now. Winners/losers, the lawyers always make out well. There’s the smell of an Iacoca Jeep vs Samurai tip over test here…

    • Eric X Equis April 11, 2016, 5:10 am

      Canola oil… er… FrireClean DOES work but you can’t help but feel ripped off buying it at $10/oz.
      The thing with lubes, at least based on my personal experience is this… if it’s a natural oil (canola, castor, coconut, soybean, etc). it WILL work but needs to be cleaned, removed and reapplied often. Usually after each trip to the range. Canola is a slight bit better because the carbon sticks to it but it doesn’t stick to the metal. Thus, it has a tendency to blow itself out (if “chunking”) or be easy to clean and remove. Natural petroleum oils fair better, particularly with heat. Better than those are synthetic oils with additives to prevent corrosion and gumming up.
      What FireClean did was at best unethical… the moral equivalency of a pump-n-dump penny stock scammer. However, you rarely see the penny stock scammer sue the people that expose them.

  • wake_Up_America April 8, 2016, 10:28 am

    Pretty interesting! I think we need to find out what we are really spending are hard earned $$ on, right? Fair is fair and right is right. . .

  • Cam April 8, 2016, 8:56 am

    I wish someone would file a class action suit against fireclean for all us suckered and that bought it. I bought into the hype and bought two bottles. I really was not impressed and i dont think it cleaned that well, it did lubricate but got tacky when I used it for long term storage. I used it to clear guns 3 times then dumped it into the box of unloved toys and I went back to breakfree clp and miltec-1.

  • Martin Vanek April 8, 2016, 8:54 am

    Here’s an interesting blog on gun lubrication. Enjoy!

  • Johnny Van Zandt April 8, 2016, 8:02 am

    The patent says it is a conola oil composition. The first tests say that it lines up close some sort of vegetable oil. The second run of tests showed the same thing. Another test showed that fireclean had the same smoke point as canola oil. Its looking like fireclean is mainly vegetable oil. I am sure they added some other stuff to it, but the base oil is mostly vegetable oil

    The judge should drop this one pretty quickly.

    Wonder if frog lube is going to start firing up some lawsuits on now ?

  • SuperG April 5, 2016, 11:12 am

    If they themselves say the product in composed of vegetable oil, and the blogger said the same, then this is a frivolous lawsuit and should be dismissed with prejudice.

    • Nick S April 8, 2016, 8:04 am

      The author needs to get his terms straight. The two guys being sued are the “defendants” not the “plaintiffs.” Also, they should probably counter sue.

      • Vernon Rosa April 8, 2016, 8:28 am

        You are correct, Nick, in that they are the defendants rather than the plaintiffs. And if they have to get an attorney to fight this obviously frivolous suit, they should countersue for damages and legal fees.

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