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View Full Version : Will rust form in chambers that have been reloaded and sealed without cleaning first?


Rachen
March 3, 2012, 01:34 PM
AUGUST 1872: OKLAHOMA TERRITORY

You are tired. Your horse is tired. The endless steppe stretches forever under a most hot and merciless sun. You are dying for a glass of cold beer but the next town is over 200 miles away.

Suddenly you see a commotion on the side of the dusty highway. Four dirty and ragged outlaws are holding a young woman down by her arms, pinning her to the wheel of a stagecoach. The coach lay burning nearby and the corpses of the driver and guard could be seen dangling from the burning frame.

Thinking fast, you drew your trusty .44 Remington belt revolver and fired off four quick shots, resulting in four very, very dead outlaws. The woman is okay fortunately...Badly shocked but okay.

Now you have one more life to care for as you struggle on through the heat towards the next town.

You have no water to scrub out the chamber of your Remington, but you decide to load the 4 empty chambers up anyway, just in case more trouble comes at you.

Assuming you have also sealed the chambers AND the cones with petrol jelly after loading, would these 4 chambers still develop rust later in case you have no time to dump the charges and clean them?

wittzo
March 3, 2012, 03:03 PM
I would worry more about the frame and barrel than the cylinders. Once powder and ball are in the cylinders, moisture's not going to affect the cylinder walls no more than loading it with fresh powder.

Ideal Tool
March 3, 2012, 05:41 PM
Hello, wittzo. I agree, under those circumstances, a water wash would be last of my worries. But you are forgetting about the caps..they were pure poison..just about like blowing table salt throught gun. And petrol jelly? Deer or bear tallow more likely at that time.
I got to thinking about modern day gun care compared to 19th century..and we really do baby our firearms today! If you look at the forends of old Sharps and Remington singleshots, and early Winchesters, the wood is worn concave..and in some cases right thru to the bottom inletting..from being rested on front of a saddle. on later arms, you'll see marks on forend wood & barrel..light tap marks..like elves have gotten after it with a tack hammer..this is called 'buggy wear"..from being leaned against the jostling wood & iron seat of a wagon or buckboard. We fuss over a scratch or ding..do you think o'l Jedediah Smith would stand still in the middle of a Beaver stream, fully exposed, while gazing with sorrow over a new found scratch in his Hawkin? Or that wild Bill, would drown his sorrrow with cheap whisky after inadvertantly knocking the ivory handle of his 51' navy on the batwings? Judging from the condition of the majority of bores and cylinder chambers of original revolvers of that time..I think cleaning..proper cleaning that is, was a hit or miss thing for the average joe.

Mr.Guido
March 3, 2012, 05:42 PM
I wouldn't worry to much about it because once I got to town and sold of my extra 4 horses and extra 4 guns and extra 4 pairs of boots and maybe a gold tooth or two, I could buy one of those new fangled cartridge guns. My chances of finding a cold beer in 1872 are probably not as good as getting a proper thank you from that grateful young lady.;)

Hawg
March 3, 2012, 09:22 PM
getting a proper thank you from that grateful young lady

A thank you would be about all you would get.

Mr.Guido
March 3, 2012, 10:04 PM
Story of my life.:(

Hawg
March 3, 2012, 10:25 PM
People were different back then. The bible was a way of life not merely a suggestion.

Mr.Guido
March 3, 2012, 10:51 PM
Since I don't do religious debates, I will have to concede to your first hand experience here.:D

Beagle333
March 3, 2012, 10:53 PM
Mr.Guido

I wouldn't worry to much about it because once I got to town and sold of my extra 4 horses and extra 4 guns and extra 4 pairs of boots and maybe a gold tooth or two, I could buy one of those new fangled cartridge guns.

I always say that when I'm watching a western! "You killed 'em, don't just leave all that laying there and ride away!", I shout. "At the very least, Man. . . get an extra gun or two!"

Hawg
March 4, 2012, 08:58 AM
I always say that when I'm watching a western! "You killed 'em, don't just leave all that laying there and ride away!", I shout. "At the very least, Man. . . get an extra gun or two!"

And do what with them? Carry them where?:confused:

Beagle333
March 4, 2012, 10:46 AM
Well, in the OP's situation, he was heading to the next town. And sooner or later, everybody is going to need a few extra bucks. You can't just go riding around being the good guy or hero without some sort of funding. So, you can at least pay some expenses of your journey with the valuable shiny items that now lay in the dust, or you can get to the next town and discover you need a new hand spring (. . . . or some dried beans, or flour, or coffee, or anything for your next trip) and would have to poke cows for a while to afford such. And since he had actually dispatched some villains, for whatever the reason, there seems to be no sense to pretend that their valuables are better left with the corpses.

And let's not forget, he also has used his pistol, and now it's dirty (read: soon to be rusty, unless he finds some water and time to attend to it) and everybody knows that 2 is better than 1. Pick up an extra or two, just to have in the saddlebag for extended firefights or failure of your own sidearm, even if you don't need any tradin' stock for when you encounter a town. The extra weight wouldn't be a problem, there are also 4 available pack horses in this tale.

Hawg
March 4, 2012, 11:23 AM
Well if you want to get into historical accuracy, unless they were expecting trouble most guns were carried in saddlebags to start with. Saddlebags aren't that big. They don't really hold a lot of stuff, especially if you're living out of them.

Beagle333
March 4, 2012, 11:44 AM
Thinking fast, you drew your trusty .44 Remington belt revolver. . .

'Not really thinking historically correct. I was leaning toward the Josey Wales look, where ideally our hero would be dripping with guns, from his side pistols, to his sash and also in his boot. And since we were worried about his only sidearm rusting, he obviously needed a few for his sash and boot.

Rachen
March 4, 2012, 11:57 AM
Ye' guys know how I came up with that scenario?

I just happened to watch "Two Mules For Sister Sara" and then that kickass Superbowl Budweiser commercial back to back.

The commercial had a Old West gunfighter going into town and after he downed a bottle of Bud he started singing the Tim McGraw song "Tiny Dancer", and the the whole bar joined in the song!:D:D

Beagle333
March 4, 2012, 12:04 PM
Ye' guys know how I came up with that scenario?
I just happened to watch "Two Mules For Sister Sara"

Hogan: [after killing Sara's rapists and she asks him to bury them] "Sister, I don't mind shootin' em' for ya, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna sweat over 'em for ya."

Hawg
March 4, 2012, 12:16 PM
As far as cleaning goes I would imagine most carried some form of simple cleaning kit with them.

Beagle333
March 4, 2012, 01:03 PM
Here's a nice long discussion over on THR of what was carried, but I didn't see anything about cleaning supplies. That would be interesting to read about also, if anybody knows just what they did or didn't carry for maintenance. I have wondered that. You never see Clint whip out his Brownell's Magna-tip set and tighten a screw.

Click for linky thingy (http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-4098.html)

Rachen
March 4, 2012, 02:55 PM
Here's a nice long discussion over on THR of what was carried, but I didn't see anything about cleaning supplies. That would be interesting to read about also, if anybody knows just what they did or didn't carry for maintenance. I have wondered that. You never see Clint whip out his Brownell's Magna-tip set and tighten a screw.


I always believed that the real Old West was never as quick, fiery, and swashbuckling as the "reel" Old West.

Many of the earlier Western movies and series like Red Ryder did not even deal much with real life issues that people faced out there, such as famines and terrible, debilitating illnesses like fevers, tuberculosis and pneumonia. And not to mention the deaths of many, many young children due to illnesses and that funeral carriages bearing small caskets were a common sight, in both East and West. Or those same poor children suffering from fevers, delirium, and cramps before they died, all because they drank some dirty well water.

In one of the editions of Dixie Gun Work's Blackpowder Annual magazines, there is a picture of Wyatt Earp that showed what he looked like and carried during his early days as a professional buffalo hunter before he became a lawman. It showed Earp in a very rugged working man's chaps and shirts, and carrying a big leather pouch that contained nipple picks, accoutrements, barrel swabs, barrel worms and other tools for maintaining his huge Greener double-barreled shotgun. While other hunters were using the Trapdoor .50-70 "needle guns" or the Sharps, Earp chose to use an old Greener 12 gauge muzzleloading double, with a 70 grain charge of FF and a huge patched roundball. Them Greeners needed a hell of a lot more maintenance than the trapdoors and he carried a pretty big accoutrement bag for it.

I would expect the average rancher, farmer, or worker to carry an accoutrement bag for all their rifle and handgun cleaning needs. After all, a standard Colt SAA in 1873 cost almost 13 dollars. A .44 Remington percussion belt revolver would cost about 9 dollars in the same year. All this time, a hard working cowboy or oilman might make about 100 dollars a year. So a firearm is a pretty substantial investment, and I highly doubt these men would be careless with such items.

Hawg
March 4, 2012, 03:01 PM
I highly doubt these men would be careless with such items.

I second that. Methinks the deplorable state many old guns are in now are from being played well after the turn of the century. BP would have been considered outdated but cartridges, powder etc would still be around, so they were played with without much thought to cleaning.

Rachen
March 4, 2012, 03:29 PM
I second that. Methinks the deplorable state many old guns are in now are from being played well after the turn of the century. BP would have been considered outdated but cartridges, powder etc would still be around, so they were played with without much thought to cleaning.


Many modern shooters, especially the ones who got into the shooting sports because of video games, take nary a precaution when it comes to keeping their arms in tiptop shape. I have seen ARs shot so much that crud builds up in the chamber and barrel throats like a cake of sheetrock, because the owner never bothered to disassemble and clean it.

Me, I shoot black powder and I have never got any rust in my guns because I meticulously clean them, like any cowboy or rancher would have done, at the end of a long day, in the warm light of a Petromax lantern.

BUT NOW:
In times of war or crisis, the operator of any gun might not have adequate time to clean his weapon. Sometimes, the only option is to lock and load and either hide the weapon somewhere until he passes by again and needs it, or keep a steady lookout for the enemy.

Imagine it is now 1761, during the incredibly bloody Irish Insurrections. You are an Irish freedom fighter armed with a flintlock Pattern 1750 Naval Pistol. The British have just murdered your entire family and you want nothing but vengeance. You see a British officer leading a column down the road and you blast the SOB right off his horse with a lung shot.

You manage to escape as the stunned Redcoats spread out and start a manhunt for the killer. In the darkening woods, you try to search for a hamlet or village which might be sympathetic to the Irish cause, but they are very far away. You decide to load the big 1750, and grease the chamber. The Redcoats are quickly coming, and you know that if you are caught with a weapon, you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead.

You see a large hollow tree ahead of you, bristling with a crop of colorful fungi. You hide the pistol in the hollow, using the place as a landmark.

Several minutes later, the grim faced Redcoats catch up with you, but your story of being a peasant trader is passable, they search your packs and prodded your bags with their bayonets and found nothing, so they let you go.

SEVERAL MONTHS LATER:
You are back in the same woods again. A British general leading a column is about to head down the lonely forest road. You know you have several minutes to get ready. You find the same hollow tree bristling with colorful fungi, and you smile with grim satisfaction as you draw the big pistol from within the hollow trunk.

The Redcoats are now less than 100 yards away, and their arrogant leader rides ahead of the column on his white mare. You raise the pistol and let the rudimentary sights settle on the heart of the red uniformed general.

NOW: Would the loaded and sealed chamber be free of rust, or would the chamber have rusted so much during this time, that when you pull the trigger, the pistol will explode at the breech in a flash of fire, knocking you backwards, and if you are still surviving, be forced to rush at the general and gut him with your machete instead.

Hawg
March 4, 2012, 04:43 PM
I would think the chamber would be fairly rust free but the touch hole/flash channel would be rusted over to the point of not firing.

Rachen
March 6, 2012, 07:33 PM
I would think the chamber would be fairly rust free but the touch hole/flash channel would be rusted over to the point of not firing.


But what if you have sealed the flash hole and pan with tallow, just like Gary Paulsen's hero Patriot sniper in his novelette "The Rifle"? In that novelette, the rifle was still in perfect condition even after 200 years, and a single spark finding it's way into the flashpan ignited a sequence of events which is a stark reminder of the importance of firearms safety.

If the chamber would be fine, the powder charge still viable, and the pan sealed, I think that particular British general, and perhaps some of his vicious attack dogs, the "Black-and-Tans", would be learning a lesson about just how dedicated the Irish will fight for their freedom, particularly if our hero has also stuffed his rucksack with a pack of buck and ball cartridges and plenty of powder.

Hawg
March 6, 2012, 07:54 PM
Then you're going to have a time getting it all out. Plus the frizzen will be rusted over and wont spark. And what about priming powder in the pan?