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How do you prepare a rifle (weatherproof, etc) you plan to bring to the bush for a week?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Macchina, Oct 18, 2016.

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  1. Macchina

    Macchina Member

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    Every other year or so I find myself going on Backpacking hunts where we stay on tents and are in the elements for 7-10 days at a time. It's not uncommon for us to be in rain, snow, blowing sand, and deep mud all in the same week. I try to use stainless/synthetic guns for these trips but even they show some surface rust after days of rain. I tape my muzzle and always wipe down with oil at camp but never remove stocks or oil more than the exposed surfaces while in camp.

    How would you go about weatherproofing a blued/wood rifle for a hunt like this? I have a Winchester Model 70 and a JM Marlin 1894 both in blued/walnut that I'd love to take on these hunts but am afraid of all the rust...
     
  2. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'd not change anything about how you use SS/Synthetic. Taping the barrel is something I've just started doing rain or shine. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It not only keeps rain out, but leaves, debris and could prevent dirt/mud from entering a barrel if dropped. And hunting in harsh conditions sometimes stuff happens. You cannot 100% prevent some surface rust.

    You can polish blue metal with paste wax and water will bead up and run right off the metal. Realistically there is nothing you can do about the wood. You'll get lots of ideas, but they are mostly "feel good" tactics that make zero difference. It is the moisture trapped inside the wood that causes the problems much more than rain getting inside. As temperature, humidity and altitude change the moisture inside contracts and expands. This will effect the gun even if it is inside your home, it doesn't have to actually get wet. In extreme cases enough to cause wood to split or crack. But the majority of the time just enough to cause point of impact to change.

    If I had a blue rifle that I wanted to hunt with in wet conditions I'd bolt a good synthetic on it. The metal is a lot easier to protect than wood. And any real damage is due to neglect. Even a blue finish metal rifle won't be hurt enough to cause a failure unless left wet for a long time. A wood stock can go from perfect to useless in a matter of seconds with no warning.
     
  3. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I think you're doing a reasonable job of protecting your gun. A hunting hard hunting rifle will take on battle scars with time. Heck, your own body will take wear and tear on tough hunts. Comes with the territory. Just make sure there's no water, twigs or dirt in the bore.
     
  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Stainless/synthetic: lens wax on the scope, tape or a finger bandage (condom) over the muzzle. Wipe it down with CLP before you head out. (Really any lube/prep that leaves a dry film and doesn't require the gun to feel 'wet' or visibly oily on its working parts.) Avoid taking it in and out of temperature extremes.

    I hunted for years with a Marlin 336 with essentially the same preps. Wipe some oil on the stock and blued metal, wax the glass. If you plan on using irons tape the bore instead of using a finger bandage or condom.

    Only time I had a condom/finger bandage trap or create rust was on a browned barrel kit gun and a very miserable black powder hunt. We spent a lot of time with our rifles under ponchos. Keep a pair of dry woolsocks handy. Works for keeping warm or drying off a dunked rifle.
     
  5. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I just looked at an older Winchester Model 70 Featherweight I've owned since 1983 ... it's hunted in extreme conditions in the midwest and the Pacific northwest (read: lots of rain, sleet and snow); I've never done anything other than a little oil on the stock and barrel, occasionally a little car wax on the blued parts, wiped the glass and kept it covered. This rifle is still in pretty pristine condition. I think a quality rifle will hold up well unless it's really abused.
     
  6. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

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    I treat all my guns with Eezox corrosion preventative, no issues since I've started. Don't know what to tell you about the stock, I'm a stainless synthetic man myself.

    I've been meaning to shoot some groups with my rifles with the muzzles taped to see if POI changed, but never got around to it. Have any of you folks noticed POI changed or groups opening from taping your muzzle?
     
  7. Orcon

    Orcon Member

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    Get a Silicon impregnated gun cloth and wipe down the rifle before and after leaving/returning to camp, it will prevent rust and is not detrimental to wood. I've hunted all over Montana, in the most inclement weather since 1996 and have yet to tape a barrel or use any sort of barrel condom. Get some Clarity dry lens wipes to keep the moisture off of your scope lenses and to prevent fogging. Other than that... maybe look into getting your barreled actions cerakoted. They can look just as nice and you never have to worry about rust again.
     
  8. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Here in hawaii rain, humidity, and rust are just a part of life. When i know my guns arnt going to be cleaned beyond a basic wipe down for any length of time, i simply wont take a gun i dont mind getting light rust patinas.
    I know how much you might want to hunt with your winchester or marlin, but believe me if you take them youll spend so much time worrying about the finish that you wont fully enjoy the hunt....least if you look at them and go..damn thats pretty....
    If you dont mind them getting some "honest ware" then do take them, and a smiple wipe down will be all thats necessary as long as they arnt stored wet, or inside anything that will hold in moisture....they will get surface rust, but nothing harmful. I tend to be pretty liberal with CLP, corrosion block, or what ever i happen to have on hand when i know my gears gonna get soaked, and it does help, but they still rust some.
     
  9. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    This is why I have synthetic stocks on all my guns that will accept them.

    Still, if you're going to take real wood out into the field you're really interested in protecting its finish since it will ultimately dry out once you get it indoors again, so I agree with jmr40 that paste wax is probably your best bet.

    Back in the 1970's when M-1 carbine stuff was everywhere, I took a surplus stock that I got for a song because it had significant cosmetic defects, sanded the boiled linseed oil off and "finished" it with black Kiwi shoe polish (which is primarily carnuba wax). It worked surprisingly well as long as I was willing to polish my stock as often as I polished my boots..
     
  10. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    I like Old Dogs comment. At the end of the day what did you buy the rifle for? If you bought it for hunting it will be exposed to the elements. My rifle and I have aged together. An old man with a perfect rifle is likely to be very boring.:eek:
     
  11. Macchina

    Macchina Member

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    Point taken :)
    I suppose I should say: I mostly hunt day hunts around my cabin and the 1894 and Model 70 get used in that area. The Marlin is a fantastic walking around gun. I don't own a lot of rifles, so each one has a specific use. My only long action rifle (30-06) is the Model 70 and I plan to bring it to Wyoming in a couple years where the shots can be 300 yards+, this is the hunt I was thinking about when I made this post. Around my cabin the shots are always less than 150 yards so the 1894 in .44 Mag excels there. My ultralight all-weather rifle is a 357 Mag rifle, not exactly a long range rifle...

    I may try that paste wax idea and I'll certainly bring a silicone cloth next time we hunt the island for a week. I certainly don't mind dings and a bit of surface rust I can take care of later: I plan to pass these rifles down not sell them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  12. outlawjw

    outlawjw Member

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    We put tung oil on the inside surfaces of the stock liberally rubbed in & wax the metal . if outside of stock is oil finished add a coat of tru oil , if it is coated stock it is good to go . sight in two days after application & no more problems
     
  13. another pake

    another pake Member

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    Every October we take a week long grouse hunting trip into northern canoe country. Two years ago it rained all day every day for that week and without permanent cover there was no practical way to keep the shotguns dry. During use they faired just fine. They suffered far more on the 12 hour, 2 day ride home in drenched soft cases. But that's one reason I've got a dedicated, pack able grouse gun.
     
  14. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    I asked myself these same questions the other day when I decided to take my almost new CZ527 deer hunting here in Western Washington, in the face of an advertised hurricane. This is a blued and wood gun, and it was VERY wet out. I just oiled the living daylights out of it the night before with hoppes gun oil and let it sit. Wiped it off the morning of and didn't worry about it. The real trick I've found over the years hunting in temperate rain forests is to let the gun dry out in a similar temperature environment to when it got wet. If the day was hot I dry it out inside, if cold, out in the shop. Always wipe them down with oil after the day is over, and pull them out of the stock for a total oil down when the season is over. Usually do this to all my guns at the same time, kinda like a Christmas present for my guns. Seems to work.
     
  15. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    The thing to remember is preventive maintenance. The 20 years I spent in the Corps took me all over the world and into just about every climate you can think of. I have carried a rifle for days and months in freezing snow, tropical monsoon rains and scorching deserts. Daily cleaning, sometimes two or three times a day, is needed. The harder you use your weapon the more cleaning it will need.
    I found that freezing weather will cause you more trouble then rain. A weapon's action will freeze is it is subjected to extreme temperature change. If a weapon is kept in a warm cabin or tent, when exposed to freezing weather, condensation will form in the action and freeze, locking up the action. If you keep the weapon where it will stay cold , not freezing, you will be good.
    When living in snow tents we kept our rifles in WP bags in the snow just outside the entrance of the tent. This kept our weapons at 32 degrees. Not cold enough to cause CLP to freeze, but cold enough to keep condensation from forming.
     
  16. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    For wood stocks I'm frequently amazed to find that finishes are ONLY applied to the outer surfaces and barrel channel. Often the ends of a stock or the action inletting of a stock are left bare. For a gun used outdoors in bad weather a great deal of issues can be taken care of simply by removing the wood parts and using a sealer of some form on this bare wood. In particular any end grain with drinks water like a sponge. For oil finishes I'd use more oil. For stocks with heavy clear coats I'd thin down oil based polyurethane varnish with mineral spirits until it is like water and coat the bare wood with three coats of this "sealer" and finally a coat of non-thinned varnish. In the action mortise area where a build up might cause issues just use the 3 coats of thinned varnish to seal the wood with no significant build up. Sand the fuzz off after the first coat dries.

    Certainly any rifle with a wood stock used outdoors should be checked for bare wood on these areas and sealed well
     
  17. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Since I have a diverse collection of guns, I would use guns like my Remington 5-R in stainless or Ruger American for more rugged environments, and use my "nicer" guns for occasions where they are less likely to be beat-up (like those hunts where you remove it from the case outside the truck and walk a short distance to your stand for a few hours, then walk back to the truck and case up the rifle.) I would also carry a small cleaning kit with lubes and solvents, rag, Otis pull-through or boresnake, patches, etc.
     
  18. natman

    natman Member

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    If I had my choice, I'd start with stainless and a synthetic stock. However I have done some week long hunts with a blue steel and walnut gun in cold, wet, sleet and snow without rust.

    Metal: Two coats of Johnson's Paste wax over the entire barreled action, top and bottom. I kept a finger cot (looks like miniature condom) over the muzzle. It helped that the rifle in question (a J.C. Higgins Model 50) had a chrome lined bore.

    Wood: Two coats of JPW over the entire exterior of the stock. Make sure the interior has some sort of finish, including the inletting and underneath the recoil pad and the grip cap.
     
  19. PowerG

    PowerG Member

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    I do a lot of canoeing with various guns, I have a basic cleaning kit just for this purpose. I can swap out patch holders and brushes as necessary to match what's along on the trip. The only way you can keep a gun from rusting under extreme conditions is to increase the cleaning regime, there are no shortcuts. Even on stainless guns; most don't have stainless internal parts and you can get a rust problem going out of sight in just a couple of days under the right conditions.
     
  20. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    After a day in the field, wipe it down with a oil damped cloth.

    If it got wet dry it (take down as required) and oil it like normal at the end of the day.

    If you feel taping the muzzle (or putting a small balloon or finger cot over the muzzle) to keep water and stuff out, have at it.

    Other than this, you're good to go.

    I took a dunking in a river with my Colt 1991A1 (parkerized finish) on a canoe trip once. Shook the water out, reholstered it, and went about my business for the next three days. Normal cleaning and oiling is enough to protect the internals and the parkerizing provides its own layer of protection (as does bluing). When I got home, I cleaned and oiled it like normal, no problems.

    The key is whether you're taking proper care of your guns in the first place. If you are, any temporary moisture/wetting won't be a problem.
     
  21. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    If it's heavy duty rust protection you want, get the blues steel parkerized and painted. Paint over parkerizing is very, very, rust resistant. Parts like the bolt can be hard chromed to prevent rust while maintaining dimensions. Synthetic stocks are better in adverse and/or changing conditions too, as wood will change with differences in humidity and temperature.

    If you want to keep the blued steel and wood, constant maintaince is the only way. Using a thicker anti rust compound (like RIG) on the steel that is covered by wood will help.

    BSW
     
  22. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Not true. You can strip the finish off the wood and rub in Johnson's Paste Wax. It gives a 'satin' finish that is as impervious to weather as anything else. Having paste wax on the bluing will eliminate the weak spot, where the wood and metal join. I did this to my first deer rifle, a 742 Carbine, and hunted rain or shine with nary a worry. When a nice synthetic stock set became available, I put those on and never worried about denting them.
     
  23. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    normal cleaning, oil and maintenance. Wipe off any dirt or moisture back at camp.
     
  24. stoky

    stoky Member

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    I use Johnson's Paste Wax on the barrel and action that's inside the stock and on the inside of the stock.
    Midway sells a little preservative infused chamios in a jar that they call Rust Shield and the juice to replenish it when it starts getting dry.
     
  25. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Member

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    well personally I would pack a gun that required no such attention. I am a big proponent of military type rifles. preferably in such a situation I would be packing something like an AR15, tons of alluminum and plastic, any rustable materials have a lot of parkerizing. if my quarry were something that could not be dropped with a slow moving 6.5mm then I would probably pack something like an enfield, springfield M1 etc, those guns were designed for nasty wet periods with little chance for maintenance.
     
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