With teal season beginning this month, and the full-fledged duck season only a month or so behind it, the annual trek to the salt marshes of our coastline will begin. And thus again will begin the annual battle of all waterfowlers, the fight against rust.

Hunting the marsh - or anywhere for that matter - presents specific and serious problems to shooters. Duck hunting is a damp, wet sport. Throw in salt spray, and you need the very best protectants you can buy to keep corrosion from spoiling your fine shotgun.

For some 82 years, Radiator Specialty Company, headquartered in North Carolina near Charlotte, has brought many popular compounds to the marketplace. Specializing in lubricants, penetrants and cleaning chemicals, they have produced some recognizable brands such as Gunk, Liquid Wrench and Solder Seal.

It was a natural progression for them to turn to the firearms care business, since firearms, like the automobile market, require lubricants, penetrants, cleaning compounds and protectants.

The company has developed a line of firearms care products for Smith & Wesson, and these are being marketed by the company under that distinguished name. You can rest assured Smith & Wesson would not allow their imprimatur to be used if the products were not of the absolute highest quality. A recent demonstration indicates they may be some of the best in the business.

A display by company personnel was exhibited at the NRA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky in May.

You can tell someone something until your voice is hoarse, and you can be the most effective speaker ever created, but absolutely nothing works like a demonstration.

The company set up a 20-gallon aquarium, and filled it half full with water, mixing a strong solution of ice cream rock salt. The resulting mixture would more fit the description of "brine" than simply salt water. You could have pickled cucumbers in the stuff.

They then took a gun barrel that had been polished down to the "white" - all the bluing was removed. This shiny steel barrel was wiped down on one-half with the new Smith & Wesson Lubricant & Protectant, while the other half was left untreated with anything.

The barrel was then suspended in the tank several inches above the heavy salt solution, and an aquarium pump was turned on, resulting in a continuous cloud of salt spray.

The accompanying photograph shows the barrel after 60 hours of continuous immersion in this salt spray. The left side of the barrel shows heavy corrosion already started, while the right side, treated with the S&W lubricant and protectant, shows no corrosion at all.

Company personnel showed me photographs of similar barrels immersed in the same solutions and the number of hours the barrels had been treated with competitors' products.

Some lasted only a very few hours before they began exhibiting signs of corrosion. Some lasted a couple of days before the rusting began. In some, the corrosion was ghastly.

But the S&W protectant lasted for hundreds of hours without showing any loss of protection. The company statement is the product will protect against corrosion for more than 700 hours.

If you are a gun enthusiast, I guarantee you have used several of these products on your guns, as I have. I can almost guarantee you won't ever use anything else to protect your guns against rust and corrosion after seeing this demonstration. It is as if they had the marsh duck hunter in mind when they custom designed this compound for Smith & Wesson.

The entire line of premium performance lubricants contains Cerlon, the next generation of Teflon, which offers superior lubricity and protection. Also, all the products are ammonia-free, which makes them much more environmentally friendly.

Besides the lubricant and protectant, the line offers bore gel, bore and action cleaner, advanced gun oil and a new dry lube. Company literature touts the ability of the products to offer superior protection and lubricity, reduce fouling and improve accuracy through repeated applications. The Synthetic Safe Bore & Action Cleaner is specifically designed for camo finishes as well as wood, plastic and composite gunstocks. It also removes black powder fouling.

The new Smith & Wesson line of cleaning and lubricating firearms products is designed to meet all the needs of any shooter in caring for his firearms. With the live demonstrations, it is apparent the shooter can effectively depend on a single line of products alone.

The collection of S&W products is available now in gun stores and many places where firearms cleaning gear is sold. If the rest of the product line performs as well as the salt spray demo exhibited the qualities of the protectant, you probably won't need to look very hard for anything else.