View Full Version : Cold Weather care for Rifles

January 17, 2000, 12:37 PM
In the postings about Korea/Chosin and cold weather affecting rifles,thought it might be helpful to post our cold weather handling techniques:

First, after you are zeroed and cleaned at you last range session you de-grease and UN lube the waepon.. get all the excess oil etc off and out of it. Weapons can and will fire 'dry" (have never experimented with dry lubricants)

Second, once the gun is exposed to the cold leave it there. We don't take our rifles into the campers.. they stay in the trucks (locked up) when we get back to camp to keep condensation off of them and to prevent the scopes from fogging up or forming condensation which can freeze on the optics.(the heater in the truck works slowly enough that it does not seem to cause problems in the morning)

Its been cold enough here in colorado for your HAND to STICK to the bare metal of your rifle, so remember to wear gloves. Ive seen FROST and ice form on my barrel and reciver before, and had my hand STUCK to a barrel once. :(

Given really adverse conditions I've seen when I bought my new rifle I bought one in stainless with a plastic stock. even so its possible to extract a GREEN looking bullet from the chamber when you get back to the truck. always take a cleaning rod and kit with you to camp. If you get one of those "water/snow down the barrel resulting in corroded ammo.. clean the barrel and chamber thoroughly, wipe off the excess and finish with repeated dry patches, TRY to do you cleaning outside if you can.

If your rifle is "camoflauged" for snow remember that water and ice can get under that stuff.. clean it agressively when you get home.. don't let tape or cloth that hold moisture to stay in contact with the metal for prolonged periods.

Feel free to add more tips/reply/respond...

Hope the info helps,


Keith Rogan
January 17, 2000, 01:01 PM
Dr. Rob,

I live in an extremely wet and cold climate. Many years ago on my first hunting trip here a native showed me a trick that has proved invaluable in preserving my hardware.
Most of the rust and deterioration you'll see shows up between the metal and wood (or plastic) of your rifle where condensation tends to linger.
There is a commercial product called "Sno-Seal" which is a wax meant to be applied to boots. What we do is heavily goop this stuff into the barrel channel and back around the magazine, etc, (basically everywhere you can't see it) prior to zeroing in for the year.
As you zero in it will actually melt and squirt the excess out as you shoot. What remains is a hard waxy coating that absoluetly seals out moisture. It doesn't appear to affect the zero in any way and I've never experienced a problem with it getting into the action or anything like that.
Even on extended trips in foggy and snowy Kodiak I've never had to do more that wipe down the exterior of the rifle and run an occasional patch through the barrel to keep my rifles rust free. I don't own any stainless rifles, all my guns are buled steel and walnut and are beautiful to behold after many seasons.
On several trips where the weather has been bad, I've come out with no problems while friends with stainless and plastic guns (who didn't sno-seal) have pulled their actions out to find the rain and salt water (we often travel by skiff here) have rust running all through the hidden area's of the rifle.

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan (http://members.xoom.com/keithrogan)

January 17, 2000, 05:25 PM
wow Kieth.. that sounds extreme.. and VERY practical. I always figured that snow seal stuff had plastic goo in it or something. Doesn't sound like something the "long range" afficinados would do.. but I'll defer to your expertise.

You learn something new every day. ;)


Keith Rogan
January 17, 2000, 07:06 PM
Theres no plastic in Sno-Seal, just beeswax and some oil blended together. Heating the rifle up by shooting seems to drive all the oil out just leaving the waxy coating.

It doesn't affect the accuracy adversely in any way. I have a really pretty custom Mauser in .243 that shoots better with the Sno-Seal than without. This particular rifle is fully bedded and I suspect the wax helps deaden vibrations or just marries the barrel to the bedding better.
I've never noticed any difference at all in any of my other rifles.

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan (http://members.xoom.com/keithrogan)

January 18, 2000, 02:14 PM
Change to the lightest viscosity of Mobil 1 that you can find. Guarantee you that it won't gum up, and if you don't heat your gun to over 600 degrees F, it won't break down.