Most importantly in rifle maintenance, keep the barrel clean. As a custom gunsmith we see more chrome-moly barrels lost due to neglect than are shot out. The powder and copper fouling left in the bore from a season of "shooting at" deer, act like a sponge and absorb moisture during the winter months to rust and pit the bore. A few seasons of this and our trusty friend does shoot as well as expected. With our carelessness in rifle maintenance there comes a price. New barrels are not cheap!
Apply a piece of electrical tape to the muzzle to prevent snow and rain from entering the bore. This tip may save a long and unproductive trip back to the truck should you stumble and stick the muzzle in the mud or snow.
Above all, create a relationship with your favorite rifle. Stroke it and care for it. Sit by the fire and recall the great shots it has made and the company it provided on that long walk back to camp. Become one with the rifle and it will never let you down. Neglect it and failure is just around the corner!
Until next time. Be safe and shoot straight.
Darrell Holland is a Custom Riflesmith and designer of Advanced Reticle Technology in Leupold, Schmidt & Bender and NIGHTFORCE rifle scopes. Darrell offers an intense 4 day shooting school that is ideal for long range hunters and tactical enthusiasts.