Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time To Check Your Guns

Once again, it is that time of year, at least in the more humid states in the USA. It is time not only to check all of your guns but to give them a cleaning and light coating of protective oil as part of good firearms maintenance.  In many states within the USA, the summer months are usually the most humid. States on the east coast have weather that is usually hot and humid, weather that promotes oxidation. Even states like AZ are subject to heavy rains and higher humidity in the summer (at least southern AZ as it is subject to monsoon season). So, if you have not taken a look at certain firearms in your collection in a while and or have not maintained them with a recent cleaning and lubrication, it is high time to do it now to defeat one of the two enemies of firearms. One of those enemies is the politician, the other is rust. There could be a third enemy, the inattentive gun owner.

Today, I took a look in the gun locker. No mold growing on the wood stocks, no obvious rust on any of my rifles or handguns, everything looked fine. Regardless of how good everything looked, I set myself out to begin the task of cleaning all of my guns. I got 8 rifles, a shotgun and 4 handguns done today. It took me several hours to clean, oil that many. I also applied a wood treatment on those with wood stocks, which was all of the rifles I cleaned today. The reason this took me several hours is because I broke most of the rifles and the shotgun down instead of just giving them a field cleaning. I removed stocks, took out bolts and trigger groups, and gave them all a decent cleaning. Then I put a protective coat of oil on the metal on all of them. I did not break down most of the bolts or trigger groups but cleaned them all as best I could without further disassembly. I am more likely to take apart bolts and trigger groups when wanting to give a particular gun a complete cleaning but only if I know how to do it or have a good set of written and illustrated instructions.

I found some light rust that was hidden under the wood on two rifles. Nothing major, in fact quite minor but only because I caught it early. I try to give a fairly thorough cleaning to my guns at least twice a year (other than and in addition to a field cleaning after shooting) in order to make sure they do not rust or develop mold on the wood stocks. I once discovered one of my pistols had a light coating of rust on much of it, my shotgun metal had rusted a bit and my rifle stocks had a light coating of mold or mildew on them. Luckily I was able to clean the wood stocks without any damage to them, as for the rusted metal, well it took off a bit of the finish when I cleaned them. That was during an exceptionally wet and humid summer much like the one we are having in  NY this year. To prevent that from happening, I more or less have made sure to schedule a biannual heavy cleaning time for all of my guns. I clean most of them more often because I shoot most of them but not all of them get as much use and those need to be checked every 3 to 6 months. They get an inspection at least two times a year. Based on the inspections they get either a light or heavy cleaning two of those four times and always get a heavy cleaning the other two times, in the summer and in the winter.

I make sure to keep a desiccant in both the gun and in the ammo lockers. I recharge the desiccant, I use silicone and heat it in an oven as per manufacturers instructions, each time the dampness indicator changes from blue to pink. Once it turns pink, it is not working to absorb moisture and your firearms are at risk of rusting. About three hours in an oven set at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit usually reactivates the silicone silicone desiccant for reuse. Speaking of desiccant in the oven, I have to go turn off my oven and take out the desiccant packs (with oven mitts) and get them back into the gun an ammo lockers once they cool off.

Now, when I get to the Northeast Bloggershoot, next week, at least my guns will be clean and ready to get fouled all over again!

Al;l the best,
Glenn B