With winter just around the corner, you are likely brushing up on your knowledge on how to maintain your firearms during this time of the year. The cold may be fun for some people but certainly not for gun owners as their firearms start freezing when the temperatures dip to below zero degrees.

For many years, it has been known that freezing temperatures can cause firearms to cease operating effectively. Guns are prone to rust and breakage during the winter season. This can cause your firearms to malfunction which can be lethal or costly.

Consider, too, that condensation or sweating can form on your gun when you move it from cold conditions to any kind of heated environment. When you reintroduce the weapon to extreme cold, the moisture will refreeze. This will cause internal mechanisms to freeze and cause stoppages. As such, you’d rather leave your weapon outside during winter. 

So how do you maintain your guns in the winter? Below are five ways to do so.

1. Clean your firearm

During winter, the gunk gathered from exposure to dust and dirt would tend to expand. This can create blockages that can lead to malfunction or a misfire. The extremely low temperatures may also lead to the lube gumming up and causing the action to stick.

Obstructions can also be caused by a gun muzzle hitting snow or mud. It may also be due to ice forming inside the muzzle of a long gun.

It is, therefore, imperative for you to clean your firearm during winter.  Experienced gun owners recommend bringing a portable, collapsible gun cleaning kit to make cleaning firearms easy especially if you are outdoors.

In cleaning a firearm, disassemble it first following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then get a good gun oil and put a light coated patch of it down the barrel. You may also wipe the outside of the weapon with it. Clean off excess oil so that it won’t freeze.

Remember to wear thin latex gloves when oiling firearms like AR 15 rifles so that you won’t leave skin oil or acids which may cause corrosion. Putting gun wax can also help in preventing oxidation brought by mud, snow and even sweaty fingers.

 2. Keep the moisture out

You may be surprised to learn that gun misfiring is common during the winter months. Condensation tends to form on the metal of the weapon when it is brought back inside and slid into action and barrel.  When you bring the weapon back outside, the moisture will freeze and consequently lock up the firing pin.

So how do you prevent this from happening? One way to do so is to store the gun muzzle down so that the moisture will not drip into the gun. Then dry it well once moisture has ceased collecting on the gun after you get the weapon in from outside.

3. Minimize gun exposure to open cold

If you wear glasses, you know that your lenses fog up when you get inside a warm room after being exposed in the cold. This is also what happens with the metal part of the gun.  The cold metal will immediately ‘sweat’ when you bring it into a warm place like your house after hunting during a winter day. Moisture will form on your concealed carry weapon.  Worse, it will rust if you put it inside a gun case immediately.

The best way to address this issue is to wait until your weapon has warmed up and wiped away excess moisture before getting into a warm room. You may also disassemble and wipe away the condensation that has formed on the internal components of your gun.

Another way to prevent this is to simply minimize your gun’s exposure to the open cold. You should also regularly clean and maintain your weapon.

4. The proper way of lubricating during winter

Gun owners have been taught that lubrication is an important facet of firearm maintenance. It prevents wear and tear on the gun and lets it perform at a high level.

But lubricants will lose their viscosity in sub-zero temperatures. There is also the risk of gun lubricants freezing in extremely cold weather climates. This can be fatal as your gun can be slow to operate or even misfire.

Handguns have recoil rods, springs, and trigger housing that can freeze up with lubricants. This is due to lubricants gumming up inside your firearm, just like what was mentioned earlier in this article.

Sure, there are lubricants in the market designed to work at low temperatures. But many experts advise against putting too much lubrication during the winter because of the tendency of lubricants to gum up. 

Yet if you are the type of gun owner who likes to lubricate his guns, then look for a product that is rated to work well in temperatures lower than -40 degrees F. Moreover, minimize the amount of lubricant you use in cleaning your firearm and wipe off excess liquid before carrying your weapon.

5. Take good care of your scope

Sub-zero weather may also cause your scope to turn foggy. This will greatly reduce your accuracy when it comes to shooting. One of the ways to remedy freezing AR scopes or other scopes is to buy a scope cover. You can get aluminum scope covers that are spring-loaded. You can also get rubber scope covers. Regardless of the material of the scope cover, make sure that it fits well and can easily be removed. This one tip will save a lot of headache if you act on it. 

Another way to maintain your scope is to clean it with alcohol swabs. This can remove excess water off the scope. Moreover, the alcohol will quickly evaporate after getting rid of the excess moisture on the scope.

In short, maintaining your gun in winter should not be much of a task. Keep in mind that you should clean your gun regularly, minimize your use of lubricants, and minimize its exposure to the cold if possible. You can also keep moisture out by storing the muzzle upside down. Buying a scope cover and cleaning your scope with cotton swabs are other ways to keep your firearms in tip-top condition.