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Old April 15, 2010, 08:12 PM   #1
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Bore rust

I was just given a Springfield Hawken .50 cal. rifle. The exterior metal surfaces were coated with some rust - I was able to make short work of it with some steel wool and Hoppe's oil. However, the bore is coated with a bit heavier layer of rust. This is my first BP gun, so please pardon my ignorance - but how does one get rust out of the bore?

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Old April 15, 2010, 08:59 PM   #2
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This is just a suggestion - If you can, remove the barrel from the stock. Plug the nipple carefully (possibly a round toothpick) and stand upright in a metal can or mason jar. Poor the bore full of something like penetrating oil - we used brake fluid in place of penetrating oil on the farm. Let it sit for a few days and then poor out. Use a cleaning rod with a bronze brush on it and work it up and down for quite a while. Then, using a jag, use cleaning patches and thoroughly dry it out and then check and see what your progress is. If the rust is heavy, you'll just have to repeat the process a number of times. If the rilfle is in this condition, it probably wasn't cleaned very well after use. I'm assuming that you'll need to replace the nipple so with a nipple wrench, carefully try to remove it. I've worked on a lot of rifles ofer the years but am not familiar with the one that you have so I don't know how easy it would be to remove the breechplug. Whenever I've run across a barrel in this condition, I have followed what I'm describing. I often have removed the breechplug and even used steel wool on the tip of a rod attached on a corkscrew jag to work up and down the bore to get into the grooves. You might not end up with a "perfect" bore, but unless it is deeply pitted, you can salvage it and it should shoot just fine. Trust me, I've seen plenty of originals that were in this state - most from the same cause - poor cleaning. One word of caution - before you start working on any muzzleloader - check to make sure it is not loaded. Take the ramrod, dowel or cleaning rod and lay it next to the barrel with the tip located where the end of the breechplug would be - approximately where the nipple is located. Mark the end of the barrel on the rod and then slide the rod into the barrel and see if it slides all the way down to where you have marked the rod. If the rod is say 3/4 or more above the end of the barrel, you can assume that it is loaded. Many muzzleloaders were put away loaded and then forgotten about. I'm not just talking about originals - I'm talking repros as well. I was once on the line at the Nationals at Friendship when a kid went to snap a cap (to make sure the nipple was open) before a match started. He pointed the muzzle to the gournd to make sure the grass moved when he snapped his cap and instead of that, his gun discharged with a boom akin to a twelve pound Napoleon. Needless to say, those of us near him were more than ****** as was the Range Officer. The kid's excuse was that he must have put it away loaded after he had used it for deer hunting the previous season. When the Range Officer chewed his ass out, the kid told him that it "only had 100 grains of powder in it" - it was a .50 Hawkin. All of us who were close to him moved away like the sea when Moses raised his arms. As they say, "sometimes you just can't fix stupic". At any rate, if your's wasn't cleaned good before being put away, before anything else, check and make sure it is unloaded - safety first always. Good luck with your project, you'll get it cleaned up just fine and I'm sure it will give you much enjoyment. Sincerely, bedbug I'm sure others will have different suggestions as well.
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Old April 15, 2010, 10:51 PM   #3
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Rather than a bronze brush I prefer to wrap fine steel wool around a cleaning jag - the same one you'd use to run a cleaning patch into the barrel. Yes, it'll be a tight fit, but then, you want it to be. Just run it up and down the barrel about a hundred strokes; you'll probably have to change the steel wool a couple of times.

Most any rust remover will do the job; I use Blue Wonder, but there are several.
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Old April 15, 2010, 10:53 PM   #4
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using brake fluid is a HORRIBLE idea!!!! brake fluid easily absorbs moisture and causes corrosion. DO NOT US BRAKE FLUID on any part of a gun, it will rust if you leave it there. It also eats away paint really well. If its DOT 4 it might be ok, but that stuff is expensive. brake cleaner might be ok, but not brake fluid.

a better idea would be to use some paper towels and clean it and get most of it out, then shoot it for a while, then clean it really well again. Thats what i did. Use boiling water, then use bore solvent, then use bore butter and it wont rust...
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Old April 16, 2010, 04:53 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I had some ideas about what it would take before I posted my question, and these replies confirm that I was on the right track. I've got some work ahead of me, but I believe it will be worth it. The stock is in near perfect condition, and the exterior metal surfaces cleaned up nice. If I can get her back to shootin' shape, that would give me 2 more weeks every year in the deer woods, plus the pride and satisfaction of having salvaged a gun that otherwise would've sat around in an outdoor shed collecting more rust. A shame to waste a good firearm like that.

Thanks again. I'll post again with the results when I'm done.
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Old April 16, 2010, 08:46 AM   #6
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I made a electric bore cleaner with some steel rods, a cell phone charger, rubber plugs and some wire. I have used it on some mil-surps that had nasty bores from years of corrosive surplus ammo. It did wonders! I think these would work great on black powder barrels that have been neglected in the past.
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Old April 16, 2010, 08:46 AM   #7
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The other fellow was only suggesting the brake fluid as a solvent and it's not a "HORRIBLE" (!!!) idea at all. What part of "whenever I've run across a barrel in this condition, I have followed what I'm describing" did you not grasp?

To the OP: There are some bore pastes that have a bit of fine grit in them that you can use on a really trashed bore if needed but I've found that plain old kerosene, spirits or some other solvent works just fine with a steel bore brush if needed. And some times it is! Go easy obviously and use a steel brush the absolute minimum necessary. Some fine steel wool on a jag or one of the bore pastes on patch will add a polish once the rust flowers have been removed.

I claim to be no guru on the subject, I'm just a guy who's cleaned up a few rusty milsurp bores such that they shoot just fine now.


P.S. Madcrate: I'd love to hear more about that electro rust zapper!
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Old April 16, 2010, 01:38 PM   #8
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Don't use a metal bore brush

on a muzzleloader unless you pull the breech plug or it will get stuck.
I'd fill the bore (with the barrel off the rifle and the nipple plugged) with penetrating oil over night. Then put it in a lead padded vise and remove the breechplug. Start with a bronze (NOT steel) brush, give it 100 strokes with regular applications of Hoppe's. Then put patches through it until they come clean as possible. Then light it up and see just how bad things are. If it's just a bit rough you can lap it out (see Dunlap's Gunsmithing). If it's really bad it can be rebored (High Plains reboring, Turtle Lake ND) or a new barrel installed.
Since it is only a $300 rifle new, I wouldn't spend any money on it as there are a lot better percussion MZs out there.

Last edited by Brandy; April 16, 2010 at 01:47 PM.
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Old April 16, 2010, 07:57 PM   #9
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I used a toothpaste made for dentures and brushed the heck out of it, ran a patch down and if it had rust on it I keep at it until no more rust, really didn't take to long.
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