gun cleaning tips to prevent firearm rust

Gun-Cleaning & Storage Tips to Prevent Firearm Rust

With the holidays approaching, gun retailers are expecting an uptick on sales. In fact, the last three months of the year historically represent almost one-third of annual sales for firearm retailers every year. For new owners – novice and experienced alike – preventing firearm rust must be a top priority if they hope to keep their pieces in ready shape. Few mishaps are more maddening than a once-gleaming gun now encrusted with rust – and it can happen quicker than most realize. To prevent firearm rust, it’s imperative that you routinely – and properly – clean and store your gun.

Of course, we recognize you may be spent after a long day at the range or hunting in the field. It’s tempting to simply set your piece aside with the promise of wiping it down later. Problem is that before you know it, one day turns into two, weeks pass – and all the while, moisture is wreaking havoc on the metal components of your hardware. The chemical processes that lead to rust and corrosion can be further exacerbated if you’ve kept your gun outdoors – or even stored it in a case with foam lining.

Proper Cleaning of Your Gun

If you don’t properly clean your gun before and after use, you could potentially be carrying a firearm that doesn’t shoot when needed, isn’t accurate, or potentially even goes off when it shouldn’t.

Some gun-cleaning tips:

  • Read the manual. This might seem obvious, but it’s essential – and frequently overlooked. Your owner’s manual will indicate how to correctly arm and disarm the gun, as well as an exact how-to on keeping your gun in prime working order. If you purchased your gun used, you can typically still find a manual for it online. Not every firearm is disassembled in the exact same manner, so it’s critical to read the manual before you start.
  • Unload the firearm. Again, this is one of those, “seems obvious, but worth pointing out just in case.” Always unload your gun when it isn’t being used.
  • Use the right cleaning solutions. You can find a Google a gazillion do-it-yourself gun cleaning solutions. This is strongly inadvisable. There safest products are those made especially for cleaning, lubricating and protecting your gun. WD-40 isn’t enough either. Keep in mind: Your firearm has to withstand the forces of extreme friction, heat, and high-speed movement. Oils and fluids made specifically for firearms are the only products you should use. Zerust makes gun cleaner & oil solutions expressly for this purpose. We also offer barrel strips to help prevent rust and corrosion inside the barrel of your gun. These can be cut to length. Enclosed inside the metal tube, pipe or barrel with the end capped, they provide vapor corrosion inhibiting protection against rust for up to five years.
  • Remove debris. Scrubbing debris off your firearm requires some elbow grease, but it will be easier when you have the right gun cleaning solutions on hand. You never want to scrub harder than you have to to get clean the debris because you don’t want to risk accidentally scratching the surface – something that can quickly lead to rust.
  • Lightly apply your gun oil/grease. All that’s necessary is a light coating of anti-corrosion oil. This helps keeps the sliding parts in good working order to avoid sticking when you fire. Here again, the owner’s manual can provide some insight on exactly how much oil to administer.
  • Carefully wipe it down. The outside of your firearm requires maintenance as well, though it’s generally easier to clean than the inside. Giving the exterior a once-over with an oiled-soaked rag can do wonders.

Prevent Firearm Rust With Better Storage Solutions

That last bit surprises a lot of folks, but foam-padded cases (sometimes referred to as “egg crate foam”) are among the worst places you can keep your gun for any stretch of time.

Folks sometimes mistake those plastic-shelled, foam-lined cases for longer storage solutions. In fact, they’re intended for safe transport – not storage. The problem is the foam actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as a perfect breeding ground for rust. We’ve seen some unfortunate firearm owners and collectors grapple with serious rust issues after only a couple weeks in these cases.

To keep your gun safe from nicks and scratches, as well as fouling, rust and corrosion, it’s important to properly clean and store your gun.

For storage, you’ll need to consider model and size of your piece. Sidearms will require slightly different care than rifles. Zerust has several anti-rust storage solutions, including:

  • VCI  Fleece-Lined Firearm Bag. This is the preferred choice for rifle storage, coming in two sizes (10″ x 53″ and 9″ x 12″). The smaller bag is $10 and the larger is $17, and both are made with VCI (vapor corrosion inhibiting) technology that protects the metal inside for up to five full years. The vapor is colorless, odorless, non-toxic and won’t leave any residue on the firearm.
  • VCI Firearm Protection Bags. These are plastic bags made to protect whatever metal components are stored inside with our anti-corrosion VCI. All a gun owner needs to do is place their clean, cooled weapon into the bag, which provides protection from rust and corrosion for up to five years. When you retrieve it for the next use, you will notice zero residue on any metal, wood, or other components. These bags are good for both short-term and long-term storage of both firearms and ammo.
  • Rust Prevention Vapor Capsules. These are ideal when you’re keeping your gun in a locker, bin, closet, drawer, or safe. Capsules provide up to two years of firearm rust prevention.

If you have questions about which gun cleaning and/or storage products would be best for your new firearm, our friendly customer service team is available to provide answers.

Contact Zerust for information on rust protection for firearms by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

The Holiday Season Is Big Business For The Gun Industry, Nov. 27, 2019, By Luis Melgar, American University Radio

More Blog Entries:

Strategies for Preventing Gun Rust Post-Hunt, Sept. 23, 2021, Firearm Rust Prevention Blog