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Firearms Caching

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  • Firearms Caching

    I originally posted this some time ago on another forum concerning caching of firearms. I have made some updates to it. While not all-inclusive I hope it provides some food for thought for novices considering firearms caching. Sorry it's long winded. You’ll have to excuse the poor quality as well.

    Major considerations of firearms caching are:

    Preservation, containers, firearms selection and post retrieval cleanup.


    Note: Thoroughly clean and inspect firearms prior to caching. Cache ammunition that is both reliable and accurate for the intended firearm/s.

    Real cosmoline (Mil-Spec Metal Preservative Compound) is great stuff, albeit a real pain to both apply and remove, under austere conditions it can be a real challenge to remove from any firearm; especially when you need to get the firearm rapidly into action. Imagine trying to get this stuff off a firearm in areas prone to sand and wind! Lacquer thinner or spray cans of carburetor cleaner work best at removing this stuff. Mineral spirits works well but leaves a residue. Cosmoline would be my last choice in preservative compounds.

    An easier to apply/remove homemade version of cosmoline can be made by simply mixing a small amount Coleman fuel or white gas into some general purpose or wheel bearing grease. “Castrol” brand works great. The white gas makes this grease mixture easier to apply. Coat all Metal surfaces liberally. Extra attention should be given to lubricating the firearm springs and contact surfaces (slides, action, operating rods/guides, bolt lugs, pivot pins, extractors etc). Shred a long piece of old tee shirt, lube the strip and run the strip the length of the barrel. Leave it sticking out of both ends of the barrel.

    Once your firearm is covered in preservative you can further protect it by several means but not limited to: Barrier or wax paper, vacuumed sealed plastic or “Mylar” bags, heavy duty/thick mil construction trash bags, even truck inner tubes. The intent/purpose here is to keep as much of the preservative on the firearm; not running off or melting off it into something else in the cache.

    I've read elsewhere about using car or truck inner tubes as a primary cache container for firearms. This may work for short duration/hasty burials. However rubber tends to break down over time (dry up) if left out in the elements. So the integrity of the cache might be compromised after extended periods. Truck inner tubes are thicker so breakdown should take longer. Rubber becomes permeable. Therefore I would not recommend it for extended periods as your primary cache container. The inner tubes can be used in place of wax /barrier paper or Mylar etc inside a PVC pipe or other container. Cut open the inner tube with scissors and seal by tying or sealing ends with rubber cement.

    If you don't have a way of removing the moist air (oxygen absorbers and desiccant etc) from your burial container; use a hair dryer to warm up the air; thus removing as much humidity from the container just before sealing it. Putting as much supplies into the cache container also limits the total volume of oxygen/moisture in a cache container.

    A word on crystal desiccant; if you buy the surplus stuff, don't expect it to do its job. It can be reused after drying it out by placing it in an oven under very low heat for 12 plus hours. That should dry out it out.

    While NOT absolutely necessary, I would recommend vacuum sealing firearms such as handguns. However I would limit the typical vacuum bags to such things as Ammo, clothing and food. Some plastics, depending on their chemical composition, breakdown faster than others. Depending on the particular preservative/lubricant, they can speed up the breakdown process. Therefore I recommend using Mylar bags.

    Mylar is what the military uses to store parts. They put desiccant packs and in some cases oxygen absorbers inside the bags/containers and vacuum seal. I've seen whole boxes covered and sealed in the stuff. Works great, albeit more expensive. They also use bearing/barrier paper and absorbent material/pads to protect and contain any residual fluids.

    For those using plastic vacuum seal bags try to find the thickest mil bags you can, lubricate and protect the firearm with attention to keeping the lubricant from contacting the bag. I recommend using grease instead of common liquid lubricants because it tends to stay where applied under normal temperatures.

    Cut open a large inner tube, seal one end of the opening, place contents inside. Place inner tube in vac seal bag and seal entire contents. Inner tube protects vacuumed sealed bag from puncturing.

    Cache Containers:

    Non-permeable, corrosion resistant water tight containers are a must. PVC pipe containers are best for this purpose. Ammo cans with good seals placed inside the PVC containers work well for storing your ammo. Smaller inner tubes can contain/protect bandoliers of ammo within the PVC container.

    Firearms Selection:

    The skies the limit here, I personally would not cache expensive firearms which may never see the light of day for years. Surplus rifles such as SKSs and Mosin Nagants are excellent choices. Romanian WASRs or Russian Saigas are inexpensive new alternatives. Surplus handguns such as First Generation Glock pistols or Stainless S&W revolvers (police department turn-ins) are good choices.


    Once the firearm cache is retrieved you'll need to have something available to clean the gunk off the firearm. Many people never consider this. So I recommend you have something cached to expedite field cleaning. Some people cache a large bottle of lighter fluid or good solvent. Again carburetor cleaner works great on metal parts and is inexpensive. Take care that the fluid bottle is well sealed so it does not affect the ammo, clothing or web gear you've stashed with the firearm. Patches, brushes, rags, cleaning rods or OTIS cleaning kit complete the requirement. Also keep a small bottle of oil to lube the firearm after it's been degreased.

    A cache should be more than just firearms and ammo. It should be considered as an alternate pre-positioned bug-out kit in the event the SHTF and you are away from your primary stores (meaning equipment/supplies). I recommended adding a duffle bag or pack to the cache. I don't recommend storing water in a cache with other survival equipment. Ever seen a water bottle burst in a freezer? Food and water should be stored in caches separate from weapons and equipment. The duffle and or pack helps you carry out your cache.

    Someone once told me that he bought an SKS already preserved in Cosmoline; so he put it directly into a cache. Never once confirming the serviceability or accuracy of the firearm! The time to find out that your gun is not sighted in or functioning is not after the fact. Again store ammo with the firearm that has been tested reliable and accurate with that arm. Hope this helps.

  • #2
    As far as type, in the event of invasion, I believe 7.62 and 9mm will be easiest to pilfer from fallen U.N. foes...
    "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat


    • #3
      yes i agree with you bs but 12 ga will be alot easier to get here in the mother land
      the pack that plays together stays together


      • #4
        Originally posted by prkchp76 View Post
        yes i agree with you bs but 12 ga will be alot easier to get here in the mother land
        But of course...I was speaking only of cased ammo.....after all, who in their right mind wouldn't own a scattergun?
        "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

        "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat


        • #5
          That is a very good article. But, way to complicated for my taste.

          I store dissasembled with a good coating of high quality gun oil. The key for my storage is a watertight and airtight storage container with a large amount of dessicant tossed in. The dessicant takes care of the little bit of moisture that is in it when I seal it. I open and re-oil a minimum of every three years, but try and do it every year. Very easy the weapon care be fired with simply assembly. I have stored like this for about 20 years and never had a firearm rust or malfunction.


          • #6
            o k goof deal
            the pack that plays together stays together


            • #7
              way to complicated,I used this method in 1980 and dug up the gun in 2005 to redo,
              rubbed liberal amount of non-detergent motor oil all over rifle,wrapped in trashbag and duct taped up the ends, ammo in 1 gallon baggies with all the air squezed out, add 1 spray can of a cleaner like WD-40, 8" PVC pipe ,glue on one end,stck ammo in the bottom,add rifle add 3 lbs of raw rice, glue on other end cap and bury, when I dug up this gun,I sprayed it down to clean off excess oil,loaded it with ammo and fired away,not one miss-fire,,I recleaned gun,loaded fresh ammo and reburied it for another 25yrs