Six Essential Care Techniques For Vintage Firearms
Many Americans maintain prized collections of vintage firearms. Today, an estimated 35% of the adult population in the USA maintains at least one firearm. Caring properly for these expensive antiques sometimes proves challenging. Remember to use these essential care techniques in order to reduce the potential for losses:
1. Use a Well Built Gun Safe
Firearms experts advise gun owners to store weapons in a secure, well-built gun safe. This step not only deters thefts and unauthorized access to weapons, but it also offers some protection against losses caused by natural disasters. Some gun safes furnish safeguards against fires, for instance.
2. Maintain Consistent Relative Humidity
Many vintage firearms use old woods. Sharp swings in relative humidity can cause cracks or other damage. Today, many gun safes reportedly include built-in dehumidifiers to help protect older weapons.
3. Remove Exterior Dust
Dust the exterior surface of vintage weapons frequently using a soft non-treated cotton cloth, but refrain from using alcohol to clean the surface. If you dampen the cloth with water before dusting, make certain that you dry the gun’s exterior immediately afterwards with a dry cloth. Water damages aging wood.
4. Wear Gloves During Handling
Wearing the same type of gloves that archaeologists use in handling ancient artifacts will help protect the surface of a vintage gun from contact with sweat and oils from human skin. This step may help maintain a treasured collection of very old guns in better condition. The National Park Service has issued a publication advising people never to handle vintage guns without wearing either cotton or plastic gloves.
5. Treat All Firearms As If Loaded
Especially when examining and cleaning a vintage firearm in your collection for the first time, always treat the weapon as if it has been loaded. Even weapons stored for long periods of time possess the potential to kill or injure collectors. If someone loaded the weapon years ago, a potential exists for it to discharge during cleaning. The National Park Service offers specific instructions for museum curators and others about how to determine whether or not a gun is loaded based on its specific model type as a muzzle-loading or breech-loading firearm.
6. Check With Experts
If you have any questions about the proper way to clean and maintain a particular vintage weapon, before taking any action that might damage the weapon, check with a professional firearms conservator. Organizations such as the National Rifle Association can direct specific gun cleaning and care questions to qualified professionals.
Since vintage firearms today sometimes command impressive prices, it makes sense to exercise extreme caution caring for these items. Failing to properly maintain an extremely old pistol, rifle, or other firearm may result in permanent, irreparable damage.