pistols and cold?


January 3, 2008, 03:19 PM
will leaving my pistol in the car damage it in any way? it's getting pretty nippy up here and i'd hate to hurt my guns through ignorance/negligence.
also will it harm ammunition? specifically pistol ammunition, specifically 9MM or .40?

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January 3, 2008, 03:20 PM
look out for condensation...could cause some rust. if the gun is overlubed, the lube can thicken and cause malfunctions.

January 3, 2008, 03:41 PM
If the steel and plastic of your car isn't damaged by the low temperature, then your gun will be fine. This also goes for hot weather and gun damage.

If the temp is near or below freezing, grease-type lubes may thicken, so liquid lubes would be preferable for your circumstances.

January 3, 2008, 03:49 PM
Leaving it in the car won't hurt it.

Can't say the same for the Junkie that breaks in the car and steals it though.
He might do it some damage!


January 3, 2008, 07:15 PM
Been carrying in Michigan for 2 or 3 years...don't recall which. Anyhow, I leave my Glocks in my truck vault. Never had any issues. I frequently stop at the gun range on the way home so I can shoot. The cold has never caused any failures.

Be safe,


January 3, 2008, 07:37 PM
Not a big deal up here. There are a few things that will help though.

1. As was mentioned, watch for condensation and keep it dry.

2. Synthetic grease. Rated to -40F. Costs about $10 per Lb.

January 3, 2008, 08:25 PM
hey 2Pac do you know of a range near augusta? i need to shoot...

January 3, 2008, 11:32 PM
I dont think any guns know what the temp is outside. 0degrees or 100degrees they should fire.

I did leave my XD in the truck while I was at a New Years party the other nite, it was about 30degrees when I left, I sure didnt stick it back in my waistband to carry it in the house tho. LOL
That probly woulda a been a chilly suprise.


January 4, 2008, 06:04 AM

How far are you from Hampden?

The Hampden Rifle and Pistol Club has the only 600 yd range in the state so far.


January 4, 2008, 04:49 PM
i don't know how cold it gets in maine, but with the temps in the witer in kansas when i was stationed there, i had no issues, they shot just as well in the cold as they did in the mid west summer heat and i had no rust and or anyother issues.

Owen Sparks
January 4, 2008, 05:09 PM
I wonder about how well my guns springs will work in extreme cold. I noticed that when the temperature gets down in the teens, the screen door on my house no longer works. The hinges have built in coil springs that normally slam the door automatically but they seem to loose their mojo when it gets really cold. Gun springs are probably of much better quality, but I still can't help but wonder if they weaken in extreme weather also.


January 4, 2008, 06:26 PM
For practical purposes, cold will not effect your firearm or your ammo. You can leave them in your auto 24/7 all winter long.

Unless you are experiencing Antarctic weather, your weapons and ammo will endure the same temps that your car can handle (and you don't have to worry about a dead battery :) ).

At EXTREME temps (-40 degrees F and below), metals (steel or aluminum alloys) will become brittle. High stress parts may see failure during rapid firing or after repeated impacts. I've seen mortar base plates split completely in half; fuzes for rockets and explosives fail; and breakage of small arms bolts, firing pins, extractors, etc. Additionally, most commercial gun lubes aren't rated for extreme sub-zero temps and may congeal like Crisco. Some ammo may begin to hangfire or misfire.

Your only real worry is RUST caused by repeated warming and freezing of metal components.

A weapon at ambient outside air temperature (say 10 degrees F) will "sweat" when brought into a warm room or car. This is caused by water vapor in the air touching the below-freezing metal surface of the firearm and freezing (the same process which deposits morning frost on your car) followed within minutes by that same vapor liquifying on the weapon as it warms up to room temp. You now have a light coat of moisture all over (and even inside) of your weapon. If you have your weapon inside a heated car for a while (several hours), then park the car for the night, then reheat the car the next day...you will eventually find rust.

It's not the freezing cold that causes the problem...it's the warmup :uhoh:

No problem...just inspect your weapon frequently (a minute or so every other day), wipe it down with a t-shirt (remove moisture), and ensure a light surface coat of oil. Inspect rounds and springs in semi-auto magazines, apply a very light coat of oil inside revolver cylinder chambers (not enough to drip or flow onto primers), and generally inspect the weapon for obvious rust. Pay attention to firing pin channels and springs in semi-autos (lube very lightly to prevent rust but not enough to gunk it up if the lube congeals).

Tough finishes will fare better living outdoors in the car: stainless steel, polymer, parkerization, matte "military/tactical" coatings. I wouldn't leave a really nice blued S&W revolver out in the car 'cause I'd be worried about damaging the finish (the revolver would function just fine).

Honestly, you could throw a Glock, 1911, or Mossberg 500 into your car for months and they would be mechanically fine...but they would also be exposed to changes in humidity and temperature which will degrade finishes and (eventually) render them inoperable.

Hope this helps...

January 4, 2008, 09:01 PM
As has been well covered in the previous posts, condensation is your biggest enemy. 20 years ago I learned this the hard way. I used a leather covered, carpet lined pistol rug to store my blued S&W in while in my car. It provided good under seat protection but ultimately wasn't a good idea and though I looked at it periodically that wasn't often enough. I ended up having the gun re-blued due to minor rusting. I caught the problem before it actually pitted the slide and all ended well. The nylon covered, foam rugs don't seem to have the same sweating problem and a stainless pistol is also more resistant. It's a lesson I didn't have to learn twice.

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