Rust is a problem that most gun owners face. So, it’s no surprise that you’d be interested in how to keep guns from rusting. Every good gun owner should be.
Rust can cause many problems for your firearm. It can eat away at its metal components, result in discoloration, and even cause your gun to malfunction.
However, there are many great ways to prevent the rust problem. Gun owners can also rely on multiple products to help keep their guns rust-free and functional. These products are a must-have for many gun owners and, as such, are an excellent investment.
In this article, we discuss guns, rusting, and the many ways to prevent it.
What Causes Guns to Rust?
Before we learn how to tackle rust, we must first know what the risk of rust is. Rust is formed when iron, water, and oxygen come in contact. Other alloys of iron, like steel, also suffer the same chemical reaction.
So, with rust, the metal components of your gun are the most vulnerable. They’re the ones that react with oxygen to form iron oxide – that’s the ugly powder you’ll notice on your gun’s metal parts if you’re not too careful. When you see rust on your gun, that is a serious and potentially dangerous sign.
Some of The Ways Your Gun Can Get Rusted
While rust can form on your gun with nothing but contact with air, some things can make this happen faster. Examples are things like oils and salt. The bad news is that you can easily transfer these from your fingertips to your gun.
These things end up trapping the moisture and cause rusting to occur. Here are some of the most common causes of rust when it comes to firearms.
Using Corrosive Ammo
Let’s face it, ammunition is getting really expensive. The only time you’ll get cheaper options is when you go for the older military surplus ammunition. You could also find some cheap ones from some of the oldies selling their old excess supplies.
The problem with this, however, is that these ammunitions produce corrosive compounds when they ignite. So, while these newer options or hand-loaded ammunition may be pricey, they’re safer. However, you can still shoot those old ones safely. You just have to make sure that you extensively clean your guns after each use on the range.
Contact With Water
As mentioned earlier, contact with water is one of the most common ways that rust forms. You may not be leaving your firearm lying around in water, but there are many other ways that your gun could come in contact with water.
One of those is when cleaning. If you clean your guns with water, that’s a big problem. Some people even use an aqueous solution in their ultrasonic cleaners.
The problem here is that while your cleaning solution will get to the hard-to-reach places, your drying might not. So, you’d have created an effortless way for the rusting to start. That’s why most people avoid using water as much as possible while cleaning their guns.
Brake or carburetor cleaners work just fine for flushing and are more effective even. They also have the additional advantage of not leaving those dreaded water droplets behind on the metal surface.
Places with High Humidity Levels
Humidity is primarily a regional problem. If you live in the desert, for example, you probably won’t have to worry about it. If you live somewhere with a more humid climate, however, it’s something you have to watch out for.
This is because, when it comes to rust prevention, you have to control your humidity. Controlling it will go a long way towards keeping the rust off your gun.
Condensation, just like humidity, is also mostly a regional problem. If you live in a place that experiences large fluctuations in temperature, then watch out.
Condensation occurs when air that’s moist and warm comes into contact with a cold surface. The air immediately condenses and collects as water on that surface. As we already know, water and oxygen mean rust, so this, of course, spells trouble.
The above-mentioned is, in fact, one of the easiest ways for rust to form quickly on your gun. Controlling the temperature and humidity is the best way to solve this problem.
Long-Term Storage and The Gun Rust Problem
No matter what material your gun is made from, whether steel, aluminum, or even titanium, you have to store it right. Storing your gun is about much more than just keeping it out of the wrong hands. How you store your weapon could also help you prevent rust.
You see, the water, oxygen, and metal reaction can still happen in storage – but don’t go locking your gun away in the tightest box you can find. The answer to this is not just to get a gun safe, either.
There are many other solutions to gun rust. For instance, you have to regulate the temperature and the humidity in storage. According to the NRA, you should store your firearm at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best humidity to go with is a relative humidity between 50 and 55 percent. One of the ways you can do this is by getting a dehumidifier.
How to Keep Guns from Rusting When in Storage
Storing your gun can be a rust-free experience if you invest in the proper storage. You also have to make sure you know some important rust prevention practices. The aim is to preserve your gun properly so that it can work accurately whenever you use it.
Some people think that this means breaking the bank. While gun care can be expensive, there are simple ways to do it, too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re storing your gun for a short period or just keeping it in a gun safe.
Here are some ways to store your weapon to prevent rust:
Keep it in The Right Case
The case your gun stays in is its first defense against rust. So, you have to make sure that you choose the proper case. Only a suitable case can prevent those accelerants like moisture, dirt, and salt from ruining your firearm.
If you’re a hunter or sport shooter, this is especially important for you. You have to store your gun in a suitable case to keep those elements out.
But what kind of case is the right case? Well, for starters, it should be watertight. It should also be foam-padded on the inside with a hard outer shell.
This will help protect your gun from abrasion. It would be best if you also had a dust proof case. It’ll help keep the rust-causing particles out, too. Pelican makes excellent gun cases, so you can check those out for a fit.
Store it in The Right Place
After getting the proper case for your gun, your storage space is next. You have to do your best to make sure those rust triggers aren’t present. Pay close attention to the temperature and humidity in your storage space.
You don’t want to put your gun in a place that increases the oxidation process, resulting in rusting. As we said earlier, you should shoot for a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit in this space. The relative humidity should also be between 50 to 55 percent.
You can check this by getting an affordable humidity meter. Most of these cost under $15. That being said, make sure to keep your gun away from wet or damp places.
These include your garage, basement, shed, or bathroom. If you have a camper, keep your gun away from it, too.
Get a Dehumidifier
If the last few places we mentioned above are your only options for storage, don’t give up yet. You can get a dehumidifier to lessen the moisture content in the air. It works by wicking the moisture from your garage, storage unit, or safe.
They’re also relatively inexpensive options that you can get for as low as $30. These can play an essential role in learning how to keep guns from rusting.
Clean and Oil Your Gun Before Storing
Make sure to clean and oil your gun properly before storing it. You can get gun cleaner and oil for as low as $6. They’ll help you to clean and lubricate your firearm.
They also help you protect your gun from rust and corrosion. Another thing to do is to make sure you wear white gloves when cleaning your gun. This will serve two purposes.
The main one is that it’ll prevent your skin’s oils from being transferred to the weapon. The other is that the color will help you see whether you have properly cleaned your firearm or not.
Use Vapor Capsules
There are great options of vapor capsules that can prevent rust for up to two years. They also come with an adhesive back that can stick to any surface. After purchase, you can place this in your weapons and ammo storage.
General Tips For Preventing Rust
While storing your gun right is the first step towards preventing rust, there are other general things to keep in mind. They’ll help you slow or eliminate the oxidation process completely. Check out some of them in the sections below.
Routine Cleaning of Your Gun
Particles can accumulate on your gun’s metal surfaces. These particles could be salt molecules, dirt, and dust particles. They could rub the metal surface of your weapon, and this could cause rust spots.
These spots could then grow and flake. To prevent this, regular cleaning is advised. That way, these particles are removed before they become a problem.
Do Your Best to Avoid Corrosive Ammunition
As we mentioned at the start, corrosive ammunition can cause your gun to rust really quickly. This is because they may have potassium chlorate primers. These primers decompose into sodium chloride, which is the fancy name for salt.
If you want a metal surface to rust really quickly, throw salt at it. So, no corrosive ammunition means no salt. However, as we’ve also mentioned, if you have no choice, make sure you clean your gun properly after every use.
Avoid Rainy and Snowy Days
All that moisture is bad for your rust prevention. If you have to go out with your gun on a wet day, go with a portable gun case. You should also do your best only to take out your firearm when necessary.
Take an absorbent cloth with you and make sure to wipe down your gun after use. Try your best to keep it extra dry after each use as well.
What if My Gun is Already Showing Signs of Rust?
Okay, let’s say you hadn’t already stumbled on this article, and you’re noticing rust. Well, brace yourself, because repair could be pricey. You, however, have to make sure that you address the problem immediately if you want to salvage the integrity of your firearm.
Chances are that the problem is worse than what you can see. Usually, you can take care of the rust problem yourself. Especially if you catch the problem early enough.
You can remove the surface rust using a nylon or brass bristle brush. You’ll also need cleaning solvent and a lot of elbow grease. Be ready to saturate the brushes in a gun cleaning solution and scrub a whole lot.
Just remember to wear gloves and eye protection. If the rust has gone deeper and formed pits, you may have to go to a gunsmith. If you ask us, it’s cheaper and easier to prevent your gun from rusting in the first place.
If you own a gun, you have to be a responsible owner and that includes how to keep guns from rusting. Making sure you take good care of your weapon will ensure that it works properly when you need to use it.
Rust can lead to severe problems that could affect your gun’s accuracy. As we all know, once your gun’s accuracy is compromised, so is your safety. Ensuring your gun is safe from rust is the best way to go.