Winter Is Here, Winter-Proof Your Guns!

Winter Is Here, Winter-Proof Your Guns!
Winter Is Here, Winter-Proof Your Guns!

U.S.A.-( As the cold, wet winter weather sets in, many shooters are left “out in the cold” when it comes to range trips.  For most shooters I know, the frequency of range trips drops just as the number of guns that leaves the safe does during these months.  Consider the following tips to keep your collection up to snuff.


Before you get your guns oiled and ready for hibernation, consider that this is the optimal time to swap out parts, try on a new optic, or make mechanical adjustments to guns that see the majority of their use from Spring to Fall.  This mechanical maintenance should extend to accessories as well.  This would include cleaning slings, ensuring proper adjustment of holsters and double-checking the torque on your scope rings.  Visually inspecting points of wear on each firearms component should be included but is best done after cleaning the gun in the next step.


Now is the time to give your guns a deep clean, much more than the quick wipe-down most give their firearms after each range trip.  Disassemble and scrub down as deep as you can, paying special attention to more finicky areas such as the trigger assembly.  Clean out the bore with an ammonia-free bore cleaner, I like Iosso.  The rest of the gun should get coated in a non-evaporating rust preventative, such as Barricade.

Disassemble and scrub down as deep as you can.
Disassemble and scrub down as deep as you can.


Most guns are stored either in a safe, or a “safe” (actually a cabinet or locker).  While the difference between the two is immensely important for safety and security concerns, they both can be great for storage.  They are excellent, so long as ambient moisture is mitigated.

This can be done in two ways.  The first is a “plug and forget” solution in a Goldenrod (or similar), which is a small heating element that circulates air within the safe and keeps your guns dry.


The second method is through the use of desiccants, which absorb moisture from the air.  Each can only absorb so much before it becomes ineffective and needs to be “recharged”, usually by baking in an oven for a few hours to drive the moisture back out.  If you’re going this route, make sure to plug any unused mounting holes in the back of your gun cabinet, or you’re allowing moisture to seep in much faster.

The second method is through the use of desiccants, which absorb moisture from the air. 
The second method is through the use of desiccants, which absorb moisture from the air.

It is absolutely NOT recommended to store guns in the old foam-lined cases that they often arrive in.  This traps moisture and provides a fertile breeding ground for those elements which degrade your guns.

So-called “gun socks” are effective at both preventing rust, and providing a little protection against nicks and dings.  These are useful both in the gun safe or out in a more widely ventilated space.


While modern guns with fewer miles on them are much less prone to debilitating rust and corrosion than the older, blued guns of yesteryear, they’re all worth preserving for both our use and for generations yet to come.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so double check your collection today.

About Rex Nanorum

Jens Hammer

Rex Nanorum is an Alaskan Expatriate living in Oregon with his wife and kids. Growing up on commercial fishing vessels, he found his next adventure with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt. After 5 tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, he adventured about the west coast becoming a commercial fisheries and salvage SCUBA diver, rated helicopter pilot instructor (CFII) and personal trainer, before becoming a gear reviewer and writer.”

Rex Nanorum



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Will Flatt

Moisture mitigation is even more critical in warmer seasons when ambient humidity is higher. Good article!

Will Flatt

We’ll be waiting on that to get posted!! ::thumbsup::


I live in an area where the humidity level is generally in the single digits, keeping them cleaned and lightly oiled seems to work pretty good.


In the winter I always chain them up so they won’t slip!

Sam in New Hampshire

For long-term storage, in addition to putting desiccant bags in my gunsafe, I wrap my pistols and revolvers in VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) paper, after using Breakfree CLP on them, inside and out. Companies such as Zerust sell VCI products; also, Smith & Wesson packages its handguns in VCI paper, and last year they sold me a bunch of it for 30 cents a sheet. (Put the non-printed side against the guns.)


For restoring, preserving, and protecting Blue Steel and Wood firearms, I’ve always used and had great results with Renaissance Wax.


As far as keeping rust off of blue steel guns for carry or storage, I have found nothing to equal Eezox. In my area, to the best of my knowledge, there is only one store that stocks this product. You may have to order it online. To me, it is not particularly pleasant smelling, but it sure keeps rust off of blued guns I have treated blued handguns with Eezox and carried them daily for six months or more at a time and had no rust form, despite neglecting them seriously. Inside, outside, cold, hot, and opposite conditions inside or… Read more »


How did my comment get split into two identical parts at the top????


I have one of the rods and one of these in my safe:

The humidity is generally in the very low 40% range and my safe door opens slowly with a suction affect so I know it’s got a tight seal.

My question is: What is the ideal humidity level inside a safe to both protect the metal from rust while not being too dry to the point where wood stocks could dry out?