MANDEVILLE, La. -(Ammoland.com)- Firearms and ammunition flooded and possibly abandoned in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and southwest Louisiana must be addressed immediately, say experts who offer specific actions for gun owners.
The number of guns which were affected by the flooding numbers at least in the tens of thousands, and may well exceed 100,000, not to mention ammunition, which could exceed one million rounds.
The key, said Tom Gresham, host of the nationally-syndicated radio show “Tom Gresham's Gun Talk,” is to get control of the firearms, to clean and protect them, and to address the safety issue with submerged ammunition.
“Many of these guns are family heirlooms,” said Gresham. “It's common for a gun to be passed down from a grandparent or even a great grandparent. Losing those family connections to a gun that has rusted to uselessness simply is unnecessary. By now, residents have gone in and gotten their guns, so they should be in safe hands. But, they must act quickly to save and protect their valuable possessions.”
On “Gun Talk” radio, Gresham recently talked with experts who offered three key actions for gun owners.
1. Dry Out Your Guns
Affected firearms need to be disassembled and the metal parts soaked in penetrating oils designed to displace water. Stocks, grips, or any wood or plastic parts that may hold water must be removed beforehand. Leave the parts separate as they dry, then reassemble. After the process, if gun owners are at all unsure whether the gun is safe to shoot, Gresham suggests a gunsmith be consulted.
The key, according to Johnny Dury, of Dury's Guns in San Antonio, is to get the water out, using a water displacement oil or spray. Water that's trapped in the parts of the gun will cause rust — a gun's worst enemy.
If the gun was submerged in salt water, Steve Ostrem, of the online gunsmith supplier Brownells, recommends cleaning the gun first with fresh water, then following with the penetrating oil.
For Ostrem’s product suggestions, and other advice on salvaging flooded guns, check out his interview on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk radio.
2. Keep Them Dry
Once the gun is successfully dried out, keep it in a dry environment. Gresham says preparing the gun as you would for long-term storage, using the necessary coatings and rust preventatives, and placing it in dry, humidity-free location will protect guns from further damage.
Gun storage bags, combined with silica gel or vapor barrier products protect firearms from the high humidity often encountered after a flood.
3. Do Not Shoot Submerged Ammo
Gresham said the National Shooting Sports Foundation's guidelines for ammunition which has been submerged is to not shoot it. Water may have seeped into the cartridges, rendering them unreliable, or possibly unsafe.
Owners can either dispose of the ammunition, or they can recycle it. Check with the local authorities about how to properly dispose of flooded ammunition. Or, even better, reload it.
Water damaged ammo contains a lot of salvageable material. It can be taken apart, and the bullet (projectile) and brass case can be reused.
The propellant (“gun powder”) can be discarded. If the owner cannot or does not want to reload, the affected ammo can be donated or sold to someone else for safe reloading.
About Tom Gresham’s GUNTALK Radio:
In its 23rd year of national syndication, Tom Gresham’s GUNTALK radio show airs live on Sundays from 2PM-5PM Eastern, and runs on more than 200 stations every week. Listen live on a radio station near you (http://guntalk.com/site39.php) or via live streaming from one of the stations here: http://guntalk.com/site38.php. All GUNTALK shows can also be downloaded as podcasts at http://www.guntalk.libsyn.com, Apple iTunes, and i-Heart radio, or through one of the available Apps: GunDealio for iPhone, GunDealio for Android, Gun Talk App on Stitcher, the Gun Talk iPhone App, and the Gun Talk App for Android on Amazon. GUNTALK can also be heard on YouTube, at http://bit.ly/144G3OU.
More information is available on their website.
(“GUNTALK” is a registered trademark.)