Here’s what to do if you get caught in a rain­storm and it soaks your ri­fle to the core

Air Gunner - - Contents -

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.


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.


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

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