Corrosion Basics for Gunsmiths

Firearm corrosion can be – and often is – self-inflicted by gun owners. Here’s what to know regarding how corrosion happens and how to avoid it on firearms.

by Brian R Smith

Worldwide, corrosion and the steps to mitigate it account for an estimated $400 billion cost to society each year. Vehicles, bridges, buildings, railcars, factories, communication towers, and firearms all fall victim to rust. It’s entropy at work, the natural process of things at a high energy state decaying to a lower energy state, which Mother Nature prefers.

Subscribe to our free newsletter.

We as firearms owners, enthusiasts, and those engaged in the gunsmithing trade have a keen interest in maintaining our weapons and those of our customers in their as-manufactured, corrosion-free condition, and many owners follow proper procedures in care of their guns. Some owners unknowingly ask for trouble and then wonder why their firearms rust.

Corrosion, otherwise known as oxidation, is an electrochemical reaction in which a minimum of three components are required: An anode, being the metal that is prone to corrode; a corrosive chemical agent called an electrolyte, such as plain water or a salt water solution containing chloride ions that causes a metal to rust; and oxygen to do the, well, oxidizing. Remove any one of these ingredients and corrodible things simply don’t corrode, period.

Read more in the February 2023 issue.

Don’t miss a single issue. Subscribe now or renew your subscription.

For non-subscribers wanting free access, submit one free article to use on our site and we’ll send you a complete digital copy of any issue of your choice (April 2006 to current).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s