When it comes to storing firearms, a common question that arises in the summer season is how the weather, particularly heat and humidity, affects firearms when stored. Is there an optimal temperature and humidity level that your rifles must be stored at? Exact numbers can vary depending on a multitude of factors. Some variations include include what type of finish is on the firearm to the type of wood a stock may be made from. Most people that have multiple firearms may keep them all in just one safe, so it may not be ideal to have each firearm analyzed for its own optimal levels. Your goal should be to keep your firearms stored so that they remain safe, accurate, and with their integrity preserved. Prolonged exposure to extreme conditions may result in corrosion, pitting, wood stocks cracking, etc. The major problem with storing your firearm is humidity.
Depending on the finish, you might find a firearm with a lot of rust on it after a summer of sitting in your vehicle or safe. As far as being in a hot vehicle, for example when running an errand and you happen to have a firearm secured properly in a locked trunk or lockbox, a short period of time in the heat should not affect the firearm. However, you would not want to leave your firearm in a car for extended periods of time, most importantly, to ensure that nobody takes the chance to steal it. The optimal practice for firearms storage is locking it in a safe.
According to the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) National Firearms Museum, Senior Curator, Doug Wicklund, the ideal year-round temperature to store firearms is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Humidity is 50% relative humidity. There are also some objects you can use to keep your firearms safe from the summer heat and humidity when in storage.
Silica gel packets and silica gel dehumidifiers
Silica gel bead packets and dehumidifiers can decrease the amount of moisture around your firearms by absorbing the moisture and retaining it. Over time to remain effective, you will have to replace them. Some models require placing the packets in an oven, while others require a recharge by plugging the device into a wall on a regular basis. This will allow the moisture to be removed from the packet or dehumidifier allowing the device to start collecting moisture again. They do not remove moisture entirely, so you cannot expect them to work by throwing one in the safe and then forgetting about it.
GoldenRod dehumidifiers are also a way to control humidity in your safe where firearms are stored. The science behind the way these work is the principle that if you raise the temperature of the safe, the humidity levels are then lowered by expanding the cold air. As the safe is opened, moisture will condensate less on the firearms since they are warmer than the air coming into the safe.
In any case, you can also have a temperature and humidity level monitor in your safe to detect these measures and also can gauge recharge or replace time for silica dehumidifiers. Always aim for keeping the numbers around the recommended temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the 50% relative humidity. Keeping your gun safe closed during the times you do not need access to your firearms will ensure that your firearms are kept at around the recommended optimal settings. Make sure you get all of the information you need for proper storage and temperatures from the gunsmith, especially if you are storing a new firearm or optic. Don’t hesitate to contact us to speak with an expert gunsmith about storage questions or to start your own custom rifle.