packing rifles for long term storage

Discussion in 'Hunting & Fishing' started by nj_m715, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. nj_m715


    I used to get a chance to fire and clean my rifles, but life has gotten in the way. I spent about 1 yr fixing up my old house and I bought a run down HUD house that was dirt cheap, but needed a lot of work.
    It's hard to justify a trip to the range when you're cooking on a toaster oven and there's no cabinets in the kitchen. Now that most of the house is finished, my guns have been sitting for unused for about 4-5 yrs. I've oiled them now and then, but I've noticed some rust starting.
    I'm not looking to bury them for 30 yrs or anything crazy, but I was hurt in a crash, I;ve had a couple back surgeries and I still don't feel any better, so I have no Idea when or if I will get back to hunting and shooting.
    I've read a little bit about long term storage years ago, but I didn't pay much attention, because I was always shooting. I remember one tip was to give a good cleaning and a heavy coat of oil. Wrap it in plastic and seal it in PVC with a few baby diapers. The diapers were to absorb and moisture to protect the rifles. Something like that would suit my needs.
    Does anyone have any experience or recommendations. I'll probably pack them all, and leave out a select one or two for home defense. I might even sell a couple that I never use anymore. I bought a couple cheaper foreign military rifles when I was young and broke. Now I have a nicer stuff that I prefer to take out.
  2. carlnet


    Clean them very well and oil lightly using an oil specifically designed to fight corrosion like Corrosion X. Then place each gun in a bag designed for storing guns long term like the Z-Corr Firearm Storage Bag. In one year or fifty you can take them out and they will look just like the day you put them into storage.

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  3. nj_m715


    I was just reading about them last night before I got too tired to keep going. My research was done years ago, so I'm playing catch up on the new tech. It looks like they are only about $15 so they are worth the investment. I have welding equipment so I might be able to fill them with argon brfore I seal them.
    I hate to open my safe a see my investments rusting away, so I want to protect them the best way I can w/o going overboard.
  4. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    You DO NOT want oil on them when you are applying a 'Hot Dip' sealer like Wax (Cosmoline type product).

    Coat them with a WAX, like 'Cosmoline',
    Store them in OXYGEN FREE, WATER/AIR tight tubes.
    That means moisture proof also.

    Descant is REQUIRED to dry the tubes out before storage.
    Find someone with a MIG welder and use Argon or CO2 to displace oxygen before sealing them up.

    Military found out that oil bath immersion DOES NOT work.
    You must seal the pours in the metal, and wax is about the only way.

    The DEEPER you bury them, the more constant the ground temp will be.
    You will need to get at least 8' deep for any kind of consistent temps.

    I would also use an 'Anti-Rust' insert in the barrel before storage,
    Those long treated paper tubes manufacturers use work pretty well, but I don't know about 30 years...

    I was a military armor, and I've seen M-1 Garand rifles come out of 20 or 30 years of storage looking like new when you displace the moisture laden Oxygen bearing 'Air' with inert gas like argon,
    But I've also seen the rusted junk that came out of the cases when the seal had failed somewhere down through the years...

    Don't even think about trying to store loaded ammo that long unless you displace the oxygen in the cartridges with a vacuum chamber, then re-pressurize with an inert gas.
    You would have to take the oxygen out of the cases themselves, and replace with inert gas, or over time, the oxygen will attack the powder/primers.

    That funky smell you get when you open sealed battle cans is the inert gas used for that very purpose, it displaces oxygen/moisture, and deprives you of oxygen when you open the can, giving you sensation of 'Smelling' something,
    Plus the anti-corrosion chemicals in the packing paper often stink...

    There is a reason powder containers are humidity/oxygen sealed when you get them, like potato chip bags...
    Oxygen is the enemy there also.

    Having them in storage where they WILL NOT have to stand in moisture would be preferable.
    Most people don't realize that turning most containers up side down before they bury will create an air pocket in the container, so if the ground saturates, and the storage spot doesn't have proper drainage, the air pocket will give you one line of defense, the individual tubes will be a second line of defense.

    Personally, I would divest myself of any unused firearms on the open market (LEGALLY!) and only keep the minimum of what I think I might need.
    The money will come in handy, and if you decide to get more firearms later on (Before the 30 years or what ever) you can always buy more.
    It's not like there is a shortage of firearms in this country, or there ever will be with as many as there are currently in circulation!

    Long term storage isn't cheap, no matter what people think!
    Schedule 40 PVC and caps are EXPENSIVE,
    Building the storage spot deep enough with drainage is EXPENSIVE,
    Chemical/Mechanical cleaning is time consuming,
    Treating with 'Hot Dip' type metal sealing wax is EXPENSIVE & Time Consuming,

    You might be better off with a good chemical cleaning, sealing up the metal with a wax type metal preservative,
    And an air tight gun safe you can flood with argon or other inert gas, and using a dehumidifier rod in the gun safe to evacuate all the moisture that might creep in later.

    This will give you pretty much instant access to the firearms for checking them,
    Argon is CHEAP compared to properly setting up a hole with guaranteed drainage,
    And you don't have to worry about the location going with you if something should happen,
    Your survivors will have access to the 'Assets' which may help them.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
  5. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    JeepHammer...that's an exellent Idea: Turning the container upside down before burying it! It's a slap-my-forehead moment! It WOULD create an airlock, as long as the sides or bottom of the bucket don't crack. That could even happen if the bucket is upright, but you don't gain anything at all with the lid as a more likely point of entry for water. Even if water seeps in around the seal, if the bucket is upside down the water can't work it's way upward into the bucket!
    Thanks for the idea.
  6. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    I can't see being so busy with life that you can't take care of your weapons , not a dig ok? just that maybe you need to look at your life!

    I'm so against burying weapons, my problem is having to damn many and I'm selling anything I don't use or have a legit plan to use..

    It take only a few minutes a week to wipe them down with a good lube cloth, surely anybody has that amount of time..

    Now if what your really talking about is a long term stash as an emergency supply point then sure bury them, but I don't think it takes that much effort to do a safe job of it and if you need them in a hurry having them coated with gunk might get you killed.

    A buddy of mine experimented with this and he just used some pvc, sprayed some lube on them and wrapped them and put the caps on and buried them shallow so he could get to them even if the ground was frozen, after 2 years he dug them up and they were fine.. I assume he then reburied them... he's careful that way..

    It is very possible to over engineer anything... simple is sometimes best...

    Just my thoughts...
  7. nj_m715


    Slow down, I'm talking about about burying anything. They are in a safe and that's where they're staying. I just want to do my best (with in reason) to protect them since they don't see regular use any more.
    I think we would all like to look at our lives and changes a few things, but it is what it is. Before I had an old house, a young kid and now a pretty bad back injury I would get out shooting every couple weeks, but now I just can't.
    I know cosmoline works well, but I think the military doesn't even use it any more. It's an option, I was just looking for other options too. Right now I'm leaning toward those storage bags filled w/ argon. I'd only have to get a couple bags. I already have a welder sitting around collecting rust, along with the rifles.
  8. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

    Simple then,Google gun sock and get a tin of silicone reel grease,your gun will be ready to shoot the minute you unpack it.

    Now if you want to cache but don't have a lot of cash for a PVC vault,go to a place which services 18 wheelers and get a few truck tire inner tubes and cut out the section with the valve stem,coat your guns with lithium grease or at least the rust able parts seal the ends up with hose clamps,be sure to coat the clamps with paint,its good for a Clinton presidency,LOL


    Driving air out of a PVC tube is easy,
    get a heavy glove,puncture a CO2 tube for a pellet rifle and drop it into your cache,then gently place your rifles etc in it.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  9. gds

    gds Well-Known Member

    nj, I would look at addressing the humidity level in the area of your safe. I have an old Mauser in my safe that was last shot about 9-10 yrs ago, put away with a clean and wipe down of Hoppes gun oil and pulled out about every 3 yrs since for a quick wipe with a oil rag. No rust. I do have 5 or 6 desiccant packs in there and the humidity level stays around 45-50%.
    By the way, keeping the humidity level in the 40 something percentage reduces mold growth in your home.
  10. unclebob

    unclebob Well-Known Member

    What I have done is to use White Lithium grease spay and apply it heavily inside and out including the bore. I then wrap them in wax paper and store them in a safe with a Golden Rod Heater. Yes you need to separate the furniture from the steel on nice firearms when doing this.