Cleaning guns for medium/long term storage in a safe


Anna's Dad
August 15, 2007, 11:52 AM
I have a few of guns that I don't shoot often and some that I don't shoot at all. Those that I shoot regularly get cleaned and oiled so I'm not concerned about them.

The guns that aren't fired or, at least not often, are all kept in a safe in an airconditioned room so humidity shouldn't be a big problem. I also use anti-corrosive and anti-humidity products (although I don't change them as often as recommended).

I'd like recommendations on cleaning and maintaining both the finish and internals of these guns.

As far as finish, I have the following:
1) Blue (some are highly polished, some appear more dull)
2) Stainless
3) Parkerized (both black and gray)
4) Melonite/Tennifer

Some are older guns where the finish is partially worn and/or scratched.

Is there a one-size-fits-all product that would be good for all of these finishes? If not, I would appreciate recommendations for each.

Also, are any of these products safe if they contact the grips (plastic, wood or rubber)? If not, should I just try to avoid them or should the grips actually be removed when the product is applied?

For the internals, I'm thinking that cleaning should be unnecessary or very, very infrequent. Once cleaned and oiled, I wouldn't expect the oil to breakdown significantly until the gun is fired again. I would appreciate any thoughts on this, however.

Thanks in advance.

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August 15, 2007, 11:56 AM
I wouldn't do anything different from the guns you shoot/clean on a regular basis. Just take the ones that aren't being used, out of the safe once a year or so, and wipe them down with a bit of good gun oil.


August 15, 2007, 12:19 PM
Is there a one-size-fits-all product that would be good for all of these finishes?

Hey can't go wrong with a big can of WD-40.

(just kidding)

I certainly wouldn't over oil any internals, the oil can pool up and can get a bit gummy over a long time. Personally I've had good luck using a thin application of Tetra Gun Grease (avail @ Wal-Mart) on all the sliding parts and even down the barrel. Maybe a drop of Rem Oil on the pivoting parts. Don't overdue either as too much oil or grease tends to attract and hold the inevitable grit. I know others have used other products that work well.

For the outside, honestly ordinary Johnson's paste wax or the like is a good rust preventative that won't harm either the wood or the metal. Again there's no reason to go wild with the stuff but a thin coating seems to work really well in my experience.

Brian Williams
August 15, 2007, 01:44 PM
RIG, Rust Inhibiting Grease.
Get a nice lamb's wool pad and work some RIG into it and rub on each gun you are storing.

August 15, 2007, 04:26 PM
I keep hearing RIG mentioned, but haven't been able to find it at any of the hardware stores (Ace, Menards, Lowes). Does anyone have suggestions as to where I might find some?

August 15, 2007, 04:42 PM
Grease is your friend. Dont forget a thin coat inside the barrel.

You can also buy anti-corosion paper to wrap your clean guns in. Brownells has them I think.

I personally like using paste wax on exposed metal to protect & waterproof. Hey, it works on cars, but I don't know how it lasts long-term v. grease. Renaisance Wax is used in museums to preserve and protect weapons and armour.

Ala Dan
August 15, 2007, 06:19 PM
My friend Brian hit the nail on its head- RIG is the only product I
recommend for long term storage~! :scrutiny:;):D

August 15, 2007, 06:52 PM
My father has a large collection of Colt Pythons, Diamondback, Dick Special, etc. and he keeps them sprayed inside and out with Eezzox (sp?) and wood grips removed. They sit in the safe upright position on a plastic display rack (I think each rack hold 4 handguns). Some of those revolvers don't get touched for years but when they are wiped down they all still have that deep blued finish like it just came out of the factory. He's been using it for about 20 years or so.

August 15, 2007, 08:00 PM
Eezox works. Birchwood-Casey Sheath (now Barricade) works, but I like using RIG. I'm lazy, I'll spray some Sheath down in the guts, hang the gun up to drip dry and then wipe it down with RIG. A RIG RAG makes it simple to get in the nooks and crannies, or lettering. I use it for everyday wipe downs. It can be cleaned with a dab of Woolite when it gets dirty. A guy at the gun show sells seconds for $6 instead of the usual $10.

RIG is available from Brownell's, Midway, most gun shops and at gun shows.

RIG Rag -

RENAISSANCE Wax will protect almost anything, including leather and paper, but it's a matter of how you're going to get it down into the guts of the guns without disassembling them.

"The British Museum approved manufacture for its own use and for distribution to the public. That "perfect wax" is now available internationally under the name RENAISSANCE WAX."

"Who Uses RENAISSANCE Wax-Polish:
UK: British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum. Royal Armories (Tower of London , London & Leeds, National Army Museum, Imperial War Museum, the Wallace Collection, H.M. the Queen's Royal Armorer (at Marlborough House), the Guards Museum (Wellington Barracks), the Gurkha Museum (Winchester), the Military Museums at Aldershot, Royal Green Jackets Regimental Museum, the Gunsmith at Chatham Historic Dockyard (Kent), the Johnny Armstrong Gallery, and Museum of Border Arms & Armor (Scotland), National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. Belgium: Musee Royal de l'Armee et d'Histoire Militaire-Brussels. USA: Gunsmith at Colonial Williamsburg, the Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Academy of Art-Honolulu, Texarcana College-Bladesmithing & Metallurgy, Rockfeller Restorations, and many many more institutions around the world.

Available sizes:
200ml tin @ ...... 25.00
65 ml tin @ ....... 15.00
2.5 Litre @ ......189.00"

Anna's Dad
August 17, 2007, 01:47 PM
Thanks for all of the suggestions! I'll definately look into some of these options and will get my hands on some RIG just due to the number of recommendations.

August 21, 2007, 11:38 AM
You might want to toss in a few Silica Gel packs. My pharmacy safes them for me. Shoe stores are another source of these. That will absorb any moisture and keep it dry. I would seal it in plastic freezer bags.

August 21, 2007, 12:23 PM
Brian, JohnBT speak true .

I finally checked on some things that are not in a temperature controlled environment per se' after over a year. Everything is fine.

RIG, Johnson's Paste Wax and Ballistol are proven, along with what JohnBT posted.

In a "tight" or "field expedient" , Petroleum Jelly works. We call it "poor mans cosmoline".
It does not have to be Vaseline brand , generic works.
Dexcron automatic transmission fluid for internals works too.

There have been times during an emergency, these two products were all one had, and the guns were fine for some time.

August 21, 2007, 12:25 PM
I have a small container of RIG that has been sitting in my gun box for years - I used it back when I was into shotguns and it worked great for long-term storage. If you would PM me with your address I'll send it to you free of charge.


August 22, 2007, 05:33 AM
you can still get cosmoline. worked real well for most of my rifles... kept them good for well over fifty years.

August 9, 2008, 07:59 PM
Where would you buy cosmoline?

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