All the late hunting seasons are over, there is no more football to be watched on the television and you are trying like a two year old in a tuxedo to get out of doing anything on the honey-do-list. So what is there for shooters to do when the cold and snow of winter keep you in the house?
Those cold days are a great excuse to get some reloading done if there was ever a need to. I use a lot of this time to sort out my brass and get everything primed and ready to go even if I don’t reload any of it. In three or four hours time I can get plenty of brass prepared and it makes for short work when it does come time to figure out what I want to load up.
So what if you don’t reload? Well then now is a good time to go through and get all of your guns cleaned and oiled and put away for sunnier days—especially if you have more than a few of them in your gun safe(s). When the hunting season is over I take and clean all my guns and then oil them, even if I did not fire any rounds out of them, just because it’s a good habit. I figure a yearly cleaning, regardless of use, is one way to guarantee rust can’t get a foothold and cause troubles later on.
Say you want to replace the scope on a rifle or change out a sight? Well there is no better time to do it than the winter, when you’re trapped inside and you can take the time to do these things right. There is no rush for the start of the hunting season and when the weather warms up, you’ll be armed and ready to head to the range in order to properly sight your gun in. This is also a good time to swap out a stock if you wanted to or get that barrel free floated.
If handguns are your thing, now might be a good time to go out and get yourself a new pair of grips. Or if you ever wanted to try doing a trigger job yourself there really isn’t a better time to do it than on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon (after curling up for several nights with a copy of Practical Gunsmithing, or something like it that it). Maybe you can add a scope to that favorite hunting handgun during the off-season?
Back to reloading. If you really don’t mind the cold too much or have a place with some really good ventilation, now would be a good time to get into casting your own bullets. A shed, (even with an open door) won’t need a heater with a melting pot full of seven hundred degree lead nearby. Just make sure you have the right safety gear and you can make a whole day of it.
The darkest season of the year got you down in the dumps and gun maintenance just plain isn’t going to cut it? Got a large basement? Well, you might be a candidate for an indoor air gun range.
Airguns most likely won’t damage your home but they’re great for knocking down walls associated with your mid-winter, Cabin Fever and setting up a home or basement range can be a fun process in its own right.
Make sure you have a substantial area to place your targets in that is free of obstructions (i.e. anything you don’t want broken) and an ample backstop (some airguns can send a projectile at speeds approaching 1000 fps out of the muzzle). The area around your targets should be enclosed on all sides (except for the side your shooting at of course) to reduce the chance of ricochet or bounce-back. O, and it’s a good idea to tell your spouse, kids or whoever you’ve got hanging around your house that you’re going to be shooting before you go hot on your own personal indoor gun range.
I say that you should never let a good opportunity go to waste and just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t get some things done in your shooting life (not to mention anything to do with your guns is likely more fun than anything on your spouse’s to-do list, right?).
The wintertime doesn’t have to be the off-season for gun folk as, with a hobby as complex as shooting, there is always something to do. How do you fight the winter blues?