Gun Vault: Tips For Long Term Gun Storage

GunVault Home diagram

The days of burying your guns are over my friends, hiding your firearms off-site is useless if there is an emergency and downgrades the quality of your gun. In this day and age, there are ways to store your guns that keep you and your family safe while maintaining the integrity of your firearms. When it comes to proper storage, the most important things is preparation and where you store it. There are three main reasons proper, long-term gun storage is important.

GunVault NanoVault
With the NanoVault, you can lock your handgun away and tether it with the security cable.
  1. Protecting family, keeping guns stored securely so children cannot access them.
  2. Protecting guns, keeping them top working order.
  3. Keeping them secure from thieves, but available, in case of emergency.

Pretreat your Firearms


  1. Break down your gun, as much as you can.
  2. Keep your firearm decocked. This relieves tension on the springs and other parts of the gun.
  3. Remove all fingerprints from the gun. No, this not some super secret squirrel stuff. The residue left behind from the oils on your hands and fingers can affect the gun’s finish over time.
  4. Clean your gun completely. Copper, lead and plastic will all attract moisture, so cleaning your gun with an ammonia-free cleaner will help keep it dry.
  5. Thoroughly clean the bore of your gun and then apply a very thin layer of lubrication. Also, apply a thin layer to other exposed metal on the gun. This creates a thin coating that protects and seals the surface while in storage.
  6. Treat wood stocks with wax to prevent any swelling or cracking from occurring. Don’t forget to wax the inside of the stock!

**Continue to check your stored firearms periodically, especially if living in a humid climate. Be sure to re-oil when necessary.

Pretreat your Storage Area

The first thing you need to do is ensure you have a safe and reliable storage area. A Gun Vault is a great storage option that will protect and secure your firearms. Here are storage tips to avoid and actions to take.


  1. Gun Safe This is the most secure option for storing your guns while keeping them readily accessible. Protected interior keeps your firearm from rust, dirt, and moisture if stored properly. Safe can be opened by key, code, or fingerprints.
  2. Use a Silicon-Treated Gun Sock – The silicon protects your firearm from rust and moisture getting in while the thick fabric protects against any scratches and dirt.
  3. Gun storage bags protect your gun from rust, dust and corrosion for years.
  4. Use desiccant or a dehumidifier inside of the gun storage location to prevent moisture from rusting and cracking your guns.
  5. Store your long guns, barrel down, so no oil can seep into the stock or other parts of the gun.


  1. Sheepskin-lined cases attract moisture which can cause the rusting process to begin within 24 hours. Not only does moisture create rust, but with too much exposure, it can cause your stock to crack.
  2. the firearm’s original box or any cardboard box can become very weak over time and alert anyone and everyone of what is being stored. Similar to the sheep-skin, these also attract moisture and threaten the longevity and quality of your firearm.

Do you have a time tested tip for storing a firearm? Share your tip in the comment section.

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Comments (26)

  1. I have a gun safe all around my house. I have one in the kitchen under the sink, under my bedroom, at the garage, in the living room. The gun safe I used was The GunVault SV500 SpeedVault and all of them is always fully loaded, ready to use just in case. I am alone at home that’s why I always prepared them and cleaning them weekly. This article of yours is a plus for my knowledge about the information on how to clean where to permanently store your gun safe. Thank you for this informative article!

  2. Anybody try spraying Bloxagen (sp) lot a folks I know use it to seal off their paints, varnishes in cans so no skinning happens. Forces oxygen out. Since oxygen is part of culprit in the rust equation

  3. I use ‘Bull Frog’ rust inhibitors in an uninsulated safe at a rural cabin. I have guns and electronic equipment stored that way for years without rust or any problem. The sheets last a year. Good stuff.

  4. Question:will lithium or pump grease work for the bore and metal surfaces?
    methods for undergound storage?

  5. “Use a Silicon-Treated Gun Sock” should be “Silicone-Treated”. Silicon is an naturally occurring mineral. Silicone is a synthetic material that is silicon-based, and used to make lubricants, adhesives, synthetic rubber, and other beneficial products.
    If the product indicates “silicon” and is not a computer or solar component, avoid it, as the manufacturer is probably foreign (doesn’t speak or know English), and you are likely buying a counterfeit “knock-off” of a legitimate product. Buyer beware!

  6. I am keeping my best .308 bolt-action rifle in a Pelican heavy plastic travel case. Somewhere I read that this could damage the weapon. I sealed the rifle, disassembled, when the humidity was very low (especially for Louisiana!).

    Am I an idiot? Well, because of this, I mean.


    NRA Benefactor Life Member (I would not do this again if I had the choice)

  7. Has any one tried “hohoba” oil ; actually a liquid wax at room temmperature.
    It was used as a replacement for whale Sperm oil in mechanical clocks. Has long triglicerides; the longer the better.
    I have used in the long firing pin area with good success.

  8. I’ve heard you should do this and then don’t do it. Whenever cleaning my firearms I always apply a very light coat of oil to the inside of the barrel. Never an issue. Any opinions on this?

    1. I am by no means qualified to give advise regarding this, but my opinion is that if I am not going to use the firearm, or more accurately not clean the firearm, for an extended period, I oil it. If it is a firearm I use and clean regularly, I don’t. If I am going to shoot a firearm that I haven’t shot for awhile, I clean it first and don’t oil the inside of the barrel.

  9. Be careful of some of those ‘foam-lined’ gun cases. I have had 1-2 pistols rust out/pitted due to what ever reaction is caused when the foam begins to deteriorate. The silicon socks is highly recommended if you are using these types of containers for you guns.

  10. Am I to assume that each of you posters store ALL of your weapons in a safe or other readily inaccessible container? Worry about rust and decay, but not about immediate access in the event of a home invasion. A locked up weapon or a weapon with a trigger lock is no weapon at all……

    1. Too many weapons to leave out, house too roomy. I’d loose track of where what is… ???? I gotta lock up something so I lock the majority of them in a BIG safe containing moisture absorbing pads. I leave out one of each weapon type in case of home invasion. Every couple of months I rotate them… ????

    2. I can’t speak for all, but I have quite a few firearms. I usually have about 3 or 4 that I do not “lock up” because I have them for self defence. 2 hand guns that I don’t need to lock because I carry them with me, an AR15 and a shotgun that do have trigger locks. The rest are hidden away and secure. No way will I leave a firearm unsecure where my grand children could access them and kill or injure themselves. I would rather be killed by an intruder. Besides, I do have my 2 pistols ready at all times

  11. For anything you do not access regularly, I still like burying. Unless you want to pay $20k and up for a safe you will not get anything that will keep a thief out, or protect the contents from a fire. And that’s a used safe. You can bury it for a fraction of that price.

  12. separate wood stocks and grips from metal components of your weapons. woods have a level of water content that will come out of the fibers during storage and changes in temperature.
    breaking the weapons metal parts down to sub assemblies or smaller components and relieving all spring tension and compression will ensure them surviving very long term storage. storing weapons is a vacuum sealed bag-ala foodsaver storage system-along with dessicant will ensure a long lasting corrosion free storage term.liberal use of clp is a good thing. to be sure, we all know that plastics are permeable over time and degrade in presence of certain gasses and radiation. with that in mind, remember that storage bags are not a forever thing.
    company called Cortec markets a product line meeting MilSpecs for weapons storage. just saying. works for me…

    1. I don’t do anything liberally. I might apply a generous coat of CLP or some other preservative.

  13. I would like to add a few tips I have gleaned the hard way about long-term firearms storage.
    1. The ammunition you plan to keep with the firearm for emergency/self -defense should never be touched with bare fingers. If you are loading magazines for long-term storage, wipe each-and-every cartridge thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and allow to air dry before loading. I know it sounds strange but, finger print oils are acidic and can attack brass, steel and nickel- plated cartridge finishes making their surfaces sticky and jam prone. Not all folks have the type oil strong enough to affect long term storage, however, a little precaution can give great peace of mind. Think about ammunition manufacturing processes. Only gloved hands ever touch the product. The vast majority goes from the machines and straight into cartons having never been touched by mere mortals.
    2. ALWAYS use a dehumidifier! If you are using a renewable desiccant…renew it regularly. If you are using an electric rod, reach down occasionally and feel that it is actually warm. Using an inside/outside humidity monitor allows checking your babies without even opening the door of the safe.
    3. “Lubrication” covers everything from whale blubber to Vaseline and I’m sure some folks have tries both on their firearms. I have tried a few and have found CLP to be excellent. Never, I repeat, never use WD40 as a long-term storage lubricant. I don’t care what the label says. It’s great to loosen a little rust but once you have used WD40, wipe it off as best you can and come back with CLP or else your new firearm being stored in a non-humidity-controlled area will obtain surface rust that will ruin your beautiful blue finish.
    I hope these tips help you out. I had to learn them the hard way…sad, so sad.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  14. My tip for gun storage is to figure out the largest gun safe you need, then double it. Once you have the safe, you will undoubtedly acquire additional firearms, and you (or your wife) will find other things to put in it.

    Of course, this assumes you can fit a larger safe in your house. OK, maybe it will go in the garage, but how accessible is it for you in case of an emergency or to thieves?

    And remember that when a gun safe has a capacity for a certain number of long guns, that is usually without a scope mounted. Storing rifles with scopes mounted reduces the storage space, I estimate, by about 1/3.

    1. Or “figure out the largest gun safe you need, then” buy two of them. It will take twice as long for a thieve to still your guns.

      I’m also concerned about arranging space in one safe. To me, keeping long guns, handguns, some ammo, and other small stuff together is not efficient.

  15. When shopping for a vault pay the extra money for a fire resistant one. Purchase a dehumidifier rod for inside the safe/vault. When I purchased my vault 25 years ago I bought one of these rods and have never had one rust. You still have to clean and oil your firearms but the dehumidifier rod is well worth the cost.

    1. I have never vacuum sealed a firearm, but have sealed ammunition. You have to be carefull because it is easy for the bags to get a hole worn in them. I had some 22lr that comes in the plastic cases have the corner of the cases wear a hole in the bag. Some padding, or discard the case would probably work. I find it best though to do away with the bags and use other containers when I vacuum seal things for extended storage.

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