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  How should I Clean and Store my Muzzle Loader?

Muzzle LoadingBlack Powder and Black Powder substitutes such as Pyrodex leave residue after they burn which is very corrosive. This residue will cause rust, pitting and etching of metal it is in contact with. The rate of corrosion is dependant on several factors such as local humidity and time. In the dry desert regions a "dirty" muzzle loader can be left for possibly a week with no sign of corrosion, in humid regions effect of corrosion happen at a much faster rate. I mention this only to give a relative time frame of how long to leave a weapon before cleaning it. Shooting it in the evening of a hunt and cleaning the next day should be ok, leaving it for a few days would depend on where you live but I recommend cleaning a black powder firearm within 24 hours of shooting regardless of where you live.

As there are many different kinds of muzzle loaders out there, consult your manufacturers owners manual first on how to correctly disassemble your rifle, as well as what method and products they recommend to clean it. There are basically two ways to clean a muzzle loader, soap and water or chemical cleaners. The soap and water method is just that, a bucket of hot soapy water into which either the breech or muzzle of the gun is placed into. Soapy water is then drawn up into the barrel by the action of the ramrod and cleaning jag traveling up and down the barrel. Chemical cleaners such as solvents are also used to remove fouling. Be aware though that petroleum based cleaners will react to the fouling and accelerate the corrosion process. Make sure the barrel and breech area are very very clean. For truely stubbern fouling or even lead fouling, I have successfully used Carberator cleaner to disolve the fouling.

Once the barrel is completely clean remove the nipple and inspect it. If it's still dirty use a cleaning agent and a old tooth brush to clean the threads. Use a nipple pick to clean inside the nipple and the flash hole. Dry out all the parts either with dry patches, or by other means (hair drier etc). Make sure everything is clean and dry.

Once clean, re-assemble the firearm and saturate a dry cleaning patch with Thompson Centers BoreButter (paste type, not the lube from the tube). Run several saturated patches up and down the barrel until you are confident the entire barrel has a good coating on it. Take the patch and wipe down all external metal as well. The gun should now be clean and have a protective coating of BoreButter on it. If storing the gun for long periods of time, recoat the inside of the barrel 3-4 days after the last cleaning, then again at 14 days and at least once a month after that time. Be aware that BoreButter will turn an orange/brown color when exposed to air so don't immediatly panic if you notice a brown patch and think it's a rusted barrel. Typically if you did a poor job cleaning your muzzle loader, you will get white saltlike crystals forming upon the fouling. Reclean the area immediately then re-coat.

When you finally go to shoot your muzzle loader which has been clean and stored with the method above, it's a good idea to first swab out the barrel with a dry patch to remove any excess BoreButter. Then with the gun still unloaded, place a cap on the nipple and fire it. This is done to clean out the nipple area and to verify that area is dry (useful when cleaning at the range).

Posted by DallanC on Tuesday, May 10, 2005 (23:30:18) (2598 reads) [ Administration ]
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