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Old February 24, 2013, 09:27 PM   #1
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long-term storage in a foam-lined case?

I've always heard not to use foam-lined cases for long-term storage, and the reasons make sense to me.

But I got to thinking about it, and many of my handguns have come in foam-lined cases from the factory. And it's not unusual for guns to sit on various shelves for years before they go home with the first owner.

So are the manufacturers using a different kind of foam? Or is it just the factory preservative on the guns that keep them from turning into rusty hulks while they're in storage/transit?
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Old February 24, 2013, 09:39 PM   #2
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From the factory they'll usually have some desiccant packages in them. Also, I think the big issue comes from shooting for a while at an outdoor range and putting warm guns into a case that may have absorbed moisture from the air.
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Old February 24, 2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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Wouldn't it be more of a problem putting a *cold* gun in a case that has moist air in it? Kind of like when you go outside on a humid day after being in an air-conditioned building and your glasses fog up? Moisture doesn't condense on an object that's warmer than its surroundings.

I do see your point that a case that's been lying open outside is likely to have more moisture than a case that's been sealed up sitting on a shelf, though.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:13 PM   #4
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It also really depends on the humidity of the area in which you live and shoot. Here in the desert, I have not had any problems with increasing rust on any of my guns kept in a cheap, foam-lined, hard case. I shoot them, wipe them down at the range, and make sure to clean and oil them within a few days of shooting. Never any rust problems.

A couple of my used revolvers have a tiny bit of surface rust already from previous buyers that I have not had luck in completely removing, but it certainly has not spread since I bought them.

EDIT TO ADD: I do usually reapply oil every couple of months if they have not been shot in that long though (I like Hoppes because it's more viscous than Rem oil and seems to penetrate better in my experience). I'm sure this helps too, and may not be considered long-term storage by some.
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Old February 24, 2013, 10:31 PM   #5
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Foam pads, cases...

I, for one, do not understand the big problem with gun cases or pad style systems.
I used Plano & Docksil type cases for handguns since the early 1990s w/o any problems. I also use Bore-Store treated bags & I clean-lube my firearms.

The only thing I ever saw was a slight bit of CLP seem into the foam or stain it. For a $5.00 or 6.00 plastic case, it's no big deal.
In 2013, there are many cases, safes, gun socks, kits, CLPs, greases, etc to secure/protect firearms.
Just check them often & dust them off if displayed in the open and you'll be okay.

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Old February 25, 2013, 08:25 AM   #6
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It depends on the type of foam also. There are 2 kinds, open cell, basically a sponge, & closed cell.
Closed cell will not absorb moisture as each individual bubble is sealed.
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Old February 25, 2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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I have seen etching from open cell foam on steel guns. I have also a bunch of Speer Gold Dot 9mm ammo that was stored in the little yellow boxes that have the foam pad in the bottom.

The foam has disintegrated and it must be cleaned off EACH round before you can shoot it. My BIL did not use the ammo and left it in these little boxes for over 20 years. It shoots ok but is a pain to clean.

I don't store any of my guns on/in foam.

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Old February 25, 2013, 09:37 AM   #8
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I have a stainless Ruger .22 that has some small pits in the barrel. It was stored long term in a foam lined case. I didn't shoot it much for several years and didn't check on it like I should have. The pitting was in an area that the foam was deteriorating. It was not from moisture. Since then, I don't store long term against any foam.
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Old February 25, 2013, 09:38 AM   #9
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I'm sure it depends on what kinda foam... I had many of my FIL's collection freshly oiled & stored in foam lined cases for close to 20 years... I opened & checked every 4-5 years, never had anything stuck on a gun, or any degrading of the foam... I'm happy to have them mounted on the walls of my walk in gun safe now though
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Old February 25, 2013, 05:04 PM   #10
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I just looked at a new 1911 at the local range shop. It had just come in from the distributor. The pistol was dripping in a sticky, oily liquid, and the whole oleagenous mess was wrapped in a plastic bag that didn't allow any contact between the firearm and the eggcrate foam padding.
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Old February 25, 2013, 05:58 PM   #11
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I put an 870 Wing Master in an eggshell foam lined case, put it into a storage building. Forgot about it for 8 years.(Non climate controlled in Central Texas.) No rust on it at all. I wiped it down with ballistol before I cased it. I cleaned it in about 20 minutes, and was shooting by the end of the hour. I still have it in the corner of my bed room by the bed for home defense.
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Old February 25, 2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Been using foam inserts in storage cases for over 25 years. Guns are stored in cases which are then stored in safes......never had a problem.

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Old February 25, 2013, 07:38 PM   #13
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A friend had the foam in a storage case deteriorate and stick to his gun. He easily cleaned the residue off and tossed the case. He suspected his problem was due to solvent or lubricant that migrated out of his gun and damaged the foam.

So, some of the issues people have noted may have more to do with contaminates getting on the foam than any actual issues with the foam.
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Old March 4, 2013, 09:54 PM   #14
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I tend to warn folks about foam disintegrating and becoming sticky and I’ve seen it happen many times in the internals of electronic gadgets usually at or near the battery. Yet non of my pistols stored in a safe using a Gun Guard and/or Doskocil plastic case using what I believe is open cell foam has given any issues over a period of about 30 years+. These cases help prevent rust much better than the non-padded or blow molded plastic cases that came originally with the pistols.

The above cased pistols are simply placed into a Samsonite along with other stuff for range or outing use. The used dirty gun goes back into the case for later cleaning.

My guess is some of the lube in/on the pistol gets into the foam and helps keep the pistol rust free. I don’t normally use a treated cloth to wipe my pistols.

I use Hoppe’s no. 9 for the bore and breach and once satisfied with the cleaning I switch to heavy kerosene to remove all of the Hoppe’s. The same kerosene is used for other parts of the pistol and removed before oiling. I’m not very concerned about having to remove absolutely all the kerosene like the Hoppe’s bore cleaner.

Additionally the pistols stored in the above cases are all blue steel guns, no Glock’s. The Glock’s are either in the OEM Tupperware case or out somewhere.

Last edited by 745SW; March 4, 2013 at 11:34 PM.
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Old March 4, 2013, 10:32 PM   #15
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I'm not a chemist so I don't know why but foams and other plastics/rubbers can deteriorate in time .It's weird when a foam is ok for a number of years then suddenly deteriorate !! Besides you don't know what's in the foam.What looks like the same foam can have significant difference in chemical composition . Think first of condensation and remove any chance of that getting on your gun.
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Old March 5, 2013, 07:51 AM   #16
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#13 post, checks...

I agree with post #13.
If you use a pad or egg-shell type foam, be aware of the oil/grease & check it often. The "I let it sit for a few years." line is a non-starter to me.

My father has all of my grand-dads hunting rifles & shotguns in a glass case. He never cleans or checks them & has no protective measures(Eezox, CLP, anti-rust, etc).
The firearms are secured by the cabinet lock but not much else either.


PS; Post #12 has some nice pics.
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Old March 5, 2013, 05:34 PM   #17
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Foam cases

I think their good for transport and if their opened checked regularly. Other than that I'd say invest in a safe and gold rod this is a dehumidifying devise made to keep moisture out. I had a shot gun took it duck hunting dried & oiled it well so I thought and put in a case apparently still had a little moisture in it somewhere moisure got trapped in and rusted bad in just a few days. Recently had my boss tell me he had a nice Winchester .22 lever action stored in a foam case must have good moisture in it and rusted so bad it maybe unsalvagable. Dry, controlled temp. is a must for long term storage. IMO
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:12 PM   #18
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All types of foam used in cases are different. Some won't absorb and hold moisture next to your gun but some will. If you store a nice gun in any kind of soft fabric or foam case you are taking a chance. When I worked in a gunshop I saw far too many nice old guns ruined by rust from the owners storing it in a soft case. Under the bed. Or in their basement. Cases are for transporting the gun, not for storing it. Store your gun with a thin coat of oil in open dry air. Put it in a rack or a safe but not in a case. Cases were never intended for long term storage, they are intended only to get the product to you in good shape. Ask any gunsmith about storing guns in cases or cardboard boxes. All it takes is one humid day to ruin your gun.

Last edited by drail; March 7, 2013 at 10:17 PM.
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