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Thread: Rifle Field Care & Maintenance - Preparation & Suggestions?

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    Default Rifle Field Care & Maintenance - Preparation & Suggestions?

    I am heading out for a 10-Day backpacking hunt this Fall. I am trying to prepare myself for any maintenance issues that may arise, and am hoping to get suggestions or thoughts from other hunters out there.

    The rifle I'm bringing is a stainless steel Winchester Model 70 in 7mag. It's glass-bedded in a synthetic stock, cerakoted and topped with a 4.5-14x scope Burris Signature Rings & Leupold Dual-Dovetail bases.

    - I will be using electrical tape to protect the barrel & crown - other tips?

    - How proficient should I be at being able to field-strip the bolt and deal with ice/gunk build up?

    - Should I use Black-creek covers or a neoprene sleeve over the scope?

    - What are the best ways to prevent the scope from getting bumped? Other that using common sense... Styrofoam padding?

    - If the need arises, what is the best way to re-center/sight-in the scope if it happens to get out of alignment?

    - What tools should I have in my pack if the need arises?
    a. Should I bring a replacement firing-pin & spring?
    b. Small cleaning kit with brush, solvent, etc? How often should I plan on cleaning the rifle (daily or as-needed)?
    c. Graphite or oil-based lubricants?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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    Replace the Burris with a Leupold, problem solved. Seriously rifles and scopes are very durable and I have never had a problem. If you find your scope is off then remove the bolt and look through the barrel at an object 25 yards away. Then adjust your scope to match what you see when looking through the barrel. I would bring allen wrenches to tighted the scope if it comes loose.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    He's right. Scope covers are nice. Bring gun oil. Keep your muzzle covered. If you've tightened and loc-tited your screws, nothing should change...
    unless...
    you bump your scope bad. That is why I have been putting iron sights (for 100yds) on my rifles with scopes which didn't have I.S. before. And I'm using Q/D mounts.

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    I carry one of the small Otis kits that has the cable, oil, patches etc in it. I can also fit in a small leatherman that has any other tools I might need. Doesn't weigh much or take up a lot of room.....works for me.

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    If you'll be using reloads in your rifle, be sure to run all cartridges thru the magazine & chamber before heading out. A screwtogether rod might be useful in the event of a stuck shell. Wouldn't worry about stripping the bolt, extra firing pin or spring. (you might need to shoot more to build confidence in your equipment.) Use whichever scope covers you're most comfortable with. If you're out in very cold weather, you may want to leave the rifle outside the tent - this will avoid most moisture build up and subsequent freezing. As long as temps stay above zero, oil freeze(& gunking) shouldn't be a problem - as long as moving parts aren't over lub'd to begin with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    If you'll be using reloads in your rifle, be sure to run all cartridges thru the magazine & chamber before heading out. A screwtogether rod might be useful in the event of a stuck shell.
    Sage advice. I would actually use factory ammo rather than reloads, and further, even though factory, I would do the redundant and seal the primers. MY son-in-law lost a dandy caribou a few years ago with a factory load that had gotten wet, and the bull skidaddled round the corner before he could get off another shot. Never happened to me, but it happens.

    Not sure I would keep my rifle outside the tent though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Sage advice. I would actually use factory ammo rather than reloads, and further, even though factory, I would do the redundant and seal the primers. MY son-in-law lost a dandy caribou a few years ago with a factory load that had gotten wet, and the bull skidaddled round the corner before he could get off another shot. Never happened to me, but it happens.

    Not sure I would keep my rifle outside the tent though.
    I'm with you on keeping the rifle close. Depending on time of the year (he must be planning a LATE fall hunt) he could cover the rifle with a tarp & leave it right outside the tent door &probably be ok. I'm ok with reloads for hunting, but use a lot of care when doing the reloading. I'd NEVER use someone else's reloads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexington View Post
    How proficient should I be at being able to field-strip the bolt and deal with ice/gunk build up?
    How long have you been a M70 owner???

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I have never stripped a bolt....ever. Don't even know how.

    Good advise above on the cleaning rod.

    I would never take factory rounds......I don't have any!

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    Thanks for the tips fellas.

    Got the rifle last summer (handed down from Uncle) and it's a nice upgrade from my Ruger 77-tang safety which was beat pretty well.

    Toenail polish for sealing primers?

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I freely admit that I'm not the best reloader in the world. I don't know about the OP; maybe he is, then maybe he isn't.
    I've never personally had a factory load fail me, but I've loaded some shells that weren't great and some that failed. For me on such a hunt, personally, I would choose premium factory loads. For expert reloaders with the best of components, no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexington View Post
    I am heading out for a 10-Day backpacking hunt this Fall. I am trying to prepare myself for any maintenance issues that may arise, and am hoping to get suggestions or thoughts from other hunters out there.
    With a Stainless/Cerakoted rifle I wouldn't bother with gun oil, cleaning rod, etc, etc. I have a similar set up and I tape the muzzle, invest in decent lens covers (either Butler Cr. or a Scope Coat), Loc-Tite the rings and mounts and just roll with it. That's what I love about the cerakoted stainless, it's very much a weather proof rig... heck, I go whole seasons without cleaning the rifle...one hunt? No sweat.

    You won't clean the gun in the field- if you don't shoot it there's no need, if you do shoot it...there's no need.

    Shoot good quality factory ammo that you've checked in your gun- that'll eliminate most ammo related issues except for the remotest flukes.

    You shouldn't have any issue with ice in the bolt but knowing how to field strip it is easy enough but I would never take a bolt apart in the field, the chances of losing something are pretty high.

    I've never broken a firing pin or spring with the exception of an 80 year old Marlin. The chances are so slim it'll happen I sure wouldn't pack one around...ounces make pounds and pounds make misery on a backpack hunt. Take extra socks cause you'll actually use them. Spare parts, not so much.

    I carry a Leatherman- to date it's unused on a rifle but it's handy on everything else from grabbing pots on the fire and other uses in camp so it's goes for the ride.

    I use dry lube on the rifle- a coated/stainless bolt rifle really doesn't need much in the way of oiling for rust prevention except in the oddest of circumstances- again, a 10 day hunt should be fine without it.

    I'd know how to bore sight the rifle but in the field would be a very odd place to fiddle with a scope. If the rifle is holding zero on the range, it should be good to go...it takes a pretty hard lick to knock a good quality scope off. I fell down a scree chute with a rifle- popped the gas seal on the scope, tore up my shoulder and neck pretty good and generally got pounded. The scope fogged a week later...but it held zero. The Scopecoat does a reasonably good job of protecting one from knocks and scrapes.

    Your rifle is top notch and I'd not worry my head about it one bit- it's as stout and weather proof as you can reasonably hope for... I'd pay more attention to the rest of your camp. Working on a rifle in the field is a recipe for things going very wrong or toting all kinds of useless weight. I assume you'll have a partner who'll be armed as well? If your rifle goes out of sorts...just borrow his!
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I like Butler Creek scope covers. They work well. I bring a small gun cleaning kit consisting of a cleaning rod broken down into sections, some patches, an oiled rag saturated in Breakfree CLP, a small bottle of Breakfree CLP, a screwdriver, an allen wrench to fit the scope base screws and scope mount screws. After a day in the rain, I wipe the gun down and run an oiled patch or two through the bore and chamber area. Otherwise, just clean it when you think it needs it. A small piece of steel wool is also in my kit to remove any unwanted rust as quickly as possible if any develops. I leave this kit at my camp rather than carry it with me while hunting. I prefer a metal cleaning rod rather than a cable because one time I had to remove debris from my barrel and a cable wasn't stiff enough to do the job.

    I also bring a small lens cleaning kit consisting of lens cleaning solution and lens wipes. They work great for binos and spotting scopes too.

    On long trips where I have to change planes several times, I test fire the rifle at camp if I think the scope may have gotten bumped. I haven't had any problems yet. If you bring enough ammo, you'll have more than enough to rezero your rifle should the need arise. You can improvise a target out of most anything you have with you. Last October, an empty Mountain House wrapper jammed between branches of a stick stuck in the sand worked for me to verify my zero.

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    I recently started bringing along a laser bore sight. It's the size of a round of ammo, and is a quick (and quiet) way to make sure you are still sighted in after arriving at base camp or if you drop your gun, bump your scope, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    ...ounces make pounds and pounds make misery on a backpack hunt...
    EXTREME words of wisdom. I have to laugh at all the extra stuff that guys just "have" to take and try to rationalize it by saying......"it doesn't weigh anything". Well after they finish putting in all that stuff that doesn't weigh "anything" they've got a pack full of stuff they don't need that weighs a ton. When you're talking about a hunt that you're wondering if you actually "need" that top button on your shirt or not because it adds more weight.......believe me, it ALL adds up.

    Thinking back, all I think I ever brought for a rifle is bullets and a oil soaked rag in a zip lock baggie (because I carry a blued rifle). Now that I sometimes carry a stainless/synth, I won't bother bringing that for sure......the oil soaked rag I mean, may still need a bullet or two.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I am really liking Remington's "Rem Oil Wipes". They are individually packaged single use oil wipes and have become standard in my pack. I pretty much take one wherever my gun goes and have quit taking gun oil or solvent in favor of them. A significant amount of the hunting I do is in the saltwater in an open skiff and these wipes are working as well as anything I have ever used to keep away rust and keep my rifle functioning. I have never had to take a rifle bolt apart in the field and believe that the chances of losing something doing so is extremely likely. I am sure that there are lots of folks on here that can and do it, but I am not going to take that chance and therefore not taking the tools or spare parts to make it happen. On the other hand I do ALWAYS take the wrench necessary to remove/tighten scope mounts and rings. As well to remove the stock if necessary for cleaning.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I make my own wipes and put them in a sandwich baggie. My guns are not coated. I just use a blue shop p-towel (or half of one) and spray it a couple times with corrosion X.

    The last time I flew into the Brooks the pilot said - "Everyone always has the lightest high tech gear money can buy. 1000 pounds of it!" 1000 pounds of super light high tech gear is still 1000 pounds!

  18. #18

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    There are a lot of things to think about regarding a 10 day backpack trip. Rifle maintanence for me is not one of them. I take care of my rifles meticulously before and after the season and they've never given me any trouble on a hunt. I use the flip up scope covers and put a piece of tape over the barrel, but I don't waste any space in my pack for any special in-field rifle care supplies or equipment.

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    Here's what I have learned and applied:

    3M Super 33 electrical tape is great for keeping the barrel free from debris.

    Dual dovetail bases are junk. Go with a one piece ring and base, I use the Talley lightweights.

    Flip up's are great in theory, but I can't tell you how many times I have been through the brush and looked down to see one of both of my flip ups open from contact and the scope full of all sorts of debris, I have switched to the cheap $5 bikini covers and couldn't be happier.

    If you're hunting solo the best way to re zero your scope is don't. Have back up sights and know how to use them. If you're hunting with a partner and he has a rifle, then don't worry about it. You should be proficient in shooting his gun and he yours.

    For field cleaning/maintenance I carry a multi-tool, boresnake, silicone rag and 1 oz bottle of CLP to basecamp, but not beyond.

    Sorry, but Burris belongs in the trash can and the only thing I take in the field is Leupold. I'm sure Zeiss and the like are great too, but Leupold has never let me down in the field and I have many stories to tell about this.

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    I'm in the minimalist camp. Leatherman and a little clp. And a condom (or ballon)...gotta cover that muzzle Though I admit, I will probably use tape this upcoming season.

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