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Keep Your Gun Rust Free in Hawaii

2013 Shot Show in Las Vegas—Interview with Steve Ostrem of Brownells—Keeping your gun rust free in Hawaii

by Rob Kay

Talk about sensory overload. The 2013 Shot Show in Las Vegas had literally thousands of booths devoted to every aspect of the hunting and sport shooting industry. There were AKs, ARs, traditional hunting rifles, handguns, optics and accessories of every description from every corner of the world. From Turkish shotguns that sell for two bills to five thousand dollar German hunting rifles, there was something for everyone. There were probably a dozen of manufacturers of just gun cases and a hundred manufacturers of AR derivatives.

My goal was not only to look at some new products (which I’ll cover later) but to learn more about countering the No. #1 enemy of Hawaii shooters—rust and corrosion.

To do this I made a beeline to Brownell’s, which bill’s itself as the “world’s largest supplier of firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools”. I have no doubt this is true.

Brownell’s not only has a wide assortment of products, they are scrupulous about the quality of what they sell. If you’ve ever dealt with this company and needed counsel in making selections, you’ll know they are also famous for their customer support. Whether you’re adding a rail to an AR or trying to determine how to touch up some bluing on your S&W model 19, they have a staff of Gun Techs who will patiently answer your questions.

I posed a question to Steve Ostrem, a veteran Brownell’s Gun Tech and grilled him on what products Hawaii gun owners should consider when protecting their rifle or handgun from our famously salty air.

Here are some of the products that Steve recommended to keep oxidation at bay:

For everyday use, wipe down your gun with a product called “Rusty’s Rags” which is a silicone-impregnated sheepskin patch (see above photo on left). The silicone formula removes fingerprints, dirt, dust, and grime and leaves a long-lasting, protective film that will resist moisture and rust. This product is actually manufactured by another icon in the gun care industry, Birchwood Casey, which was present at the Shot Show. Larger cloths for bigger items, such as rifles, are also available (see above photo on right).

Along with wiping down the surface, Steve suggested leaving a light coat of gun oil such as Break-Free or Militek on the bore of the gun. (Both items are available at local shops).

He also suggested that handguns or rifles should be stored in a airtight Pelican style case with a silica desiccant inside. These are available from Brownell’s or you can go to a camera store. You can get40 gram silica rechargeable canisters from Kaimuki Camera for about $6. Just make sure you keep the packs recharged periodically.

For a safe, Steve suggesting using a “Golden Rod” dehumidifier to keep things toasty dry. The humidifier is an electric element to warm the air inside the safe and drive out moisture.

Another option is the Triple Tough storage bag. Tough and flexible, it comes in various sizes and has a 0% moisture transmission rating, so items sealed inside will remain rust and corrosion free indefinitely. They are resistant to petroleum based chemicals and solvents and are completely non-biodegradable.

If you’re putting you’re gun away for long period of time, cover it with “Rig Universal Gun Grease”, a viscous gunk that will keep the rust away indefinitely. (Rig is also a Birchwood Casey product). FYI, you can also use a small dab of Rig to replenish your Rusty’s Rag.

Steve’s final tip was to keep your primers and ammo dry by investing a few bucks into a surplus “M2A1” ammo box. Much like a Pelican case, they are air tight and thus designed to lock out humidity. If you throw a desiccant inside your can you’ll be able to store your gear for a long, long time. You can buy them on Brownells, at the gun show or at a military surplus store here on Oahu.

All photos except for desiccant canister and Brownells display case courtesy of Brownells.

Rob Kay is a Honolulu-based writer and author of the travel site He can be reached at


Senator Will Espero, Chair
SB 69


Appropriates $100,000 to the county police departments to initiate a gun buy-back program.
Thursday, January 31, 2013, 3:00 p.m.  Conference Room 224, State Capitol, Conference Room 224

Click for details:

Even if the State had the money, HRA would oppose this bill unless amended:  1. Persons turning in firearms must be offered a list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of licensed Federal Firearms Dealers in the State of Hawaii and advised that recovering the actual value of the firearm(s) by transferring to a dealer is or is not lawful.  2.  The county police departments shall offer firearms of historical significance to a museum before they are consigned to be destroyed.


Dr. Max Cooper
Legislative Liaison


House Bill 426 (HB426) is scheduled for a public hearing Jan 29, 2013, at 2pm in the Committee on Judiciary (JUD), in Rm 325, at the State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street, Honolulu.

In 2012 the Hawaii Legislature passed a law to give NRA Instructors partial immunity from incidents arising during the mandatory safety classes required for a handgun permit, against lawsuits under Hawaii’s “absolute liability” law for gun owners.  

The Hawaii plaintiff attorneys strongly opposed the bill, and now Representative Scott Saiki (Moilili, McCully, Kaimuki), himself a personal injury lawyer, has introduced this bill to repeal it.  The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Chair, Rep. Karl Rhoads, (F-rated) has scheduled it for a hearing, the first gun bill this year.  It’s a probe of our defenses, with terrible bills confiscating semi-auto rifles, ammunition restrictions, re-registration annually, re-training every two years, etc., looming.  

It is essential that large numbers of gun rights supporters send in testimony in opposition to this bill and attend the hearing to deliver it in person.  There are only a few truly anti-gun politicians in the Hawaii Legislature.  Fortunately we have a good number of supportive legislators there, too.  The majority are in between.  They are waiting to see how effective our grass-roots defense is. 

Sending testimony is simple:  Go to the Legislature web site at  enter the bill number, and fill out the form.  Submit it before 2pm Monday, Jan 28 (24 hours before the hearing). Or FAX testimony  to 808-586-8504(Oahu) or 1-800-535-3859 (for Neighbor Islander without a computer).  Keep it short, simple, and polite.  “Our gun safety instructors need  limited immunity when teaching.  Please kill this bill.” is quite enough.  Add whatever else you personally feel. 

Testifying is not simple, but it’s their game, their rules, and if you don’t play, we don’t win.  Your testimony given in person counts many times more.  Dress like you were applying for a job.
Get driving instructions and parking suggestions if you need them.*  Put 2 hours on the meter.  The bill is third on the agenda, so arrive on the 3rd floor of the Capitol building by 2pm, allowing time to find parking and walk to the Capitol.  When this bill is considered, your name will be called in the order in which your testimony was received.  Walk up to the microphone, sit down, give your name, state your opposition, and briefly explain your feelings on the issue.  No need to repeat points already effectively made.  Thank the Chair and Members for the opportunity to testify.  They may ask you questions.  If you sent testimony late, or your name was not called, after all others have testified on this bill you can raise your hand and will be heard.  Have a written copy of your testimony to give to the committee clerk.  

May we get through these troubled times with our rights intact.


Dr. Maxwell Cooper,
HRA Legislative Liaison

* e-mail,