Slippery When Wet!

A pro’s guide to running and caring for guns on oceans, rivers, rain, ice and snow.

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Fresh and Salt water act similarly to disrupt a firearm’s normal operation. They are both corrosive, so if your gun is doused in ocean spray or dropped in a rain puddle, the same initial procedures should be followed for ensuring it will fire

Whether operating in a marine environment, a region prone to heavy rain or a very cold locale, your firearm and its magazine and ammunition will get wet. The introduction of water from sea spray, rain, condensation or complete submersion can negatively affect your weapon, but in nearly all cases it will continue to fire. If left unaddressed, however, the weapon’s mechanical function will be compromised, potentially leading to a total loss. Corrosion is a concern for prolonged exposure, but immediate conditions like the impeded movement of parts and the presence of frozen water are also issues. Fresh and salt water act similarly to disrupt a firearm’s normal operation. Both are corrosive, so whether your weapon is doused in ocean spray or dropped in a rain puddle, the same initial procedures should be followed to ensure firing when you need it to.

ERADICATING MOISTURE

A firearm that has been fully submerged presents a major safety concern. If fired without taking some prior actions, the firearm may become unserviceable, even a threat if the barrel becomes blocked and explodes. When a weapon becomes submerged, immediately drain the barrel by tipping the muzzle down, then give the weapon a shake to expel water from the receivers and other components. To assist the process, any chambered round may have to be slightly withdrawn to break the seal by holding the bolt to the rear. With the barrel clear, continue holding the bolt to the rear and tilt the weapon up to clear water from the gas tube.

These actions should address any immediate issues and allow normal operation. When you have the opportunity, examine the weapon, rinse it with fresh water, then dry and oil its components and any exposed magazines. Attention should be paid to the grooves and angles of the gun and its small internal parts, including the sears, firing pin and similar pieces that could easily seize if corroded. Modern ammunition is waterproof—the crimp is airtight, and the primer is sealed. A short rinse and dry will not damage the ammo but will help preserve it. If the cartridge is damaged, discard the round as the powder may be wet.


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