What You Need To Know About Putting Your Firearms In Long-Term Storage

Posted on: 10 October 2016

Many people say storing guns off-site essentially renders them useless. However, there are times when you have to put firearms into long-term storage, such as when you're relocating or have run out of storage space in your house. To ensure your guns remain functional and beautiful, here are a few tips for storing firearms for a long period of time.

Get Permission First

Before doing anything else, make sure it's okay with the self-storage facility to put guns in the unit. Some companies don't allow firearms on their properties for safety and security reasons. Another issue is the facility may let people store guns on property, but the company's insurance policy may not cover the loss if they are damaged or stolen. To protect your assets and avoid legal issues down the road, ask the manager of the site if guns are allowed in the unit when shopping around for a place to store them.

Prepping Guns for Storage

The first thing you need to do to prep your guns for long-term storage is to disassemble them as much as possible. This will accomplish two things. First, it will help alleviate the pressure placed on the component parts. For example, the firing pin springs can wear down and break over time due to the constant stress exerted on them. The second advantage to disassembling your guns is it will make the firearms a lot easier to store and less desirable to steal.

Once you've taken the guns apart, clean the inside and outside using an ammonia-free product. You want to remove any dirt, dust, and debris that may have settled on or in the firearms that can attract moisture. Additionally, you want to remove your fingerprints. Your fingerprints contain oil that can cause certain components to deteriorate faster. Also, if someone does steal your firearms, you won't have to worry about being implicated in a crime if the thief does something bad with them.

Lastly, seal the wood parts of your guns with wax, and lubricate the metal parts with an anti-rust preservative. This will keep moisture from causing the wood to swell and crack and help prevent the metal from rusting. Avoid getting any of the wax or preservative—especially if it is a petroleum-based product—on the plastic, rubber, or synthetic parts of the gun, as the oil will degrade these materials.

Placing the Firearms in Storage

Moisture is your biggest enemy when it comes to storing guns in one place over a long period of time. To help keep your guns dry, cover them with silicone-treated gun socks. Not only will these socks prevent rusting, they'll protect the firearms from scratches and scrapes. An alternative option is to store the firearms in gun boxes. Be careful about which ones you choose, though. Some boxes are lined with materials that may attract moisture (e.g. sheepskin), so you want to get one that either doesn't have a lining at all or is lined with a moisture-resistant material like silicone.

Regardless of what you choose to put your firearms in, be sure to place a few packets of desiccant with them to absorb any moisture that may accumulate around your guns.

The firearms should be placed out of reach, such as on the top shelf of a rack. At the very minimum, they should be placed at least a foot off the floor. This will keep water away from your firearms in case the unit gets flooded. If children have access to your unit, the guns should be placed in a lockable container.

For more information about storing firearms long term or to purchase storage space, contact a storage facility near you.