The gift that keeps on giving. Christmas, more years ago than I can remember, is when it came to me. It was a toolbox crafted as a school industrial arts project by one of my daughters. Who could have predicted that gift would become an important part of my life?
The metal box measured 17 1/2 inches long and 5 inches wide. A removable tray covers a lower storage area. The hinged sides fold up and over the tray bringing its height to 4 ½ inches. The gift was transformed from a toolbox to a shooting box. It is small enough to be easily taken on a hunting excursion or to the range, yet big enough to contain the essentials when it comes to caring for firearms in the field.
So let’s open the box and see what’s inside.
Located in the bottom section of the box you’ll find several types of collapsible cleaning rods for shotguns, rifles and handguns. Bore guides are included as well.
There are several re-sealable plastic bags containing a selection of all cotton cleaning patches. Q-tips are found in another plastic bag. Pipe cleaners and several folded paper towels are contained in plastic bags. A pair of full sized scissors used to trim patches are included as well.
There are tubes of gun lubricants. Also bore brushes to fit a variety of shotgun gauges are stored there. You’ll find a set of ear plugs and a pair of thin solvent resistant rubber gloves.
All the items contained within the lower half of the box have come in handy at one time or another. However, the lift out tray is where you’ll find the “most used” items.
The box design that incorporates fold down sides provides a “shelf” to place small items that can easily be seen and are less likely to be misplaced.
The lift out tray is packed with a variety of tools and gun care products, and go-to items that are frequently used on a regular basis.
On the tray, there is one plastic box that has a clear cover and has dividers. This box has small items such as small bore brushes, jag tips, a brass bore protector, a piece of fine steel wool, along other assorted small items.
An additional plastic box, the type .22 long rifle rounds come in, is loaded with additional small items and bore brushes and swabs. The individual boxes can be lifted out of the tray for easy access to the items required to meet a specific need.
Small tools that resemble dental tools are fitted lengthwise in the box. Also a pair of toothbrushes are included in the mix.
A multi screwdriver tool is another handy item. Within the handle are several shafts. Each shaft has a number of hollow ground screwdriver blades that properly fit the heads of screws. Several shafts include Philips heads.
There are times when lubricating and cleaning chemicals are needed. When proofing different types of ammunition, there are times when a light cleaning is in order. Before leaving the range, I simply begin the cleaning process while the barrel of the firearm is still warm.
To have a supply of chemicals stored in my range box, I found it handy to purchase small bottles of the solvent and lubricants I prefer. The bottles that I use are small enough to be placed upright in the box. For use in the field, the regular storage bottle cap is temporarily replaced by a dispensing type cap.
As the various products are used, the bottles are refilled upon returning home.
Also in my shooting box you’ll find a small container “J-B” non-embedding bore cleaner. Also a small amount of Flitz, a non-abrasive, non-toxic, non-flammable polish.
And one last suggestion, include a bore light. So that when traveling to camp, on a hunting trip, or simply visiting the shooting range somewhere nearby, you’ll be able to locate your shooting box.
Simply put, I don’t leave home without it. Besides, if you need a “first aid” kit for your firearms and it’s at home, whose fault is that?
(Charlie Burchfield is an active member and past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, and the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers. Gateway Outdoors e-mail is GWOutdoors@comcast.net)