View Full Version : Cleaning up the mess

January 3, 2010, 09:47 PM
I finally got to head out with my new Pietta 1858 New Army that I picked up last Monday. It's the first cap and ball revolver that I've owned and I'm happier than a clam in mud with it. My wife even likes it!

We probably put 50 rounds or so through it before the ground started to melt and it got a little too muddy to tromp around. After a few hours of socializing with the family, we got home and I started cleaning.

Here's what I did: I set a pot of water boiling on the stove, pulled the cylinder, unscrewed the nipples and dropped all of that into the pan. While they were cooking, I soaked a mop in the water and swabbed out the barrel several times with it. Then I dunked a soft bristled nylon brush in the water and got after everything on the frame that I could reach with it.

I pulled the cylinder and nipples out of the water and let them dry (which took about two seconds). I ran a patch through the cylinder, blew out the nipples and wiped everything down with some olive oil.

Is that it? Other than cooking in a pot of water, that's pretty much what I've done with my black powder rifles and shotguns, but I've never had a revolver before. Did I miss anything?

By the way, with 30 grains (by volume) of Pyrodex P, POI matched POA at about 40 or 50 feet. I mean, it was spot on. We left many dead clay pigeons on the berm.

January 3, 2010, 11:16 PM
'Cooking' isn't necessary. Warm water will do just as well as hot. I usually add some dish detergent.

4V50 Gary
January 3, 2010, 11:18 PM
You did fine. If you want the extra measure, put it in an oven or atop of pot belly stove (sans grips) and let it warm up bit.

the rifleer
January 4, 2010, 12:03 AM
"I set a pot of water boiling on the stove..."

if it was already boiling why did you put it on the stove? :D

that took care of it, obviously you want to oil it. it doesn't take much, just two or three drops for the whole thing. i usually put a few patches of bore solvent in mine, but i dont think it makes that big of a difference, its just a little extra insurance.

January 4, 2010, 12:15 AM
Thanks fellas (even you Rifleer :D)

I like the idea of a pot bellied stove. I'll have to convince my wife that we need one. Then I won't be the only pot bellied thing around the house.

January 4, 2010, 01:47 AM
If you didn't get any rust, then you did dandy:D

However, I would recommend brushing and patching the chambers first, while still wet, and then let the cylinder dry. Not the other way around.

January 5, 2010, 12:03 PM
Little hint. Water does not have to be hot. The only advantage to hot water over cold water is the metal of the gun will be warmer and dry faster. Use cold water with detergent added (or not), dry and lube with your choice of rust preventatives.
The water does the cleaning. The additives might help to carry the crud away.

Doc Hoy
January 5, 2010, 01:18 PM
1. I put it in the oven at about 250 to 275 for bit (20 to 30 mins). I don't know why I do this, I just always do. I think some like the baking, while others disagree. (I always take the grips off at the very least for this step.)

2. If I am not going to break it down and clean up the internal workings (which I do almost every time anyway.) I douche it down good with some kind of spray.

3. I make sure to have a Guiness Stout or a Newcastle Brown available for internal self lubrication.

I do acknowledge that there is a wide variety of substances which can be substituted in step 3.

January 6, 2010, 05:00 PM
Doc - I was interested in your "STEP #3 . . . . . . I figured you were usin' a "fereign" stout cause most of these pistols are made in a "fereign" country . . . . an assumption on my part but would "domestic be O.K.? I realize that it has to be "applied" in moderation . . . . be a shame to use too much and get to the point where you'd unscrew the wrong nipples while you're doing the cleaning process . . . . :eek:

January 6, 2010, 05:25 PM
My dad used to clean his muzzle loaders in the bath tub. Did not make mom happy at all! And if mom ain't happy nobody's happy..:)

long rider
January 6, 2010, 07:10 PM
My dad used to clean his muzzle loaders in the bath tub?
I hope your mum was not takeing a bath at the same time.:eek::D

January 6, 2010, 07:32 PM
well another way of cleaning your revolvers is to take a bath with them. I take them apart and use my sink with warm soapy water

Doc Hoy
January 7, 2010, 08:57 AM
It took me a full three minutes to stop laughing after reading your post.

Actually I think any substance would work for step 3 as long as it begins with a "B".

January 7, 2010, 09:31 AM
Thanks for your informative three step process, Doc. Next time, I'll be able to tell my wife that I don't just want a Guiness...I need it - doctor's orders!

Doc Hoy
January 7, 2010, 09:49 AM
My wife deliberately mispronounces it "Genius Stout". She says it is because it makes me so smart. Do you think she is joshing me?

January 9, 2010, 01:36 PM
Yep, you did fine. That's pretty much how it's done.
But as has been stated, you don't need boiling water. Warm water will suffice, if you place the metal parts in a low pan and heat them at low temperature in the oven to drive out all moisture. Leave the oven door cracked a bit, for moisture to escape.
I dono't use any petroleum products on my revolvers. I lubricate with olive oil, or use CVA Grease Patch (comes in a tube and may be out of production; haven't seen it for a couple of years).
Barring the CVA stuff, use Bore Butter as a grease. You can use Crisco, but Crisco dries out in a few weeks and loses its lubricating quality.
I like to put a little grease around the cylinder pin. Oil on the cylinder pin doesn't last long during the firing of the revolver. All that blast and heat dries it quickly; grease clings and lasts longer.
Put a drop of olive oil on the nipple threads, so they're more easily removed later.
A short length of pipe cleaner will wick water from blind screwholes, such as those found on the Colt frame where the trigger guard and grip frame attach.
After wicking the moisture, give the frame the oven treatment.
Blind screw holes are not found on the Remington (not that I can recall; the ol' desert cat's brain is sometimes fuzzy) but I mention it for the benefit of you Colt owners.
I find that olive oil works fine as a rust preventative. But then, I live in the remote Utah desert where humidity is typically low. If you live elsewhere, you may be forced to use it to prevent rust.
Remove any petroleum products in the bore and chamber before firing. I use Ronson lighter fluid, because it evaporates without leaving anything behind. It's excellent for degreasing chambers on modern guns too.
Just put a little on a patch, run the patch through the bore, and follow with a dry patch.
Properly maintained, a cap and ball revolver will last for generations. Ignored or abused, it may not last a season. Longevity is up to the user.