PrepperGuns 101: Seven Tips On How To Keep Your Guns Rust Free

Rust is he enemy of all-things firearm. Protecting your valuable firearms from the insdeous clutches of rust is a thankless but necessary part of prepping.

 Rust is also something that can attack your guns without you even noticing it until it’s too late, so here are seven tips to keep the rust monster at bay.

  1. Clean your firearms thoroughly after every firing. 
  2. Make SURE you remember to coat the inside of your barrel with a light sheen of oil at the end of your cleaning session. It’s OK if the barrel is pretty “wet” inside with the oil. The first part of every range visit should be running a patch or two (or however many is necessary) to clean this oil out of the barrel 
  3. Wipe down the ouside of your barrel and all exterior parts with a lightly oiled cloth before you put them away in your safe. I personally like to use Hoppe’s No. 9 Oil Wipes on my guns because they are very convenient and do a good job. Using a rust-inhibitor is a great idea, you can use a product like Boeshield T-9, developed by Boeing to prevent corrosion, it works great on firearms. 
  4. After you put your final oil sheen on your firearms, don’t touch the metal again.
  5. Store your guns in a humidity controlled area only (note, this doesn’t mean “as dry as possible.). The optimum humidity for guns with wooden stocks is 50 percent, so I try to keep my gun safes right around that range. Having the humidity too dry can degrade the wood of stocks, and obviously having it too wet can cause rusting issues.
  6. For long term storage for guns that will not come out unless the SHTF, there’s nothing better than a heaping helping of good old fashioned cosmoline. Cosmoline is used by military arsenals for long-term storage of reserve firearms, and military firearm collectors know that the stuff is both great at protecting metal from rust and messy as all get-out. Unfortunately, Cosmoline is no longer manufactured. However, Brownells makes a functionally-identical substance, Rust Veto, which I can recommend. 
  7. Set up a regular gun-cleaning schedule for ALL of your guns, whether they have been fired/handled or have just sat there in your safe. Give them a regular once-over with oil wipes at the very least on a regular basis, this will keep the oil in good shape. 

The following doesn’t make the list because it’s a bit specific, but if you are somebody who shoots military surplus corrosive rounds, make SURE you clean your gun IMMEDIATELY after you are done firing, don’t let it wait until that evening or the next day. 

Storage area with dehumidifier, sitting on a few cases of 7.62x54R surplus ball. Note old school CB, we keep a bunch of those around in case the SHTF & we need coms.

Here’s one trick you can do if you shoot corrosive ammo that will help insure you don’t get rust in your barrel. Have a couple of non-corrosive shells on hand, and make the last two shots with these non-corrosive shells. That will blow most of the corrosive salts that may be hanging out in the barrel from the last corrosive primer out, and increase the effectiveness of getting the barrel clean. 

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that not only guns but also ammo should be kept in a humidity controlled environment. Ammo kept dry will last indefinitely.



  1. It’s amazing how fast surface rust can appear. Out shooting birds one foggy morning, Friday morning, got home & life happened. I put the gun in the safe, and didn’t get back to it until Sunday. In that small amount of time, surface rust had started to appear! I took care of it, but still, it was startling. I guess fog is hard on bluing.

    • Truth. I had it happen to a shotgun once, just a couple of days and there was light surface rust. Fortunately, it was an old, cheap gun to learn my lesson on.

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