Firearm ownership is a responsibility that nobody should bear lightly. Whether you own them for hobby, sport or necessity, ensuring that your firearms are properly cared for is of the utmost importance.
In light of this, we’ve compiled 5 Tips for Gun Maintenance and Upkeep in an effort to keep your firearms in superior condition for many years to come!
#1. WD40 Is Not Good To Use On Firearms
WD40 has an unprecedented presence in various industrial marketplaces. As a matter of fact, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of lubricant.
An acronym for “Water Displacement Formula 40”, WD40 can be found in almost any industry and people always seem to find new uses for it.
But is it good to use on your guns? The answer – it seems – is No.
Contrary to the statements made on their website, many gun experts will insist that you keep WD40 away from your firearms, except in rare instances (e.g., you drop your gun in a lake and need to get the water removed fast, you’re using your gun during a rain storm and have no way of avoiding excessive amounts of water, etc.).
The reasoning for not using WD40 on your firearms comes from an intimate knowledge of how it actually works. First and foremost, that distinctive blue and yellow can is a water displacer and not a true lubricant. It works as a solvent and its lubricating properties are short-lived.
While it’s efficient at breaking up rust, once the hydrocarbons it contains dissolve they leave behind a low concentration of petroleum oil; that’s the slick film you feel after using WD40. Its formula (as referenced by its Material Safety Data Sheet) contains less than 25% petroleum oil.
This is why anything with moving parts seems to operate like grease lightning after applying WD40 to it. Not long after its initial application, however, the use of WD40 causes issues.
Gunking up triggers, hammers or any other moving parts on your gun is bad news. After WD40’s initial front of lubrication fades away, the rest of its ingredients simply hang around collecting dirt, grime and grit. WD40 essentially achieves the opposite effect you were looking for.
#2. Do Not Use Silicone Sprays On Your Guns
Silicone can make a good lubricant, but there are some instances where it can cause problems as well. Silicone-based lubricants are extremely difficult to remove from surfaces. While longevity is generally a positive trait for a lubricant, there are some situations in which it can be a negative.
Due to its retardant qualities, silicone based lubricants can and will interfere with the adherence of fluids onto the surface of your guns. With regards to bluing and re-finishing, this can prove a major issue.
Silicone will remain on the surface of your firearms for years. While ideal for water repellency, if you ever need to implement a new plating or coating, silicone’s unyielding tendency to stick around may cause unwanted and unneeded resistance.
Another major downside to the use of silicone-based lubricants is its thinness. Normal usage of your firearms over time will lead to wear. Certain areas of the gun’s silicon coatings can be worn down and eradicated, leaving penetrable areas of exposed metal.
Pair this with oil’s tendency to ball and disperse unevenly and you have a firearm that’s now extremely vulnerable to corrosion.
Much like WD40, silicone sprays might work for a small window of time on your firearms. However, after their cursory preliminary effects fade, both you and your firearm may have more problems than you initially started with.
#3. Pennies Remove Gun Rust
Yeah! Believe it or not, the gun maintenance tip that seems most likely to be a hoax is completely true!
Apply some 3-In-One oil to a rusty firearm, rub it with a copper penny and the rust will be no more. Pretty neat, right?
This gun maintenance tip may seem more like a novelty than an actual utility, but you should be keeping an eye out for copper pennies. Check that the penny was made before 1982 to ensure that it’s made of copper.
When used in conjunction with oil and a (relatively) non-abrasive steel wool pad, removing rust off the barrel of a gun is a breeze.
#4. Desiccants May Not Be The Best Option
One popular corrosion prevention method for firearms is as follows:
- Place the firearm in a large plastic bag.
- Toss in some desiccants.
- Seal the bag as best you can.
- Leave the bag in a relatively dry area
- Hope for the best.
The largest variable in this equation is your geographic location and relative levels of humidity. To be honest, you may be able to get away with storing your firearms during dry seasons using this method. In wet areas with high humidity levels though, you desicCAN’T (Sorry – we had to).
The most important thing to know about desiccants such as silica gels is that they have a saturation point. A desiccant placed in a humid area will inevitably reach its absorption limit after a certain period of time. Once this happens, the desiccant essentially becomes a bag of humidity.
As you might guess, storing a metal firearm with a damp or soggy bag isn’t an ideal solution. Absorbing the moisture out of the air is one thing, but eliminating it from the atmosphere altogether is another.
If the moisture is never removed from the immediate area surrounding the firearm, it’s simply hanging around and waiting to start the oxidation process. This is an important thing to consider, especially within gun safes…
#5. Gun Bags Should Be Used (Even In Safes)
It goes without saying that if you own firearms; you’re going to want a gun safe as well. Gun safes not only keep your guns secure and out of reach from those unqualified to handle them, but they also provide much needed storage space.
Moisture often gets trapped in gun safes. As covered in tip #4, adding desiccants to a safe won’t truly solve this problem.
Some gun safes come installed with dehumidifiers in an effort to expel the present moisture altogether. While these dehumidifiers are a much more effective method of corrosion prevention for your firearms, it’s still a great idea to use gun bags – even within safes.
Depending on which type you purchase, these gun bags can provide a multitude of benefits, including:
- Prevention of scratches.
- Prevention of contact with moisture.
- Prevention of contact with reactive gases.
- Improved organization.
Additionally, individual gun bags take up significantly less space than other forms of corrosion protection for firearms. This is crucial – because as we all know – space in a gun safe is a limited commodity!
There’s a wide selection of gun bags to choose from. Some are “impregnated” with different coatings and gels that are meant to transfer onto the surface of your gun, but these are ones you may want to avoid (see tip #2).