LONG-TERM GUN STORAGE
When putting a gun away
for long-term storage I do not lubricate it entirely, but apply
only a light coat of lubricant to the exterior. The reason for not
lubricating the working parts is that grease and lubricating oils
have a way of creeping around where they're not supposed to be,
especially if temperatures fluctuate in your storage area. For example,
a lube applied to the bolt of an auto loading shotgun may find its
way into the fire-control system or even seep into the stock. So
save your lubricating chore until you're ready to use the gun again
and put the lube where it's supposed to be.
There are many good metal
preservatives on the market, so take your pick. Some of the new
high-tech preservatives that leave a micro-film on the metal are
nice if you don't like a greasy look. Apparently they work as well
as they claim. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to see the preservative
on the metal, which is why I usually use such old-time favorites
as Birchwood-Casey's Sheath or RIG grease.
I cut pieces of a shammy
into hand-sized wiping patches and load it with the preservatives.
A quick wipe-down with the shammy leaves a satisfyingly visible
coating on the metal. I do this not just for storage but every time
a rusting gun has been handled. Salty fingerprints are a gun's number-one
Do not store guns in
fabric or leather cases or in their original cardboard boxes, as
they attract moisture. This is why, whenever possible, you should
store guns so that dry air circulates around them.
One of the best investments
a gun owner can make is buying a new Gun Safe. Not only does it
provide reasonably good protection from theft, but it keeps guns
out of the reach of curious young hands and provides a ventilated
environment for uncased firearms. Gun Safes come with either combination
or electronic locks and multiple locking points for greater security.
In addition some safes will have certified fire endurance test results
that exceed the average heat intensity of a house fire.
If you already own a
Gun safe, or plan to buy one, a smart accessory is an electric heating
element. Actually, even a light bulb will do. The trick is to put
the heat source at the bottom of the safe so that the warm, dry
air rises and flows continuously around your guns.
In my own gun room, I
follow the 65/65 rule for temperature and humidity, which is just
about ideal for gun keeping. A heating element is also an excellent
idea for traditional closed-door gun cabinets.
The best rule for safe
gun keeping is to use simple common sense. One final tip when storing
your guns with their muzzles down ensures that any muzzle lube will
make its way out of the muzzle rather than into the fire control
system or the stock.
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