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Long Term Firearms Storage

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by George A Cox, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. George A Cox

    George A Cox Member

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    I'm moving to China for 3 years for work and I obviously can't take my firearms with me so I'm thinking about lubing up everything with ATF, which is what I keep in my range bag for lube anyway, and putting them in the case. I thought I'd ask if anyone had any experience using ATF for long term storage or if anyone had any different advice?

    The one concern I have is that I have a Winchester '94 and I'm concerned about whether or not the ATF will damage the wood on the rifle?
     
  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    ATF is automatic transmission fluid, it is a hydraulic fluid designed to transmit power, not to provide corrosion protection. Any corrosion protection you have experienced with ATF is only due to the light oil film layer on the surface of steel. That oil layer is a minor barrier for oxygen migration.

    Corrosion prevention compounds have additives which block oxygen migration, lubricants, hydraulic fluids don't need these and won't have them. In my opinion ATF is a poor choice for long term corrosion prevention.

    I have had excellent results with RIG (rust inhibiting grease) or products from the Marine Boating Store. For weapons that I greased up and put away, I wiped down the surfaces and removed all traces of powder fouling. Once clean, I then rubbed an light oily patch over the metal, then added a heavy coat of RIG or Cosmoline either with fingers, or patches. I run patches down the bore and over anything inside the mechanism. Then, I wrapped the item, such as swords, with wax paper. This has protected items for over ten years. Once the grease dries out its rust preventative properties are gone, and that is why I wrap the thing in wax paper, to help keep the grease from drying out, and it helps block contact with air.

    I would keep ATF off wood, I have no idea what it will do, but since it is a hydraulic fluid, not a wood preservative, I would not recommend experimenting on an expensive to replace rifle stock.
     
  3. Tinman357

    Tinman357 Member

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    1. Remove wood.
    2. Clean very well.
    3. Grease with RIG.
    4. Place metal in corrosion inhibiting bag.
    5. Place bagged parts in silicone sock.
    6. Vacumn bag the whole thing.
    7. Place in a safe, dry spot.

    Wood.

    1. Clean, wax, silicone sock. Vacumn bag.

    Good for years and years.
     
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  4. George A Cox

    George A Cox Member

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    That's a good point. I take it 5w20 or 30 motor oil would also fall under this description? What about things like Ed's Red?
     
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  5. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Also, ATF and motor oils can aggressively attack certain types of rubbers and plastics and cause them to soften, swell, and crack. I wouldnt let these chemicals anywhere near modern firearms with their plastic/polymer parts.....

    Another vote here for RIG, CLP, and some sort of hard case or bagging.
     
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  6. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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  7. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Yes, motor oil is poor for that use. And Ed's Red has ATF, acetone, mineral sprits, etc. Primarily a solvent/penetrant. Not much rust prevention at all. Following the above advice (RIG) is your best avenue.
     
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  8. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Wd-40 specialist gel (or spray) works well on raw metal. Better than anything I've found. I have scraps (cut offs) in a pile that have been outside for a few years and other than where the plasma cutter blew the spray off they look new.
    I used to use barricade and never had an issue either on old guns, some would set for years in a safe and still be wet when I got them out and it is thin enough to just shoot. I still use it for shorter term storage. The specialist will have to be wiped off before using or you would have a nasty mess. Some of the newer pvd/armorkote etc finishes seem to absorb or shed barricade. I first noticed on my mk23, I'd spray it and a few months later it would be dry. Not corroded but dry, same with my newer sigs. But since I used specialist on a few metal projects I prefer it. That said, I have seen many guns that have been stored much longer than 3 years in half decent conditions that were fine.
     
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  9. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    I am partial to boat trailer wheel bearing grease smothered over the dissembled metal parts, wrapped in butcher paper, and vacume packed in plastic.

    The wood gets car waxed, butcher paper covered, bubble wrapped, and vacume packed.
     
  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I agree. Good advice.

    If you are interested in lubricant and love free, then go over to this site

    https://www.publications.usace.army.mil/USACE-Publications/Engineer-Manuals/?udt_43544_param_page=6

    and download this publication:

    EM 1110-2-1424 Lubricants and Hydraulic Fluids


    7-2. Surface Additives


    The primary purpose of surface additives is to protect lubricated surfaces. Extreme pressure additives, rust and corrosion inhibitors, tackiness agents, antiwear additives, and oiliness additives are included in this category. These additives coat the lubricated surfaces to prevent wear or rust.


    a. Rust inhibitors. Rust inhibitors are added to most industrial lubricants to minimize rusting of metal parts, especially during shipment, storage, and equipment shutdown. Although oil and water do not mix very well, water will emulsify--especially if the oil contains polar compounds that may develop as the oil ages. In some instances the water will remain either suspended by agitation or will rest beneath the oil on machine surfaces when agitation is absent. Rust inhibitors form a surface film that prevents water from making contact with metal parts. This is accomplished by making the oil adhere better or by emulsifying the water if it is in a low concentration.


    b. Corrosion inhibitors. Corrosion inhibitors suppress oxidation and prevent formation of acids. These inhibitors form a protective film on metal surfaces and are used primarily in internal combustion engines to protect alloy bearings and other metals from corrosion.

    7-4. Lubricant Protective Additives

    Lubricant protective additives are employed to protect the lubricant instead of the equipment. Oxidation inhibitors and foam inhibitors are examples.

    a. Oxidation inhibitors. Over time, hydrocarbon molecules will react to incorporate oxygen atoms into their structure This reaction produces acids, sludge, and varnish that foul or damage metal parts. At low temperatures and under minimal exposure to oxygen, this process is very slow. At temperatures above 82 C (180 F) the oxidation rate is doubled for every -7.78 to -6.67 C (18 to 20 F) rise in temperature. Oxidation of hydrocarbons is a very complex chemical process and depends on the nature of the oil. Oxidation inhibitors reduce the quantity of oxygen reacting with oil by forming inactive soluble compounds and by passivating metal-bearing surfaces to retard the oxidation rate. As previously noted, oxidation inhibitors are consumed as the oil ages. Oil condition should be monitored periodically to ensure that essential additives are maintained at safe levels. Oxidation inhibitors are used in most industrial lubricant applications where oil is continuously circulated or contained in a housing.


    Wasn't that worth the price of admission?
     
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  11. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    Depending on the number, value, and etc....consider putting the burden on your gunsmith. Mine (who I TRUST) charges what I believe to be a modest sum for the above treatment. Basically, he would clean, put “cosmoline”, and pack the firearm. I could clean, or pay to have it reversed. I was concerned due to weather / hurricane problems.

    For me, the quality and aggravation is worth the money. For some, maybe not. The cost / value decision is yours.
     
  12. Steveo_1704

    Steveo_1704 Member

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  13. natman

    natman Member

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    I would use either Breakfree COLLECTOR (not regular BF), LPS3 or RIG grease, depending on how important ease of application and removal is to you. RIG requires some work, LPS3 is easier, Breakfree COLLECTOR can be left on. Do NOT use cosmoline unless you have access to the unlimited supply of labor the military enjoys.

    After coating metal with the material of your choice, store the guns in VCI bags sold at Polygunbags.com. They will be good for three years easily.
     
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  14. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Agree. RIG, teflon socks, and Zerust bags.
     
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  15. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    I would be sick with dread if I stored firearms for that length of time. Do you have a trusted friend or family member who can care for, and supervise their storage, and periodically inspect them while you are gone?
     
  16. nyresq

    nyresq Member

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    Can someone explain why you would wrap in paper if you are going to seal in a vacuum bag anyway?

    If its covered in oil, and you seal it, why bother? or is there some advantage I am missing over just a coat of oil and then vacuum bag it?
     
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