From Spring 1998 Issue

Spring is the time of year that most of us put the guns away until our thoughts turn to hunting once again next fall. Unfortunately many hunters neglect to perform the basic maintenance procedures that our firearms require! This is when all sorts of nasty things can happen and, you usually don't find out about them until you suffer a malfunction in the field. Following are a few pointers to prevent problems and keep your gun in top shape. 

Clean your gun thoroughly. This includes the barrel(s) and action. Barrels need special attention because powder residues are extremely corrosive and will lead to pitting the I.D. of the barrel. You should also use an over sized bore brush to remove the build up that accumulates from plastic wads. While plastic wads represent a major advance in shot shell components, there is a residue that builds up in the bore of the barrel. 

Similarly, actions need attention too. As lubricants break down they create deposits that can affect how well an action functions. If you are experiencing sticking or other problems cycling shells through you gun, lubricant breakdown could be the culprit. Also there are problems that are directly 
related to too much lubricant. All petroleum-based lubricants will attract and hold particulate matter. It may be metal shavings generated by cycling your firearm or simply unburned powder. Either way, the works can get gummed up and cause problems. 

A complete disassembly and cleaning by a qualified individual or gunsmith is the best way to avoid these problems. Another method is to use one of the many action cleaner and bore cleaner products available with some of your own elbow grease. Either way, you need to address these issues before the guns are stored for the off season. 

The exterior of the gun will need some attention as well. Rust is one of the prime enemies of firearms. It doesn't take very long to develop either. Rust deposits, depending on where you live and the ambient environmental conditions you store your guns under, can form literally over night in some cases. A light coating of oil will avoid these problems for most of you. I prefer a product put out by Birchwood-Casey that's called Gun Sheath. It is specially designed for this task but, any good gun oil will do the trick. WD-40 is not an oil and don't use it. While it is fine for driving moisture from your gun, it is largely a mineral spirit based product and mineral spirits is a solvent, not a lubricant! Great stuff for sticky hinges but, not for guns. 

I hope these little tips are timely and useful for you hunters and shooters. Your guns will treat you well for a lifetime if you follow them. 

Copyright 1998 - Llewellin Setter Association