Another excellent post by our friend Chris over at the 1acreohiohomestead!
As I said in my last post, I spent 11 years behind a counter selling firearms. For the most part, I met good people with common sense and knowledge of their firearms. Then.....I knew the other guys. The ones that took better care of their kegerator in the garage than their deer gun. Nearly every year before gun season here, they came in and needed repairs. Some were due to neglect, some to mistreatment, but most were due to improper cleaning.
These guys would take their shotgun (deer slugs here in Ohio), and after their outing, hose the thing down with WD40 and stick it back into the closet or cabinet. Let me tell ya, that stuff may be great in the garage, but in the gun cabinet, it may as well be superglue. An overdosed spray of this stuff runs down the barrel, into the action and trigger assembly, and just lays there. Over time, the rest picks up all the debris, powder, and other crud and takes it with it. What you end up with is a sticky, gooey mess that can seize a trigger assembly and bolt faster than any glue out there. It always amazed me how these guns were treated, but I always took their gun with a smile and handed them a bill for $25 to strip, clean, and lubricate properly. I've cleaned the cylinder of revolvers that were so filthy from neglect, that I literally wore out a new EZ brite lead-wipe cloth on it. I've seen semi-auto handguns that needed soaked overnight in a cleaner bath.....all rediculous neglect for no reason, and worthless as a defense weapon. Imagine grabbing that handy pistol and the slide won't move freely or the trigger is sticky.....
With all that being said, buy a proper gun cleaning kit for each different caliber or guage that you own. Follow the directions, and use cleaners and lubricants sparingly, MORE does not mean BETTER. Choose the products you like and stick with it. Buy something designed for firearms and not something at the auto parts store. Learn how to disassemble your firearm and clean it properly. I dont mean taking it apart down to every screw, but at least learn how to take out trigger assemblies and bolts on your shotguns. Remingtons and Mossbergs are just two simple push pins, and the whole group pops out. (PUSH pins, not hammer me out with a nail and claw hammer pins!!! saw that one many times) Pick up gunsmith manuals for them if you want and learn how the thing operates and learn basic disassembly. Clean them properly, whipe them off, and store them where there is little moisture. Check them frequently for rust! I remember one guy who brought in a 50 cal muzzleloader for me to clean. He put it away after the January deer season while it was still cold, inslde a zipper case. That thing looked like it just came off the ocean floor. It was more than we could handle since it needed totally reblued, so I sent him to a local gunsmith where it cost him more than he paid for it used.
As far as storage, I have a cabinet, a safe, and a wall mount rack. Inside the safe is a dehumidifier rod, though I have used just a cord and 25 watt appliance bulb to keep moisture at bay. One thing I learned from a german customer was to store everything muzzle down. He told me that everyone there used that method. Why? read above. Any exess cleaner or lube runs down and out the muzzle, and not into the action. Pretty simple and makes sense, huh?
Now....if you have something for home protection, consider a few things. Trigger locks are great if you have kids, but what about defensive purposes? Wall safes are equally as good, but how far away is it? If someone breaks into your home and you're trying to fumble around with a key or combination, you may as well just have a can of mace in the drawer. What if it takes a key, and you left your keyring downstairs? That .45 you bought to defend yourself is uselsss. I like the V-line lock boxes. They can easliy fit in a drawer or under a bed, and have a 4 button lock combination. Mine is mounted under the bed frame, and I've practiced with it for years. Lay in bed, turn off the lights, then practice pushing the 4 buttons in sequense and turn the little knob....before too long, your pistol will drop right in your hand. I compare this to practicing salmon fishing knots....practice when it's dark, 12 degrees, and with a 40mph crosswind and rain hahaha. Practice with that more than you practice with your gun, it can equally save your life someday while keeping the gun under lock and key. Though mine is still here, it's empty now that the kids are gone and I dont have to think about their friends wandering around the house. My 45 is in my drawer, and Lisa's 9mm is in hers.
Real quick, I'll touch on kids and guns since I went into trigger locks. Kids are curious, we all know that, and they're sneakier than a cat if they want to get into something. Education is the key. Take kids shooting at an early age, teach them that it's not a toy, teach them to respect it, and teach them safety. Though it was a whole other time, I was raised with a housefull of firearms, and not a one was locked up. We KNEW what they were, and knew not to touch. (plus the fear of an ass whoopin was always there lol) Dad's .357 was always sitting on his nightstand, open and loaded, and not once did we touch it. Rather than hide them away from your kids, teach them. If you must insist on locking them up, think about a simple locking doorknob on your bedroom. Ours has had a lock for years, and I carry a spare key at all times with me. It's tucked in a pocket behind the pouch for my multi-plier and mini-mag light, so it's with me from the time I get up, till the time I go to bed. I'm not one to carry a pistol 24/7, but it's something you may consider.
Clean it, store it, practice with it, and respect it. We buy these for a reason, whether its defense, fun, or hunting. We take care of our car, our house, and our tools. Firearms deserve no less than the same.
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