Summer has arrived and with it the high humidity in our region. For owners of older firearms, there is a danger of creeping corrosion damage caused by air-based moisture. Once started, it can be hard to stop. Prevention is a good way to go. Using some type of dehumidifier and cleaning your guns at least every six months should help avoid serious corrosion issues.
Many gun safes have a place to mount a dehumidifier rod that emits just enough heat to keep the temperature just above the dew point inside the safe. This is a good way to go. The drawbacks are finding a safe that will accommodate such a device and the cost of maintaining and electrical cost of running it.
Another option is a self-contained silica beads dehumidifier that is mounted inside the safe. Once the silica is filled with moisture it becomes ineffective. This is shown by the color of the beads turning from one color to another (e.g., orange – little moisture; to green – cannot hold any more moisture). When this happens, simply plug the unit into a wall outlet to “recharge” the beads. Once it’s ready, just place it back in the safe.
A third option is a canister of silica beads. Similar to the self-contained unit, they are easy, pretty effective, and simple to install. When the beads need to be recharged, the silica must be dried and poured back into the canister. Drying usually means spreading the silica on a cookie sheet and heating in an oven for a period of time until the beads turn orange again.
All of these options are good, but nothing beats a good cleaning, inspection, and putting a heavy coat of oil on metal parts every six months or so. This practice helps you detect any new corrosion that can be easily addressed. My dates are in the first week of July and the last week of December. While this may be a little time consuming, it’s well worth the effort. Discovering a gun with corrosion is never fun and leads to a good deal of time working to clean it up and stop its spread.