prevent rust rifles

Rifle Care Rule No. 1: Prevent Rust

If you want your rifle to last, it’s important to remember one thing: Prevent rust. It’s every gun owner’s enemy, especially in the postseason.

Recently, a gunsmith in West Virginia was asked by a local newspaper reporter about the No. 1 cause of repairs he makes on guns. He answered without hesitation: Rust.

“A lot of the repairs I make are on guns that have rusted because they weren’t properly maintained,” he said. It happens at least once a week.

Of course, rust has been around as long as firearms were forged from steel, an iron alloy susceptible to the corrosive chemical reaction that occurs when exposed to water/moisture and oxygen. Rust can easily render a rifle inoperable (or worse, a hazard) – and faster than you might think. Most gun owners know not to get their firearm wet, but what many don’t realize is metal draws moisture from ambient air. If you take a gun from a warm environment to a cold environment or visa versa, the moisture can condense on the steel. That condensation is easy enough to wipe away on the outside, but it’s the damage it does to the inner workings of the rifle – the bore, the chamber and other internals – that can cause real damage. It doesn’t take a lot of corrosion to cause a shell to stick or a bolt to jam.

The gunsmith interviewed by The Charleston Gazette-Mail recalled one time a gun owner brought in a shotgun, autoloading, never before fired, still in the box. It wouldn’t fire. The box was stored in the garage. Problem was, that garage wasn’t climate-controlled and the owner had taken no other measures to prevent rust.

Some owners spray their weapons down with WD-40, but this gunsmith, like many others, advises against this. The spray evaporates fairly quickly, and then you’re left with a false sense of security.

Even if you clean and dry your gun thoroughly and keep it in a cool, dry place over the colder months, it may not prevent rust if you don’t take a few other precautions.

Zerust Products Help Prevent Rust on Rifles

In addition to proper cleaning of dirt, debris and moisture, Zerust has several tools to help you effectively prevent rifle rust. In addition to gun cleaner and gun lubricant, These include:

  • VCI Firearm Protection Bags. These bags, like most Zerust products, use a patented vapor corrosion inhibitor that is non-toxic, odorless and forms a thin layer of protection around the metal components. The bags are durable, come in different sizes and last up to five years. The rust-inhibiting layer evaporates harmlessly into the air when the bag is reopened.
  • Tube and Barrel Strip. This is especially helpful for the long lengths of rifle barrels that can be difficult to clean. These narrow strips fit easily inside any ferrous metal tube and remain inside while the ends are capped shut to protect the inner components. Our tube and barrel strips last up to five years.
  • VCI Rifle Bag. These durable bags are built specifically for rifles, though they work for any gun. All that is necessary is to clean and cool the firearm before placing it inside. The liner is fleece, so your rifle is protected from unintended nicks and scratches that can occur when a weapon is jostled during storage. This can prevent rust for a full five years. 

If you have questions on these and other gun rust prevention storage solutions, we can help.

Contact Zerust for information on how to prevent gun rust and corrosion by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

A gunsmith’s key to keeping rust away from guns, May 2018, By John McCoy, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

More Blog Entries:

Prevent Gun Rust When You Store Your Firearms, July 28, 2020, Zerust Gun Rust Prevention