Along with the zeal for a growing gun collection comes the duty of proper gun storage. As clay a clay shooting enthusiast, you probably already know that organizing and storing your firearms is an essential task that must be met without fail. But what’s the best way to do this?
Well, when packing up your gun for a game, you’ll have to reach great lengths to ensure that your gun is as safe as it can be.
Some people might use a layer of foam, while others might use a gun case. Whatever you use, here is how you can cut foam for a gun case and maximize both security and accessibility.
How to Cut Foam for Your Shotgun Case
On a basic level, a gun case is meant to protect your firearm while in transport. There are many types of gun cases with different features, and picking the best for your needs is vital.
Some factors to consider include how the case will be transported (i.e. by airplane or in the back of a truck) and what kind of protection you need (i.e. from the elements or from impact).
The good news is that molding foam for gun cases can be a one-time cost if you get the right ones. You can cut foam with any craft knife; just take your time, be accurate and remember, you can always trim it again if you need to.
While you can easily find a case for your shotgun- whether a hard or a soft gun case- there’re still some customization areas that you might want to take into account. Here’s a guide to help you with your foam requirements, alongside some tips on cutting foam for your shotgun case:
Tools for Cutting Foam for a shotgun Case
Perhaps the best part about this DIY project is that you can get just about any tool from the market for cutting the foam of a hard gun case. The most essential tools required for this task are:
- Electric knife (or regular knife)
- Cutting frame
Get a Gun Case That Fits Your Items
Before you purchase a hard gun case, it is important to consider the type of firearm you want to store inside of it. This way, you can be sure to find a case that offers sufficient space and flexibility.
You can cut a hard gun case to create a custom fit (as long as it is flexible and customizable), but you’ll need to keep in mind the size of your firearm before making a purchase.
For example, long hard gun cases are generally ideal for holding rifles, while square-shaped hard gun cases are considered best for storing handguns or shotguns. So think about the size of your gun and then select a hard gun case accordingly.
Prepare the Firearm
There are a few things you’ll need to do to get your gun ready for cutting foam for a hard gun case. First, unload the gun and remove all of the gun’s removable parts. Then take measurements of every removed part.
This will help you keep each piece secure in the hard gun case. As for the foam itself, Puck ‘n’ Pluck foam is one of the best options and definitely worth considering.
Layout and Organization
The next step is to determine how many guns and accessories you will be carrying in your case. Do this before you start cutting the foam for your handgun case.
Simply place the gun as well as the accessories on the foam, and find the pattern that works best. Once the guns and the necessary components have been arranged, now work on making a layout to avoid mistakes.
In addition to proper arrangement, weight distribution is key. When you’re cutting the foam for your hard gun case, you’ll need to create specific compartments for each part of the gun. This will help you keep everything organized and make it easier to find what you need when you need it.
It’s also important to make sure that the cuttings are evenly distributed around the entire surface of the foam. This will help to ensure that weight is evenly distributed and also keep the case balanced. Be sure to leave some space between the accessories and the guns so that they don’t get damaged.
Outline Your Firearm and Accessories
On the foam, draw an outline of your firearm, encompassing the size and shape of your gun and together with the accessories. This will help find out how many parts you can fit into the case, and where you need to make adjustments so that everything can fit snugly. You can draw the outline using a fine-sharpened-tipped pen or chalk and then trace the design.
Cut the Gun Case Foam
This is where the cutting frame comes in. A cutting frame is like a mold that helps you cut the foam smoothly and efficiently into the preferred shape.
You can use an electric knife or just a sharp knife to cut the foam based on the outline you made in the previous step. When cutting, remember to keep each gun and accessory at a distance (minimum of 1 inch) to keep the foam from ripping off.
Peel off the Layers and Check for Fit
Once you’ve achieved the desired outline and cut the foam, now it’s time to peel. Peeling off the layers of foam is like unwrapping a present. The more you peel, the more space you create for your guns and other accessories.
Check the fitting of your items after each layer to get a sense of the most accurate position and depth for each one. That way, when you move your hard gun case around, your shotgun parts will stay put.
Curve the Edges and Clean Up
You’re almost ready to get your very own gun case! Making sure that the case is balanced and well fitted helps to prevent accidents, so be extra careful to follow the steps mentioned earlier when cutting the foam to size. By customizing the gun case to perfectly suit all of your needs, you can rest assured that your gun will be well-protected at all times.
If you find that one area is too deep for your liking, you can use the leftover pieces of foam to add padding to that particular area. Once you have achieved the desired fit, get a hot wire cutter or an electric knife and trim any unwanted foam pieces sticking out. At this point, you should have something that is neat and presentable.
Get a hard-rounded tool (like a marker) to smoothen the edges. Applying the same amount of pressure along the edges might yield better results, so try to keep the pressure consistent as you work your way around the entire edge. Use your fingers to feel the edges and know if there are some areas that need more work.
In case a certain section isn’t up to your standards, you can always cut a smaller piece of foam, fill the gap and grant the case a neater finish. Note that gun case foams are available in three major types:
- Ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer foam (commonly known as EVA foam)
- Polyethylene foam ( TopGuard PE)
- Polyurethane foam (PU Ester-foam)
PE is closed-cell foam, PU is open-cell foam and EVA is very comparable to closed-cell foam. Eva foam is considered great for displaying cases due to its attractive smooth appearance, while Ester foam (PU) is considered best for delicate accessories because it features excellent shock-absorbing properties. PE, meanwhile, is considered great for heavier items and accessories that can withstand a little shock.
Puck’n’pluck foam is a type of material that is known for being both customizable and user-friendly. This makes it a great option for those looking for a hard gun case that can be easily adjusted to fit their specific needs.
While gun cases have been around for quite a while, there are a few reputable manufacturers that provide high-quality gun cases. Plus, there’s the option to buy a customized case or a default one. Some of these manufacturers include Voodoo, Condor, Plano, Pelican, NcStar, and Uncle Mike’s.
Essential Gear for Clay Shooting
It is possible to take on a clay shooting sport with just a shotgun, safety glasses, and some earplugs. However, having a few more accessories can greatly enhance your shooting experience and make your time even more enjoyable at the range.
Once you’re hooked, you can save some bucks and get yourself some quality shooting glasses, hearing protection, and such, but for starters, certain shooting accessories are a must-have:
Gun or rifle cases come in all shapes, sizes, and materials but the most popular types are soft cases and hard cases. Soft cases are often made of materials like nylon, neoprene, or leather, which makes them quite versatile and therefore, have a lot of different uses.
The downside to soft cases is that they don’t protect your gun as much as a hard case would. Hard cases are usually made of plastic or metal. They offer more protection for your gun but can be less comfortable to carry around.
On the bright side though, a soft case has its benefits- which are often unseen but offer a world of help. First, soft-sided cases are typically quiet which helps keep you from scaring away your game, lightweight so you don’t get bogged down, and easy to manage so you can focus on the hunt. Waterfowlers count on floating soft-sided cases for these reasons and more.
For duck hunters, soft-sided cases are typically waterproof- which comes in handy if your gun falls in the water- and camouflaged so that they will disappear and avoid being seen by the ducks when you overhear them. Moreover, many waterfowl-specific cases also float in order to keep your equipment from being lost or damaged if it falls in the water.
Hard-sided cases, on the other hand, provide the most protection for your gun. As the name suggests, these cases feature a hard exterior that will keep your firearm safe from any outside force. In addition, the foam padding inside the case will curb excessive impacts, making sure your firearm stays in place.
Note that not all foam padding is created equal. Some lower-budget cases might have thick foam, but it might be so thin that it gets your firearm shifting every time you lift the case. The foam should be dense enough to keep your gun and accessories secured.
Some options may even incorporate firearm model-specific foam or customizable foam so that you can alter it to the ultimate fit. Otherwise, you do not want any movement within the case.
A double gun case can easily carry a single gun and has ample space for accessories. If you need to transport two guns, you will already have a case that can handle the task. In case you’ve got a couple of scoped guns, just make sure the case can comfortably fit both firearms.
Eye protection is crucial for anyone who plans to step onto the shooting range. It protects your eyes from targets that might shatter, hot powder and dirt that could fly up, and even from reflections or ricochets that could occur.
Besides, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a good pair of shooting glasses – even $15 will get you a decent pair. In addition to protecting your eyes, shooting glasses can also help you see targets more clearly. Different tinted lenses are available for different light conditions.
For example, rose- and orange-colored lenses make orange targets stand out and work well in general. Brown, purple, or gray lenses work great in bright sun; clear is good at night and yellow is considered best in a haze. The idea is to get the lightest tint that you can work with without squinting. Some glasses will even come with bifocals and prescription inserts.
There are no exceptions when it comes to ear protection; it’s mandatory! In fact, the majority of clubs usually offer foam earplugs, which work great at protecting your ears when used properly. Another type of earplug is molded earplugs; these ones boast the extra advantage of being inserted correctly every time for guaranteed full protection.
You can also find more advanced and costly options that come with microphones that amplify normal sounds while blocking out ear-damaging gun noises. You might want to wear earmuff protectors over earplugs for maximum protection.
Fortunately, amplified muffs are now more affordable, plus they allow the user to hear while still protecting their ears. You can always use foam earplugs in conjunction with electronic muffs. It might not be the perfect hearing, but you’ll probably be hearing much better than your friends, without falling short on hearing protection.
Vests that are meant for shooting typically have pockets that can hold glasses, choke tubes, and shells. The best shooting vests also have padding in the shoulders to help with the recoil, pouches in the back for holding spent shells, and D-rings to keep keys and other accessories close by.
A range bag is yet another crucial piece of equipment for anyone who likes spending time at the shooting range. You can use it for carrying your gear to the skeet field or trap field, and even during the sporting clay course, especially when it’s far from your vehicle.
When buying, you might want to pick a bag that’s large enough to accommodate extra items such as water, sunscreen, a multitool, a rag, and some gun medic.
A must-have for trap and skeet enthusiasts, shell pouches provide an easy way to transport shells and cartridges from station to station. A divided pouch will typically set you back around $20 and can easily take a box of shells, extras, and your used cartridges.
If you’re planning to take on trap shooting with an autoloader, then Shell catchers are a must-have. There are a few different types of these devices. Some are designed to clip onto the receivers of many popular gun models, while others are meant to be more compatible when used alongside sticky tape. If you’re in a bind, you can also use rubber bands or hair ties.
Overall, proper gun storage and organization are two crucial aspects of maintaining a safe and effective clay shooting environment. By storing guns in a safe and organized manner, you can rest assured that your firearms are always ready for use and you can quickly and easily find the specific gun you need for any given situation.
Not forgetting that proper gun storage can help to protect firearms from damage and theft. Moreover, there are a number of different ways to store and organize guns, and the best method may vary depending on the specific needs of the shooter.
For example, some shooters may prefer to keep their guns stored in a locked cabinet or safe, while others may opt for a more open storage system that allows them to quickly grab a gun when needed. Regardless of the method used, it is important to make sure that guns are always stored in a way that’s safe and secure.