View Full Version : Muzzleloader barrel rescue

February 16, 2000, 08:45 PM
I recently obtained a Thompson/Center, New Englander , 50 cal rifle in very poor condition. It looks as if it hasn't been cleaned for years. The exterior of the barrel has lost bluing in places from rust. Is there any hope for any type of reconditioning of the barrel to somewhat decent condition? Or is it at cause? I plan to take it to a local gunsmith for assessment. Any suggestions you can give will be appreciated.

Alex Johnson
February 17, 2000, 12:35 AM
Lots of times the rusting you see in the bore isn't as bad as you would at first think. First make a safety check with the ramrod to make sure there is not a charge in the gun (if you aren't familiar with this procedure have somebody show you how). After this you can soak the bore with a good penetrating oil WD-40 works fine you want to loosen up the rust a bit before the next step. After this you can try steel wool on a cleaning 45 caliber cleaning jag. Keep scrubbing and adding fresh steel wool and oil until you think the rust is gone, then work at it some more. Clean out the bore periodically with a cotton patch and more oil and check the progress with a bore light. When you can no longer see significant residue on a clean patch you can stop. Certainly there will be some pitting, but if your lucky you may still get hunting accuracy out of the barrel. Of course, the worse the pitting is the harder it will be to clean the gun in the future. Another alternative is to buy one of the fast twist replacement barrels that are made for the TC's. These can be had for about $120 and will allow you to shoot conicals with excellent accuracy, if you are into the conical game.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."-Second Amendment to the Constitution

George Stringer
February 17, 2000, 09:22 AM
Jhoth, for the interior of the barrel, Alex gave some good advice. The rest of the metal can be reblued. You can either have this done or turn it into a project for yourself. George

James K
February 17, 2000, 07:29 PM
If you can find the right wrench, I recommend pulling the breech plug and doing the job right. If you do, though, be careful. Use a lot of penetrating oil and don't ruin the plug or twist it off.


7th Fleet
February 17, 2000, 09:29 PM
By all means, pull the breech plug, that way you can see what you really have. TC makes a special tool for that job and it is relatively inexpensive. As far as the exterior of the barrel, the best finish is obtained by browning it. Not only is it more traditional but it is more durable and the end results if done right look really great. Birchwood Casey makes a browning solution that you use by taking a propane torch and heating the barrel and applying the browning to the hot metal. I have a TC that I browned and it looks fantastic...7th