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 Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader

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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   July 18th 2015, 7:55 pm

Start with a CLEAN bucket and fill it half way with Hot soapy water. Some others use cold or luke warm water, use what works best for you!

With the soapy hot water ready, go a head and drop the barrel into the water, nipple side down and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Black powder fouling always works into the nipple threads and leaves behind a hard crusty fouling in those nipple threads which makes nipple removal hard at times. Allowing it time to soak in the hot water allows the fouling to wash away and frees the nipple.

After those few minutes have passed, use a medium bristle Plastic/Nylon cleaning/tooth brush and clean the fouling from the outside of the barrel and especially around the nipple and drum. Its easier to clean the nipples exterior while its still mounted in the barrel. Remove the nipple afterward, clean its threads and set aside in a safe place.


Next, Attach your cleaning jag to your cleaning rod ( Never use the wooden ramrod! Soaking wood in water will greatly weaken it over time) use your desired cleaning patch  ( 3" diameter for 54cal+) and soak it in the hot soapy water. Pushing a dry patch down a fouled bore will often tear the patch and leave you with a looser fitting patch that could tear off at any moment. Always wet that first cleaning patch!



Slowly work the cleaning rod up and down the bore in short 4 to 6" strokes. Pay attention to avoid constant rubbing at the muzzle. I normally do 1 to 2 DOZEN strokes before I remove the patch and flip it over and do another 1 to 2 dozen strokes.


The first patch after cleaning the bore. Remember, I used both sides of this patch.


Next, DUMP that nasty bucket of black salty water! You remember back in the old days when an entire family would bathe one right after the other in the same tub of water? Lets not do this with your muzzle loaders barrel! It makes no sense to wash your bore in a nasty mixture of salt water, fouling and melted lubed. Dump it! Wash that bucket out good and re-fill with Luke Warm water this time and NO soap.


Repeat the previous step and wet your new cleaning patch and swab the bore for another dozen or two strokes, flip patch, another dozen or two. Change the patch once more and this patch should be really clean by now. Once your patches are clean, its time to move on to the next step. The two patches are the first one on a clean bucket of water and the follow up patch which shows very very little fouling which I find acceptable due to the upcoming process.


With the bore nice and clean, Its time to remove it from the bucket of water and dry off the exterior with a towel. Now is the time where you can also BLOW down the bore to help remove heavy deposits of water from the breech.


With the exterior of the  barrel dry, Make sure your cleaning rod and jag is dry! Now run a 1 to 2 DRY patches down the bore to soak up some of the extra water left down in there.

Using this next step has always been a fool proof way to remove ALL water from the bore, including the Bolster/Drum/Breech plug.

What is it?

Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber. Think of it as an easier Carb cleaner or brake cleaner, only a hell of a lot more friendly to our guns surfaces. This stuff is great and when you plug the hole that the nipple screws into, swish it around so it can move around and get all the water out of the previous mentioned areas. Allow it to drain out of the Bolster/Drum.



Always be sure to spray out the nipple as well to remove water/moisture!


Now spray down a clean dry patch with the Gun Scrubber or other preferred method of water remover ( Carb cleaner, Brake Cleaner, 91% Alcohol, etc) and gently swab the bore. I normally do 2 or 3 patches as its cheap insurance and makes me feel good. Let it dry for a few minutes and follow up with a couple dry patches to finish it off.

With the bore CLEAN and DRY, now its time to apply something to prevent rust.

There's a whole list of stuff you can use Natural or Petro based, use what has worked for you and what you feel most confident in.

Those of you that use Frontier's Anti-Rust & Patch lube

Gently massage the lube onto the patch. You don't need a whole lot on the patch, a little goes a long way for now. Gently work the lubed patch down and up the bore ( You may also heat the barrel on the stove so the lube melts and really puts great sealing coat ), allowing the cleaning rod to freely follow the rifling as you push down and gently pull upward.


Those of you that like to heat your metal parts to help dry them, you may do so with Frontier's Anti-Rust & Patch Lube. When the barrel is warm to the touch, rub a thin layer of lube onto a clean dry patch and simply run it up and down the bore a half dozen times to ensure proper coverage.

After I've run the Anti-Rust lube patch down the bore half a dozen times, I like to remove the patch and inspect it for tears. Most importantly, where my patches is making the most contact with the rifling. From what I can tell here, the patched cleaning jag is engaging the rifling nicely and applying the lube to the bore. I added some extra lube to the cleaning jag area and again, did another half dozen strokes to make sure the Anti-Rust lube was applied to the bore for full coverage.


Always check your rifle after a day or two to ensure your Anti Rust lube is working as it should.

Some products may leave behind a residue that LOOKS like its a orange-rust color, but it is just the products ingredients bleeding out. You'll know when its actually rust as it will be very gritty and your patch will come back out of the bore with holes/tears in it.

After you've cleaned your muzzle loader, always try to store the arm muzzle down, or at a slight down hill angle to prevent any liquids from entering into the bolster/powder channel. Oils that get into there can cause hang fire or misfire issues the next time you go to use it.

ALWAYS
 Remove your rust preventative before loading! Alcohol or the Gun Scrubber on a patch, is all that's needed to remove most rust preventatives from the bore prior to loading.


Last edited by FrontierGander on August 5th 2017, 11:57 pm; edited 7 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   July 19th 2015, 6:28 am

cheers cheers

Thanks Jonathan. Lots of great info for the traditional shooters here concerning proper cleaning. I do it the same way and now I'll start using the MYSTERY LUBE after cleaning to prevent rusting. I've been using Ballistol but I'm going to switch...........

Ray.......... t up

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   January 30th 2016, 7:36 am

Dittos for a great write up.  

But.... I really would rather not use water if possible. I've used that method for a long time and just want to do something w/o water.

I shoot 777 under RB or conicals exclusively in my 54 Hawken.  

Any suggestions on a good, reliable non-water method?
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   January 31st 2016, 3:34 pm

Old Smoke: There are a couple products that I've used in the past and still do on occasion. First is "Turkey Tracks" from Ft. Chambers Muzzleloading Shop, Chambersburg, PA and the other is a citrus based BP solvent that I purchased at Cabelas. I bought a gallon of it but I'm not sure if they sell it anymore.
When I used either of these 2 products though, I always swabbed the bore afterward with a couple alcohol patches and dry patches to remove any residue then ran a couple patches of a rust preventative down the bore.
I like using the hot water method like Jon does. But instead of another bucket of clean water, I take my barrel outside and hang it on a nail by the ramrod thimble and pour about 2-3 qts of hot water down the muzzle using a funnel. This gets the barrel very hot and a couple patches as I stated above gets rid of all moisture.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   January 31st 2016, 7:34 pm

Like, you, I've not really heard of a better method. But just don't like the water.  Seems I always manage to get some under the sight base, thimbles, etc.  I'm careful to get everything dried out, just a pain.  

Thanks for the reply.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 5th 2016, 7:58 pm

Any harm or is it better to use Boiling water?
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 5th 2016, 9:04 pm

I've used everything from cold water, baby bath temp water to really hot water. Some lubes really like HOT water to get the bores cleaned up pretty well.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 20th 2016, 6:00 am

Great write up. Any tips on cleaning a flintlock with a pinned barrel?
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 20th 2016, 10:31 am

I personally unpin my barrel every time and wash it down and oil it afterward. I know traditionalist HATE pulling pinned stocks due to them being delicate, but for me, Its just a must to do.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 28th 2016, 7:09 pm

Some very knowledgeable folks that have been in business over 100 years don't recommend hot water because it opens up the pores of the metal and promotes rusting! They recommend only 'tepid' water!
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 29th 2016, 2:34 pm

FrontierGander wrote:
I personally unpin my barrel every time and wash it down and oil it afterward. I know traditionalist HATE pulling pinned stocks due to them being delicate, but for me, Its just a must to do.
Not happening. You run the risk of ruining a good gun.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 29th 2016, 6:21 pm

If its made very thin, yes, the stock can break. I never had any issues over the years.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 29th 2016, 6:34 pm

What is the "pin"?  Perhaps I call it the "wedge" or "key" that holds the barrel to the stock?
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 29th 2016, 6:40 pm

A wedge or key is more common on the typical hawken style rifles.

A long rifle like a Kentucky or PA rifle normally has a very long barrel which is "pinned" to the stock. Think of a roll pin, only solid.

When you get a full stock rifle with a long, typically 34" + barrel, the period correct way to connect it to the stock is with 2 or 3 pins.

Full stock rifles also are known to be very thin on the fore stock and that's why so will not remove the barrel from the stock for cleaning. The fear of them breaking the stock is something that is always on the mind.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 29th 2016, 6:54 pm

I just stick a toothpick in my touch hole and clean it carefully so I don't get water all down in there.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   February 29th 2016, 7:23 pm

Well, heck, I learned something.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   March 31st 2016, 6:24 am

I recently switched the lock on my Pedersoli Pennsylvania rifle from percussion to flint. When I used to shoot it percussion I would clean using a fitting I got from Dixie gun works. Take out the nipple and screw in the fitting to which I had attached a length of air hose left over from my fish tank. The end of the hose would go into a coffee can full of water and dish soap. Pumping that mix in and out of the barrel with a patched jag worked great. Now that it's a flinter I have been fussing over how I'm going to get her clean. I found this at a recent gun show. I'm hoping that since I can't unpin the barrel to clean this will work with out leaking any water into the stock. Time will tell.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   March 31st 2016, 7:21 am

I'll sell you mine. I'm not sure it's exactly the same as the one I got from TOW. A toothpick works better for me. The device doesn't fit my receiver area well and it leaks.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   March 31st 2016, 8:24 am

Buckheart, I have the same rifle. If you keep your touchhole liner lubed with anti-sieze, try what I just did. Go to the hardware store and get a metric m8-1.25 bolt about 1.5 inches long. Get a nylock nut and thread it on about 1/2 way. Drill an 1/8" hole throug the center of the bolt. Cut the head off the bolt and file off the threads above the nut. Secure a 1/4" id tube to the "nipple" end that you created by removing the threads. The exposed section of m8-1.25 threads will thread into the barrel upon removal of your touchhole liner. Just add a little rubber gasket or an o ring wher it contacts the side of the barrel. I clean my Pennsylvania flinter by removing the liner, hand tightening the homemade adapter into the barrel, open end of the hose in warm soapy water, pump away! Works great!
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   March 31st 2016, 8:44 am

Matt's way is real good.  :rtup   Trouble is I have a white lightning vent liner and it is flush without a screwdriver slot.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   March 31st 2016, 3:23 pm

Hell of an idea Matt
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   March 31st 2016, 3:37 pm

Here's a few pic's of the process when I made mine...

Basic metric bolt, washer material and nylock nut



Bolt drilled trough, nylock nut threaded on, threads filed smooth on one side


Rubber washer fabricated and installed..I may replace with an o-ring


Threaded into the touch hole liner threads on the barrel...hose secured with a small zip-tie
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   April 21st 2016, 8:35 am

Just a little reminder to clean under the barrel rib, at least once in a blue moon. 

Recently picked up a used TC New Englander, after cleaning the barrel, and noticing how dirty the water looked (like weak coffee), I decided to strip the rifle down beyond what I normally do when cleaning my guns.  When I took the barrel under-rib off, I found lots of gunk, and the under rib/thimble screws were starting to rust. I used steel wool to remove the rust from the screws, and cleaned out the screw holes in the barrel.  After cleaning and drying the screw holes (used alcohol to remove any left over water), I put oil in the screw holes and on the cleaned screws to soak for a day.  Then I reassembled the rifle.  She now looks good as new.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   April 21st 2016, 8:48 am

It doesn't take long for that under-rib strip to rust. I took mine off for the second time in a month and it was starting back again. After I steel-wooled it and degreased it, I put a bead of Loctite Blue down the whole length, rescrewed it down, and clamped the whole thing for 24 hrs.
I hope that's enough to keep it from recurring.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning your Traditional Muzzleloader   April 21st 2016, 8:56 am

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