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Letter Re: Some Storage SNAFUs

Why do the incredibly robust “cheap” imported AKs [1] have chrome lined bores , yet some of the expensive and finicky American-made ARs [2] not chrome lined? Well, if you live in a humid climate, it makes a difference. I made the classic error of storing my guns in gun cases. In fact, that’s the worst way to store them as the humidity accumulates inside. One of them had nearly rusted solid in three years.

Thanks to the ministrations of another firearm enthusiast, all my guns are being de-rusted, dipped in preservative oil and mylar bagged along with oxygen absorbents, rust inhibitor tabs and desiccants.
I don’t want to talk about what happened to the barrel of my M21 so just don’t ask. If you live in a humid climate, then consider the PS90. Mostly plastic, hi capacity, very ergonomic.
I also learned about the weight limitations of gamma seals. I just noticed that when I put ammo in five gallon buckets with Gamma seal ls on them, if I go over three buckets high, the bottom seal breaks and falls into the bucket. Now I limit it to two high and only lightweight buckets on top. – SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: Thanks for being so frank. Perhaps other readers learn from your mistakes and avoid some costly problems.

A humid climate dictates extreme vigilance for gun storage. Here is my general guidance:

1.) Clean thoroughly, lubricate heavily, an a inspect frequently.
2.) If storing guns in a vault or a wall cache, invest in a Golden Rod dehumidifier. But don’t expect it to be a miracle panacea. Mark your calendar with reminders for monthly inspections!
3.) Never, ever use a muzzle cap for more than an hour or two. They are for use in the field, not for storage!
4.) R.I.G. [3], silica gel [4], and and VCI paper [5] are your friends.
5.) If you use grease or a heavy coating of oil in a gun bore and/or its chamber, then be sure to tag the gun with a prominent reminder to yourself to remove the grease it before firing. (Not doing so can be a safety hazard!)
5.) Do NOT use oxygen absorbing packets for gun storage! These are designed specifically to kill insect larvae in stored food. These packets use a chemical reaction of moisture, salt, and ferric oxide (rust!) [6] to consume the oxygen in a confined space. These packets can be bad news for stored guns. Instead, I recommend that you use silica gel to prevent rust. Silica gel packets also have the advantage that they can be re-used many times if you dry them out in an oven or a dehydrator overnight. (Since they employ a chemical reduction process, oxygen absorbing packets can only be used once.)