Dehumidifiers to Keep Your Stored Firearms Dry
When you are not carrying or shooting your firearms they need to be stored away. In our experience storage is driven by two main factors: safety of the firearm and protection of the firearm from the elements. In most cases safety varies by situation – and is highly dependent on the laws of the State you live in, the people in your home and your perceived need for speedy access to your firearms. The second storage concern relates to the steps that you need to take to keep your firearms in good working order to protect their metal parts from rusting and their wooden parts from drying out and cracking.
Consequently, the first question related to firearms storage is how are you storing your firearms, and the second question is how are you controlling the environment that they are stored in; primarily temperature and humidity. So this raises the question of what is the proper temperature and humidity for storing a firearm. It’s generally agreed that you should store firearms in a moderate dry location; with the accepted norms being between 60° and 70° Fahrenheit and ~50% relative humidity – where neither of these variables change rapidly over time.
Because we like to be able to easily grab a specific firearm to take to the range, we store our firearms in their carrying cases; a practice that is frowned upon by many people and is impractical in many parts of the world due to the local weather. But for us, since we live in the Northeast US and store our firearms indoors, the temperature and humidity stay fairly constant throughout the year – so that’s how we store them.
But recently we decided to take one additional preventative measure to ensure that excess humidity does not lead to any of our firearms rusting. We decided to add silica gel dehumidifiers to absorb the moisture in the air around the firearms while they were stored in their cases.
These days we’re all familiar with silica gel packs since they seem to show up in the boxes of all sorts of products that we purchase. But we wanted something a little larger and a little tougher than the everyday packets. So, after searching the internet, we decided to purchase some Interteck Packaging silica gel desiccant packets.
The Interteck Packaging silica gel desiccants measure 3 inches by 4 inches, are made of Tyvek, weigh 30 grams, can absorb 10 grams of humidity (~6 teaspoons) and come 8 to a package. Silica gel desiccants lower the amount of moisture in the air around them by absorbing the moisture and holding it. They do not “get rid of” the moisture. The silica beads just absorb the moisture and hold onto it. So the packets need to be replaced eventually. Because of this you need to know when the packets have lost their ability to absorb any more moisture – which is another great feature of the Interteck Packaging silica gel packs – the silica beads change color from “blue” to “pink” when they have absorbed all of the water that they can. This makes it extremely easy to see when to replace them. You can purchase the Interteck Packaging silica gel desiccant packets on Amazon.
If you want more detail on the proper storage of firearms - here’s a 7 page paper from Doug Wicklund, the Senior Curator from the NRA’s National Firearms Museum, on “Caring for Your Collectible Firearms”.
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