How to Care for a Hunting Rifle in Subzero Weather

by Jeffery Keilholtz
Keep your rifle ready in the frigid cold.

Keep your rifle ready in the frigid cold.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Caring for a hunting rifle in subzero weather can mean the difference between a trophy kill and a rusted weapon. Special precautions are required when preparing for extreme cold. Unlike averages temperatures--even mild chills or snowy weather--standard lubricants can freeze solid when exposed to subzero weather. The result is an inactive bolt or pump action that paralyzes your weapon and prevents it from loading or firing.

Items you will need

  • Aerosol brake cleaner
  • Lighter fluid
  • Insulated rifle case
Step 1

Unload and disassemble your rifle. Firmly shake a canister of aerosol brake cleaner. De-grease the metal by spraying every nook and cranny of all metal contraptions associated with the rifle--the bolt action, chamber and barrel, for example. Allow the metal pieces to sit in a cool, dry and ventilated room for 24 hours before reassembling. Refrain for now from reinstalling the bolt or pump action. Apply no other lubricants to the rifle. De-greasing eliminates old or residual lubricants from freezing and/or thickening in subzero temperatures.

Step 2

Slowly pour 2 to 4 ounces of lighter fluid through the open chamber--open because of its lack of a bolt or pump action--and allow it to drizzle down onto the trigger. Lighter fluid eliminates residual moisture from the trigger and prepares it for subzero temperatures.

Step 3

Place the rifle into an insulated case. Select a case with extra-thick eggshell foam lining. Secure all scopes with rubber lens covers. In subzero weather keep the gun encased until you need it.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images