As hunting seasons wind down, many of us will be putting our firearms away until the 2021 seasons begin. With many new gun owners joining our ranks in 2020 and sales of hunting licenses way up last year, this may be the first time for some who are storing firearms for a long period. For that reason, we decided to post a review of proper procedures for preparing guns for storage.
First, a look at what you should not do. Don’t zip your gun up in a gun case and toss it in a closet. Firearms need to be properly prepared for storage, and those who do what I just described may be heartbroken when they open that case in a few months to discover corrosion.
Thorough cleaning should precede gun storage. The bore should be scrubbed with a cleaning rod and patches soaked in gun-cleaning solution . There are many brands of bore cleaners to choose from. I like Butch’s Bore Shine because it does an amazing job, but don’t use it in the house or a closed garage as the fumes can be overpowering. There are many less fragrant options such as M-Pro7 and One Shot that also work well. Remove the bolt of the gun if you can, and push patches through from the rear of the barrel toward the muzzle. Otherwise you’re pushing dirty residue into the action and trigger assembly. Run a few soaked patches through the bore and then several dry ones until they come out clean.
If you’ve only fired a round or two at a deer, deeper cleaning of the gun may not be necessary at the end of each season. But if you’ve shot a box or more at pheasants or ducks in recent months, you’ll want to disassemble your gun and clean everything thoroughly. Make sure you have a clean table or workbench to do this on, and follow the directions in the gun’s user manual for disassembly and cleaning various parts. If you choose to lubricate any of the inner workings after cleaning, use lubricants sparingly. Too much oil can gum up the works and degrade firearm performance, especially in cold weather.
When you’ve reassembled your firearm, apply a very light coating of oil to external metal parts or wipe them down with a lubricated gun wipe . The thin film of oil will help protect your firearm from rust and corrosion while it’s stored. When that’s done, you may wish to slip your gun into a silicone-treated gun sock for additional protection against corrosion. Doing so also protects your gun from scratches and dings as you take it out.
If possible, store your firearm in a gun safe placed in an area with controlled temperature and humidity. Not everyone has room for a safe on the main floor of a house and opt for one in a basement. The trick there is to keep humidity down in the safe, and that can be gun using a dehumidifier specifically designed for that purpose. If your safe is in a garage where it’s exposed to high and low temperature extremes, a dehumidifier is especially important.
And speaking of temperature extremes, it’s best to store your ammunition in a storage box made for that purpose. You can find plastic ammo boxes for as little as $5 each if you shop around. Temperature extremes can affect primers, which can contribute to misfires. That’s why we recommend storing ammo inside your home in a dry storage box with a good seal. Ammo boxes are usually stackable and easy to put on the floor of a closet.
If you have any questions about firearm care, cleaning or storage, please reach out to us at Nexgen Outfitters. We’ve been doing this kind of thing for years and will be happy to assist you.