Ah yes, it's that time of year again. Punxsutawney Phil has cursed us with a few more weeks of winter, the action on the ice rink is heating up and men are thumbing through Hallmark greeting cards while cursing half-naked bow and arrow wielding angels. It's true, February is in full swing and I'm wondering: Do you know where your shotgun is?

February is supposed to be the month in which you express your affection for those who you care for the most, and who (or what) treats you better than your shotgun? Take a moment to ponder this. It puts food on your table, a smile on your face and it won't ask you to take out the trash. So why not show some offseason affection to your trusty scattergun? As with any other relationship, a little TLC here and there will pay dividends for you in the long run.

Here are some tips for keeping your gun in top condition while in storage:

  • Thoroughly clean your gun with bore solvent.
  • Once cleaned and wiped down, apply a thin coat of gun oil to the metal interior and exterior components to prevent rust from forming.
  • Wipe down synthetic stocks with an all purpose household cleaner (such as 409) and thoroughly dry.
  • If you have a finished or wooden stock, use a furniture spray and wipe completely dry. Once dry, examine for cracking or wear-and-tear. You may want to consider applying a paste wax to increase your gun's longevity.
  • If you have a gun safe, place any type of dehumidifying wand or gel pack in it to remove moisture from the air.
  • Remember, moisture is your gun's greatest enemy and the leading cause of corrosion and missed shots (I may have made that last one up, but you get the point).

Do you have any other firearm storage tips?