With the proper maintenance, a high-quality firearm should last for multiple generations. Keeping your gun clean and well-lubricated will also reduce your risk of a catastrophic breakdown next time you head to the range. Here are a few simple maintenance tips that all new gun owners should keep in mind.

Clean Immediately After Shooting Cheap or Corrosive Ammunition

Many recreational shooters prefer military ammunition because it is easy to acquire and relatively cheap. The problem with military ammunition is the fact that most of the primers are filled with corrosive materials that could eventually damage the gun. If you are going to use cheap or surplus ammunition, then you need to set aside 20 or 30 minutes to clean your gun. Allowing the corrosive materials to sit on the metal could result in rusting and pitting.

Invest in High-Quality Cleaners and Lubricants

With the proper supplies, cleaning your gun should be a quick and simple process. To disassemble the firearm, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it is disassembled, all of the primary components should be cleaned, wiped down, and coated with gun lubricant. Using generic lubricants like WD-40 could end up damaging your gun or create a residue on the moving pieces.

Use the Right Tools

Every firearm is slightly different, and that is why you will need to purchase a maintenance kit that was specifically designed for the handgun, rifle, or shotgun that you own. For revolvers, you will need a shorter brush that fits snugly inside each individual chamber. Longer bore brushes should be used on rifles and handguns with slightly longer barrels. Investing in a few packages of silicone gun cloths is going to make this process much easier as well.

Properly Storing Ammo

Purchasing a good supply of ammunition can be very expensive, and you need to be absolutely sure that you are storing all of your shells and bullets correctly. The ammunition should always be stored in a secure location that is relatively dry. Humidity, freezing temperatures, and heat waves can damage the chemicals inside your ammunition. If you plan on storing your ammo for more than a few months, then you should invest in ammunition bags that lock out moisture.

Make sure that your firearm is secured in a locked container, such as a safe or special type of gun box. Remember, It should be unloaded and, for good measure, kept on safety when stored so that whoever accesses it doesn’t accidentally fire it unintentionally—which could lead to a major accident.

If you have children in your house, then it might be a wise idea for you to keep your ammo separate from the gun. Without the ammo, a gun is merely a heavy paperweight. If kept separately, then an overly curious child who may somehow access it would not be able to use it for play in a lethal form. If you do have children, make sure that they understand that a gun is not for play and that they should never try to open the gun safe.

Despite the perspective that you might get from the media, owning a firearm isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You do, however, have to be responsible with it. Apart of that responsibility is making sure that it is well-maintained and, of course, handled and stored properly.