An ounce of rust prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, and a new breakthrough study by the U.S. Department of Energy shows why. For the first time, researchers were able to witness – in unprecedented detail – exactly the way rust happens. They discovered a “surprisingly dynamic iron cycle” that revealed the way iron continually moves on metal and other surfaces. They illustrated why rust prevention on pipes on metal surfaces is so critical – because once it takes hold, it can persist under a huge range of changing chemical conditions, allowing it to corrode and deteriorate over time.
Researchers noted that just like we have iron coursing through the blood in our veins, there are iron minerals that exist in our soil beneath our feet. The iron in the ground is used to forge steel and numerous other metal alloys, which we then use to craft everything from the smartphone parts that allow us to communicate across continents to the infrastructure and vehicles that help us get there in person. Unfortunately, any metal that contains iron or its compound is vulnerable to rust.
As our rust prevention experts can explain, rust is the process that occurs when these metals are exposed to moisture and oxygen. This exposure kicks off a process called iron oxidation – more commonly known as rust. It is not only extremely prevalent, it is very expensive. Rust costs the U.S. Military alone $21 billion a year. With a strong incentive to confront this, Washington gave its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory the green light to dig deeper.
Whether you stash your gun or rifle in the back of a closet, in the pickup truck console or an in-ground cache, taking proper steps to prevent gun barrel rust is a must – particularly if you’re using corrosive ammunition.
Many a gun lover has endured the misery of pulling their firearm from the case, only to discover that beautiful blue or matte black finish has been marred by creeping rust and/or corrosion. Even the U.S. Military has had issues with failure to prevent gun barrel rust, erosion and wear – particularly with long caliber gun barrels. In a now-unclassified report, the U.S. Army reported the negative impact of gun barrel wear and erosion can include:
- Reduction of muzzle velocity
- Greater risk of inaccuracy
- Increase of dispersion
- Unstable projectile flight
- Damage to other sensitive components
- Hastening of barrel fatigue (resulting from surface defects in both the bore and combustion chamber)
The report indicated that while these things might not necessarily be dangerous to anyone using the gun, they could be extremely hazardous to “friendly personnel located downrange or near the intended target.” That’s a big reason why the military takes special precaution to prevent gun barrel rust – and so should you.