If you were to ask the question, "what is the biggest enemy of guns," some people would be quick to reply, "The gun control lawmakers or politicians in all levels of government."
While these individuals do need to be watched-dogged at all times by citizens who value their right to own firearms, the biggest enemy of guns, and has been for centuries, is simply moisture.
For most sportsmen and women, the hunting seasons are now over until September. Their rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloaders are in storage for a few months.
Only a few of life's tragedies exceed the anguish of taking a favorite sporting firearm out of the closet or gun case, and discovering a once beautiful shotgun or rifle is now encrusted with rust. Gun-storage tragedies happen every year. This can range from fallen gun racks to corroded bores because the firearm was not properly stored.
After a hard day in the fields or forest, it is tempting to set aside your guns . I'm just as guilty as anyone when it comes to making this common mistake. Later often turns into days, weeks, months, and sometimes years. During this time period, copper residue, burnt powder fouling and moisture are relentlessly doing their nasty work.
Storing guns from one hunting season to the next or even longer is really a simple process. First, people need to know what is proper in preparing your firearms for storage. The second is storing them so they will be bright, shiny and most importantly ready for action months or years later.
Now, before I go any further on this subject, I need to emphasize that most gun enthusiasts in this area have their own ideas about how to store their firearms. From what I have seen for myself, just about all of them are good, although some ideas may be better than others.
Good gun cleaning starts from the inside, mainly the bore. It does not matter if the firearm is a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. When copper-jacketed bullets are fired in a rifle, dismal things start to happen. The bullet itself is literally being mutilated in the rifling while it is being pushed at high pressure by the hot powder gases. Powder and copper fouling accumulate in and on the rifling. If this is done repeatedly without cleaning, accuracy loss becomes measurable. Copper residue is a real troublemaker when it comes to rifle accuracy.
One of the best rifle bore cleaners on the market today is Hoppes No. 9. This is a product that has withstood the test of time. There may be a few new bore cleaners that may be slightly better due to improved technology, but No. 9 is still one of the best.
First take a bristle brush that is the correct size for the bore and insert it in the bottle of bore cleaner, then place it on the end of the cleaning rod. Run the brush completely through the bore. Then, bring the brush back to where you started. Repeat this process two or three times. This should loosen up most of the fouling in the bore. Never reverse the direction of the bristle brush inside the bore.
Then take a dry cleaning patch and run it through the bore. If the gun has been fired several times during a hunting season, this first patch will come out quite dirty.
Then take another cleaning patch and soak it in whatever bore cleaner you are using. Place it on the cleaning rod and run it through the bore. The second patchy should come out cleaner than the first. Now, run another dry patch through the bore. If the second dry patch comes out clean, chances are the bore will stay this way until the next hunting season. However, if the second dry patch comes out dirty, repeat the process of running another patch soaked in solvent followed by a dry patch that comes out clean.
One of the best protectors from moisture on a firearms exterior is WD-40. This product is inexpensive and can be purchased at just about any grocery, hardware store, or department store. Apply a thin coating of WD-40 to all of the blued metal surfaces, but not the action. If the action has been cleaned, use Q-tips and your bore cleaner. After doing this, place your prized sporting firearms in a storage area that is cool and dry.