The Christmas holidays are over, the “fiscal cliff” seems to have been averted and the overall mood of many people is beginning to settle down. The specter of the Sandy Hook School and Webster, N.Y., shootings still hangs over our heads though.
There seems to be no let-up in the demand for guns and ammunition however. Since the unprecedented rush to build up a good supply of the guns and gear, people storing these items rather carelessly in their homes and businesses.
The news reports from all across the nation are of incidents of home burglaries happening every day. In spite of warnings to gun owners that their guns should be properly stored, these high demand items are still sitting, unsecured in homes and readily accessible to criminals and others who shouldn’t be handling guns.
If this were a perfect world, gun owners would purchase a very expensive, fireproof gun safe in which to store these weapons. With the exception of having a secret, fire proof gun vault located in a home, the lockable gun safe is the most logical way to keep guns out of the hands of others.
The very inexpensive gun cabinets are a second choice for storing your guns, These work but are not fire proof and anyone with a wrecking bar can open these light weight containers in seconds. These cabinets are relatively lightweight and burglars can easily simply remove the entire gun cabinet with all the enclosed guns, load it in their vehicle and off they go.
Leave it up to good old American ingenuity to find an inexpensive and relatively effective way to store guns and ammo. We all are very familiar with the GI ammo cans that every outdoorsman finds to be so useful. Also consider the five-gallon pickle bucket with a lid that snaps on to form an airtight seal. What if you could find an equally effective, airtight container that’s maybe 50 times larger that a one-gallon ammo can?
Our government is noted for using containers once then throwing them away or selling them off as surplus property for pennies. Surf the Internet and you can find the government surplus, really heavy duty, pickle barrels that range in capacity from 35 to 50 gallons. They have equally heavy duty, screw down, large lids that form an absolutely air or water tight seal. The larger capacity barrels are long enough to store most long guns in and the smaller capacity barrels are just right to store hand guns and ammunition. These barrels do not rust; the plastic from which they are made is strong enough to withstand rough handling in shipment and they are completely airtight.
In talking with several gunsmiths about the possibility of storing guns and ammo in for long-term storage they seem to like the idea if the barrels and guns are properly prepped for such storage.
First of all be sure that all remaining acidic residue of pickling solutions are removed by a thorough cleaning with baking soda in water. Dry all parts of the plastic barrel thoroughly.
Prep your guns by breaking them down, cleaning them completely and wiping them down in some type of rust preventative.
One gunsmith recommends that, in the absence of the time proven GI cosmaline, the gun owners use a standard, non-detergent, 20 weight automobile oil to wipe guns down in. He claims that this type of oil is extremely effective as a long term, rust preventative.
To be sure that as much residual moisture is removed form the plastic barrel use some sort of heat lamp to gently warm the inside of the barrel while the lid is loosely set in place. A good desiccant can be placed in the bottom of the barrel to insure that as much moisture as possible is removed from the barrel.
Place the guns to be stored in the barrel, stock down in the barrel and pack a good polypropylene pillow stuffing (found at Wal-Mart and does not absorb water) around the guns. Check the available height of the barrel with the inner lid in place to be sure that the gun you’re placing inside isn’t too long. If necessary, remove the stock from the gun to make it fit in the barrel. For example, the 35-gallon plastic pickle barrel has about 36 inches of vertical space available. If necessary, break the gun down enough to enable it to fit into the well-sealed barrel.
Put several small containers of a good moisture adsorbing desiccant in the bottom of the barrel and attach several rust and corrosion preventative vapor capsules such as Zerust (available in many sporting goods stores) on the inside wall of the container.
Check the soft rubber seal found in the inside of the flat lid to be sure that it is in good shape and, if necessary, place a little petroleum jelly or silicon grease on the seal to insure a good, air and moisture seal. Twist the outer lid on top of the inner, flat lid and tighten the outer lid securely down to seal the plastic pickle barrel.
If it’s not important to have the pickle barrel gun storage container absolutely air tight you can tighten the upper and inner lids securely and then take a drill and bore a hole through the outer lid, inner lid and upper lip of the barrel so that the three holes are aligned. Be sure that you drill the hole large enough to accommodate a long shaft padlock or cable lock through the three holes to securely lock the entire plastic barrel against someone else opening the container.
This improvised gun storage container is not a piece of fine furniture such as a well designed, true, gun safe but it will secure guns and ammunition away from children or others who have no business handling guns. Sure a good power saw could easily cut into the heavy plastic barrel but this type of container would slow down someone trying to get at the guns. It would be very bulky and not easy to transport unless the guns were to be removed first.
The locked pickle barrel solution for gun storage will, however, serve as a deterrent to children. It may be unsightly and more suited to be left in the storage area or even outside since it can be completely airtight and waterproof. It’s an inexpensive and effective way to store guns and ammunition.