Taking your gun out to the indoor firing range is completely different from bringing it hunting.
You go to the range for an hour or two (because then you go bullet broke), but you’re bringing a rifle out for six to ten hours on a full day of hunting, and the conditions can be rough for your guns.
Taking your guns to the range means that they’re inside your house, then in a protective case until they get there, then in another building.
There’s almost no risk of moisture damage, which is something that we’re going to discuss in detail.
From gun socks to cleaning patterns, removing rust and preventing jams, we’re going to cover everything so you can rely on your guns for safety and plentiful hunting experience.
- 1 How to Prepare Your Guns for Hunting
- 2 How to Clean Your Gun Post-Hunt
- 3 How to Get Rid of Rust on Your Guns
- 4 How to Care for Your Ammo (How to Carry, etc.)
- 5 Tips for a Successful Shot, Every Time
- 6 Treat Your Guns Well
How to Prepare Your Guns for Hunting
Start with a good cleaning when you get back from your hunt so they’re ready for next time.
If you haven’t taken them out or used them in at least ninety days, you should clean them just for safe measure.
We don’t want them jamming up while you’re trying to make a shot.
Make sure they’re clean, but also make sure that they’re stored properly starting right away.
You should be using some sort of case or gun safe to store them, but even then, that’s not enough.
Gun socks, people: gun socks.
They’re a savior when it comes to preventing moisture damage from creeping down the length of your barrel and damaging the working parts inside.
The most common moisture-related gun damages are jamming, as well as rust and corrosion.
The latter can go unnoticed if you aren’t careful.
With a gun sock still over your barrel, ensure the harness is nice and tight.
If you’re traveling with a hunting backpack that has a rifle slot, give it a thorough check before you trust it with your gun.
Tug on it to make sure there are no tears in the material, and be certain that any velcro strips that you may have to hold the gun in place are sticking properly.
How to Clean Your Gun Post-Hunt
So the biggest concern when you come back from a hunt is going to be moisture.
It finds its way in everywhere, especially if you’re hunting whitetail in the early morning.
Keeping a gun sock over your gun while it’s on your back is good, but when it’s armed and ready, the moisture in the air finds its way in.
I just want to be as clear as possible here, even if you think you’ve already done this, double and triple-check that your gun is unloaded before you start to clean it.
Whether this is a shotgun or a rifle, thoroughly check everything out.
You want to- use a cleaning rod to scrape away any residue or gunk from the inside of the barrel.
Start by going down the length of the barrel, and work your way to where the shells reside or where your rifle clip is located.
You should be able to see the cleaning rod from your ammunition area.
We’re not trying to scrape up the gun barrel, but you want to run it through a few times to chip off any debris.
Once you remove that, use a can of compressed air to run through the loading slots down the barrel.
Even if you think it got everything, run it a second time—you could have residue stuck on the sides that will eventually impact gun performance.
The cleaning rod might loosen them, but this will ensure that they actually exit your gun.
Last but not least, you’re going to run into a lot of soot and debris in the loading chamber.
For this, you’re just going to take a basic, dry cotton rag and use your finger to guide it.
Wrap it around your index or middle finger, and just gently remove any gunk or soot from the inside of the chamber.
If you’re having difficulty, you can use the handle of a fork or the back end of a butter knife to wrap the cloth around.
Reload and reset. There’s not much more to it than that.
How to Get Rid of Rust on Your Guns
There’s this magic in a can that I know of, and it’s called CLP.
This stuff is basically a gun saver, and it works to get the rust off of your gun no matter what.
To clean rust off of your gun, you first want to identify where all the rust is.
This process is going to be useless if there’s rust in more than one area because if there’s any rust left behind, it will spread (since the metal is susceptible to damage) and ruin your gun.
Once you’ve located all the areas you need to clean, you’re going to take some CLP and apply healthy globs to cover the entire rust-affected area.
You want a little bit on the edges of that area to take care of any particles of rust that might be naked to the human eye.
From there, you want to take a simple bristle brush and just start scrubbing away.
You’re going to remove most of the top layer of rust by doing this, but you’re also working CLP into all the micro crevices and nicks in the gun because this process is also like doing a partial restoration, as well as general cleaning and maintenance.
Once you’ve done that, use a steel wool pad (one that does not contain dried dish soap) to scrub into the area.
Use your hands to feel through the CLP, which should now be an even consistency all across your gun, and check for any more roughness.
You want to use the steel wool to scuff out any areas where rust was, right up until it’s smooth.
Intermittently, it’s okay to use a rag to clear off some of the excess CLP from the gun to see if any rust persists.
If you have the option, I would get a magnifying glass to inspect it more closely, just for safe measure.
How to Care for Your Ammo (How to Carry, etc.)
You should be carrying spare ammunition in a vest pocket or sealed case if you are hunting.
Although, I would argue that all you really need is what’s in the gun itself.
Read up a little bit on market hunting when it comes to hunting ducks, and you’ll see why most people only carry three shotgun shells at a time.
If you’re missing all three of those shots, I’m sorry to say, you shouldn’t be in the middle of the woods hunting.
However, if you do have spares on you, you just want to make sure that they are accessible and dry.
Consider putting some microfiber cloth clippings in the bottom of your vest pocket if that’s where you’re going to store them.
You can also use gun socks to hold spare ammunition since it’s able to wick away moisture.
Wet bullets are useless bullets.
Tips for a Successful Shot, Every Time
Fire Once Before You Go
If you have the option, shoot off one round before you leave.
This removes all doubt surrounding your gun: it’s not going to give out on you, it just worked a minute ago!
Keep Your Gun Up
While I don’t believe you’re going to let your rifle drag against the ground, you should be absolutely certain that it’s secure in a backpack rifle slot before you go to do anything else.
Your barrel should be pointed upward with a sock on it, with the stock pointed down.
If it falls and the stock gets scratched, that beats the hell out of denting the barrel and causing permanent damage to your shots.
Stock Pads are Part of Maintenance
For a good rifle, getting a stock pad for the back is one of the best ways to maintain it.
It not only holds the structural integrity of the stock and prevents it from dryness-related splitting, but it makes the entire experience more enjoyable for the shooter.
These can be switched out without spending a lot of money and should be checked once a year if you’re going to use one regularly.
Most of these last for 3-5 years, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Treat Your Guns Well
Unless you suddenly decide to take up compound bow hunting (which is a ton of fun, by the way), you’re going to want to take care of your guns from the very first time they take them hunting.
Moisture, rust, corrosion and general damage can really put a hole in your plans if you aren’t careful.
Utilize the tips I’ve outlined here, and you’ll be able to enjoy your functioning weapons without so much as a single jam.