Long Term Firearm Storage
Hi, I am getting ready to store several firearms for a long periiod of time. I will only access them every 6 months or so. I am planning on putting in silica gel to the compartment, although it is not air tight. I am planning on installing a vapor retarder (Plastic) around the inside of the cavity. What should I coat the firearms in to prevent damage? Should I store them in plastic bags? Any and all opinions would be great. What about ammo? Will ammo cans with silica gel be sufficent? Thank you.
I would not do anything with plastic and firearms. Every time I have seen the two in combo it ends up being plastic 1 gun 0 and the gun gets ruined.
If you are storing them in a hard container I would recommend a very high quality case which is air tight. Still place desiccant in side with gun. For once every six months I would oil real well or even give the metal a thin coating of grease. You could also wipe down real well with silicone gun cloth place in a bore store then place inside case. I would not wrap in plastic no matter what. Plastic will be a vapor barrier 1 from vapor getting out and 2 from vapor getting in. Getting in is bad getting out or the lack there of is worse.
I like to store my firearms muzzle down. This keeps the oil in the barrel from running down into the action. Use good oil such as Rem oil and never ever use WD 40. (No plastic, silicone sock thank you.)
What about these bags? BAG-197 - Gun Storage Bags No Rust No Corrosion 9x52 Long Term Storage One Bag
Caterpillar rust preventer
In my experience; use any air tight container, place the desiccant at bottom of the container and apply a rust prevent oil to your firearm then wrap it in paper, then make sure yourself that the container is well closed. Caterpillar® make some great rust prevent oil:
Caterpillar 450 Rust Preventive Oil
• Water displacing rust preventive oil is more strongly attracted to bare metal than water
• Apply by dipping, brushing, or spraying
• Leaves a long lasting, rust preventive film that protects against rusting for a year in covered storage conditions
• Should be protected from dirt and dust accumulation to prolong its effectiveness
Part number: 1U-8809 (1gal.)
Caterpillar 4A Rust Preventive Oil
• Long lasting, heavy-duty waxy film
• Apply by dipping, brushing, or spraying
• Leaves a long lasting, rust preventive film that protects from damage by outside condensation, rainfall, etc. up to a year
• Must be removed by solvent or hot alkaline cleaner
Part number: 1U-8801 (1gal.)
Ask for the part number at any Caterpillar dealer.
Check out this link to The Gun Zone Corrosion Test : The Gun Zone -- Corrosion Test
Break-Free CLP won .
The conventional wisdom on long-term storage is to coat the metal parts with gun grease ( RIG or Hoppes ) .
I know a guy who stored guns for years with a Browning Golden Rod or equivalent heater in a metal safe . Safes allow air to circulate in and out . All he did was oil the guns every year or so . He may have used Birchwood Casey Sheath but I can't be sure . Break-Free CLP , as noted above, should work fine .
For more info, ask a safe supplier such as the A.G. English Company for advice .
Sent to me by AGI :
A bigger day to day threat is Humidity in the air. Don't store your guns in cloth gun cases if at all
possible. They can retain moisture and create a perfect environment for rust. I have had to re-blue
a lot of firearms that were damaged due to being stored in a gun case.
If you have a gun safe or room where you store your guns, look into getting one of the electronic
dehumidifiers that are designed for this purpose. "Golden Rod" is one brand that I use.
In a larger safe room, a small Fan moving the air around will help prevent condensation. This is
really a BIG help. To protect your gun while hunting you can use a Caruva based wax (like a car
wax). Wiped thinly over the metal it will tend to make water bead off the gun. There are also
dedicated polymer coatings that are intended for firearms and they accomplish much the same thing
without the residue.
Whenever you are coming in from the range or the field always take a few minutes to wipe your guns
down with a good rust preventative and lubricant such as Break Free. The "I'll get around to it later"
syndrome has bit me in the butt more than once.
But by far the best method I know of for Long Term Storage and waterproofing your guns (short of
military cosmoline) is using Vacuum Food Storage Bags. Obviously this isn't for practical for day to
day use, but if you are putting a gun aside for a while this is a great method. It would also be great
for collectibles. Also, you may want to consider protecting some of your important papers this way as
well (sealed vacuum packed bags). Although even a good quality freezer bag will help protect
papers, don't use a regular plastic bag to store guns. The retained moisture in the bag will rust the
As a test a number of years ago, I took an old inexpensive barreled action and lightly coated it
inside and out with Break-Free. Then I used a "Food Saver" (a Vacuum device for food packaging)
and the special storage bags that it uses. I wrapped any sharp edges in dry shop towels so it wouldn't
puncture the bag when it is vacuumed down. First I Heat -sealed one end of the bag, slipped the
parts in and then using the Food Saver, vacuumed all the air out of the bag and sealed the other end.
I put the bag and some other old steel gun parts inside a water proof plastic tube container, sealed
it and then buried it in a sand pile next to the shop and left it there for several years.
I put the other piece of metal in the container to determine just how much the vacuum packing made
a difference. Because I knew that I couldn't get all the moisture out of the waterproof container, I
wanted to see what happened. Several years later I dug up the container and opened it. The action
inside the bag was in exactly the same condition as when I put it in there. And the bag had retained
its vacuum seal. But the other metal piece that I had put in with it was a flaky corroded mess, I
couldn't believe how destroyed it was just from the residual moisture in the container.
So be careful how you store your guns, and give consideration to "packing up" those guns you don't
use or handle very often. With just a pair of scissors you can open up the bag and it's ready to use.
(Tip: Leave the bags long so you can reseal them again.)
Anyway, I hope you all are dry and safe and to those that live in the flood affected areas of the county,
we just want you to know that we are thinking about you.
What about greasing them then using a vacuum sealer to seal them air tight? Seems like that would work very well as long as it was air tight.
If storing for normal use, (i.e. not for survival circumstances) silica gell is OK but use more than you think would be needed. Better safe than sorry and the gel packs are not costly. Wrap the clean and oiled weapon in a loose dry towle, open breach with no clip installed and place silica gell packs on floor of container. Remember, plastic containers "seep" moisture through the walls of the container and can cause problems. Those vaccume seal bags would work for short term storage, but some plastics are susceptible to patrolium lubricants and can fail. Painted metal is better if possable. Store in the most temperature stable location possable. Air curculation is a good idea.
Simple! Small arms: Get an ammo can that has a good seal, clean and lubricate your firearm, wrap it in gun oil soaked cheese cloth and place in your ammo can with a gun oil soaked small towel in the bottom of the can. Also include a wax sealed blister pack ( 100 rounds minimum ) of ammo for the weapon in the ammo can. Place ammo can in you storage location. The gun oil will protect the weapon, the wax pack of ammo is now at your finger tips when you really need it. Don't leave the firearm loaded for storage, this will only encourage moisure corrosion between the shell casing and the barrel. A loaded clip and other spare clips in the can are OK. You can add silicon gell packs to the ammo can if you wish, but I don't think they would be required. Just double check you ammo can seal before storage. An ammo can is capable of under water storage as long as the seal is good. I also coat the seals with vasoline (patrolium jelly) so they stay soft and able to conform to the can knife edge. Remember, gun oil is cheap use it liberally.
Rifles: These will require a much larger storage area. An ammo can will not work obviously. If you have a military surplus store near you ( I would drive a hundred miles for a good one if needed ), you can find or request a larger vaccume seal canister. Some of these will hold 20 - 30 riflles and some ammo. Use the same long term storage methods as the small arms. If possable, store only the same caliber rifles in each storage cantainer. The vaccume canisters will not last as long as an ammo can, usually they are good for about 3-4 years max. An ammo can will be good for about 5 years in soil under very wet conditions, longer under variable conditions. I service mine every year! But if you can't get to them they will last for 3 - 5 years or more.
Don't place all of your arms in the same location. If you are limited in the area you have to "store" items, be resourcefull. Your house, garage, shop, pump house, yard, all of these can be good locations to store these items but they need to be accessable in case of emergency.
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