I once owned an awesome Remington 870 Express Tactical but after a fun Bureau Land Management trip in the Sierra Nevadas and some acid rain I woke up to rust all over my barrel when I took it out of its case the following week. The rust wasn’t removed or treated soon enough and it got to the point where I was so frustrated that I eventually sold the gun. Then COVID-19 and the riots happened and I immediately regretted everything about this story. Want to avoid being like me? Here are the best tips and tricks to keeping rust off your guns and completed 80 percent builds. 

Avoid WD-40

Yes, “WD” stands for water displacement and we want to keep water off and out of our guns but it’s not designed as a lubricant that helps firearm parts move reliably with protection from the elements over time. WD-40 is a solvent and not a reliable choice as a gun oil. The chemical itself isn’t going to destroy your gun or internals but it evaporates very quickly — when used it creates a thin film of coating on the gun and is prone to attract a ton of gunk. Likewise, if you use it all over and inside the gun then stick it into a closed off space or case you will definitely see rust from all the moisture getting trapped inside the gun. TL;DR: never use WD-40 on your firearms. 

Preventative Gun Care

The key is to avoid humidity and trapped humidity. Having a car gun is important, but know that you’re exposing your gun to extreme temperatures if you just leave it in there over extended periods of time. If you mostly keep your guns in a large safe, buy plenty of renewable silica gel to soak up that moisture. If you store your guns in a case, make sure to open up that bad boy every now and then to air it out, do some dry firing and cleaning if necessary. We want to avoid poor air circulation wherever we’re keeping our guns (the memes are funny but a bathroom gun might not be the best idea).

Additionally, wipe down your guns externally often after every use to remove the oils that come from our fingers and can easily cause rust over time. At the bare minimum use Remington Oil to do so which will protect your gun from unwanted oils but don’t drench the gun in it (also provides a nice sheen on all metal and polymer parts). Less is always more because you don’t want it to attract debris. You’d be surprised how much help just an oily rag would do for you. 

Bonus

If you want to go the extra mile you can also consider these measures:

Use a hygrometer – Time to get fancy! A digital hygrometer/thermometer would help you keep track of the temperature and humidity in your room or gun safe. 

digital hygrometer/thermometer

Buy a dehumidifier – If you feel silica gels are not enough you can get small dehumidifier rods that will fit in safes to circulate dry air or a larger model for your room.

goldenrod safe dehumidifier

Avoid shooting corrosive ammo – Ammo prices seem to be holding steady at their inflated rates so we won’t hold it against you for having nothing but your stockpiled ammo inherited from a parent or grandparent. Just make sure to take your 80% build apart and give it a complete cleaning afterwards so that the harsh deposits of chemicals don’t damage any of your gun’s critical components.

old corrosive ammo

Coat your gun with wax – Similar to detailing a car when sealants are applied such as wax or ceramic coating to help protect the paint and surface of the car… guns can be waxed too! One of the most popular wax’s recommended is Renaissance Wax.

renaissance wax