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Discussion Starter #1
Good Morning - I have been trying to identify the best materials to clean and store blued firearms with wood stocks to insure no damage to the blued metal and wood finishes. I tried to review previous postings on the forum and elsewhere - and apologize if I’m being redundant... Specifically I’m interested in the following:
  1. What material(s) do you use to remove the light protective coatings (i.e., cosmoline) the manufacturer applies to NEW blued firearms? [SIDE NOTE: I recently purchased a Colt SAA 4.75 45lc which was received in a plastic bag in a foam lined plastic case. I haven’t cleaned it yet]
  2. What materials do you use to protect / preserve the finish on blued Guns with wood stocks?
  3. How do you then store these guns?

I am relatively new to handguns, and have stored new hand guns in the original foam lined cases provided by the mfg. I’ve read, and it makes sense that the foam inserts retain moisture and are damaging to the finish.

So then I have reviewed the use of silicone impregnated socks; but question the potential damage treated socks may cause over time. I also question if the chemical used and quality is the same for all sock manufacturers. Does mfg location matter (I.e., USA vs China)?

I read some about the protective paper used as a wrap (sold by Brownells). S&W ships hand guns in paper in foam lined plastic cases. Are these papers recommended for long term storage?

Then I explored the use of a descant to minimize moisture. This makes sense. Double wrap with descant?

I’m coming to the conclusion that applying a light coat of gun oil or CLP to the blued metal surfaces and wrapping the firearm in a clean microfiber cloth or placing in a plain white untreated cotton tube sock - and possibly storing the firearm in the original foam lined case with a couple desiccant bags may be appropriate.

If this is appropriate - I would like to confirm the best gun oil or CLP to use; if I need to use another product on the wood stock; and whether to place the firearm back in the foam lined case - or leave out to “breathe”. I do not use a metal gun safe - I use a wooden gun cabinet, and am not subjected to a high humid environment.

I would appreciate any thoughts, suggestions, or comments my forum colleagues would be willing to share. Please be critical - I have thick skin. Just seeking the BEST cleaning and storage process to protect these investments.

Oh... I like the response posted by Radicalrod as it applies to cleaning and storage:

“Well the best way to store it is box it up and send it to me....

I promise to take excellent care of this for you....”
But I think I’ll pass...
 

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There is no one best way, but I prefer the Protecta-Gun storage boxes from Robert's Arms Specialties. The boxes stack neatly, come with a choice of gun wrappings, and are inexpensive.

The foam inserts are fragile and don't hold up to continued usage if you are trying to preserve the original box. Personally I have never been a fan of putting desiccants in the box with a gun. Desiccants work great for shipping in sealed boxes or bags to absorb any moisture that may have been trapped inside, but in a box that is not air tight they continue to absorb moisture until they will hold no more and then may start giving it back up.

In many years I of collecting and shooting I have never had a problem with any good preservative gun oil. A routine cleaning and wipe down has always worked. Never used anything on the wood stocks other than wiping them down with a soft cloth to remove fingerprints.

 

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I am not a big fan of storing anything in cardboard boxes. Cardboard has an acidic pH. I prefer to use VCI bags myself. Of course you could always put the VCI bag in a box with no harm done.
Probably not a good idea to ask about the 'best' of anything on any forum, best is always personal opinion and we know where that goes.
 

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Questions are......
Are you storing guns long term and will not be handling or shooting them?
Are you wanting to give guns normal protection and you will be handling or shooting them?
How's the humidity where you are? Any rainy season where the temperature and humidly can change quickly?

For a storage coating many people recommend Collector Breakfree, which is a CLP that's thicker then the standard CLP and formulated for storage.

For long term the best option are the VPC type bags that are made of a special "hard" plastic that won't allow the passage of air and moisture like normal plastic bags will.
This is how the military and industry store guns and delicate machines that can rust or corrode.
Under normal conditions, as long as the bag is intact and sealed the gun is protected for as much as 20 years.
In many cases if you want to handle the gun or shoot it, the bag can often be reused as long as the VPC is still able to generate the vapor.


I've always been leery of storing guns in any kind of cloth covers, even if they're treated with something.
Cloth tends to collect moisture out of the air and can actually cause rust.

Storing guns in the box they came in is "iffy" because cardboard absorbs moisture, and the plastic foam inserts like Colt used can cause chemical reactions, and the foam itself can deteriorate.
We've seen on the forum cases where the foam has stuck to guns and stained the bluing.

I found that in normal conditions storing the guns in a cabinet where air can circulate is the best unless an actual gun safe with a humidity control system like the "Golden Rod" is used.
As a surface to put the guns on, some sort of plastic drawer liner seems to work, and I haven't seen any reactions with gun finishes.
Another option is a hard plastic or Formica sheet which can be wiped off.
You can buy Kydex and other hard plastic in sheets and in colors from knife and holster makers supply sites.
Hardware stores like Lowe's and Home Depot sell sheets of synthetic material used to line bathtub and shower stall walls that might do and it's cheap.

So, if you're going for long term sealed storage the VPC bags are the way to go.
For normal storage a coat of Collector Breakfree or one of the many rust preventing lubes and storage on a synthetic surface where air can circulate seems to work for everyone not living in a swamp.

You can buy Collector Breakfree from many sites........

 

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I wouldn't put a handgun in any box without some type of wrapping. Be sure that the VCI product you use is compatible with a nickel finish.

S&W shipping handguns wrapped in wax paper in a cardboard box for many years. I have been using the Robert's boxes for 30 years or so with absolutely no problem.

How the pistols are stored is probably more important than what they are stored in. Large temperature swings will cause more damage regardless of how the guns are stored.
 

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I really like CLP as well for blue guns. I store them on pistol rods where there is 100% airflow around every surface. With proper humility control I think this is far superior to storing them n anything that actually touches the finish. The best ones you can get are actually sold by one of our forum members.
 

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Since you asked about blued guns with wood stocks, I'll add my two cents worth. For storage I suggest you try to avoid oils. Firstly, in storage the guns won't need lubrication, and secondly oil won't stay put. It flows and will eventually end up in the wood. Besides turning the wood dark, it attacks the wood fibers and will eventually turn the wood soft and "punky". I suspect you've seen that happen. For storage I suggest a good cleaning with Ballistol only. It contains all the oil needed for protection. I've never used the Breakfree Collector, but have heard good things about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
There is no one best way, but I prefer the Protecta-Gun storage boxes from Robert's Arms Specialties. The boxes stack neatly, come with a choice of gun wrappings, and are inexpensive.

The foam inserts are fragile and don't hold up to continued usage if you are trying to preserve the original box. Personally I have never been a fan of putting desiccants in the box with a gun. Desiccants work great for shipping in sealed boxes or bags to absorb any moisture that may have been trapped inside, but in a box that is not air tight they continue to absorb moisture until they will hold no more and then may start giving it back up.

In many years I of collecting and shooting I have never had a problem with any good preservative gun oil. A routine cleaning and wipe down has always worked. Never used anything on the wood stocks other than wiping them down with a soft cloth to remove fingerprints.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Questions are......
Are you storing guns long term and will not be handling or shooting them?
Are you wanting to give guns normal protection and you will be handling or shooting them?
How's the humidity where you are? Any rainy season where the temperature and humidly can change quickly?

For a storage coating many people recommend Collector Breakfree, which is a CLP that's thicker then the standard CLP and formulated for storage.

For long term the best option are the VPC type bags that are made of a special "hard" plastic that won't allow the passage of air and moisture like normal plastic bags will.
This is how the military and industry store guns and delicate machines that can rust or corrode.
Under normal conditions, as long as the bag is intact and sealed the gun is protected for as much as 20 years.
In many cases if you want to handle the gun or shoot it, the bag can often be reused as long as the VPC is still able to generate the vapor.


I've always been leery of storing guns in any kind of cloth covers, even if they're treated with something.
Cloth tends to collect moisture out of the air and can actually cause rust.

Storing guns in the box they came in is "iffy" because cardboard absorbs moisture, and the plastic foam inserts like Colt used can cause chemical reactions, and the foam itself can deteriorate.
We've seen on the forum cases where the foam has stuck to guns and stained the bluing.

I found that in normal conditions storing the guns in a cabinet where air can circulate is the best unless an actual gun safe with a humidity control system like the "Golden Rod" is used.
As a surface to put the guns on, some sort of plastic drawer liner seems to work, and I haven't seen any reactions with gun finishes.
Another option is a hard plastic or Formica sheet which can be wiped off.
You can buy Kydex and other hard plastic in sheets and in colors from knife and holster makers supply sites.
Hardware stores like Lowe's and Home Depot sell sheets of synthetic material used to line bathtub and shower stall walls that might do and it's cheap.

So, if you're going for long term sealed storage the VPC bags are the way to go.
For normal storage a coat of Collector Breakfree or one of the many rust preventing lubes and storage on a synthetic surface where air can circulate seems to work for everyone not living in a swamp.

You can buy Collector Breakfree from many sites........

The area where my firearms are stored is not subject to significant temp/humidity swings, so that’s a good thing. Though I began acquiring / collecting handguns over the past two years - I do wish to shoot them (finding an appropriate outdoor range / space has been a challenge).



I would estimate long-term storage for a gun between use might extend up to a year. In this case, for storage up to a year, would you consider using Collector CLP or would a light coating of standard Breakfree CLP be appropriate?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you ALL for your thoughtful comments! As a new member to the forum, I continue to appreciate the years of experience of forum members and willingness to share.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Any further thoughts on material(s) to use to remove the light protective coatings (i.e., cosmoline) the manufacturer applies to NEW blued firearms? [SIDE NOTE: I recently purchased a Colt SAA 4.75 45lc which was received in a plastic bag in a foam lined plastic case. I haven’t cleaned it yet]?
 

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I've used standard CLP Breakfree since it was first marketed to the military.
A National Guard officer gave me what was left of a quart bottle they used to clean the barrels of 105mm M60 tank barrels.
This was the original formulation that had microscopic balls of Teflon that settled in the bottom of the bottle and required some hard shaking to mix.
Today's formula still has Teflon but it's in a non-visible form. Still needs to be shaken to mix.

I've never had any corrosion on any of my guns. Also the "C" component of Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative cleans the metal and lifts off oxidized bluing so the finish stays good looking.

Removing the factory preservation coating can also be done with a few clean patches and some CLP. It dissolves whatever the factory uses and leaves the protective CLP coating.
I'm not sure that any gun maker still uses actual Cosmoline because of the difficulty getting it off.
Cosmoline is more a wax then a lubricant.
Today makers seem to be using a sticky mineral oil based coating that comes off easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've used standard CLP Breakfree since it was first marketed to the military.
A National Guard officer gave me what was left of a quart bottle they used to clean the barrels of 105mm M60 tank barrels.
This was the original formulation that had microscopic balls of Teflon that settled in the bottom of the bottle and required some hard shaking to mix.
Today's formula still has Teflon but it's in a non-visible form. Still needs to be shaken to mix.

I've never had any corrosion on any of my guns. Also the "C" component of Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative cleans the metal and lifts off oxidized bluing so the finish stays good looking.

Removing the factory preservation coating can also be done with a few clean patches and some CLP. It dissolves whatever the factory uses and leaves the protective CLP coating.
I'm not sure that any gun maker still uses actual Cosmoline because of the difficulty getting it off.
Cosmoline is more a wax then a lubricant.
Today makers seem to be using a sticky mineral oil based coating that comes off easily.
Thanks dfariswheel!
 

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Pull actions out of wood stocks and store them separately. The only way I know of to keep them factory fresh. Dessicants "can" dry the wood excessively. "Can" does not mean "will" but separate but equal will work - unless you have 50 rifles, then your work is cut out for you.
 

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Renaissance wax on both wood and metal for the win!


the NRA museum does it. You should too.

And you don’t have to take my word for it. Do it because Larry says so, making it the right thing to do.

Because that’s the way it is.

If you read the entire article very carefully you will see it is Not for all situations. Depends on how you store, Handle and the temperature and moisture environment your firearms are in. I have used the wax years ago and still use it for wood it works great. My guns are stored in humidity controlled safes and twice a year wipe them off with CLP. Use the CLP on everything from the sidelock Berettas, custom rifles etc.

I handle mine without gloves, now the ones I do not handle very often or are wood and blue keep in the silicone socks after wiping them down. The socks also protect them from getting dinged in the safe by some guy who gets in there and takes stuff in and out! Wish I could find out who he is! :)
 
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