View Full Version : How do you clean YOUR rifle?

December 19, 2004, 05:13 AM
Hey hey guys, I'm here with a question. How do you clean your muzzle-loading rifle? No inlines here -- just side hammer percussions.

I'm asking this to see what the 'correct' 'modern' way to clean one is. Right now, as a Civil War reenactor, I only know the 1860s way (albeit, I included a couple modern bits (WD40, oil, bore butter when storing)), but it'd be spiffy to see how it's done these days.

December 19, 2004, 07:51 AM
I use 777 powder in all of my muzzleloaders. 8 of them.After a shooting session I use a dry bore brush,a couple of strokes. Follow that with a bore mop sprayed with WD-40 and there clean. Before shooting a dry bore mop and pop a couple of caps through it and your ready to start shooting again.

December 19, 2004, 08:01 AM
I usually spend an extra five or ten minutes at the range and run a few patches through the bore to try and get out a lot of the fouling before I get home. I guess it just seems easier to do at the range. I use T/C blackpowder solvent.
When I get home I remove the barrel from the stock and clean it using boiling water. First with a bucket of boiling water and soap, then with plain water. I then run a patch with bore butter through the barrel.
Very quick and very easy.

4V50 Gary
December 19, 2004, 11:16 AM
At the range, I wipe down the bore with a patched soaked in homemade moose milk (water soluable oil plus water). When I get home, it's a coffee can partially filled with boiling water. Simple patch on a brass ramrod (made from the vertical bars used on pushbars for doors) to flush out the barrel.

December 19, 2004, 12:20 PM
Simple Green til I get in the house, then hot soapy water, dry patches, and a bore mop with WD40 or Hoppes BP solvent.

December 20, 2004, 02:53 AM
Crazy, I thought the hot water down the barrel thing was only for us reenactor nutheads... And that there'd be like, some newfangled invention.

So what solvents work best?

Uncle Miltie
December 22, 2004, 06:26 PM
I learned to clean percussion arms from a fellow who began shooting them around 1910.

Take patches wet with cold water (which leaves no rust like hot water) and wipe until they come out clean. If your breech is flat, use a scraper or brush. Clean with one more wet patch. Then, fold a moist patch over the nipple and set the hammer down to seal it. Pour in a few inches of plain old cold water, let it work for a few minutes, then take a damp patch and squirt the dirty water out.

Finish up with dry patches, and preserve the bore with a good grease. The fellow I learned this from used sperm or bear oil, but just about anything good will work. I can do a thorough cleaning of a rifle or pistol this way in less than 10 minutes, and it will be just as clean as any special contortions or whiz-bang formulas will leave it.



December 22, 2004, 10:57 PM
I shoot Triple 7 in a .54 Lyman GPR. Barrel cleaning is always in the kitchen sink with hot soapy water. Takes all of 10 minutes. Inside is dried including the breech and drum and Bore Butter while the barrel is still warm to hot. Outside gets a coating of Break-Free or Bullfrog with heavier coating around the nipple area that catches all the cap residue.
If I'm not going to clean I'll swab out the barrel with dry patches on a jag and Bore Butter it until I either shoot it again or do a detailed cleaning. No problems so far.

January 1, 2005, 10:59 AM
I've been using rubbing alcohol instead of water for about three years now. It seems to dissolve fouling as well as water or any of the other solvents I've tried but evaporates so rapidly that moisture in the nipple/chamber area isn't a problem. I've also been using (experimentally) my home-made 50-50 beeswax/olive oil mixture as a lubricant after cleaning. I originally made it for bullet lube for minie balls, then began using it as a patch lube for round balls. I haven't had any misfires or hang-fires since I stopped cleaning with water and lubricating with oil or other petroleum based product.

I saturate patches with alcohol, followed with dry patches when cleaning between shots and pump the alcohol through the bore in the normal way for end of the day cleaning. When I'm cleaning for storage, I'll have the barrel out of the stock anyway so I heat it up with a hair dryer after using the alcohol. The heat evaporates any alcohol remaining and also makes the lubricant liquify enough to get good coverage inside the bore.

January 5, 2005, 06:16 AM
I get the worst of it out before I leave the range with T/C's No. 13 and then when I get home I just use the hot soapy water routine. Nothing special really, just hot tap water and soap in a plastic bucket set in the bathtub. I flush it out twice that way, rinse, dry and oil with Breakfree. For soap I use Murphy's Oil Soap or any dishwashing liquid, I don't think it really matters much either way. I treat the lock the same way except after drying I shoot it with Rem Oil.

January 5, 2005, 08:05 PM
I don’t believe in the modern way.

I do it the old fashion way.
Water as hot as I can get it and dish washing soap.
I remove the barrel from the stock and place it in the bath tub with water as hot as I can get it. Scrub it out with plastic and brass brushes and then when the metal is still hot let it air dry.
Then a good quality gun oil like Breakfree and reassemble and store in a gun sock.
I do this with procession pistols also, only just the blued parts.
I have one Colt reproduction I have had for over 30 years that is in very good shape and a Hawken 50 that’s over 20 years that will out shoot any 30-30 Winchester.