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Effect of cold on shotgun, AK

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by ScopedOut, Nov 23, 2005.


Can I leave the shotgun outside?

Poll closed Nov 24, 2005.
  1. Yes, cops do it all the time

    29 vote(s)
  2. No!

    2 vote(s)
  1. ScopedOut

    ScopedOut Member

    So, I'm going to visit family for Thanksgiving, but there have been numerous robberies in my neighborhood, so I'm not leaving the guns behind to be stolen. The weapons are coming with me, but I need to leave the shogtun and the AK in the trunk of the car for the whole 4 day visit. The temperatures are going to hover around 20-30 degrees during the day, with nighttime temperatures in the teens and single digits.

    The shotgun is a remington 870 that is well oiled, greased, etc... I was kinda kidding about the AK - anything conceived/tested/built in Siberia can handle a Virginia winter. :neener:

    Should I avoid leaving the shotgun in freezing temperatures for 4 days straight? Also, how hard is the cold weather on ammo?
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2005
  2. pcf

    pcf Well-Known Member

    Cold weather shouldn't have any effect other than making lubricants more viscous.

    Cold shouldn't effect factory ammunition any harmful way.

    Does your trunk leak? A Trunk + VA & MD road salts + a little moisture = rust chmaber .
  3. jobu07

    jobu07 Well-Known Member

    I think the best solution is to just throw them all into the yard when you get there and pile some snow on top of them. That way they'll be safe from wandering eyes. The AK will preform without a hitch when you dig it out after the visit and the 870 is the AK of shotguns... :p

    On a more serious note, giv'em an extra coat of oil to help prevent moisture from causing rust and leav'em in the trunk. When you get home, inspect for rust and put them away.
  4. ScopedOut

    ScopedOut Member

    Sounds good. I tend to gravitate toward things that are simple, tough, and effective - weapons are no exception.
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Just keep the guns on slings the whole time.

    Seriously, I'm going to put in a plug for Bullfrog as a rust preventative. Works great.

    Also, go to a store with crap for closets (Target probably will be fine) and get a little plastic jar of chemical dessicant (aka de-humidifier). Put it in the trunk. This will keep the trunk from getting humid if that's a concern.
  6. MarineTech

    MarineTech Well-Known Member

    You are much less likely to get moisture/rust on your guns by leaving them in the car for the duration, than you would be to move them in and out of the cold repeatedly. Just make sure to wipe them down when you get home to remove any condensation, and you should be all set.
  7. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I left my old Romak-3 out in temps that ranged to forty degrees below zero, and she's still out there in the deep cold. There is no impact on firearms from letting them freeze. And at least to -40 no effect on ammunition. The worst thing you can do is let them get cold and bring them into a warm house or cabin without carefully cleaning and drying them off. Bring cold metal into a warm, humid place and you get instant moisture and rust.

    To protect firearms in the vehicle, I"ve found that traditional fleece-lined soft cases or sleeves are the best. They wick moisture away from the metal very effectively--much better than a hard case or one of those gun socks.
  8. eab

    eab Well-Known Member

    Don't worry about it at ALL! You are talking about a Virgnia winter, you MIGHT get snow. Just was out hunting this past week in WI and the temp was right around where you said, and my Mosberg worked wonderfuly when I missed my deer.

    My family and I have hunted in MUCH colder weather and have NEVER had a problem or heard of ANYONE who had a problem with the cold effecting there guns.

    It has to get pretty darn cold for the oil and grease to freeze up.
  9. RK_INT

    RK_INT Active Member

    I always was taught that the repeated warming and cooling of a weapon, above and below freezing was far worse then almost any sustained temperature. Think about wood expanding and contracting over and over, while metal forms and evaporates condensation etc... etc... My vote goes to keeping the guns in one place for as long as possible at one temperature, and if that place is the locked trunk of a car, so be it.
  10. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    when it comes to optics it's better to leave them in the truck all night... never thought twice about leaving a shotgun or rifle in the truck in freezing weather, I've done it hundreds of times during elk/deer hunting.
  11. svtruth

    svtruth Well-Known Member


    Why not put 'em in a cooler w some dry ice and go out to the range. Cold can thicken lubes. The WWII fighters had gun heaters to keep them supple.
    Good luck.
  12. sm

    sm member

    Cannot speak for AKs specifically...

    Many homes, hunting lodges, etc., have non-heated rooms where Firearms and other things would condensate, then rust if brought into the warmed areas.

    Even though I am in the South, we do get get freezing cold temps here. I am not far from the Duck Capitol of World. We often break ice to hunt, break ice to get back, and the shotguns stay in the NON-heated areas of the camp if we are going to go back out for late shooting, clay thrower, or wait until next morning.

    We do the same for Deer Camps too. Lever actions, Bolt guns, even Semi- Auto are left in non heated areas. These areas are secure, just no heat.

    Folks tend to Improperly clean. Clean areas that don't need it so much - and fail to maintain what does require attention.

    Zippo Lighter fluid has allowed a firearm to go "bang" when firing pin was stuck. RIG+P , Johnson's Paste wax has kept too many guns safe from cold, wet, ice and snow.

    When I was required to keep a shotgun in my trunk, all climates, all temps - never a problem. Ditto for handguns left in there as well.

    Automatic Transmission Fluid is your friend for lube. ;)
  13. LaVere

    LaVere Well-Known Member

    Here in Michigan it can get cold. So I was concerned about my Hasselblad
    getting wet and ruined. What I have to do is seal the Camera and all
    lens and accessories in plastic bags ie zip lock type. I do have pelican
    cases for the equipment but with the thick plastic and foam insulation
    it would take too long to warm up do the shoot and return to the car.

    The cameras are sealed indoors at room temp., transported , then taken
    indoors and left sealed until warm. I also carry a hair blower to aid in
    the warming. I return them to the plastic bag and repeat above. There
    are time I removed a lens or the camera to early and it fogged up I just
    use the hair blower and warm/dry it off. If I was just going to shoot
    outside at 30 degrees or what ever. Take the bags leave the cameras out
    do your shooting then place in the bag before returning to warm humid
    environment. If I don't need to use the camera for many hours after
    arrival and having the camera in the cold. I just leave them all in the
    pelican cases.
  14. Rob62

    Rob62 Well-Known Member

    I lived in Alaska for a couple of years, from '87 to '89. I was in the interior at Ft. Greely just outside of Delta Junction. During that time we had one of the coldest winters, even by Alaska standards, in quite a few years.

    I've stored many guns outside in my truck so the metal got really "cold soaked". Many were semi auto's of various manufactures. One was specifically an AR15 another was a Beretta 92.

    I used to take these guns out all the time and shoot them with no noticeable problems. I used Break Free as a lubricant exclusively and can highly recommend it. If the winters I went through in America's Last Frontier couldn't stop my guns from working, then there's NOTHING that the lower 48 can do.

    Its my experience that the problems that occur in really cold areas have to do with taking cold guns inside, then they get condensation all over them and in their actions. If you take them back out into the cold without removing the condensation they freeze up and voila you have malfunctions.

  15. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    We have a gun locker in the front door foyer of our cabin in Wisconsin.
    The guns don't ever come into the warmth of the cabin, they stay cold until we bag them up for the return trip, and we clean them and oil them before they get cased.
    Repeated trips from warm to cold to warm will cause condensation to form on the guns and the will begin to rust and malfunction in short order.
    The guns are cleaned and oiled again when we get home and before they go back into the safes.
  16. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Well-Known Member

    Mid March, 1963, Northern Alaska (~150 miles from Nome.) I had just arrived on site and was asked if I wanted to go shooting. 03-A3, S&W M&P, and Winchester .22 worked fine at -42F with a 10 knot wind blowing. The shooter didn't work as well, though.
    :eek: :neener:

  17. strambo

    strambo Well-Known Member

    Yep, exactly right. Other than lower velocities the only other consideration is condensation/re-freezing. In the Army we kept our weapons under the tent flap around the edges of the tent so they stayed cold the whole time.

    I always liked the Ft. Greely area to visit...wouldn't want to live there though. I think the Army has completely moved out of Greely now, don't know if the local civilians are using it for anything.
  18. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Greely was selected to be the northern aspect of the missile defense program. I'm not sure what the current status of actual construction is there.
  19. Chipperman

    Chipperman Well-Known Member

    sm-- "Automatic Transmission Fluid is your friend for lube."

    Oh, you mean the GOOD ATF. :D
  20. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "You are talking about a Virgnia winter, you MIGHT get snow."

    Had snow on my car Wednesday night over in the Valley. It should be 20 in the morning on the Rappahannock. I hope the outboard starts.


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