Freezing Firearms

While at Bullpup 2015 I met these two cool guys from LDF Research. LDF is the Youtube channel name and not a legitimate company, but regardless, they are starting out on Youtube and one of them, Dean Van Marel even has his own Bullpup design through a company by the name of Jard that he brought along to the shoot, and will be featured in a later Firearm Blog post. However, what they have been mainly doing for their channel is conducting dry ice tests with various firearms, sometimes getting the temperatures down to negative fifty degrees, by packing firearms down with dry ice, in a wooden crate, and then bringing them out and shooting them. They freeze the ammunition inside the magazine as well. These tests are common in military testing procedures, but I haven’t seen many Youtubers go about this, to the extent that these guys are. Interestingly enough, out of the rifles they had, the Mini 14 had the best performance after being frozen. They use a non contact Infrared digital temperature gun to measure the surface temperature of the receiver, stock, magazine.

Be warned, their videos are almost completely unedited, and thus are very long and tedious to watch, including every second of their experiments. However, they do have interesting findings, and I would have wanted to see an AK test as well.






Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Giolli Joker

    “negative fifty degrees”

    (I know it can’t physically be Kelvin, just liked the “buy a vowel” joke…)

    • Zugunder

      I second that question.

    • Edeco

      Too bad it wasn’t negative 40.

    • M

      Doesn’t really matter,. It’s pretty obvious it’s not Kelvin. And between F and CC the two are pretty close at that point.
      -50F = -45.6 C
      -50C = -58 F

      • Giolli Joker

        It does matter.
        Units of measure do matter.

        • M

          Sorry, meant to say it doesn’t make a big difference at that point. Which it doesn’t

    • Foamy1337

      Test was performed in fahrenheit the sensor would not read below -58f.

  • Beyondbreakeventrading

    Hell yeah.
    Jean Cantius Garand (January 1, 1888 – February 16, 1974)

    There’s no school like old school.

  • Dan

    Ok now we need to freeze them with liquid nitrogen

    • SP mclaughlin


  • Joshua

    The key to arctic weapons performance is the oil.

    What did they use? We make specific arctic oils that keep the weapons from locking up. Most oils lock up at arctic temps and unless these were degreased its not the best measure of arctic gun performance.

    • Giolli Joker

      Was it in Alaska that they run a comparative test after freezing oiled guns?
      I remember that the AK variants passed with flying colours, while even very reliable guns (e.g. HK G3) failed. However I’m pretty sure that it all comes to clearances and the roller delayed blowback has far tighter ones than AK in the roller area, but it would probably run with no hiccups with arctic oils

      • Joshua

        Your thinking of the Alaska state police trial.

        The only guns that passed was the 7.62 and 5.56 Galil and the Valmet. Every other gun failed the trial. Like you mentioned it came down to loose tolerances in why those guns worked.

        It was a stupid test. First was the moisture test, that they let purposely gather moisture then let it freeze to see what worked.

        The nest they poured a cup of hot water over and into the guns and let it freeze and she’s what worked.

        Finally they soaked the guns in CLP and let it freeze.

        Water is a crappy arctic weather lubricant…CLP is also a crappy arctic weather lubricant.

        We make arctic weather lubricants that do not freeze and lock up rifles in arctic weather environments.

        • Giolli Joker

          Yep, it was, and I basically came to the same conclusion.
          The value of the test could be in finding something more idiot-proof that works even if not treated in a sensible way, although you would expect by definition better judgement in that field by people living in such a cold climate.

        • Refaim

          It used to be common to see LAW (Lubricant, Arctic Weapons) available at surplus stores. I’ve seen the stuff flow at -60F like CLP does at 120F.

    • Bill

      Who is “we?”

      • Joshua

        Companies in the US.

  • The white lab coats make the experiments seem more scientific!

  • The temperatures they are running in the video is extremely dangerous. Most metals are not certified for temperatures that low. I doubt that the manufacturers were using materials certified via charpy impact testing done to the temperatures shown. Safety in the video is also atrocious but hey wearing white lab coats makes it more scientastic and the beard is a great substitute for PPE.

    • iksnilol

      Metals not certified for low temps?

      Now I’ve read that as well.

      • Giolli Joker

        Read about Charpy testing and how results are influenced by temperatures.
        Not all metals react the same at freezing temperatures.

        • iksnilol

          I know, it just seems weird to have firearms that can’t handle being in the cold. That would be akin to having a hammer that can’t be used in subzero temps.

          • Well its temperatures below -50F is when many materials have a lot of issues with cold though many of the plain carbon steels can behave poorly in temperatures -20F and below. Older guns would even more dangerous since metallurgy and steel making was not as well understood, alloys were not as common and quality varied considerably.

      • The grain structure of steel even with the same ASTM can vary during manufacturing. When you are specifying materials in cold temperatures you need to take this into account. If the material is not certified for low temperatures it is typical that you reduce the maxim design stresses. Given that safety factors in firearms are typically much lower than many other industries, lowering the design stresses due to cold temperature was most likely not used. Therefore brittle fracture is a major concern if you are going to be doing what these two are doing.

    • Don Ward

      The image of Neckbeard and Bubba did not give me any incentive to contribute to their YouTube view count.

      • Core

        Carbon steel usually fares well to -200F Stainless usually starts to become compromised at – 60F. Both can be treated and manufactured to withstand pressures below the above mentioned temperatures. If you are in extreme cold environments you’re best avoiding stainless barrels unless they’re cryo treated. I’m not educated enough on aluminum for the Stoner platform for temperature extremes but im guessing forged 70xx aluminum per military tech sheets would outperform non forged billet, but many materials are compromised by extreme cold. Hence the molecular dematerialization theory of absolute zero.

  • Bill

    Most guys I know who work in Arctic or Subarctic climates run their guns nearly dry, and leave them outside whenever possible. It’s a little extreme, but pouring water into a gun and letting it freeze is the worst case scenario of bringing a gun from frigid temperatures into a warm environment, like a car, office or submarine, where condensation builds up, then taking it back out, where the condensation freezes. It’s one of those times when a forward bolt assist doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

    • The_Champ

      Yep. Standard practice in the Canadian Forces during winter warfare training is to stack rifles outside of any heated areas(tents, buildings, etc) to avoid the condensation problems. I have also been issued powdered graphite at times to use as lubrication in cold weather. Never had the chance to test its effectiveness.

      I have done both military exercises and white tail deer hunting in -40 temperatures. Not a lot of fun. I always thought of it as kind of like operating in a toned down CBRN environment….. most of your time is spent worrying about basic survival needs, not a lot of time for fighting. That being said there are plenty of historical examples of large armies fighting in very harsh winters. It can be done I suppose, just with lots of extra misery added.

  • guest

    Aaa’ight Bubba we gon’ do this all science-like mhhhm-hmmm

  • guest

    It was not included due to some “popular” opinion of some TFB members who say it is “not an assault rifle”.