No Rust Again

Dear Technoid:

Discovered  Shotgun Report this evening and enjoyed reading your columns. My question concerns gun storage. You wrote “NEVER store your gun in a gun slip or case for any length of time. You’ll be sorry”.

Commercial products, however, proclaim themselves as appropriate for storage. Cases with cotton linings are said to wick away moisture, and it doesn’t take much to be suspicious of that claim. There are also slips made of fleece purportedly impregnated with silicone, which, on the surface of things, appears to be combination that should breathe without attracting atmospheric moisture. I might add that I realize a gun safe is best, but, for several reasons, I am not planning on buying one for now.

Your opinion, please, on the best way to store a gun in the absence of a safe, and if all those manufacturer claims about safe slip storage are unfounded.

Thanks in advance, and regards,

Anchorage, AK

Dear Timothy,

Welcome aboard. Glad you found us.

The main reason not to store a gun in a gun slip is that the fleece, flannel or what-have-you absorbs moisture and then holds it against the metal until it rusts. More guns get ruined by storing them, forgotten, in gunslips than any other way. Gun cases are just as bad. It’s the idea of having water absorbent fabric or foam in contact with the gun that is the problem. The damp fabric can’t dry because there is no air circulation in a case or slip.

There are exceptions. I’ve seen some sleeves specifically made for long term storage of forearms. They impregnated with something or other that is supposed to prevent rust. I see ads for the stuff in The Gun List. Maybe they work. Maybe not. You could also slather the gun up with RIG or cosmoline, but they are messy and best suited for long term storage.

The best way I have found to prevent rust during gun “open” storage is to liberally wipe the gun down with a good rust preventative, such as Eezox or Break Free CLP and then store it uncased where air can circulate around it. A gunrack on the wall is excellent. This way you will see it and be reminded to wipe it down occasionally. If you store a gun outside of a safe, make sure to put a lock on it if there are kids around.

Even if you don’t want a gun safe right now, you might consider a tin cabinet, much like a school locker. They don’t cost much and do offer some locked protection. A cabinet allows air to circulate around the gun. It also permits you to use a “Golden Rod” heating element. This is just a low power constant heat source that raises the dew point inside the cabinet and keeps moisture from collecting on your guns. It works great and, when used in conjunction with a good wipe down rust preventative, works great to prevent rust.

If you absolutely must store your gun in a fleece gun slip or plastic case, wipe it down with rust preventative and, considering Alaska’s climate, repeat the process on a regular scheduled basis at least twice a month. I still don’t like the idea, but if that’s your only option then there it is. I hope it’s not an expensive gun.

I’m sure that I haven’t exhausted the “store without rust” options. Like a lot of people, I’ve found a system that works for me (gun safe, Golden Rod and frequent wipe downs) so I’ve sort of stopped looking. Perhaps there are new products or procedures out there that I am unfamiliar with. I’d love to hear from any of our SR readers who have suggestions to my rust-fighting list.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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3 Responses to No Rust Again

  1. Bob Shemeld says:

    I have a number of long guns including three Beretta shotguns, one a 687 EELL which I consider one of the best shotguns period; I am careful of storage. Years ago, I was told by a noted shooting instructor that it was best to keep guns almost dry as too much oil and grease do much as you suggest the sleeves do – trap moisture. After cleaning, I wipe my guns down with a silicon cloth and then careful not to touch any metal, store them in a cabinet. My cabinet is a converted curio cabinet with glass front and sides which I purchased from an upscale furniture store. I removed all of the interior but the top glass shelf on which I display my antique decoy and shell boxes. The lower portion is fitted with a gun rack I made from walnut and red felt. The cabinet sits in a prominent place in my den where I can admire my collection. It’s not as secure as a gun safe, but it has a lock and a light. In addition to showing off the guns, the light has the added feature of keeping the cabinet warm and moisture free.


  2. Jay says:

    A friend’s bespoke pair of 20 ga. SCO Perazzi buttstocks “unbent” due to a dehumidifier in his big gun safe.


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