Cold weather/ guns/ ammo


November 16, 2012, 09:28 AM
I do a local competition shoot once a week and have a question about cold weather/ guns/ ammo

Im sure many of you work at a place like I do that does not allow employees to carry inside the building so our guns and ammo have to stay in the cold car till after work when the competition happens. I know this has got to effect the accuracy of both the gun, and the ammo. How much does this effect both? also how hard is this moisture from temps on the guns?

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November 16, 2012, 01:56 PM
What you'll notice mainly is more or a POI shift with cold equipment, as opposed to reduced accuracy.

Obviously a cold gun will take more shots to ' warm up', which may be a good or bad thing depending on your gun.

Ammo is going to be most effected and therefore is going to have a greater impact on accuracy, the colder temps are going to cause the powder to burn slower, resulting in reducing velocity. you may also notice continuing POI shifts throughout the match as the ammo starts to warm up. its best to try and keep your ammo at the temperature you are going to be shooting at.

also depending on the ammo and the temperature, you may notice an increase in dud rounds and hang fires if the ammo is cold enough.

Hk Dan
November 16, 2012, 08:28 PM
At the distances you see in a USPSA match (if thats your sport) you wont notice much of a difference.

November 16, 2012, 09:13 PM
also how hard is this moisture from temps on the guns?
A good corrosion inhibitor will take care of that issue. Eezox, CorrosionX, Starrett M-1... ad infinitum. :p

Shadow 7D
November 16, 2012, 09:31 PM
depends HOW COLD is it
frankly I have shot in weather that once you stopped firing you shot gun your weapon (M4)
popped the bolt out and put in in your INSIDE pocket, OR it wouldn't work, Pretty sure water somewhere, but if you kept the bolt warm it worked, if not,


as for accuracy

you will string shots
as your barrel warms and cools, your POI goes up and down
mirage off your barrel, makes it MUCH worse.

left and right, fine
up and down....
have fun.

November 16, 2012, 10:07 PM
Would bringing the ammo inside the office -and leaving the HG in the car- still be a no-no?

November 16, 2012, 10:31 PM
a few handguns and ammo would fit in a cooler just fine, if you want an insulated box in your car

if you're really concerned, you could toss a handwarmer in there, but I bet it would still be close to room temperature 10 hours later if you packed it up inside

November 17, 2012, 07:22 AM
I have noticed temperature effects on the velocity of cold ammunition and changes in point of impact in rifles at 200 to 600 yards.

I doubt POI will change much in a handgun.

However, in cold weather with a well used S&W M586 I got squibs, hangfires in cold weather with ball powder. I changed out the mainspring and the problem went away next shooting session, which was slightly warmer.

I am of the opinion that you must ensure that your firing mechanism has new mainsprings in cold conditions for reliable ignition. I do not recommend ball powders in cold conditions as ball powders are harder to ignite. In severe cold maybe magnum primers would be required.

November 18, 2012, 05:40 PM
It is so cold that I saw an attorney with his hands in his own pockets! :rolleyes:

November 18, 2012, 08:46 PM
How cold are we talking? If you're only into the 40s, fuh-get-about-it and move along, nothing to see here.

I've shot Highpower on freezing mornings after leaving my gear in the car overnight (hey, it kept me from forgetting anything! ;) ). My nose stuck to the charging handle of my AR but the equipment functioned fine. Even shot to the same zeroes too. (Varget for the win, for future reference. Nary a POI shift from below-freezing to baked in the sun at Camp Perry.)

I've shot smallbore indoors after leaving the equipment in the car on even colder days (teens and single-digits) and again, nothing to get worked up about. Sure, I tried to get the rifle to warm up to room temperature ASAP and it took a few more rounds than usual on the sighter bull, but it shot fine.

And I've never had ignition problems either, even when I go to the outdoor range when it's just barely above 0.

Carne Frio
November 19, 2012, 08:36 AM
Law enforcement carry Glocks up here.
They do not seem to have any temp
related problems.:D

November 20, 2012, 08:38 AM
Are you from Fairbanks Alaska?


November 20, 2012, 09:07 AM
thanks for the info guys, Im talking about temps in the 20s-30s F and going into the range at 70 degrees. I do hate knowing about the moisture that forms on metal when the temp changes quickly. My table saw in the unheated garage sure tells that story.

Carne Frio
November 20, 2012, 01:02 PM
I'm not from here, but have lived here, off and on
for 20 of the last 50 years. Thanks for the welcome.

Equipment kept in a garage can be covered when
not in use. This ameliorates the effects of temp

November 20, 2012, 01:06 PM
When you get into deep cold the air is denser, which also changes the velocity and point of impact. But a mere 20-40 f. is not going to impact any ordinary shooting in the least.

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