The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Semi-automatics

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 21, 2021, 10:21 AM   #1
odugrad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2013
Location: The East Coast
Posts: 476
Long-term rifle storage

This is probably a question for our resident metallurgists.

Lots of materials will erode or degrade over time. Is the same true for gun barrels, bolts, etc.?

In other words, does long-term rifle storage in a safe or case lead to a breakdown of the metals or components of a rifle?

Thanks, all!
odugrad is offline  
Old October 21, 2021, 11:27 AM   #2
rickyrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2010
Posts: 7,798
If stored cleaned, dry and lubed will go a long time.
Some cases can make moisture problems worse.

The old Russian rifles packed in cosmoline (Grease type substance is all I know about it) look like the day they were stored when you get it all cleaned back off.

Clean, dry and lube is the key.
rickyrick is online now  
Old October 21, 2021, 01:28 PM   #3
BobCat45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Location: East Bernard, TX
Posts: 418
I cannot speak to wood or polymers, but the steel and aluminum alloys used in rifles are stable over time (unless exposed to very high temperatures) but they are subject to rust and corrosion.

I recall reading that cosmoline is basically the same petroleum jelly sold under the brand name "Vaseline", but thinned for application (it thickens when the carrier evaporates).

If you google cosmoline you will find all sorts of commercial sources. One brand name I know and trust is Rust-Veto.
__________________
Retractable claws - the *original* concealed carry

http://www.bayourifles.org
TinyURL.com/qgdojvh
BobCat45 is offline  
Old October 21, 2021, 01:53 PM   #4
odugrad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2013
Location: The East Coast
Posts: 476
Gotcha. Thanks for the info.

I just wasn't sure if the integrity of the metal or anything got compromised with time.

If guns are cleaned and lubed when stored is there a need to periodically pull them out and re-lube them?
odugrad is offline  
Old October 21, 2021, 04:13 PM   #5
Shadow9mm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2012
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 2,054
Depends on the lube used and storage conditions. If property oiled with a good oil, in a cool dry environment, could easily go years without issue.

Moisture is a tricky thing. For wood stocks, too much will make it swell, too little will make it dry out.

In relation to steel, it causes oxidization, aka rust. Thus keep Moisture low, but not bone dry if your dealing with wood stocks.

Temperature plays a part too. Heat increases the speed of chemical reactions. Heat also allows the air to hold more moisture drying things out. Cold Temps slow chemical reactions. But don't hold as much Moisture and can cause condensation causing rust.

Most guns are stored at room temp in a house leaving Moisture control as the main variable. There are 2 options I am aware of. Silica gel packs to absorb moisture. And golden rods that add a little heat to prevent condensation.

The main defense will be your oil if stored long term. I have tried many, rem oil, weapon shield, break free clp, frog lube, slip 2000, Lucas, Lucas extreme duty, ballistol and eezox, to name a few. As far as rust prevention eezox has by far been the best at rust prevention while being ok as a lubricant. If your having rust problems, or will be doing long term storage, I highly recommend a good wipe down with eezox. Its the best I have tried so far.
__________________
I don't believe in "range fodder" that is why I reload.
Shadow9mm is offline  
Old October 21, 2021, 08:00 PM   #6
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 24,273
back in the 70s a couple bought an old house in the Finger lakes region of NY. Owner deceased, no family, they bought the house and everything in it from the estate.

House was built sometime before or during the Civil War. (lots of houses that age in that part of the country).

During renovation, they found a trunk in the attic (old house attics are not well temperature controlled). Inside the trunk, along with some disintegrating scraps of uniform and a collection of Civil War dated letters was a large and strangely heavy block of paraffin wax.

Sealed inside that block of wax was an 1860 Colt revolver, in perfect "new" condition. Metal and wood perfectly preserved for over a century stored in a place with temps well below zero in the winter and reaching over 100F in the summer in a fairly high humidity area.

If you want to store a firearm long term (years, decades or longer) that is what I would recommend. Clean the gun, remove ALL oils and grease, dry the gun, and seal it in wax. THICK wax. No air or other chemicals can get in, nothing inside can react with anything. With today's tech, I would vacuum seal the gun in a plastic bag and then seal the bag in a wax.

Protect the block of wax from damage and I'd bet a century down the road the gun inside will be exactly the same as was the day it got sealed in the wax.

Regular gun cases have air in them. Whatever moisture is in the air when the case is closed is trapped with the gun. And if there is any air, given enough time, the carrier (the slippery part) of oils and greases will evaporate, leaving a solid, hard residue. These will glue the gun shut. For intentional long term storage, remove all the oils and greases before packing it away.

Also a good idea to have any springs that can be "at rest" at rest for long term storage. Modern coil springs should not be damaged or weakened even by decades of being under a load, (I've seen magazines loaded for decades that were fine) but why take a chance??
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old October 22, 2021, 05:05 AM   #7
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 9,452
Interesting about the wax--I actually use a lot of it in the artistic activities I do. The interesting thing about natural beeswax is that it is impervious to degradation (except extreme temperature swings or contact damage)--indefinitely. Parrafin, BTW, is a petroleum/hydrocarbon distillate.
__________________
If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old October 22, 2021, 06:44 AM   #8
imashooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2013
Location: Alabama
Posts: 352
"This is probably a question for our resident metallurgists.". Nothing surprises me anymore regarding the absurdity of mankind. Why not a blue ribbon panel of earth sciences PhD-types?
imashooter is offline  
Old October 22, 2021, 03:16 PM   #9
rickyrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2010
Posts: 7,798
You can also eat beeswax in a pinch. I have a couple of blocks of it... I might try encasing a rust-prone tool in some as an experiment.
rickyrick is online now  
Old October 22, 2021, 04:49 PM   #10
BornFighting88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 1, 2021
Posts: 189
If you don’t mind your safe smelling slightly of moth balls, most pharmacies have “Camphor Gum” blocks for sale dirt cheap. They brake down over time, so don’t put them directly on anything aside from a shelf or ledge. But stick a block of that stuff in there, and it sucks away any residual moisture that might get in there. I have my safe in the driest temperature controlled room of my house, but there is always that little bit of humidity that will get in there. One block lasts about 5 months for me. When it breaks down, get a dust buster and vacuum up all the dust. Then stick a new block in there. Care free storage.

But back to your point. Alloys used in gun metal these days is top shelf. Aluminum alloy is superbly stable in the normal storage conditions. Steel is very much similar, just the propensity to rust if not cared for is an issue. But as mentioned many times by other members of the Forum. Clean, dry, lubed. It’s a recipe for success.

Stainless steel is what most of my guns are made of, and the metal is just made for storage it seems. Not a lick of tarnish/rust/whatever stainless does.

Brass, though, that’s another story. At least in my experience. Just the slightest changes in conditions can lead to T A R N I S H a plenty. I need to come to a better solution than what I hav now for storing brass-laden arms. Tips anyone??
BornFighting88 is offline  
Old October 22, 2021, 06:42 PM   #11
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 7,358
The old methods of long term storage and preservation of guns has been overtaken by technology.
The military no long slather guns with thick coats of grease that makes a mess and requires extensive efforts to remove before a gun can be used, not to mention soaking into the wood.

These days gun are stored in VCI Vapor storage bags.
These special "hard" plastic bags contain a material that gives off a vapor that drives out air and moisture and surrounds the metal with a vapor that totally prevents rust for up to and more then 20 years.

The reason this is the preferred method is because the weapon can be removed from the bag, the bore wiped out and fresh lube applied and the weapon is ready to use.
Some of the brands are also vacuum sealed.

These VCI bags are sold by a number of companies, with a prime brand being Z-Corr.

Brownell's sell special plastic bags and VCI sheets to make up your own storage bags.

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...-prod1197.aspx

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...-prod1154.aspx

NOTE..... DO NOT use standard plastic bags to store guns.
Ordinary plastic bags not only will pass moisture, the plastic itself contains a certain amount of water.
The correct bags are made of a special "hard" plastic that won't allow water vapor to pass, and is similar to the bags electronic components are shipped it.

Cosmoline is a grease, not a version of Vaseline.
Real Cosmoline has a wax-like property in that when warmed up it becomes thin enough to be gotten into all small holes and crevices.
This is the stuff that generations of recruits spent days trying to get off rifles with just hot water.

So, for the best possible protection without the messy application of greases or waxes, just buy VCI bags and be perfectly safe.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old October 23, 2021, 07:44 AM   #12
BornFighting88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 1, 2021
Posts: 189
I have seen these bags for long term storage. When Obama got elected the first time, and the country’s freedom loving gun owners went into a panic, Brownells and other online outlets were capitalizing and selling those bags and the hard plastic tubing shells to store them in whatever you wanted to, a room, underground, etc.

Much better than what I put down.
BornFighting88 is offline  
Old November 3, 2021, 09:02 PM   #13
langenc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 19, 2007
Location: Montmorency Co, MI
Posts: 1,532
Just get a jar of Rust Inhibiting Grease (RIG) and a RIG rug (sheepskin).

Slather that on rather heavy, inc under stock, for LONG term storage. Never see rust including fingerprints, if applied every time a gun is handled.

Ive not taken to putting in bore but am considering a couple of 'masterpieces'. Id label those to dry patch before shooting to prevent damage which probably wouldnt occur w/ the small amount Id apply intrabore.

Comments??
langenc is offline  
Old November 4, 2021, 11:02 AM   #14
natman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 24, 2008
Posts: 2,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel View Post
The old methods of long term storage and preservation of guns has been overtaken by technology.
The military no long slather guns with thick coats of grease that makes a mess and requires extensive efforts to remove before a gun can be used, not to mention soaking into the wood.
While cosmoline is very effective, I wouldn't use it unless you have access to the unlimited supply of cheap labor the military enjoyed. Technology has moved on. There are very effective anti-corrosion products that are far easier to apply and remove.

RIG Grease
LPS3
Breakfree COLLECTOR

RIG grease is highly effective but is a bit of work to remove. LPS3 works great also, and wipes off easily. Breakfree COLLECTOR doesn't have to be removed if you don't want to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel View Post
These days gun are stored in VCI Vapor storage bags.
These special "hard" plastic bags contain a material that gives off a vapor that drives out air and moisture and surrounds the metal with a vapor that totally prevents rust for up to and more then 20 years.
VCI bags are the way to go. Here's a good source:
https://www.polygunbag.com/

I used a combination of Polygun bags and Breakfree COLLECTOR on a large collection of guns where ease of application and removal was a serious consideration. Some of them were in storage for more than 10 years with no rust.
__________________
Time Travelers' Wisdom:
Never Do Yesterday What Should Be Done Tomorrow.
If At Last You Do Succeed, Never Try Again.
natman is offline  
Old November 5, 2021, 10:41 AM   #15
GeauxTide
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 20, 2009
Location: Helena, AL
Posts: 4,105
My safe is in an AC room, but if I was worried, I'd run an electric humidity stick. Goldenrod on Amazon for 40 bucks.
__________________
Reloading For: 223R, 243W, 6.5GR, 6.5 CM, 260R, 6.5-06, 280R, 7mmRM, 300HAM'R, 308W, 30-06, 338-06, 9mm, 357M, 41M, 44SPL, 44M, 45 Colt, 450BM.
GeauxTide is offline  
Old November 7, 2021, 11:02 PM   #16
Glen-Bob
Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2009
Location: NW Georgia
Posts: 63
For long term storage both climate controlled hand uncontrolled at times. I cleaned, treated with either breakfree products or birch wood products. Once treated I vacuumed sealed in regular food saver bags I made from rolls of material. Guns were then placed into a “shop box” on wheels. During times of deployment and military duties I have left in this condition for years with no adverse effect. I opened some recently had been sealed since 2001-2002. I would not argue the methods of others but this worked for me. Several that were opened last were Royal Blue Colts and they looked as good as when they went in to the bags.
__________________
My Favorite Toys: SIG 220, Kimber Ultra SPII, Colt Snubbie, Browning Hi-Power, Browning BLR, Mini 14, M1A1 & AR-10.
Glen-Bob is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2021 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.04498 seconds with 8 queries