Everything You Need To Know About How Cold Weather Will Affect Your Gun
We all wish for bright sunshiny days every time we go out on the trail, but the reality is that the cold, wet weather of early winter is the best season for a great hunt.
As the weather begins to chill, animals begin growing a thick fur known as a winter coat. This growth requires extra energy, which means the animal needs to eat more food, placing them on the move. This continues as colder weather begins killing off their food source. In a race to gain weight, animals go out in search of food.
While the cold weather brings out the trophy game and large waterfowl flocks, it can also negatively affect your guns and gear.
Gear’s Worst Enemy
While the temperature changes alone affect your gear, the true enemy for your gear remains moisture, such as:
- Morning dew
Even the slightest amount of moisture can break down steel, dry out plastics, and splinter wood.
Humidity is microscopic water particles found within the air. These water particles can find their way into every nook and cranny of your gun.
These particles are naked to the human eye, but we can still feel high humidity when we’re in it. Weather stations are constantly monitoring humidity levels, which are displayed on local weather reports and apps. If you’re in a high humidity location, you should take scratches or dings in your gear very seriously.
As temperatures drop overnight, the humidity particles floating around in the air bind together and fall to the ground, saturating it in “morning dew” or moisture droplets.
As you set up for your hunt in the early morning, the ground and anything that has been stored outdoors overnight will be saturated in moisture. Blinds may also get saturated overnight.
This sticky moisture will wrap itself around your gear, seeping in wherever it can.
Rain is probably the worst offender of all the types of moisture that can ruin your gear because it’s so difficult to escape. There aren’t many places to go if it starts raining in the middle of a hunt.
Any small scratch or gap in your gear will be soaked not only due to the rain but the simultaneous high humidity levels.
If your gear becomes soaked, it’s important to wipe everything down and dry it all out to reduce damage. If your gear is stored wet, it will break down quickly.
Snow and Freezing Temperatures
While the cold season reduces the humidity in the air and removes the risk of rain, snow can play a significantly negative role on your gear.
While rain saturates into the ground, snow sits on top of the ground and your gear. As you move around and grasp objects, warmth is transferred, causing snow to melt and your gear to become wet.
As this moisture soaks into the small cracks and edges on your gear, it freezes and expands, causing damage.
While each material has its pros and cons, damage due to weather exposure is imminent.
The Sun’s harsh UV rays have been known to break down protective coatings, causing fading and further damage. Specialized materials and coatings have been created to fight the sun’s damage, while new materials have been created to battle the damage.
While each material has its own limitations, proper care can increase the longevity and life of your gear.
While wood remains one of the most beautiful natural materials on the market, extensive care is required to maintain that deep, grain-filled shine.
Consider a tree standing tall in the woods. The wood is naturally wet from collecting moisture and sealed from the elements by bark and tree sap. When that tree dies or falls, it quickly begins to deteriorate. Within just a couple of years, the tree would break down and be rotted past the point of being usable.
The wood used for gunstocks is sealed with varnishes and oils. While this initially protects your guns from damage, scratches, or wear over time from use removes this protection.
Once moisture soaks into the wood, it begins absorbing and expanding. This expansion breaks the tight grains apart, allowing air and moisture to make their way into the wood.
During cold weather, moisture causes further damage to wood. Moisture will absorb into the wood and begin to freeze. As water expands, it increases size by approximately 9%. This expansion splinters and breaks the wood, further increasing and speeding further damage.
When owning wood stocks, it’s important to keep them well oiled and sealed. Over time, the varnish will be rubbed and damaged, and you’ll need to sand down and reseal the stock to restore the wood.
Wood is generally soft, allowing drops to cause large dents or splintering. When wood breaks apart or splinters, repairs can become difficult. This usually leads to gun owners replacing the wood stocks.
As plastics have developed over the years, companies have figured out how to shape, mold, and mix blends. From more rubberized blends created to absorb shock and drops to hardened plastics avoiding scratches and wear.
When plastic stocks are made, molds are injected with melted plastics, causing a non-fibrous fill.
Fibrous refers to a texture similar to wood grain, where long strands run the length of the material. These materials run the risk of splitting. By plastics being non-fibrous, it eliminates the risk of splitting, increasing longevity.
As plastics become exposed to the elements, they break down. Plastics absorb moisture and become damaged by UV rays over time. To avoid this damage, you should periodically clean and condition your plastics.
While worn plastics may not rot or deteriorate the same as wood, worn plastics can become brittle and further damage.
Steel components such as your gun barrels, bolts, slides, and trigger assemblies are susceptible to rust and deterioration.
Many of these components are machined and fitted together to slide smoothly and precisely. Rust breaks down these fitted components, causing rough operation and further damage.
Once rust begins, the damage continues to spread quite deep and quickly through metal surfaces.
With surface rust and early damages that can be sanded and corrected, rust at any level begins with oxidation and deterioration, causing permanent damage only repairable by sanding (or some type of grinding) and removing more material.
A simple scratch along a gun barrel will allow water to seep into the bare metal and break it down.
Routine care includes oiling and protecting your gun’s metal components with CLP (cleaning, lubricating, and protecting oils), which not only safeguard components but ensure a smooth operation.
Protect Your Equipment
With weather risks damaging your guns, you may find yourself searching for a way to protect your gear from scratches and damage.
With GunSkins wraps, you add a vinyl protective layer to your gear. This layer is specially designed to withstand the harsh weather conditions common with hunting and daily carry.
Utilizing thermally activated adhesives, you’ll receive a water-tight seal that won’t be penetrated by rain, humidity, dew, or snow.
Available in a wide range of camouflage, colors, and patterns, your guns will become a one-of-a-kind tool designed perfectly for the hunt.
GunSkins wraps have been designed to adhere to and protect the wood, plastics, and metals. The wraps can be installed by you from the comfort of your home, achieving a high-end finish.
Not only will these wraps protect against future damage, but more importantly, GunSkins seal previous damage to eliminate the risk of future damage.
Scratched gun barrels? Seal them with GunSkins to avoid rust.
Deteriorating wood? Wrap the open fibers behind a sealed layer to avoid further rot.
Worried about wrapping a family heirloom or special piece? GunSkins can be reheated with a hairdryer or heat gun and safely removed. This easily installed and just as easily removed wrap allows you to change camo patterns from season to season, wrapping your guns, blinds, calls, boxes, and much more with high-end professional results.
The cold weather can creep up on you in the blink of an eye.
This sudden weather can become life-threatening.
Even if you don’t think a day could turn cold, it’s important to keep dry, warm clothes available at any given time. A nice stroke through an open field could find you falling through the ice to the freezing water below, giving you just minutes to get dry and warm.
You keep an essential part of safety on hand by keeping emergency clothes in your truck or boat, warped in water-tight bags: Warmth.
Your guns are designed to be used in the worst conditions, but the damage caused by weather remains a threat.
Moisture and the sun’s UV rays break down various materials, causing damage to your prized possessions.
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Purchase GunSkins to protect your guns from snow and rain TODAY. GunSkins wraps will protect your guns against the elements, no matter where you are or what you’re using your guns for. Visit our website NOW for the best protection. Because bad weather doesn’t wait and neither should you.
What is humidity? Why measure & what your levels mean | Airthings.com
FAQ: Water expansion on freezing | IAPWS.org
What Is Metal Corrosion and Why Does It Occur? | ThoughtCo.com
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I actually love the idea of your companies wraps….You mention in the article that they can be removed easily. Since they are not exactly the cheapest way to go,when protecting your firearms, they are a great option. But once removed can they be re-used, or do they become trash? thanks