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Re-cleaning stored guns?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by valnar, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. valnar

    valnar Well-Known Member

    I have a few handguns (both revolvers and semi-autos) and I haven't shot some of them in a few years. I cleaned them and put a CLP on the outside before storing them.

    Should I take them out and re-clean and re-lube them now & then? Or will once hold them for a long time? I don't see any pitting or rust, but I'd rather not take the chance.
  2. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    The every now and then inspection/cleaning will help prevent any problems. Rust being the main culprit.
  3. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member

    When I put something into the safe for long term storage, or even if I'm not sure I'll have it out again soon, I'll put a nice layer of RIG over the metal parts. It is thick and last a long time. My favorite storage solution, not a big fan of CLP or other light oils for long term storage.
  4. Cop Bob

    Cop Bob Well-Known Member

    Ballistol is good for long term storage... it's good for the wood too... all natural, no petroleum products in it, does not break down or harden over time, not a big dust collector and death on rust...


    It is a good Idea to pull em out for a visit every so often, no matter what you do.
  5. Smokey in PHX

    Smokey in PHX Well-Known Member

    Cop Bob has it right.
  6. ChCx2744

    ChCx2744 Well-Known Member

    If any guns have been in storage for more than a couple months, I take them out, wipe the innards and outside, punch out the barrel with some patches, grease em up and put a light layer of Rem Oil on em.
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    Over a year or three some oils will harden like a varnish. But generally they'll still be there to protect the metal if they don't break down in some way.

    Because it's hard to say if the CLP you used is one of those pulling them out every couple of years and cleaning and re-oiling is probably not a bad idea.

    If you're not going to shoot them for ANOTHER couple of years but you don't want to part with them for some reason then you may want to "cocoon" them. The way to do that would be to remove any wood grips, clean and liberally oil the guns inside and out... like almost dripping wet. Then put it into a good heavy freezer style zip lock bag along with a freshly "baked" silica gell pack to suck out and trap any last bits of residual moisture that may be in the air inside the bag. Packed in that manner the guns will be good for many years of being ignored.

    Even better for long term storage would be to use the same silica pack and well oiled guns in vacuum pack heat sealed bags. The less air in the bag the less the silica pack has to work to totally dry out the air. If you do this don't suck ALL the air out since you run the risk of putting a hole in the bag from the vacuum pressure against the sharp corners. Just get it down to where the bag is almost a tight fit on the gun then seal it.

    The wood or rubber grips can then go in a separate zip lock bag which you staple to the gun's bag along the upper lip so you don't ruin the seal.

    Done in such a manner they'd easily be good for as many years as you can stand to see them sit in there.
  8. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Well-Known Member

    I am not going to disagree with any of the above. But just as a point of interest, most guns are fairly resistent to neglect. I left 3 guns (S&W mdl 27, Browning High Power, & Colt SSA) untouched for 20+ years in the bottom of a footlocker in their leather holsters. The only "Prep' for storage was a light wipe down with gun oil. They were still in perfect condition.
  9. valnar

    valnar Well-Known Member

    That has been my experience so far too. I haven't noticed anything wrong and I don't want to get too paranoid for no reason.

    Do people really keep their guns all greased up and "wet" constantly? You'd have to wipe them off every time you pulled them out.
  10. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    This. It doesn't hurt to inspect them every now and then if possible. I keep a soft cloth and WD-40 handy for occasional wipe downs. No need to re-clean internals if they haven't been fired.
  11. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Well-Known Member

    One thought that I had was about the storage environment. Modern houses with central A/C do a pretty good job controlling the humidity. A wipe down with an oily rag before putting them in storage will last a long time if they are stored inside such a home.

    On the other hand...

    If you live in a humid climate and store your guns in a garage cabinet or somewhere without such comforts, then you might want to get them out and rub them down with the oily rag a little more often.

    Lot's of things depend on storage environment!

    Good Luck!
  12. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    May I point out that you live in AZ while others may live in more humid or chill environments. What obviously works for you may be outright disastrous for someone living in FL, or LA. Leaving a gun (or knife) in leather holster for 20 years is an invitation to come back to a well rusted gun in other areas.

    One needs to develop their own regimen of inspection depending on their firearms, the local weather and their manner of storage. It never hurts to take a quick look at your firearms every 6-mo to a year and do a visual of internals & quick lube+wipe. Doesn't hurt and could save thousands.
  13. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I oil and inspect my collection every 6 months or so (which is probably overkill) but I do it anyway.
  14. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

    I have some rifles I'll be putting into long-term storage so I'm looking for a couple of mil-surp 12"x12"x48" steel boxes with rubber seals. After cleaning them thoroughly I'll coat them in Eezox and put them in gun socks then into the steel cases with oxygen and H2O absorbers. The steel cases will then be stored in the safe.
  15. ursus100

    ursus100 Member

    It probably depends to a degree on your local climate. I live in Southern CA, where it is warm and dry, and have not seen any issues with degradation during storage. My .22 rifle must have sat at my parent's place for for twenty years, before I collected it. I did give a cleaning after taking it home, but honestly there was no rust, dirt, or anything else going to make me think that I couldn't have left it as it was for another twenty years.
  16. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

    I don't keep them wet --I have a rag that has been used for twenty or more years for wiping down arms. Never cleaned. I can put a thin layer of oil on a weapon without breaking out the oil.

    The very thin layer is the important part. Too thick and the oil can actually help the metal rust by trapping the water close to the metal.

    In the army, after we had a sane weapons cleaning SOP, we would come back from the field and coat them liberally with oil. Turn them in and let them sit over the weekend. On Monday, we'd clean them real good and put on an ever so thin layer of oil and they'd stay fine for a good while.

    Blueing, though, requires the most attention. You don't want a good blue job to be damaged by rust, and it takes a little more attention than stainless, which contrary to some belief, can and will rust without ocassional attention.

    It is a good idea to wipe them down on a regular basis. If they are good and clean, they just need a good wiping with a rag that has oil on it already. They don't need to be wet, but they don't need to be dry either.
  17. dwood

    dwood Member

    I don't have a problem with anyone above's own method of prepping their guns for storage


    I hate to see WD-40 mentioned for use with ANY gun. The stuff dries out and leaves a gummy residue. I learned the hard way.


  18. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Not again. WD-40 is excellent for this purpose.
  19. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    I use a goldenrod in my safes.

    I've had minor surface rust show up on 'in the white' metal parts even in the dry climate of Colorado.
  20. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    As mentioned the key is the environment where the guns live. I've seen one reference in a thread talking about new guns still in the store on display shelves rusting slightly because the store happens to be in Florida and likely near an ocean. Meanwhile someone living in a very dry place such as Arizona will obviously get away with very little protection. So yeah, there's no ideal one answer for all.

    One thing about silica gel or oxygen absorbers. These products are like sponges. But like sponges they become saturated pretty quickly. When that happens you need to dry out the silica gel to "squeeze" out the moisture. This is done by baking it at around 250F for some time depending on the size of the packs. Ideally you would get the silica gel that has the tattletale dye in the pack so when saturated the gel turns pink. That's the sign to bake it to recharge the pack.

    The problem is that safes and cabinets are not sealed. So silica gel used in such cabinets or safes will tend to saturate sooner and not do as good a job as you suspect compared to using them in an air tight container such as Mike mentioned a few posts up.

    While it's true that a heavy coat of oil can trap moisture near the metal if the gun is dry to begin with then it's not an issue. But if the gun was handled on a hot dry day with sweaty hands then the salts from the evaporated sweat can be trapped under the oil. So while I'd suggest that there's nothing wrong with a heavy coat of oil it has to be applied to a CLEAN gun. Mind you a full coverage light film works just as well as a dripping wet film at protecting the metal.

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