30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 13: Prepare Your Hunting Rifle for Storage

Picture shows a rifle on a rest being prepped for cleaning.

If you have finished hunting for the season, do not just put your rifle in the gun safe until next year without treating it first. Without preparing your rifle for storage properly, you may damage it. In nine easy steps, you can preserve your gun for the months it sits, untouched, until the next hunting season begins.

Picture shows a rifle on a rest being prepped for cleaning.
In nine easy steps, you can preserve your gun for the months it sits untouched.
  1. Disassemble your firearm, separating the stock from the metal parts. The chemicals you use on the metal parts are not wood-friendly and may damage synthetics—especially if they are petroleum-based.
  2. Wipe down all parts—both wood and metal—with a treated gun cloth to remove any fingerprints. Fingerprints may leave corrosive oils behind. Hoppe’s wax-treated gun cloth is safe for most metals and for wood stocks.
  3. Using a solvent, such as GunZilla’s gun solvent and cotton patches, thoroughly clean all metal parts, paying special attention to the bore. Avoid petroleum-based products, which will ruin plastics, rubber or synthetic stocks. If you are a traditionalist, try Hoppe’s No. 9 synthetic bore cleaner. It’s safe on all metals and even some plastics.
  4. After thoroughly removing all corrosive residue such as lead and copper fouling, you will want to treat all metal parts with rust preventive gun grease. Apply a light coating on the metal parts. RIG Universal gun grease leaves a thin protective layer on your gun’s metal parts protecting against rust and corrosion, as well as providing lubrication.
  5. Apply gun stock wax to your wood stock to preserve its beauty and luster. Birchwood Casey offers a gun stock wax made of carnauba, beeswax and silicone that protects the stock from cracking.
  6. Place your firearm in a gun sock or a gun storage bag made specifically for longer storage. Silicone-treated gun socks give your firearm an extra level of protection from rust. Allen makes affordable treated, knit socks to fit most long arms. For longer-term storage, secure your rifle in a storage bag.
  7. Store your firearm, uncocked to relieve tension off the hammer spring. If you are worried about run off from lubrication, to protect the wood stock store your rifle muzzle down with a towel or rag underneath.
  8. Cover your scope with a scope cover to prevent dirt and dust collecting on the lenses.
  9. Keep a dehumidifier desiccant in your gun case or any other storage area where you keep your gun to control the humidity.

Moisture is your guns worst enemy. Rust causes all kinds of problems. A thorough cleaning and proper storage of your rifle will guarantee next hunting season will go off without a hitch.

What tips do you have for storing your rifle in the off-season? Tell us in the comment section.


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1 Comment;

  1. One tip I got from an old timer for my Mosin, AK, Brit .303 and some of my older guns was to finish cleaning them with diesel gas. The diesel seeps into the pores of the metal. During the wars when cleaning solvent wasn’t available diesel was available. The soldiers would take shoe strings and soak them in diesel and run them through the barrel. By cleaning the corrosive residue the early powders had with diesel it would protect the barrels, so I was told. I still do run diesel through my Mosin and 303 before putting it away. I also clean all my guns at least 3 times a year because where I live it is humid and I hate to have rust on any of my anythings.

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