Gotcha! You’ve been taken in by another sensationalist headline.  Obviously, the subject of this article isn’t about whether your BAR could challenge Gerard Depardieu to a drinking contest, or if your B725 Grade 5 gets hangovers too. The subject of this article is quite different.  Now that the Covid crisis has meant that we have to wash our hands more often than usual, could hydro-alcoholic gel damage your gun?  We checked out some possible answers. 

Before they are sent out to the hunting and shooting community across the world, Browning guns undergo a whole series of extremely strict tests, called the “B.A.C.O. tests“.  These tests concern gun safety, reliability and accuracy.  But none of them concern the ability of a weapon to stand up to a solution containing up to 70% alcohol.  However, repeated contact between this solution and certain materials may well have consequences.


Hydro-alcoholic gel attacks wood; varnish in particular.  It is strongly advised that you dry your hands carefully after using gel, and before you handle your wood stock.  There are lots of traditional recipes about how to treat a mark caused by the gel.  The best idea, however, is to trust your gunsmith, who will apply his ingenuity and return your stock to its pre-Covid glory.


Ethanol, the substance that destroys bacteria and inhibitions, also attacks plastics.  Its repeated application increases the breakdown of polymers and thus of your composite stock.  Over time, the plastic may discolour.  In this case too, don’t forget to dry your hands carefully before picking up your gun.  The same applies to the steering wheel of your 4X4.

Rubber and Dura-Touch

Recoil pads and Dura-Touch inserts have made a huge improvement in making your weapon easier to use.  Unfortunately, here too, you need to be careful about these materials coming into contact with hydro-alcoholic gel.  You could run the risk of your recoil pad or inserts becoming sticky.  Discolouration is also possible.  If you notice any damage, try wiping with soapy water or talcum powder.


The gel does not pose a risk to metal, although repeated use can, over time, eat away at the anti-rust treatments applied to the barrel or the receiver. So, in this case too, it is recommended that you dry your hands before touching the metal parts of a weapon.

So, now you know!