After the storm…Recovering waterlogged guns and ammo.

With all the flooding in South East Texas, the first priority is to get your family to safety! Way down the list of priorities is recovering firearms. But there will be guns lost in the flood… So, what to do if your guns were submerged for any period of time? This is what I would do if I had the time…. (Note, this is just my general opinion, your mileage may vary)

Chances are, most guns will be ruined after a few days. But you can attempt to save them.

If possible…. Get them out of the the water. Get them broken down as far as you know how to break them down. This includes lifting the side plates off revolvers, removing grips, opening any part that can be opened. You tube is a great source to watch a video on how to strip a gun down to the frame. You might damage you gun by trying to take it apart the wrong way, but leaving it full of water will rust it out and eat the finish anyway. So may as well try to save it.

Dry them off (paper towels, hair dryer, bag of dry rice, whatever). Then, hit any visible surface rust with 0000 steel wool and a a few drops of oil. The super fine 0000 steel wool is still safe for polished blue and polished stainless, just use light pressure. Just enough pressure to get the rust. Then oil the hell out of it. Don’t reassemble right away. Keep an eye on it several days for any additional rust formation. If doing multiple guns, zip lock baggies are your friend for keeping parts organized. Don’t let screws and springs from multiple guns get mixed together…

Any wood stock should be removed and allowed to air dry for several days. They may warp or split, so don’t be shocked if it happens. But since they are like a sponge full of water, you have to keep them separate from the metal parts, or it will rust through them. All screws, sling swivels, butt plates/pads need to come off, and vet cleaned, dried, and oiled.

If you have a sight pusher and can remove pistol sights, get them off and clean underneath them, or rust can from in the dovetail. Scopes, red dot sights, and iron sight should also be removed and cleaned. Yes, aluminum rails and mounts won’t rust, but the screws are all steel and need to be taken out and cleaned/oiled. Pull off all the grips, let the wood dry out. Oil all the grip screws and bushings. Magazines should be unloaded cleaned inside and out. The water is full of silt and that silt is in the magazine body. Plastic and aluminum won’t rust, but that mag spring is steel, and it will rust if not cleaned and oiled.

Shotgun ammo will be gone if submerged any real length of time. But most modern factory ammo for rifle/pistol has a sealed primer, and should be fine if it sits in the water for a while. If it sits a few days? Then you may have some issues with some rounds. I would not use it as duty carry ammo, but it should still work for practice ammo. Any dud rounds will give you a chance to practice an immediate action drill. Just be wary of SQUIBS, and if you hear a pop instead of a bang… STOP and check the barrel for obstruction!

Chances are, a gun that just got wet for a few hours can be saved. But a gun sitting submerged a few days may be toast.
If you have any pics of flooded out guns, send us some before and after photos that we can share on our page. We would love to see the results. Hope this helps.

Battlefield Las Vegas publishes their experience with AR15 durability

When we discuss the durability of guns, we generally prefer to look to folks who put statistically significant volumes of ammunition through those guns. Jeff, as a range owner, has guns that over the course of a couple years, might rack up 100,000 rounds or more. Jason, an agency armorer, is responsible for hundreds of guns that each, will burn through several thousand rounds in a year in the hands of his agency’s police officers. And as a competitive shooter and instructor, I have found myself burning through well over 25,000 rounds of ammunition even in “slow” years where I haven’t had time to compete. Still, all of this pales in comparison to facilities like Battlefield Las Vegas, one the largest commercial ranges in the country. These guys will burn through 400,000 rounds in a single month and Ron Henderson, of Battlefield Las Vegas made a great post on his firm’s experience operating AR15s in a high volume environment. He leads off with some interesting facts about their experience with the AR15 and what breaks.

– Some of our M4’s have well over 200,000 rounds down range. Barrels have been replaced, gas tubes have been replaced, BCG’s have been replaced but what sets it apart from the AK47’s is that upper and lower receivers continue to function. AK’s get to about the 100,000+ round count and rails on the receiver will start to crack. It’s an easy fix with tig welding but they crack. We have yet to lose an upper or lower receiver from cracking.

– We get about 20,000 rounds out of bolts before we start experiencing issues. The headspace gauge will start getting closing on NO-GO but not close on field. We will lose a lug on the bolt. The bolt will start skipping over rounds in the magazine and fail to insert a round. We use LMT and Daniel Defense bolts and some will actually go longer but at about 20,000 rounds is when we will start to see issues appear.

– Gas tubes will erode away at the FSB after 12+ months

– Charging handles will “stretch” allowing the locking lever and spring to fly out

– Hammer pins and disconnectors on the 8.5″ full-auto’s will break after approximately 4,000-5,000 rounds regardless of the buffer weight

– We have yet to lose a single flash hider as compared to muzzle brakes on an AK-47. The muzzle brakes will literally split in half, looking a like bird with his beak open and go flying down range.

There are not a lot of shooters outside the military, law enforcement, or the competition world who will put enough ammunition through their guns to discover issues like this. Even in the competitive shooting world, it will typically take a single high-volume shooter well over a year to gather this much information about a single rifle. Understand that when you tell us you’ve put 2,500 rounds through one gun you’ve owned for ten years, we are comparing that data point with people who will put 2,500 rounds through one gun in month or, in the case of Battlefield Las Vegas, a single day.

Henderson also had some very interesting comments on piston-driven AR15s. Personally, I have not jumped onto the piston bandwagon where the AR15 is concerned. Mainly because so many retrofits seemed just plain flimsy when compared to other 5.56mm rifles that were designed from the ground up as long or short-stroke, piston-driven guns such as the FN SCAR, Sig 550, or even the old AR-180. My opinion aside, it seems this range has found that only on piston AR15 upper works in their environment…

– We no longer use ANY piston conversions or factory pistons guns with the exception of the HK-416 “knock-off” TDI upper. I purchased a FACTORY brand-new MR556 and it started keyholing after only 10,000 rounds. I was SO pissed because I spent all that money on the gun and it couldn’t last 10,000 rounds. I had barrels from before we even opened the range with 1,000’s of rounds on them from J&T Distributing (chrome-lined) that didn’t keyhole well into the 80,000-100,000 range. I don’t know who makes or made the J&T barrels but I was so pissed that actually wasted the money on a MR556 and that’s all I got from it. I purchased two of the 14.5″ TDI knock-offs approximately 6-8 weeks ago and they have been on the line daily with ZERO issues. I only purchased them because people will come in specifically request the “416” and even they’ve never handled a weapon their entire lives, they KNOW that the top half isn’t the “416 like in COD/MW”.

– The only piston system to last on the range so far is the HK416 and TD415 system. Ever other systems we have tried has failed in one way or another. I won’t say who’s broke or how they broke so PLEASE don’t ask. Each mfg has their own system for cleaning intervals and we may not follow their way. We have a way of cleaning and keeping records that suits our needs because of so much use.

Another really interesting tid-bit that has long been a subject of discussion is the longevity of magazines. Henderson says USGI magazines have outlasted ALL other magazines. This includes all generations of P-MAGS.

– USGI mags have outlasted all of the other brands. We use UGSI (Brownell’s with tan follower) and on a mag for mag basis, they have outlasted Pmags and a few of the other mags that we get from mfg’ers with new weapons. We don’t have to worry about various generations with different weapons like the MR556, SCAR, F2000, Tavor or a couple of others that use AR15/M4 magazines.

You can read the original post over at AR15.com. Some of the comments are at least entertaining. But further down, there’s another really important take away regarding your favorite brand of lube. Specifically, Henderson says, “All of the lubes we have ever used worked as long as we continued to lube the weapons. Some lubes lasted longer than others but again… they ALL worked as advertised.” I honestly can’t disagree with him but, keep in mind, this is under range conditions. Our own experience at GOTR is that some of the bio-degradable, food or plant based lubricants out there seem to present issues in freezing temperatures. That said, WE do not have enough data on this to tell you definitively that the failures we have seen were directly attributable to the lubricants themselves or, as the manufacturers suggested, excessive/improper application of the product. Again, the original post and thread are worth a read and can be found here.

-GM

The myth of over lubrication according to Larry Vickers

We have long had debates about gun maintenance. One of the biggest is the issue of lubrication. Especially with regard to how much lube is enough. Now, I have said many times, an oily gun is a happy gun. I didn’t make that up, it comes from old school Army guys who, sadly, are long dead. But, it is not an uncommon saying in the gun business. At any rate, Larry Vickers and the guys at TacTV have done a video to, as they put it, dispel the myth of over lubrication. It’s pretty convincing to me.

I will say that I tend to agree with Vickers on the points made here. Guns are best described as an “open” lubrication system. Your car’s engine has a closed loop system where by parts are constantly bathed in oil freshly pumped from the oil pan at the bottom of the engine in a wet sump system or an external tank in a dry sump system. Your car’s wheels/axles and various suspension/steering components however, are more akin to the gun. There’s no practical way to pump oil in and out of these areas. And so, typically, we grease the bearings in these areas of a car. Some shooters elect to use grease as lube with their guns for the same reason. Regardless of you choice of oil or grease, you can and should consult your owner’s manual for instructions on lubrication for your particular gun or consult a qualified armorer/gunsmith.
-GM

Pa. trooper’s pregnant wife dies in accidental shooting

The officer pulled the trigger while taking apart his .45-caliber handgun for cleaning but did not realize the gun was loaded, police said.

via Pa. trooper’s pregnant wife dies in accidental shooting.

 

Our thoughts and prayers are with this trooper, and his family.  A husband has lost his wife and child. Two children have lost their mother and an unborn sibling. That said, this didn’t have to happen. This is not an accident. It’s negligence on the trooper’s part and he’ll have to live with that for the rest of his life. No one who owns a gun wants to be in this position and it is preventable.

Even if he did everything else wrong, had he simply kept the gun pointed in a safe direction, we wouldn’t be reading about it. A safe direction can be defined as a direction in which a bullet launched from a firearm will cause no unintended personal or property damage.  Again, no UNINTENDED personal or property damage.  A guy breaking into your home at night need some personal damage so pointing a gun at him may in fact be the safest thing you can do at that moment. But this allegedly happened while the officer was “cleaning his gun.”

Assuming that’s what actually happened, here’s the process for those who don’t know.  First, while keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, REMOVE THE SOURCE OF AMMUNITION. That means, remove the magazine for semi-autos or open the cylinder and give the extractor a full stroke for your wheelgun folks. Single-action guys will need to turn the cylinder and press the extractor rod all the way through for each chamber.  If you skip this step, will likely here a loud boom toward the end of this process. The very next step for semi-autos is to lock the slide open and check the chamber, breechface, and magazine well to be sure there’s no ammunition left in the gun.  Again, with the gun pointed in a safe direction and only after completing the steps above, you can close the action, align the sights with something that will safely contain a bullet (i.e. file cabinet, old CRT monitor/TV, ceramic toilet) and press the trigger to the rear to relax all the springs. Then disassemble as directed per your owners’ manual.

Here’s something else guys, we’re all human. If you are tired/fatigued, get some rest. Maintenance is certainly important but, incidents like this highlight the fact we often get our processes confused when we’re tired and not thinking clearly. Weapon maintenance can wait if you’ve just worked a double!

And be aware of distractions. Chances are with two kids in the house and a pregnant wife all demanding Dad’s attention, the trooper may well have been distracted from the process of unloading/clearing the gun. As a cop, there’s a six in ten chance his service weapon is a Glock.  So it is also possible that when he came back to the gun, without thinking, he picked it up and pulled the trigger to disassemble it. Folks, anytime a gun has been out of your your sight or you’ve been distracted from the process of handling that gun for even a brief moment, start the the unloading/clearing process again. Make sure you’ve removed the source of ammunition, opened and inspected the action, and never, ever, allow the muzzle to cover/cross anything you are not willing to kill or destroy.

-GM

Magazines and Magazine Springs

Magazines, not clips, let’s get that straight here and now.  Clips don’t typically have springs in them and more often than not, are used to feed the cylinders and magazines of revolvers and some rifles like the M1 Garand. Magazines for the purposes of this post are box-type feeding devices that are readily detachable from the gun.

We’ve recently been asked whether or not it’s harmful to keep magazines fully charged for extended periods of time.  The short answer is generally no, it’s not harmful to the magazine or spring.  That said, it’s not unheard of, over time, for a magazine spring to take a “set” such that it no longer forces the rounds up for feeding with the same authority as it might when new.  Eventually, this happens slowly enough that it can and does interrupt the feeding cycle.  There’s no set time limit or time period in which one can expect this to occur but when it does, it’s time to either replace the magazine spring or replace the magazine entirely.

As rule, pistol and rifle magazines are expendable items.  They are meant to be used and eventually discarded.  Smart shooters will individually mark their magazines so that problem units can be readily identified and segregated from those that are functioning properly.  Feed lips and magazine bodies can get bent such that the magazine no longer falls freely from the gun when ejected or don’t positively hold and feed the top round.  Some will choose to “fix” this by bending or pressing on the body and lips to restore function but, I’d rather relegate those magazines to my “training” group or discard them altogether.

Opinions on whether to discard or repair will vary but, under no circumstances should a problem magazine remain in frontline service while its function is in question.  Replace it with a new magazine immediately if it’s a gun used for defense or duty.  If your personal defense or duty gun has magazines that are so expensive that you can’t possibly consider divorcing yourself from one when it fails to function, you need to review your priorities and equipment choices.  $120 magazines are just one reason that few if any serious shooters carry STI widebody pistols for defense or duty guns.  We may play with them on weekends but, they aren’t typically carried on the street.