Historic firearms require a certain degree of care to stay functional. If you want to preserve your collectible, you’ll need to make sure you’re doing a few things correctly. That said, it’s a good idea to stay away from traditionally effective cleaning methods. What may work on regular firearms can corrode or cause damage to your collectible. Take the following advice with care, and keep your valuable firearm protected.


For Dust: Use a Vacuum


Don’t use dust cloths to remove dust. These cloths leave behind oil films—and these oil films trap dust and water vapor. To dust your firearm, use a vacuum with a soft brush, soft cotton or cotton damped with water. Without any moisture, dust can get shoved into your firearm’s cracks. They won’t be able to be picked up. Also, avoid using alcohol when dusting. Alcohol can skin, strip and damage a historic finish.


For the Wood Stock: Use Detergent


Separate your gun’s wooden and metal parts. Then, clean the wooden stock’s exterior by placing several detergent drops into a gallon of warm water. Apply the mixture with a slightly damp cloth, and then rinse with a clean cloth dampened by distilled water. Use a soft cloth to dry.


For Storage: Use Padded Supports


Your support collection’s pieces can become damaged by narrow hooks and wire loops. In fact, most historic long arms have a great weight. You’ll need to use specialized padded supports to adequately store your collectible. A lot of historic firearm collectors use thin sheets made of closed-cell polyethylene foam. This foam is mold-resistant, and it can be used for long-term storage. To prevent your firearm case from spawning mold, you’ll need to make sure there’s little air circulation.


Always wear gloves when handling your historic firearm. No amount of protective coating can stand up against long-term barehanded holding. If you can, use Nitrile examination gloves for any coating, cleaning and handling. Once your gun has been coated, use plain cotton gloves for further handling. A dust-free firearm will last a long time. While your historic firearm has already weathered the test of time, you’ll need to make sure it’s fortified for the future.


Fortunately, modern storage techniques and technology make gun handling easy. If you handle your firearms with care, handle them in enclosed environments and make sure your hands are covered—your collectible will be safe.

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