Advocate – Baton Rouge, La.
|Date:||Dec 9, 2004|
OK, so you got the deer, took those ducks, bagged a limit of squirrels and added enough rabbits to the larder for a great, cold- weather sauce piquant.
And, the youngsters on Thanksgiving week holiday had a ball enjoying the hunt with family and friends.
Now that most of us have settled back into the daily grind – and the youngsters prepare for fall semester finals – equipment gets stored until the Christmas holiday.
That means the camouflage got washed. Socks, gloves and hats were dried and stowed along with all the other paraphernalia it takes to go afield these days.
What about ammo?
What about rifles and shotguns?
What happens is that days turn into weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and leaving a dirty weapon and wet ammo can lead to expensive trips to the gunsmiths and your favorite outdoors shop for more bullets or shells.
After talking to veteran shooters, and taking a tip from the Arkansas Game staff, there are tips to have weapons ready for the next family hunt.
The first point I’ll make is that Louisiana’s humidity is the biggest menace for weapons and ammo.
Ammunition is easy. If it got wet, then drying with a towel usually removes most of the moisture, and storing it in a cool, dry place is all it needs to be ready for the next hunt. Storing the ammo with a desiccant helps control moisture, too.
Weapons are a different story.
Depending on number of rounds or shotshells fired will make a difference in how often and how thoroughly a rifle or shotgun needs to be cleaned.
Arkansas Hunter Education coordinator Joe Huggins said the first step in cleaning comes after the last hunt: Making sure the weapon is unloaded before it goes in the gun case then your vehicle is the safest way to keeping a clean weapon.
And, he said, ammunition should be stored separately, then the weapon checked again to make sure it’s unloaded before cleaning it.
Other gun-cleaning tips include:
Reading the owner’s manual is an important first step. There is valuable information on maintaining and operating the weapon. If you don’t have this booklet, then contact the manufacturer for a copy.
After shotgunning in the uplands for dove, quail, squirrels or rabbits on a sunny, dry day and firing only a handful of shells, a wipe down with an oily cloth is usually enough to clean the gun.
Duck and goose hunters differ from upland hunters. Most wild waterfowlers are out in the mist or rain or mud, or all three, and should plan to breakdown the shotgun for an extensive cleaning. This is a good plan to follow anytime you expose your shotgun to excessive moisture or muddy conditions. It’s especially critical to make sure the gun is clean during these 12 days between the first and second splits of the duck and goose seasons.
Shotgun barrels are easy to clean and require little cleaning and care. Receivers and chambers are different story: Receivers and chambers often have a build-up of plastic, wax, powder residue, dirt and other things – local gunsmith David Reynerson has found sticks, leaves and feathers while cleaning shotguns – and all can cause malfunctions in the blinds during the next hunt. If you have a vent- ribbed shotgun, then pay special attention to the supports and the rib to prevent rusting.
Centerfire rifle barrels need to be thoroughly cleaned with solvent that can dissolve copper buildup in the barrel. Copper fouling along the riflings in the barrel affects the rifle’s accuracy.
If you’re using a muzzleloader, factory recommendations is that it be cleaned thoroughly every time you use it. There’s a muzzleloader-only season under way in State Deer Area 6 and the next muzzleloader season doesn’t come until late January.
The systems of gas-operated autoloaders must be kept clean for the shotgun to cycle. This means gas ports, which are usually located on the underside of the barrel, must be kept clean so that enough gas coming through the barrel when a shell is fired can make it through the gas-operating system to shove the bolt back, which makes the ejector work and the bolt slide forward to push another shell into the chamber.
The trigger groups of most pumps and autoloaders is where shotguns gather lots dirt and other debris. Huggins said getting at trigger groups for cleaning and lubrication is quick and easy on most guns. Simply push out a couple of pins with a punch or similar tool. The tools and materials needed for cleaning and lubricating don’t need to be expensive.
Buy quality cleaning equipment. First-rate cleaning rods – this is a hint for a Christmas present – are a must, because cheap rods bend and cause problems. Then, you need a soft cloth for wiping, the proper size of cloth patches, properly sized bronze brushes for the cleaning rods, powder solvent, quality gun oil and gun grease (for storage over longer periods of time), copper fouling removers for high-powered rifles and the right-sized screwdriver. Options are punches, a toothbrush and cotton swabs.
Be careful when using solvents and lubricants. Follow manufacturer’s directions. That’s because some solvents and lubes can damage the finish on wood and synthetic stocks.
Adjusting or repairing a rifle or shotgun is best left to a qualified gunsmith. Rifle and shotgun owners should never tackle repairs on the trigger group. There are far too many small parts and springs, and most gun owners don’t have the proper tools to take trigger groups apart then reassemble them.
For Warranty Repair or to order guns and accessories, go to http://www.Reynersons.com or call 225-261-4860.