WET ’N’ DRY
Here’s what to do if you get caught in a rainstorm and it soaks your rifle to the core
Dave Barham stresses the importance of TLC for your guns after a rainstorm
Most of us who hunt have been caught in freak weather at one time or another, and there’s nothing worse than having to strip your rifle as soon as you get home when you’re not in the mood for it. Unfortunately, it’s not one of those jobs you can procrastinate about. The longer you leave it, the worse your problems could be, because water has a tendency to work its way into unimaginable places if you give it the chance.
Keep a few handfuls of kitchen roll in the boot of your car, or even inside your gun slip, so you can wipe away most of the moisture as soon as you can, before you even get home. Doing this will increase your chances of removing all the moisture when you come to dismantle the rifle.
A JOB FOR HOME
Once home, use paper towels to remove most of the moisture and a soft cloth to remove any dirt as soon as possible. Paper towels are perfect for this job because they absorb the water really quickly – unlike fabric towels, which can have a tendency to smear the water about rather than removing it.
Remove the stock and wipe away any water from inside. You might have to take off the trigger guard to remove the stock, and quite often you will find plenty of water inside that area too. Use paper towels to remove most of the moisture from inside the stock.
Once you’ve dismantled your rifle, you need to remove the scope and mounts too, because they can take on a lot of water.
To make sure that you remove every last drop of moisture from the inner workings, double up a towel and rest the rifle on top of a radiator on medium heat for a couple of hours. It’s not a good idea to place your rifle stock on or near direct heat, so rest that against a wall near a radiator.
NICE AND DRY
With all the parts dry it’s time to add grease to the cocking lever mechanism, to act as lubrication and protection. You can now oil the stock too, if it’s wooden, to help prevent any further water ingress. When it comes to the barrel give it a good spray of corrosion inhibitor.
Before you put the gun back together, apply a small amount of grease to the threads of the screws – this will help keep them watertight and it will also make removing them next time much easier.
When it’s all back together, just to make absolutely sure that you have done the very best job you could do, leave the rifle to stand for a few more hours in a warm room before placing it back into a slip or gun case.■
ABOVE: Wipe away any mud with a towel and use paper towel to remove moisture
BELOW: You can see the pitting on the breech and barrel, where moisture has caused rust