Rust is the bane of any gun owner’s existence. It can eat away at the metal components of the firearm, resulting in discoloration, pits and potentially malfunction. Rust is a chemical oxidation process through which metals containing iron come in contact with oxygen and moisture. For firearms, not only is this problematic for the metal, but the moisture can create pesky cracks in grips and wood stocks. These issues can be exacerbated by exposure to fluctuating temperatures, salt and other corrosive compounds and proximity to dissimilar metals. But it IS possible to prevent gun rust when your firearm is in storage – if you take the proper precautions.
What Are the Ideal Gun Storage Conditions?
Most often when we talk about gun storage, people immediately think “gun safes.” But there is more to consider than just keeping a firearm out of the hands of the wrong people. Rust is an enemy that never sleeps.
Curators at the NRA’s National Firearms Museum have been quoted as saying firearms should ideally be stored at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of between 50 and 55 percent.
Of course, the temperature and condition of firearms stored and displayed at the NRA Museum and vaults is consistently monitored and recorded three times every day. The museum also invested in a dedicated air handler to control both the temperature and humidity of the facility.
Of course, museums dedicate a great deal more energy, time and money to preserve their firearm collections in perfect conditions that most of us have neither the resources nor frankly desire for.
So How Can I Prevent Gun Rust While My Guns are in Storage?
There are several simple ways you can preserve your firearms that won’t break the bank. This is true whether you’re simply placing your firearms in a gun safe or keeping them in long-term storage.
- Use a dehumidifier. If you’re storing your guns in a garage, storage unit or safe, you can spend as little as $30 for a small dehumidifier that can help wick moisture from the surrounding environment.
- Properly clean and oil your firearm before storing. Zerust sells both gun cleaner and gun oil – separately or in a combo package (for just $6). These products clean, protect and lubricate firearms to help protect them against rust and corrosion. Make sure also to wear white gloves when you’re handling firearms for cleaning and oiling purposes. Not only with this prevent the transfer of your skin oils to the weapon, but it will allow you to see whether your firearm has truly been cleaned properly or not.
- Place Zerust VCI vapor capsules for weapons and ammo in the enclosure. These capsules have adhesive backing that can stick to any surface and can prevent gun rust for up to two years.
- Store your firearm in a Zerust multi-purpose VCI poly bag for firearms, ammo and weapons. These are just $3 each, come in different sizes and can provide up to five years of protection against rust and corrosion. We also offer heavy duty VCI rifle bags for larger weapons.
With both the vapor capsules and multi-purpose poly bags, there is no need to continuously apply oil or other greases, as you would normally need to do if storing your gun for an extended period of time without usage.
The price you pay for neglecting your firearm is serious elbow grease and cold, hard cash. If your firearm begins to show visible signs of rust, you need to address it immediately. The problem is already worse than what you can see. Bronze wool or nylon cleaning brushes saturated in gun cleaning solution – plus a whole lot of scrubbing – is probably the best way to remove rust once it’s taken hold. But it’s always better – and cheaper – to prevent gun rust in the first place if you can.
Contact Zerust for information on how to prevent gun and corrosion by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.
Rust-Prevention Tips for Your Guns, June 15, 2018, By Steve Adelmann, NRA Shooting Illustrated
More Blog Entries:
How to Protect Your New Gun From Rust and Corrosion, March 22, 2020, Zerust Gun Rust Prevention Blog
Packing up your boat, furniture, coins and jewelry, ATV, bicycles, electronics, tractor, firearms, RV, travel trailer or other items for long-term storage? You can’t afford to ignore the potential for rust and corrosion. This is particularly true if the space in which you’re storing your items lacks climate control. Sometimes the effects of corrosion can be mitigated after the fact, but it’s always better to prevent rust if you can.
Most people recognize that rust is one process of corrosion that pertains specifically to metals made of iron and its alloys (such as steel). When these elements come into contact with oxygen and water (or even just moisture), rust will begin to form. How fast it takes over depends on other environmental factors, such as temperature fluctuations, the presence of salt in the air or even proximity to other types of metals.
Rust that forms on iron or steel can be porous, allowing water and oxygen to reach the underlying surface of an item and penetrate deeper. Corrosion of other types of metals (aluminum or copper, for instance) tends to result in a tight film of oxide that protects the other layers from deeper corrosion. But it depends on the chemical makeup of the metal and the construction of the item.