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Old July 15, 2009, 10:32 AM   #1
kflach
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Cleaning Stages

The wife had a moment of tender compassion. She saw the desire in my eyes and said, “Since you like that so much, why not go ahead and buy it?” I put up a token resistance, but quickly found myself the owner of a .44 Pietta 1858 NMA. Now I’ve got to figure out how to use it. I’ve never owned a gun before - I haven’t even shot a pistol/revolver since flight school back in the early ‘80s. I don’t have any friends who shoot BP - in fact, none of my immediate circle of friends shoots anything. I’m a total newbie!

I’ve been looking through this and several other BP forums. I’ve seen the need to learn how to clean it - before I start shooting!! I’d like to confirm what I’ve picked up.

1.. The post-purchase/pre-shooting clean up.
Remove the cylinder and use patches and a bore brush to clean off the manufacturers oils/residues. Use the Bore Smoothing techniques mentioned in the “So you want a cap and ball revolver?” thread at the top of this page.

Question: One source I found (not from this forum) said “carburetor cleaner works great.” Is this true? I don’t know if that’s petroleum based or not.


2. Field Cleaning in between every 3-4 loads (as needed)
Remove the cylinder and use patches and a bore brush to clean off fouling in between loads at the range. I can use Windex.

Question: do I need to apply something after the Windex - some kind of olive oil or lubricant?


3. Clean up at home after shooting.
I’ve got the directions on the complete disassembly cleaning method recommended in the “So you want a cap and ball revolver?” thread at the top of this page. I’ve also found instructions on how to completely disassemble my revolver.

Questions: Everyone seems to clean their revolver when they get home but not everyone appears to do the complete disassembly every time. Is there an intermediate cleaning for when you come home after shooting but aren’t going to do the complete disassembly method Gatofeo described? Can you simply remove the wooden grips and then soak the cylinder and the rest of the gun in the hot water without totally disassembling every screw & part? Can you use a hair dryer to dry everything?
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Old July 15, 2009, 10:54 AM   #2
Fingers McGee
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Welcome to the wide wide wonderful world of charcoal burning. Being new to this side of the sport, you are asking a lot of questions and seeking advice on how to load, shoot, and clean you BP firearms. Rather than go over ground that has already been plowed by other BP shooters, below are a few sites you can got to that will give you more information than you can digest..

http://www.theopenrange.net/forum/index.php?board=31.0

http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/ind...oard,82.0.html

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=207029

http://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.html

http://www.curtrich.com/frontiersmen.html

These web sites and forums are guaranteed to give you an information overload and should answer most, if not all of your questions. If you need further questions asked, regular participants in the listed forums will be glad to help.

First things first. Don’t go out and buy a bunch of stuff to get started. Read as much as you can then find a SASS or NCOWS club near you and partner up with a C&B shooter there to help you along.

Finally, have fun.

Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee
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Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee - AKA Man of Many Colts - Alter ego of Diabolical Ken; SASS Regulator 28564-L-TG; Rangemaster and stage writer extraordinaire; Frontiersman, Pistoleer, NRA Endowment Life, NMLRA, SAF, CCRKBA, STORM 327, SV115; Charter member, Central Ozarks Western Shooters
Cynic: A blackguard whose faulty vision see things as they are, not as they should be. Ambrose Bierce
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Old July 15, 2009, 12:30 PM   #3
mykeal
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Good stuff, Fingers, as usual.

I'm going to go the other way for a second, however. All three of the op's questions really come down to one thing: make sure the bore and chambers are clean and free of petroleum based oils before you shoot it.

Quote:
One source I found (not from this forum) said “carburetor cleaner works great.” Is this true? I don’t know if that’s petroleum based or not.
Carburetor cleaner is petroleum based. However, it will do an excellent job of cleaning your gun from the factory preservatives, so it's good to use. The issue of using petroleum based products is that they will only partially burn in the black powder combustion chamber due to the relatively low temperatures involved. That partial combustion will leave a tar like substance that is hard to remove. You can combat this by never using petroleum based products in the bore and chambers, or by being sure such products are completely cleaned out prior to shooting the gun.

Use the carburetor cleaner; it will clean out the factory greases. Then clean out the carburetor cleaner with a good detergent soap and water solution, or an alcohol solution.

Quote:
do I need to apply something after the Windex - some kind of olive oil or lubricant
Depends on what you're going to do with the gun. If you're going to shoot it, no. If you're going to store it for awhile, yes, you need to oil the bore and chambers with a good rust preventative. You can use petroleum based oils for this, just be sure to clean them out before shooting the gun. If you use mineral oil lubricants/preservatives, or vegetable oil based lubricants/preservatives, then all you need to do before shooting is to make sure the bore/chambers are dry.

Quote:
Is there an intermediate cleaning for when you come home after shooting but aren’t going to do the complete disassembly method Gatofeo described? Can you simply remove the wooden grips and then soak the cylinder and the rest of the gun in the hot water without totally disassembling every screw & part? Can you use a hair dryer to dry everything?
Sure. There's no need for complete disassembly every time the gun is used. If it's going to be stored for a lengthy period of time (definition of 'lengthy' varies from person to person, but I say over a month), then do the complete job. Or, if you've used it frequently and it's been several uses (definition of 'several' varies from person to person, but I say 10-20) since it's been done, then do the complete job.

The action parts do not see the hot environment of the bore and chambers, so burned oils are not an issue there. They can collect carbon and other compounds and get dirty without the impact the same stuff has in the bore. They will get gummy and slow down the more use they get without cleaning, and that should be your guide.
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Old July 16, 2009, 03:23 PM   #4
kflach
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@ Fingers,
You mean make my information overload worse, right? <grin> I'll check the links out. I'm trying to only buy what I know is essential to get started and some things are obvious. I've got powder, bullets, wads, safety glasses, nipple wrench, a powder flask, a powder measuring tool and a few sundry items that were also included in my starter kit (I already have hearing protection). I still have a few things I know I need to get - patches, a cleaning rod, and cleaning solution ingredients. That last item is a biggie! There are so many choices and recipes. I've found a SASS club in my area to visit but they aren't meeting until the 25th.

@mykeal
Thanks for breaking it down a bit more for me. Now I've got a better idea how to evaluate the things I read online. I'd much rather start as close to "smart" as possible so I can, as Fingers said, "Finally, have fun!"
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Old July 16, 2009, 04:35 PM   #5
mykeal
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There certainly are a plethora of cleaning/lubricating products, many of which were never intended for that use (EVVO, for Pete's sake!).

Bottom line: it's actually kinda hard to make a wrong choice. Everybody's got their favorite, so there are lots and lots of 'best' products.

For me: clean with hot water and soap, rinse with hot water, dry with patches and towels. My current 'favorite' rust preventative is Ballistol. There are several other mineral oil based rp's that I'm sure do just as well: Break Free CLP, Butch's Bore Shine, T/C's No. 17, Hoppe's No. 9 Plus for Black Powder, etc. etc. etc. In the past I've used Bore Butter, but that requires that you get all the water out. All of it. Many people use WD-40 or alcohol to displace the water after cleaning; some just leave the WD-40 in place and claim it works for them. Not for me, however.
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Old July 16, 2009, 04:59 PM   #6
kflach
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I've been reading about that Barristol lately. Some people are putting a mixture of it and water into a spray bottle and using it for field cleaning (I think that's the right term).

I'm not sure but I think this mixture is called "moosemilk?"
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Old July 16, 2009, 05:31 PM   #7
Hawg
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Ballistol is good stuff but hard to find locally. I use soap and water to clean and WD-40 to remove water. Chambers and bore get Bore Butter and the action gets Remoil. Just don't get Remoil in the chambers or bore.
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Old July 16, 2009, 06:34 PM   #8
robhof
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robhof

Welcome to the Dark side! I had a kit gun in .45 as a teen, many many years ago and left for many years to persue the cordite world. I returned a few years ago and now I have almost as many b/p guns as modern. If you find a source for soft lead and cast; you'll find b/p shooting as cheap as 22's, but a lot more bang and smoke. I've found the cores of jacketed bullets are soft enough for b/p use so I recover at our club's outdoor range after rain storms, where they are usually left exposed on the berms. Enjoy your gun and happy shooting.
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Old July 16, 2009, 07:17 PM   #9
Hawg
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I still get wheel weights for free from tire shops but it's getting harder and harder all the time. Stick on weights are soft enough for muzzleloader use. I have used clip on weights for revolver bullets but they do load harder.
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Old July 17, 2009, 06:55 PM   #10
tube_ee
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My get-home cleaning has gotten pretty simple...

Remove grip panels and set aside.

Remove cylinder.

Fill my largest pot (the one I use for spaghetti) with water and a squirt of dish soap.

When pot is boiling, drop the entire gun and the cylinder(s) into the pot.

Boil for 30 minutes.

Dump gun into strainer. Refill pot with water (no soap this time) and put back on the stove.

Clean gun and cylinder(s) with rod and brass brush. Hot soapy water should be on hand, or you can catch the runoff from the strainer. Wear gloves... the metal will be hot.

Drop gun and cylinder(s) back into water and boil for 30 minutes.

Dump into strainer and rinse thoroughly.

Put rinsed parts into a ~250 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

Apply the spray lubricant while the gun is still hot. (I use WD-40 for its rust-preventing properties... that's what it was designed for, and it's the only thing it's really good for).

This procedure is much easier than taking the gun apart, and reduces the chances of buggering up the screws, which are quite soft. I've had zero rust problems.

Every few shooting sessions, I will do the full disassembly and deep cleaning, and you'll need to learn how the action comes apart and goes back together anyway, so your first few times, I'd do it that way. But for routine post-shoot cleanup, this is what I do.

--Shannon
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Old July 17, 2009, 07:05 PM   #11
Hawg
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Quote:
Fill my largest pot (the one I use for spaghetti) with water and a squirt of dish soap.

When pot is boiling, drop the entire gun and the cylinder(s) into the pot.

Boil for 30 minutes.

Dump gun into strainer. Refill pot with water (no soap this time) and put back on the stove.

Clean gun and cylinder(s) with rod and brass brush. Hot soapy water should be on hand, or you can catch the runoff from the strainer. Wear gloves... the metal will be hot.

Drop gun and cylinder(s) back into water and boil for 30 minutes.

Dump into strainer and rinse thoroughly.

Put rinsed parts into a ~250 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
What side dishes do you serve with that?
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