A few simple storage precautions will prevent a lot of heartache, but the golden rules are to:
- NOT PLACE FIREARMS IN STORAGE UNLESS THOROUGHLY CLEANED AND RUST PROTECTED
- REGULARLY INSPECT ALL FIREARMS IN STORAGE,
but more specific issues are:
The combination of dust and moisture, especially salt-laden seaside air, or the cold dampness of a strongroom, that comes into contact with firearm metal, has irreparably ruined millions of firearms.
Solutions: Block air movement and remove dampness:
- Glue thin foam or rubber strips inside safe doors to seal them against moisture and air intrusion.
- For small areas or a few firearms, place portable desiccants in the safe to absorb excessive moisture in the air. US examples are Browning’s re-usable Dry Safe packs or other products such as Dry-All or Eva-Dry. Or simply use Silica Gel that can be oven-treated as required.
- One can also install light bulbs linked to a rheostat to create heat and dehumidify smallish areas, but make sure that it does not generate excessive heat. Alternatively, install purpose-specific electric dehumidifiers for safes, such as GoldenRod or Gunsaver.
- In the case of long-term storage, hunters are advised to clean the firearms in question as detailed in the Firearm Cleaning & Maintenance Guide and to dry the atmosphere in which guns are to be stored. Then seal the guns in plastic bags or wrap them in cling-wrap followed by bubble wrap.
Contact Damage (Moisture)
Gun bags and cases (soft ones made from cloth or canvas with soft liners in particular) can also damage a firearm. The materials from which these bags are made are hygroscopic and prone to attract and trap atmospheric or tangible moisture between the fibers and cause rust.
Solutions: Block contact between case fibers and firearm:
Do not store firearms in hygroscopic materials such as gun bags except when necessary during range-trips or similar short periods.
Prevent contact between firearms and case by wrapping a cleaned and oiled firearm in household plastic cling-wrap.
- Alternatively, place or wrap the case in a waterproof plastic shell while the case is dry.
Contact Damage (Chemical)
Leather rifle cases and holsters easily ruin firearms as the residue of tanning chemicals is prone to attack metal. Leather is also hygroscopic and can do the same through simple dampness.
Solutions: Block contact between leather and firearms:
- Prevent contact between firearms and case by wrapping a cleaned and oiled firearm in household cling-wrap.