There will always come a time when you have to put your air gun down for the day so you can get other things done. It’s one thing if you know you’ll be reshooting the next day, but if what if you’re taking an extended break? You want to store your air gun where it won’t degrade in quality. How do you go about storing your air gun properly?
To properly store an air gun, you can either use a rifle bag, a gun cabinet, or a rifle stand. All three options are beneficial in their own ways, but there are also downsides. For instance, if you put a partially wet air gun in a rifle bag, moisture gets trapped inside, ruining the gun.
If you’re not sure how to choose between a rifle bag, a gun cabinet, or a rifle stand, we’ll tell you in this article. We’ll even have a section on how to maintain the other components of your gun so when you come back to it later, and it’ll still be in great condition.
Your Options for how to Properly Store an Air Gun
For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume you’re putting your air gun hobby on hold for a while. Maybe it’s too cold to shoot outdoors, so you’re going to wait until spring before you resume firing your air gun. You may be in the midst of a major life change, like a career shift, a wedding, or a move, and these are taking up most of your spare time.
No matter the reason you need to give your air gun a rest for a while, the most paramount decision you’ll make is where you’re going to keep your gun in the interim. Whether you’re taking a break for only a few months or even a year or more, time can do its terrible dance and cause damage to your gun if you store it all willy-nilly.
As we talked about in the intro, there are three options you might try for safekeeping your air gun. These are the rifle bag it came in, a gun cabinet, or a rifle stand you can either buy or make yourself.
In the rest of this section, we will cover in much more depth these three options, including the pros and cons of each.
Depending on the retailer you bought your air rifle from, they may have sent the gun in a nice rifle bag. This could come lined with a plush material like sheepskin that cradles the gun and keeps it protected if the bag gets moved around a bit.
Otherwise, a smooth material for the bag’s lining is just as good. Yes, it may not look as appealing as sheepskin, but a smooth lining dries out very quickly since it doesn’t absorb as much moisture. That’s a good thing.
Most rifle bags also come with carrying handles so you can easily transport the bag anywhere you happen to go. This convenience is unmatched, especially compared to a rifle stand or a gun cabinet.
If your purchase of an air rifle didn’t come with a bag, you can always shop around for one yourself. Just make sure it matches the make and model of your air rifle or else it won’t fit!
Let’s talk the pros and cons of using a rifle bag. The good thing about these bags is they’re soft, trendy, and a decent enough place to keep your air rifle.
There are a lot of downsides you have to beware of, though.
For one, since they’re air rifle bags, that’s the type of gun they’re made for. Sure, you could put a smaller air gun in the bag, but due to its size, it has a lot more room to travel, which could jostle it. That’s because air rifle bags, while appealing, are not made of hard materials to prevent impact damage should your air gun get jostled or dropped in the bag.
You will also have to make sure your air gun is always completely dry before stashing it in a bag. If the gun gets wet and you store it away anyway, all that moisture gets trapped within the bag when you zip it up until you next open it. Let’s say that’s several months from now, even a year. You will not want to see what your gun looks like when you open the air rifle bag again.
The metal can corrode, and moisture can seep into the various components of your air gun, potentially rendering it useless. On that note, you have to be careful about where you store your air rifle bag as well. Since it’s just a bag with no insulation or deeper protection, if you put it on a cold, damp surface, the water will seep into the bag, destroying your gun.
Your next option is one many gun enthusiasts already own and use. It’s a gun cabinet. These cabinets come in all sizes, so whether you have three or four guns in your collection or several dozen, you should be able to find a gun cabinet that accommodates you.
Gun cabinets are quite advantageous. Their construction is incredibly sturdy, so you know you have a durable, reliable place to keep your guns that you can continuously use for years to come. The glass panels allow you to show off your enviable gun collection each time your friends or family come over.
You also have excellent versatility with a gun cabinet. If you collect mostly air rifles, you can get a taller, leaner cabinet so your rifles can stand up with plenty of room for each. If you own an assortment of guns, then a wider cabinet would suit you better.
Another great perk to gun cabinets is that they’re safe. You can get a lock on yours so not just anyone can get into it. If you want to be the only one who can access the cabinet, then that’s your right. You might give the code of the lock to someone else if you trust them with it, but that’s a choice that’s yours alone to make.
You can also keep your guns securely indoors or in your garage, wherever you have room for the gun cabinet. These cabinets don’t move well once they’re put together, but you could always buy another if you added more guns to your arsenal and needed somewhere to keep them.
Like with the other gun storage options we’ve discussed, there are disadvantages to keeping your air guns in a gun cabinet. For one, these cabinets are expensive! They cost a few hundred dollars on the more inexpensive side of things and over £/$1,000 for a very high-end one.
Also, as we said, they’re not portable. You’re talking about a giant, heavy wooden or metal cabinet. That’s not going anywhere.
The lack of portability could be a problem depending on where you put the gun cabinet. If it’s in a room of your home that gets a lot of humidity, such as a basement or a room that’s near a bathroom or a kitchen, trouble could arise.
This hot air can travel to your gun cabinet, getting caught within it and affecting the condition of your guns. You might not see the condensation unless it gets significant.
You’ll just come back to your air gun a few months or a year later only to find it’s rusted, corroded, or otherwise in poor shape.
Your third option for storing your air gun is a rifle stand or rifle rest. You can shop for one if you don’t already have it, but–unlike the other air gun storage options we’ve discussed–you can also make one yourself.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive venture, either. Here’s a YouTube video showing how you can make a rifle stand without spending too much money.
A rifle stand is mostly used for tinkering with your gun safely, but it could also be a good place to keep your air gun in the interim. On the pros side of the equation, you can clearly see your gun, since it’s only positioned on the stand, which is placed somewhere like your bedroom or living room.
The lack of money you have to spend on a rifle stand is also quite handy, especially when compared to how costly a gun cabinet can be. If you’re an air gun enthusiast on a budget, we think a rifle stand will appeal to you far more.
That said, in this instance, the cons of a rifle stand far outweigh (and outnumber) the pros. A rifle stand isn’t meant as a long-term means of storage at all. If you plan on leaving your air gun be for maybe a week, two tops, then sure, you can use a rifle stand. If you need any longer-term storage than that, then skip the gun stand.
After all, your gun is left exposed. If you keep it in a room where the temperatures never dip too low, then maybe you don’t have a lot to worry about. Dust will accumulate, but you’re at less risk of corrosion or rusting.
That said, in any warm environments, such as living in a humid state, then you don’t want to risk it. The warm air will have no barrier to get through, unlike if you used a rifle bag or a gun cabinet. Your gun will be in lousy shape quickly.
Maintenance Tips for Your Air Gun and Related Parts
After reading through the above section, you’ve hopefully decided which is the best means of storing your air gun. Your work isn’t done yet, though. You also want to take some precautionary measures to protect the condition of your air gun and other parts and components that go with it. Here’s what we recommend you do in terms of maintenance.
Keep Your Pellets in a Tin
Most of the time, when buying air gun pellets, they come in a metal tin. This tin is often pretty cool, so we don’t recommend you throw it away. It’s a much better place to keep your air gun pellets than a zippered plastic bag or something in that vein.
Why is that? Well, for starters, as we said, these tins look fantastic. Also, keeping your pellets in the same place, they came in prevents you from losing them.
We wouldn’t advise you to store pellets around your home or backyard, because you’ll misplace them before you get to use them. Not all air gun pellets are pricy, that’s true, but for the ones that are, take extra special care of them.
Another perk to leaving your pellets in the tin they came in is they’re less susceptible to corroding. Not all air gun pellets are made of lead or lead alloys, but for those that are, they could corrode if exposed to the elements. Lead cannot rust, so that’s an upside at least.
Oil Your Stock
Before you retire your air gun for a while, take care of its stock by oiling it. This will allow the stock to look just as lovely as the day you got your air gun.
Stock oil is made of wood oils mixed with linseed oil. You squeeze some of the oil from the bottle and then rub it on the stock using your hands. Since your palms are warm, the oil can get deeper into the wood grain. You might want to finish up with a layer of beeswax or furniture wax polish, especially if your stock is lacquered.
Tend to the Bluing
Most air guns have bluing, a type of finish on the gun’s exterior metalwork. If you leave your air gun in damp environments at any time, then there’s a risk the metalwork can rust. To keep the bluing at its best, you want to let the air gun dry out as much as possible. Then, with a rag, clean out any remaining moisture. Add some WD40 to the cloth; some air gun enthusiasts suggest Ballistol Gunex as well.
You take care of your air gun when it’s in regular use, but what if you take a break from shooting it for a few months or even longer? Then it’s even more vital that you get into a regular maintenance routine.
The first matter of business is deciding where and how you’ll store your air gun. You can use the bag your air gun or rifle came in, but do make sure the gun is entirely dry before you zip it up in the bag.
You may also try a gun cabinet, but watch where you put this up. If it’s in a room that gets very warm, moisture can seep into the cabinet and potentially rust and/or corrode your precious air gun collection. Rifle stands are another option, although not for long-term storage since your gun is left exposed.
With all the information in this article, you’re ready to take the best care of your air gun no matter how often you use it!