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Hailing my gun experts, for a moment.

If a person stumbled upon a rifle or handgun that hadn't been used in twenty years, would that weapon still function -- and if so, would it need some kind of internal cleaning? What would be the risks of using a weapon that old, if any?

And yes, this is for a story.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
Very interesting. So, when you say it needs to be oiled up -- would a person have to take the whole thing apart to do that? It doesn't sound like a quick process.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
You are incredibly helpful. Thank you!
Jan. 19th, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
If it were a revolver, a simple bolt action rifle, or a double or single barrel shotgun, and it was kept in a closet, cabinet, or case, then I would feel pretty secure in them picking it up and firing it.

All three are really simple tools and do not have the moving parts a semiauto does. I would think there would be minimal risk with those three as long as the barrel is not clogged.
Jan. 19th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
double barrel shotgun would work also. LOL
Jan. 19th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
simple firearms (shotguns, etc.) would work if kept in a closet or relatively dry place.

it also depends on the location.

if you were in hawai'i, someplace out say.. in the rain forest. no chance in hell. too much moisture. but if you were in san diego, then yeah.
Jan. 19th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
Jan. 19th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
One other thing you'd have to worry about is the area the weapon was stored. If it's in a high humidity area, you might have trouble.
Jan. 19th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
Any unknown weapon needs to be considered suspect until checked. It could be loaded. It could go off.

A local man was recently killed when trying to free a breech plug with a torch. Authorities say Jason Charles Mielke and his dad were cleaning a muzzleloader found near a dumpster at the apartment complex where Jason lived. Haven't heard why a loaded muzzleloader was (a) loaded and (b) in a dumpster to begin with.

That said, a loaded old weapon is also likely to (a) not fire or (b) blow up if the trigger is pulled.

Old weapons used to be stored in gobs of Cosmoline, a thick petroleum grease. Trust me -- it takes some serious cleaning to get that out and free the parts so they'll operate reliably, but I will say there was no rust. (grin)

Dr. Phil
Jan. 19th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
Not a gun expert, and an extremely vague answer, sorry, but occasionally there are stories in the media (can't remember one right now) of guns from World War II being found and still working here in the UK.
Jan. 20th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
First of all, it's loaded. Doesn't matter if you've looked - it's still loaded. Always. Just treat it like that and you've got the bulk of your danger taken care of. Always be aware of what it's pointing at. Never point it at something you're not willing to destroy.

You got a lot of good advice further up. The gun probably isn't so old that it's dangerous to shoot - my dad gave me a rifle from the mid-1700s that he used to shoot, and a pistol from WWI that still works like a champ. But you'll definitely want to give it a really good cleaning.

Unless you already know how to clean a gun of that particular kind, I'd take it to a gun shop and have them walk you through it. Don't have them do it for you, just have them show you what to do. You'll learn a lot more about it that way.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
old rifle
It depends on how the weapon was stored. If it was left out and not in some type of case the answer would be no. It would have too much corrosion to work unless it was thoroughly stripped and rebuilt. And even then it would take the replacement of the firing pin at the minimum to work. If the weapon was in a sealed case and not prepared for long term storage by greasing up the mechanisms then it would probable fire without any cleaning being needed but probably only once before it jammed. If it was greased properly for long term storage, it would work fine once the grease was removed. If you have any more questions please email me at gregpicket@aol.com
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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