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Old 11-28-2014, 02:07   #1
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Long Term Gun Storage

Dad likes to go to gun shows and gun shops and has many hand guns that just sit around never being fired, carried or stored. The guns get more damage from him spilling his cereal or soda drink on them. He wanted me to start cleaning up his hand guns and putting them in a locked safe (except for just a few). What is the best way to store a gun for what could be long time storage. Here is what I was planning on doing.

1) Clean and lubricate gun (most all have never been fired)
2) Remove all ammo from magazine(s)
3) Put gun in Ziplock bag with desiccant package, removing as much air as possible.
4) Put gun back in original box and put in safe.


Should I spray the gun with some sort of lubricant to avoid rust or oxidation? If so, what type of spray? WD40?

What is the best way to store ammo (or is that even possible), for what might be years of storage? Just leave the ammo in their original box, put ammo in Ziplock bag with desiccant package? An army ammo storage box? Is there anything I'm missing?
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:09   #2
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lightly grease it up. no zip lock bags.Original box is fine. Ammo just as you said. Not that hard.
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:49   #3
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^^^ This. Before I put away a gun, I make sure all fingerprints are wiped away (with silicone gun cloth) from metal parts. Especially blued metal. But stainless also.
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Old 11-28-2014, 08:59   #4
tom mac
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no plastic bag, you don't want to trap condensation... grease as mentioed.

I remember getting an old army rifle that was stored in a cosmoline wipe down / waxed paper wrap for 30 yrs... looked brand new when cleaned up.

Last edited by tom mac; 11-28-2014 at 08:59..
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:35   #5
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I have read in the past that you do not want to spray a gun with WD40.
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Old 11-28-2014, 14:44   #6
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I use the silicone impregnated gunsocks. Cheap and prevent any handling marks when moving around in the safe to get to something else behind it...
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Old 12-07-2014, 23:40   #7
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The best product to use for long term storage when not planning to use the firearms for long period is Renaissance Wax (also known as Res Wax) micro crystalline wax. It is excellent for protecting both the metal and wood without having to clean off a lot of residue when you want to shoot the firearm.

If it is good enough to be used by the Smithsonian and the NRA Museum should be good enough for the regular user as well.

The main thing you want to do is make sure that dust it kept off your guns because it is dust that absorbs moisture in the air and in turn rusts the surface. Just make sure to have a large desiccant container in the safe no need for each rifle to have one.

You should also make sure to use fully synthetic nylon with a loose weave or 100% cotton bags to store your firearms. Manu other materials like cardboard can mix with moisture and produce a mild acid that will pit your firearms over time.
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Last edited by Gunsmith Dan; 12-07-2014 at 23:42..
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Old 12-12-2014, 14:27   #8
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Safes without humidity controls are terrible for long term storage, even short term in some places. So keep in mind that you have to work at protecting the guns in the safe from moisture. The advice already given here is good. I just want to caution against the mindset that if the gun is stored in a safe, it will be fine. A lot of moisture can build up in there.
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Old 12-12-2014, 15:41   #9
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I stored my meager collection of handguns and rifles in a backyard shed exposed to the elements (wet Georgia winters and humid Georgia summers) for three years while deployed to Germany. When I came back I found the windows had been left cracked open for the majority of the time. When inspected, there wasn't a single speck of rust or corrosion on any firearm. That lack of corrosion including some that were deep rust blued, and a few that because they were in the midst of being modified had portions that were 'in the white.'

The only think I can attribute this to is a thorough cleaning and lubrication with Eezox.

A poster on an Alaskan Firearms Forum went through considerable time, travail and expense to compare firearms lubricants. I highly recommend taking a look at it.
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Old 12-12-2014, 19:11   #10
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I've owned guns for over 25 years, multiple types- rifles and handguns, including military. I currently have over 30 guns in my basement; many over 10 years old.

I've stored most of them in the basement that has a 65% humidity dehumidifier. I use no desiccants, and I am not a good gun cleaner (I do not clean after every shooting session), nor do I spray my guns down with oil. if I lube a gun, I use motor oil, or gear grease, only on the parts that rub, not for surface protection.

In my experience, the only rust issues i have seen are steel AK47 mags, and non-name 1911 mags, with some spot surface rust. I have never seen any rust on my guns themselves.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:13   #11
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I keep the gun safe door "open" when I'm home which is most of the time. My wife and I have no children living at home. Of course, when we leave the house I always lock the safe. (The humidity is 37% in our home in the Winter months, and up to 49% in the Summer months.)

Once a year I take each gun out of the safe and wipe it down with a gun oil rag, run a few oil soaked patches down the barrel and put it back in the safe. This has worked well for me over the years with no absolutely signs of corrosion.

I am going to get the Res Wax as soon as possible. Thanks Dan for sharing.
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Old 12-17-2014, 19:14   #12
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In over 55 years of cleaning guns. The best stuff I have found is R.I.G. Even my 54 year old first gun a Winchester Model 12 has no rust on it. I clean the gun then wipe it down with the R.I.G. I use to use two rags that were saturated with the R.I.G. and if anyone touched any metal part before putting it back in the safe I would wipe it down. Now I use lambís wool skin with the R.I.G.. I also for a long time stored the guns in a G.I. locker that I made into a gun safe and I also used a Golden Rod in the back of the safe. Now I have a regular gun safe and also have a Golden Rod in the back of the safe. All of my Blue guns have no rust on them.
I do not care for gun oil as oil runs. Many of gun stocks have been ruined by oil running down the gun and into the stock. If you want to use oil I would suggest standing the gun up with the muzzle pointed down.
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