February 18th, 2017

flintlock rifle in winter

Setting: fantasy, based on ~1730s Europe

My MC is an infantrywoman who has deserted the army, and now is on the run in the middle of a very snowy winter. She managed to take most of her kit with her, including a flintlock rifle. Not being a gun person myself, I'm a little lost as to what, if any, special considerations would need to be taken to keep the rifle in working condition in snowy weather, and what effect this will have if/when she needs to use it.

Most of the information I've come across for using flintlocks in bad weather refers to rainy/humid conditions. I did see a mention that in colder weather, you need to be careful about taking the rifle into warmer places because of condensation, but if my MC basically is sleeping outside (with her dog for warmth, maybe a small campfire), would this be an issue? Some info says to leave the rifle loaded and outdoors to avoid condensation, while others say never ever leave it loaded unless you're intending to shoot it shortly...basically, I'm not sure what to think and not sure where to look for correct info. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

And on that note, even though my MC's been in a soldier for a couple years by this point, it wouldn't be beyond her to do/forget to do something stupid and render herself without a working firearm. What sort of 'something' could this be? Bonus points if it's something she could fix on her own with what she'd have in her kit, if she had enough of a lead on her pursuers to take the time to do so.