LONG-TERM GUN STORAGE
When putting a gun away for long-term storage I do not lubricate it entirely, but apply only a light coat of lubricant to the exterior. The reason for not lubricating the working parts is that grease and lubricating oils have a way of creeping around where they’re not supposed to be, especially if temperatures fluctuate in your storage area. For example, a lube applied to the bolt of an auto loading shotgun may find its way into the fire-control system or even seep into the stock. So save your lubricating chore until you’re ready to use the gun again and put the lube where it’s supposed to be.
There are many good metal preservatives on the market, so take your pick. Some of the new high-tech preservatives that leave a micro-film on the metal are nice if you don’t like a greasy look. Apparently they work as well as they claim. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to see the preservative on the metal, which is why I usually use such old-time favorites as Birchwood-Casey’s Sheath or RIG grease.
I cut pieces of a shammy into hand-sized wiping patches and load it with the preservatives. A quick wipe-down with the shammy leaves a satisfyingly visible coating on the metal. I do this not just for storage but every time a rusting gun has been handled. Salty fingerprints are a gun’s number-one enemy.
Do not store guns in fabric or leather cases or in their original cardboard boxes, as they attract moisture. This is why, whenever possible, you should store guns so that dry air circulates around them.
One of the best investments a gun owner can make is buying a new Gun Safe. Not only does it provide reasonably good protection from theft, but it keeps guns out of the reach of curious young hands and provides a ventilated environment for uncased firearms. Gun Safes come with either combination or electronic locks and multiple locking points for greater security. In addition some safes will have certified fire endurance test results that exceed the average heat intensity of a house fire.
If you already own a Gun safe, or plan to buy one, a smart accessory is an electric heating element. Actually, even a light bulb will do. The trick is to put the heat source at the bottom of the safe so that the warm, dry air rises and flows continuously around your guns.
In my own gun room, I follow the 65/65 rule for temperature and humidity, which is just about ideal for gun keeping. A heating element is also an excellent idea for traditional closed-door gun cabinets.
The best rule for safe gun keeping is to use simple common sense. One final tip when storing your guns with their muzzles down ensures that any muzzle lube will make its way out of the muzzle rather than into the fire control system or the stock.