December 1st, 2015

TEN TIPS for Winter Firearms Storage

winter gun storage tips

It’s December already. That means winter has definitely arrived — no doubt about it. If you plan to put away all or some of your firearms for the winter, here are TEN Tips for winterizing your firearms.

Barrel Crown1. Bore Cleaning and Coating — Clean your barrels and neutralize any solvents you may have used. Then run a couple patches with a corrosion-fighter down the bore. We recommend Eezox or CorrosionX. Eezox leaves a glossy dry film shield with excellent rust resistance. CorrosionX is more like a conventional oil, but with special anti-rust additives. Other products may work well too. Just be wary of the “all in one” products that have a strong solvent, and don’t use any fluid that contains ammonia — this can actually promote corrosion. Here’s a test of various anti-corrosion products: Rust Block Comparison Test.

2. Crown Inspections — After cleaning the barrel, inspect the crown with a magnifying glass. If you see any unusual wear, abrasion, or “shark’s teeth” at the very outer edge of the rifling, make a note — it may be wise to recrown the barrel next spring. Before you place your rifle in the safe, we recommend putting a piece of electrical tape or blue masking tape loosely over the muzzle to protect the crown. This is just to protect the delicate crown during handling — you are NOT trying to seal off the bore.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks3. Optics Storage — If your gunsafe is crowded, you may wish to remove the optics and rings from your rifles before winter storage. You can use a white crayon to mark the ring position (on the rail) for next season. We recommend that you store your optics inside a warm part of your house, where temperatures and humidity are relatively stable.

4. Trigger Group — Inspect your trigger assembly. Trigger housings accumulate dirt, grit, and oily gunk over the course of a season. If you have some basic mechanical skills, you may wish to remove the trigger from the hanger and clean it per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t flood it with any kind of thick oil.

5. Bolt and Action — Clean the gunk off your bolt and raceway in your receiver. Put a thin coat of anti-corrosion product on the bolt, and re-grease the lugs and camming surfaces as recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t forget the fasteners and pins on the action and scope rail — these may not be stainless even if you have a stainless steel receiver.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks6. Use Thin Gloves — When oiling firearms during the winterization process, we recommend you wear thin latex or nitrile gloves. This will prevent you from leaving skin oils and acids that can actually promote corrosion. This will also protect YOU from any chemicals in the corrosion-blockers you put on your guns.

7. Applying Surface Protectants — For blued firearms, put Eesox or other rust-fighter on a cloth and wipe the barrel and exposed metal. Eezox works best with a couple light coats. Don’t forget iron sights, bottom metal, trigger guards, bolt handles, and sling swivels — they can rust too if not protected. Use Q-Tips or small swabs to reach small, internal parts.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks8. Use Gun Sacks — We put rifles and pistols in Bore-Store Gun sleeves. These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coated with corrosion inhibitors to help fight rust. Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $9.00 – $22.00 from Brownells.com or Amazon.com. While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. Here’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective rust-blocker, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox.

Foam-lined hard case9. Take Your Guns OUT of Foam-lined Cases — These common foam-lined cases are Rust Magnets. This may be the most important Tip in this article. Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust. Remember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage.

10. Make Your Gun Safe Ready for Winter — If you don’t have a Goldenrod (or equivalent), buy one. Sold as a “dehumidifier”, the Goldenrod is a simple electrical element that can maintain temperature in your gun vault. This helps prevent moisture in the air from condensing on your guns. A small incandescent light-bulb can help as well (just make sure it cannot touch any flammable fabrics or objects). In addition, you may want to purchase Dessicant packs to put inside the safe to absorb moisture. If you have an electronic keypad for your safe, we recommend replacing the batteries at least once a year.

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May 30th, 2014

Anti-Corrosion Products Test — Video Reveals Best Rust Blockers

See Results of Anti-Corrosion Product Test in Video

YouTube Link: http://youtu.be/uOB5eCReAQY

What anti-corrosion products really fight rust effectively? You’ll hear many opinions, but what do actual field tests reveal? One rifle shooter, who posts on YouTube as BlueonGoldZ, wanted to separate myth (and marketing claims) from reality, so he completed his own long-term rust test using metal samples. First he used ordinary tap water spray, and then he did a second, longer-duration test with a salt-spray solution. Nine different products were tested: Break Free CLP, Corrosion-X, Frog Lube, M-Pro 7, Outers, Pro-Shot Zero Friction, Rem Oil, Slip 2000, and Tetra Gun Triple Action CLP.

Rust Corrosion test video

BlueonGoldZ initially examined each product for its “beading” properties with a normal tap water spray. But the main test involved many multiple weeks of exposure after a “dense” salt-water spray. (No rust formed after two weeks tap water exposure, so the test was accelerated with salt-water exposure).

Rust Corrosion test video

The clear winners in the test, as shown by the screen shot above, were Corrosion-X (Best), and Frog-Lube (Second Best). The photo shows the test samples two weeks after being sprayed with salt water. The results are pretty dramatic — you can see with your own eyes what happened. We think this is a very useful bit of real-world research.

Results from Similar Long-Term Salt Exposure Test
Unfortunately, BlueonGoldZ’s test did NOT include Eezox, which we have found to be extremely effective (on a par with Corrosion-X). In another long-term test of corrosion preventatives, the two best rust fighters were Eezox and Corrosion-X in that order. Since that test was completed, Corrosion-X, already an excellent product, has been enhanced. CLICK HERE for Long-Term Salt Exposure Test Report.

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March 2nd, 2013

MidwayUSA Videos Show How to Finish a Hardwood Stock

In a series of YouTube videos, Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA shows how to prepare, finish, and polish a wood gunstock. The first video covers sanding, sealing, and filling. The second video shows how to apply a multi-coat finish by hand, with light sanding between coats. In the third video, Larry applies a final polish to his project stock. The principles illustrated in these videos can be applied to most types of stocks. However, keep in mind that Larry is working with a hardwood stock.

By contrast, with a typical Rutland laminated stock, the finishing process is somewhat different and (usually) more time consuming. You’ll probably have to do more aggressive sanding, and the sealing process can be more time-consuming because laminates typically have very porous surfaces that soak up a lot of sealant. You may have to do multiple sealant passes with aggressive sanding in-between. Alternatively, you can use multiple coats of high-solids clear coat to fill the pores.

How to Prepare a Riflestock for Finishing

YouTube Preview Image

How to Apply a Multi-Coat Finish

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How to Polish the Finish on a Riflestock

YouTube Preview Image

Clear-Coating Your Stock
While you can put an oil-type finish on a Rutland laminate, we think these often look best finished with an automotive clear coat. Rub-on finishes can cause small changes in stock coloration. If you want to preserve the colors in your laminated stock, a quality, spray-on clear-coat is probably the best way to go. CLICK HERE for expert tips on how to prep and clear-coat a laminated stock.

laminated Shehane wood stock

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June 15th, 2011

Another Lubrication Option for Neck-Turning

Prolix Xtra-T lubeIf you want to get started with turning case necks, check out our article on Neck Turning Basics, authored by German Salazar. As German explains, one of the keys to achieving a smooth, consistent cut on your case-necks is to use quality lube and lubricate both the inside of the case necks and the neck-turning mandrel. German uses Imperial Die Wax, the old standby. This works very well, as German demonstrates, but we know that many reloaders prefer to use a liquid lube, as they find that it is easier to apply and remove.

Dozens of different liquid neck-turning lubes have been used successfully, including blends of Mobil 1 motor oil and STP, as well as various “secret recipes”. This Editor’s preferred lube for “skim” neck-turning, where only a single light pass is required, is Prolix Xtra-T lube. This is a thick, blue-colored lubricant that contains a bit of paraffin. It is VERY slippery, yet because of the paraffin it stays in place on the mandrel (arbor). It comes in a 1.25 oz. plastic bottle with a handy extended “needle-nose” applicator tip. The long-nosed tip makes it easy to apply lube inside a case neck, or to very precisely add a small drop right ahead of the cutter tip on the neck-turning tool. Xtra-T lube is also a good general purpose lubricant that nicely fills the gap between a grease and a typical oil, and it works well on pistols too. In consistency, Xtra-T lube is similar to molasses. It flows like a thick oil, but it has good adhesion because of the paraffin component in the blend.

I’m not suggesting Xtra-T is the ultimate “miracle” neck-turning lube. There are many other good options. But Xtra-T applies easily, stands up to heat, stays where you put it, and works great as a general-purpose lube as well. You’ll find Prolix Xtra-T lube in many shooting supply stores or you can order directly from www.ProlixLubricant.com. The small bottle with applicator tip costs $6.99.

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September 12th, 2009

Non-Toxic Ballistol Lube Works Great for Case Sizing

We recommend Ballistol as a near-ideal case lube for basic full-length sizing. It’s extremely slick, and goes on very thin when applied with the aerosol version. Ballistol is this Editor’s favorite case lube for regular resizing, and I’ve tried all the popular brands including RCBS, Hornady One-shot, and Lee lube. Unlike many other case lubes, with Ballistol you won’t need to use a solvent or tumble the brass afterwards to remove the lube. All you need is a very thin layer of Ballistol, and this easily wipes off with a paper towel. The Ballistol will also remove the carbon on the outside of fired case-necks, so you can clean and lube your cases at the same time. (For case-forming and neck expansion, we recommend a thicker lube such as Imperial Die Wax or Mobil 1.)

Unfortunately, many folks have told us that they can’t find Ballistol at local shops, or they want to combine it with a reloading supply order to cut down on shipping costs. Here are sources for Ballistol, including Brownell’s and MidwayUSA. For convenience, we recommend the aerosol version, but the liquid version can be diluted and used also.

Brownell’s
6.0 oz. Aerosol $7.58 982-000-002

MidwayUSA
6.0 oz. Aerosol $7.49 831231
16 oz. Liquid $7.49 164428

BULK ORDER SOURCES:

Ballistol USA
PACKAGE 1: BALLISTOL-LUBE
Four – 6 oz. Aerosol Cans
$ 24.00 + 10.00 s&h = $ 34.00

FireHawktech.com
Combo Pack
Two – 6 oz. Aerosol Cans
One – 16 oz. Liquid Can
Total $24.95

Aerosol Full Case (12 cans)
Twelve – 6 oz. Aerosol Cans
Total $81.00 (just $6.75/can)

Ballistol Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the “Ballistol Lube” with the white label the same as the Ballistol “Sportsman’s Oil” with the green label.

A: Yes. Same product, just different labels. But remember there are both aerosol and liquid versions. The aerosol comes out very thin — like water. The liquid is thick — like motor oil.

Q: The liquid version is more economical by weight, but can I dilute it down?

A: Yes, Ballistol liquid can be diluted with water, up to a 10:1 ratio and it will remain slick. We recommend about a 6:1 ratio for use as a general case cleaner and lubricant — but you should experiment yourself.

Q: If Ballistol oil can be diluted with water, does that mean it will promote corrosion?

A: No. Ballistol emulsifies in water. The resulting product will displace H20 like WD40, and then leaves a thin, protective oil. Ballistol is also mildly alkaline (pH between 8.5 and 9.5), so it neutralizes mild acidic residues such as hand sweat or residues from black powder (which are acidic).

Q: What’s Ballistol made from — it smells funny?

A: Ballistol is made from medical grade mineral oil, alkaline salts of oleic acid, several alcohols, Benzyl Acetate and oil from vegetable seeds. The smell comes from medicinal Anethole oil, which is derived from the Anise plant. Ballistol is biodegradable and non-toxic. CLICK HERE for the Material Data Safety Sheet

For more information on Ballistol, contact Ballistol USA, (800) 253 2460, (252) 261 0408 (fax).

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