In the field, take the bolt out of the gun and put it under your clothes, such as under your armpit or crotch. For the record, I tried both and I vastly favor the armpit. You will need to keep the bolt under your clothes until it’s warm. Then it will function until it gets cold again.
Back at camp you can use lighter fluid, gasoline or Coleman lantern gas to remove the grease. Soak the bolt overnight and then slosh it around to flush out the grease. Work outside and stay a good distance from any flame. I once had a Coleman lantern ignite the fumes from a 5-gallon gas can from 10 feet away. I was outdoors on a boat dock and I was holding the can and pouring the gas. Trust me, it’s not something you want on your life-experiences list.
A dry bolt will work temporarily, but you should re-lubricate if you can. There are plenty of good lubricants on the market today that maintain viscosity at extreme temperatures such as Break-Free CLP, which is rated to 65 degrees below zero.
Remove the bolt or open the action on a rifle or shotgun and completely unload the gun. If possible (as with break-open guns or those that allow you to remove the barrel) blow air down the bore from the chamber end. Short, hard, rapid, blasts are better than a constant pressure. This will remove 90 percent of the obstructions. If it does not work, try warming the barrel by rapidly rubbing your hand up and down the outside. Or use a lighter, a truck tailpipe or (carefully) a campfire. You are only trying to melt whatever is in there enough so you can remove it, so don’t let it get too hot.
Once you have the obstruction out of the bore, clean out the mess in the action with the handkerchief. If it’s mud, chances are it is not cold enough to freeze, so carefully pour water from the breech end, letting it run out the muzzle to flush out the dirt and crud. If you have a solid obstruction that cannot be removed this way, like a stuck bullet or compacted mud, then you must use a rod. If that fails, find a gunsmith.
Sling Swivel Pulled Out
Of course, the list of potential problems is much longer than this. When they occur on a hunting trip, think like a Marine—improvise, adapt and overcome. Every problem has a solution; you just need to find it.
Carefully aim at the bullseye as you slowly increase pressure on the trigger. The crosshairs should be on the center of the target when the gun goes off and the shot should surprise you a little.
Measure from the bullet hole horizontally straight across to the center of the target. Then measure up or down to the horizontal center line. Most scopes will move the point of impact ¼ inch per click at 100 yards, so convert your measurement into clicks. Move the scope the number of clicks needed. Take the lead tip of a bullet or the plastic handle of a knife and sharply tap the adjustment knobs on the scope several times. Sometimes the internal adjustments stick, particularly after a hard jolt, and this helps remind them to behave. Now carefully fire one more shot and you should be zeroed.