When you place your firearm in storage you want to be certain that it’s going to be in the same condition when you take it out, be it in a few days or next shooting season. Corrosion is harsh and unforgiving and doesn’t care how much money you spent on your beloved firearm, it’ll ruin them all the same.
However, with a little bit of education and awareness, you can be certain that when you lock the safe at the end of the shooting season, your guns will be safe and sound until it opens again.
Causes of Corrosion
Corrosion on firearms is primarily caused by “oxidation”. Oxidation is a chemical reaction resulting in the loss of electrons in the material, changing the composition in the material. Rust is the most common form of oxidation, where Iron oxidises in reaction with oxygen to product iron-oxide. Iron-oxide is another name for rust and occurs in most alloys which contain Iron, such as Steel. Since rust is formed with oxygen it’s accelerated with water (which contains more oxygen than air).
However, rust is not the only form of corrosion. Wood, such as the wood on stocks and furniture can corrode too, again, through continued exposure to moisture. This is a different form of corrosion caused by the introduction of moisture, the degradation of the wood structure and the introduction of bacteria, all of which will eat away at the wood and cause it to begin falling apart.
Ultimately, your biggest nemesis in fighting firearm corrosion is moisture. It doesn’t just have to be plain-old water either. It can be mud, moist fabric or simple humidity.
Preventing corrosion is about removing moisture and introducing a protective barrier to protect your gun from future sources of corrosion. This should become habit for you whenever you’re finished with the gun for the day (or long periods between shooting).
Wiping down the weapon and removing moisture can be done simply and effectively with a simply cloth after a shoot. However, to be really effective, use something like our Universal Sportsman’s Cloth. It’s oil impregnated, so not only does it remove moisture, but it puts down a protective film of oil to protect against future moisture.
This leads us onto the protective barrier. This protective barrier will protect against future sources of corrosion in storage. Our sportsman’s cloth puts a light layer of silicone oil onto the surface of your weapon. For longer periods of storage or for heavier protection during a shoot, you may wish to impregnate the cloth further with silicone oil and apply a thicker protective layer.
TIP: Store your shotguns and rifles with the barrel facing down. This stops any oil from dripping onto the stocks of your weapon, ruining the finish and then allowing moisture to ruin the wood.
Many shooters like to place a desiccation bag in their gun safe. This is a bag filled with a compound which actively pulls moisture out of the air. You’ll find similar bags (silica) in new shoes and other products, to protect them. This will lower the overall humidity within your gun-safe and provide further protection. You can easily buy large versions of these which stop cars from fogging up, and place one at the bottom of your gun safe.
By following these steps, you can theoretically, leave your weapon un-checked for months without fear of corrosion. Although, we recommend you check your firearms regularly.