As often happens when there is political uncertainty, economic instability or people feel their rights may be infringed upon, gun and ammunition sales go up. That’s what we’re seeing today amid global concern of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Even as stores struggled to keep staples like toilet paper and hand sanitizer stocked, Ammo.com reported online orders of firearms and ammunition spiked almost 70 percent. Brick and mortar stores are selling out as well, and some retailers have even begun limiting how much buyers can purchase. There has been an uptick in requests for firearms training, which suggests a large number of buyers are first-time gun owners.
If you are the owner of a new gun (or are concerned now more than ever about protecting the piece you have), you should know that proper storage is an imperative. Guns are made with metal, and all metal has potential to rust or corrode. To prevent gun rust, Zerust has a number of gun storage solutions.
Storing Your New Gun
Gun rust is a big problem for those who store their firearms in gun safes. In fact, corrosion tends to happen at a higher rate and more rapidly in a gun safe than out of it. The reason has to do with basic chemistry.
Rust, also known as oxidation, is a chemical process that occurs when iron or iron alloys come into contact with water (or moisture) and oxygen. The only type of metal that “rusts” is iron and its alloys, but other types of metal are prone to similar chemical breakdown processes collectively known as corrosion. Most modern gun safes are constructed with a thin, steel shell, lined with gypsum board (also known as drywall) and carpet. These products are frequently made with materials such as formaldehyde and pyrite. Pyrite is an iron sulfide. When it reacts with moisture and oxygen, it can create not just oxidation but sulfuric acid, which can be extremely aggressive in causing gun rust.
On top of that, pyrite can feed bacteria known as ferrooxidans. This bacterium is responsible for breaking down the pyrite and turning it into hydroxide and sulfur-based acids. However, it doesn’t just end there and ferooxidans have been known to consume many other metals.
There are all-steel gun cabinets that might be another option, but unless they’re airtight, they still aren’t going to completely keep out the elements that cause rust on corrosion on your weapon.
Keep in mind that fluctuations in temperature can result in condensation, which is enough to pose a threat of gun rust. Senior Curators at the NRA’s National Firearms Museum say the ideal temperature for storing firearms is around 70 degrees and 50-55 percent relative humidity. But not all of us have the time, energy and money right now to invest in ensuring our firearm is kept under perfect conditions.
Zerust offers effective, affordable solutions to prevent gun rust and corrosion.
Zerust Gun Rust Prevention Products
Zerust uses patented vapor corrosion inhibiting technology to form an invisible, non-toxic, odorless layer of protection around metal components. Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors, or VCI for short, have a wide range of applications, but specific to the prevention of gun rust and corrosion, Zerust offers:
- Vapor capsules for ammo and weapons. These provide stored guns and firearms with up to two years of protection. They’re an excellent alternative to WD-40 and gun oil. We have different sizes depending on the space of your storage unit and the amount of time for which you want to protect your items. Prices range from $1.50 to $7. Simply place a capsule inside the closed storage space, and your firearms will be shielded from corrosion.
- Multipurpose VCI Poly Bags or Guns, Ammo, Weapons. VCI multipurpose bags are simple, effective forms of rust prevention. Just put your clean, cooled item into a poly bag and close it. Each bag – between $0.25 and $2, depending on size – is made with anti-corrosion protection that will keep any ferrous metals (iron, steel and cast iron) safe for up to five years. Another upside to bags is that because they keep your firearm dry, you can store, ship and transport without constantly having to apply oil and grease.
- VCI Weapon Protection Bags. Similar to the multipurpose bags, these come in larger sizes and are either close tie or zip tie, ranging in price from $1 to $6.25.
If you have questions about any of our materials intended for ammo and gun rust prevention, feel free to reach out to us.
Contact Zerust for information on preventing gun rust and corrosion by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
Daily Bulletin: Pandemic Fears Continue to Fuel a Surge in Gun Purchases, March 16, 2020, The Trace
More Blog Entries:
Avoid Stored Ammo Rust With VCI Technology, March 15, 2020, Zerust Gun Rust Prevention Blog
U.S. sales of ammunition have risen more than 100 percent in multiple states since just last month, and the New York Times reports a substantial surge in the number of first-time gun buyers. This spike is almost certainly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with its resulting supply chain shortages and restrictions on gathering and travel. Those with new stores of ammunition and firearms need to ensure their stock is protected from the erosive elements that can cause rust and corrosion. To prevent ammo rust, you can either purchase a large, airtight container in which to store it- or you can use a product like Zerust vapor capsules that can keep guns and ammunition safe from harmful corrosion for up to two years.
Improperly-stored ammunition can end up having the effect of weakening a bullet’s structural integrity. That poses a safety risk not just for the shooter, but for any who might be nearby when that round is fired.
Does Ammo Have a Shelf Life?
Many ammunition manufacturers opine their product has a shelf life of about 10 years. It’s possible rounds could last longer than that if taken care of, though some gun enthusiasts might think if you’ve let ammunition sit around so long that it’s expired, you aren’t doing enough point shooting. But we may see more ammo supplies at risk of rust if they are stockpiled strictly for emergency use. But ammunition should only be used if it’s safe, and rust/corrosion can certainly render it less so.
Most factory-loaded rounds are designed to function reliably in a wide range of conditions, so long as they are protected from extreme temperature fluctuations and high heat and humidity.
Still, ammunition, like anything made of metal, will be adversely affected by the combination of moisture and oxygen. A single round of ammunition contains gunpowder inside and then a metal casing, metal primer and metal bullet (the bit that goes flying out of the end of the barrel when you shoot). The amount of time you have before the integrity of your bullet starts to break down depends on:
- The type of metal components with which the ammo is made.
- The type of environment in which it is stored.
Different metals react to different substances in varying ways and paces. If your ammo has any iron components (including steel), it will be prone to oxidation (ammo rust) if exposed to moisture and oxygen. Only iron alloys can rust. However, other metals can corrode in similar ways when exposed to the same elements. Other metals commonly contained in ammo include copper and lead.
How Ammo Should Be Stored
If you vacuum-sealed a container of ammunition and placed it in a place that was cool, dark and dry, it’s plausible those rounds could well last a decade or more.
But not many people want to or can invest in humidity-controlled storage for their bullets, especially right now with so much financial uncertainty.
Zerust ammo vapor capsules are an inexpensive and smart way to prevent ammo rust and ensure your stock remains well-preserved.
Contact Zerust for information on preventing ammo rust and corrosion by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
What is Rust? 2005, Cornell Center for Materials Research
More Blog Entries:
Prevent Rifle Rust and Corrosion During Long-Term Storage, Jan. 15, 2020, Prevention of Ammo Rust Blog