Letter Re: Proper Firearms Storage?

Hi Jim,
This is my first time to your blog since my bud, Rod, set me up with a copy of your book (Patriots). I have now read entirely through it in about two weeks. I have a question. When I was in the military, I was instructed by a weapons instructor to always lubricate any weapons that I was going to store before casing the item for long periods of time. My father, who was a Marine (two tours in Vietnam) also suggested this. He said I needed to clean and over-oil the weapon before long term storage. The question is this: is this information true and, if so, don’t we have a responsibility to others here to inform them accordingly. I noticed in your book that there was no mention of this practice and I’m surethat a scenario exists where some will store weapons at their retreats for use at a later time. Please advise on your site. Thanks, Fred in Georgia.

JWR’s Reply: First, rifles and pistols should not be stored in non-breathing heavy gun cases for more than a day or two. . Those are designed for transport only. Even a well-oiled gun will eventually rust if stored in a gun case, sometimes in the matter of just a few days in a damp climate. They are best stored oiled but loose in a gun vault, with an electric Golden Rod dehumidifier operating at all times. Silica gel desiccant crystals also work well to keep the humidity low in a gun vault. BTW, you can usually get large bags of silica gel free for the asking if you phone around. Call your local piano store. All of the pianos that are imported from Japan come with a large bag of silica gel, usually with hanging straps. To reactivate a used silica gel bag, just leave it in an oven set to 180 degrees, overnight.That will drive out any accumulated moisture.

For long term storage, the bore, chamber, and the face of the bolt should all be well-greased with RIG or the good old U.S. military surplus “Grease, Rifle” As we used to say: “Hey! Pass the Grease Comma Rifle!” All of the other metal parts should be lubricated with medium weight oil. (BTW, don’t use WD-40 or other lightweight aerosol lubes. They evaporate too quickly and afterwards leave no effective corrosion protection.) Lastly, be sure to label any gun that has been greased with a prominent “WARNING: GREASE IN BORE AND CHAMBER!” tag firmly attached. (Firing a gun with grease still in the bore can be dangerous.)