Author Topic: Flintlock longrifle cleaning  (Read 7616 times)

Offline Daryl

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2021, 06:14:42 AM »
Beg pardon, but can someone refresh me on how a small farmer on the western Carolina frontier in 1765 would clean a rifle he depended on to protect his family and livestock, and provide food for the table -- a rifle that was among his most valuable possessions? I am pretty sure water and tow are part of the recipe.

You can be sure it was not with hot water, as well as likely not cleaned often, as shown by the general frequency of "freshing" to rifling. Too - the iron was less susceptible to rusting seems to me, but more susceptible to wear.
Daryl

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Offline Badenpowell

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2021, 03:18:19 PM »
Daryl, good point about wear and "freshing." These would have been welded wrought iron barrels. I would not be surprised if the weld joints could harbor fouling if not perfectly done.
Wonder if anyone has borescoped a sample of originals from the period, and what they might have found.

Online ScottNE

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2021, 07:06:36 PM »
Beg pardon, but can someone refresh me on how a small farmer on the western Carolina frontier in 1765 would clean a rifle he depended on to protect his family and livestock, and provide food for the table -- a rifle that was among his most valuable possessions? I am pretty sure water and tow are part of the recipe.

A Hessian officer noted that many American rifles shot crooked and it took American rifleman quite a long time to load (I think he said a quarter of an hour, probably exaggeration?). I think both of these could be attributed to poorly-maintained bores. I’m of the mind that historic loads were far looser than we use today for the same reason — easier to ram the load down a crusty, dirty bore when you’ve got a smaller ball and a thicker patch than a bigger ball.

We’re obsessive about maintaining our fine pieces and have the tools, chemicals and running water to do so easily. I think they had to settle for a lower standard back then.

Offline Huckleberry

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2021, 11:45:33 AM »
I have found that Mike Beliveau’s (duelist1954) method works very well.  I just cut about 12” lengths of binder twine and unravel it for tow.  Takes about 6 patches after the tow treatment to clean. Couple swabs with wd40 then one with remoil.  Good to go!
Link to Mike Beliveau’s you tube video:

Offline Jeff Murray

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2021, 01:16:40 AM »
I built a slip on rig with a long, hard plastic tube that would slide over the faucet. Packed a paper towel in the lock mortise.  Soaked the breech using a tooth pick and Windex for a few minutes then just run water  through the tube up the inverted barrel.  The pressure and continued stream seems to work pretty effectively.  I use WD40 for the final oil.  It works as good as any other I have found and is easily available.  Haven't tried this method at rendezvous for obvious reasons.

Offline Percy

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2021, 02:56:32 AM »
I hesitate to reply to this thread but I can't help myself. What is so hard about cleaning a muzzle loader? Put it in a vise or some type of rifle holder upside down with the muzzle lower than the breech.  No water, no Dawn, just some patches, a spray bottle of 409, WD40 and some oil. Spray 409 on the patch and swab, turn patch over and repeat, repeat with 2nd patch and 3rd IF necessary, swab with WD40, swab with oil coated patch and done. No need for toothpicks, etc., etc. Can't be much simpler or quicker. Any drips out the touchole run down the barrel, not into the lock mortise into the wood. Easy peasey, not HC but old timers didn't have dawn either.

Percy

Offline JBJ

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2021, 09:50:37 PM »
According to the "Rules for the Management and Cleaning of the Rifle Musket, Model 1863 for the Use of Soldiers" , Springfield Armory, April 28, 1863, cleaning of the bore was to be done by "pouring a gill of water (warm if it can be had) into the muzzle" see the text below. I feel we can be reasonably sure that both civilians and soldier followed pretty much similar cleaning methods. I think that it is interesting that warm water was considered better than cold BUT there is NO mention of HOT water. As has been mentioned many times, cleaning the bore was not a major undertaking. BTW, I found that a "gill" of water equaled four ounces. Probably just the right amount to fill a 40 inch .58 barrel.
J.B.



Offline Robby

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2021, 10:41:51 PM »
I don't plug the touch hole. I loosely wrap a cloth around the stock at the lock mortice and blast it all out the touch hole. I do polish my breech plug face before installation, although I do run a bottom scraper across it, i never have any crud and am sure the cavity on the touch hole liner is just as clean. Like most everyone here, I dry, blow some WD-40 through it, wipe everything dry, reassemble with clean and judiciously oiled lock, stand with muzzle down for a day or so and put it back in the rack. What ever works for you and you are comfortable with is the right way.
Robby
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Offline Frank

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2021, 12:49:19 AM »
3 or 4 wet patches down the bore, 3 or 4 dry patches down the bore, 1 patch with WD40 down the bore, wipe down the outside of the barrel and lock, couple drops of oil on the frizzen pivot points. Done.  KISS (keep it simple stupid.)

A properly fitted lock should get zero fouling on the inside.

Offline Scota4570

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2021, 06:45:08 PM »
I have found that Mike Beliveau’s (duelist1954)

Hard to believe he does not oil the bore as a last step. 

Offline duca

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2021, 12:51:56 AM »
This is from Davec2
The magnets in my photo are from McMaster Carr....... 1/2 " diameter by 1/2" long, 19 pound pull (you only need one).  Part Number 5862K29
I just picked up one of these and gonna try it next time and see how it works..
Thanks for the heads up Dave,

Anthony
...and on the eighth day
God created the Longrifle...

Offline mgbruch

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2021, 01:03:12 AM »
I've been a firm believer in tow for many years.  I remove the lock (flint) and tie a piece of rag around the touch hole. i lay the rifle touch hole side down on the counter or workbench, on an old towel.  In the field I sit on the ground with the bore on my lap, and the rifle laying on my capote for protection.  I use good warm water with a couple of drops of Murphy's oil soap.  After firing a dozen rounds, I only need two swabbings with the tow to get the bore clean.  It takes a couple of patches to dry.  Then I oil a patch on the face only and send it down to oil the breech face (polished while building the gun).  For the main bore I use a patch with a good amount of pure mink oil I get from Track of the Wolf.  After working the mink oil in the bore I use a dry patch, ending up with a very light coat of mink oil in the bore.  I usually take the frizzen off the lock to clean it up, but don't disassemble the rifle further.  I also use mik oil as my patch lube.  My bore doesn't rust, it cleans easily; and when I shoot, the patches are fairly cleann as well.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #37 on: July 29, 2021, 03:26:27 AM »
There are a lot of different methods to clean and some seem to be more complex and time consuming but if it works, great. It takes me one and some times two patches to clean the bore with room temp water and another two some times three to dry it before a real wet WD 40 patch to keep it rust free. Its been working for me since the late 60s or early 70s, I lost track. Some people think its a chore to clean a muzzleloader, I don't. If I got it dirty that means I had fun getting it so.  :)

Offline Frank

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2021, 02:54:54 PM »
There are a lot of different methods to clean and some seem to be more complex and time consuming but if it works, great. It takes me one and some times two patches to clean the bore with room temp water and another two some times three to dry it before a real wet WD 40 patch to keep it rust free. Its been working for me since the late 60s or early 70s, I lost track. Some people think its a chore to clean a muzzleloader, I don't. If I got it dirty that means I had fun getting it so.  :)

Yep, works great. It is exactly what I do but I may use 2 or 3 more patches. Been doing it this way since the mid 70s. Never any problems.

Offline Marcruger

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2021, 06:13:42 PM »
Blessings to those who can clean a barrel with one or two passes of tow or patches.  I can't.  Not with any rifle I have owned or shot.  More like 20 patches and lots of elbow grease.  I follow Daryl's wet-lube process which helps with cleanup.  Also, I am not using any oddball patch lube either.  It is easier since Bob put me onto blue windshield washer fluid for initial soak and cleanup.  Still takes a lot of patches. 

Maybe I am just fussy about what I consider "clean"? 

Best wishes,    Marc

Online ScottNE

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #40 on: July 29, 2021, 06:34:50 PM »
Blessings to those who can clean a barrel with one or two passes of tow or patches.  I can't.  Not with any rifle I have owned or shot.  More like 20 patches and lots of elbow grease.  I follow Daryl's wet-lube process which helps with cleanup.  Also, I am not using any oddball patch lube either.  It is easier since Bob put me onto blue windshield washer fluid for initial soak and cleanup.  Still takes a lot of patches. 

Maybe I am just fussy about what I consider "clean"? 

Best wishes,    Marc

I thought maybe I was being overly fussy with regards to what I consider “clean” as well, so I tried a different, less-intensive method on 1 rifle for a while. The bore took on a very speckled, slightly frosted appearance in short order and the accuracy was ruined…I was actually shocked how badly the accuracy was impacted, it had been a tack driver at 100 yards prior to that. I’m going to polish the bore and get it back on target but wouldn’t need to if I hadn’t decided to “experiment”.

But if anyone truly is “overly fussy” it’s my brother, he spends easily 2-3 hours cleaning his gun after firing a dozen shots. Soaking, swabbing, brushing, soaking again, swabbing again, checking with an endoscope, rinse repeat ad nauseam. I think he just likes handling his toys :).

Offline yulzari

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #41 on: July 29, 2021, 10:02:13 PM »
For the thorough school, the old gunmakers used to say that more bores were worn by cleaning than by use. Cold water and tow does it fine and was their recommendation.
Nothing suceeds like a beakless budgie

Offline wolf

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2021, 02:23:33 PM »
i have tried a lot of things to clean the bore and most work. the best thing i have ever used is Windex. it is far above anything i have ever used. it melts the the burnt powder. when i clean my bore, i only stop when i get a white patch out the bore, i clean it thoroughly. after your cleaning patch is black you can spray it and the black mess will melt out of it and can be ran back down the bore. i now clean with less patches and faster. with the lock off i spray it with Windex and the burnt powder melts off that with no to very little brushing. then lube and you are done,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I have never "harvested" a critter but I have killed quite a few,,,,,,,,,,,

Offline Dan Fruth

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2021, 06:14:50 AM »
I make and sell several tow worms, and use them regularly for cleaning. But when I clean up after shooting at my range, I clean with cloth and a worm and Simple Green. It works great and after several wet patches, and a few dry ones, I always run a patch with RIG down the bore. The bore is nice and brite.
The old Quaker, "We are non-resistance friend, but ye are standing where I intend to shoot!"

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #44 on: August 01, 2021, 07:24:26 PM »
Once I tried tow, I could never go back to patches. I prefer tow because it works better and faster and is reusable. I never run out (or have the wrong size) and have to cut/punch/purchase more. Rinse and reuse the cleaning wads, never toss the oily wads. One size adjusts to all.

If you have never tried it, maybe get a worm and try it out.  Of course it's not for everyone, as nothing is. Places that sell yarn spinning fodder often stock it. My one-pound (size of a football) came from ebay years ago. Hemp tow is reported to be preferred by some, I've never tried it. Flax tow could be grown at home if you really want to homestead it. I eat flaxmeal every day for better health.
Hold to the Wind

Offline RossN

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2021, 11:19:42 PM »
Has anyone tried plumbers hemp for tow?

I've got pounds of the stuff, but have just had a shoulder reconstruction so can't go and test the idea for a couple of months yet.

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2021, 01:36:52 AM »
Has anyone tried plumbers hemp for tow?

I've got pounds of the stuff, but have just had a shoulder reconstruction so can't go and test the idea for a couple of months yet.

I have read that hemp tow is better than flax tow for rifle cleaning. This assumes "plumbers" hemp tow is about like other hemp tow.  I have only used flax tow.   

You could mail out samples to some of us tow-users and get feedback on the suitability of your tow.  ;)  Heal up fully and quickly-but don't rush it.

edit: I looked it up and what I see looks excellent.  Now I gotta add tow to my plumbing supplies and sort out how to use it.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 01:41:49 AM by WadePatton »
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Offline davec2

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2021, 09:23:08 AM »
This is from my old post.....but I am making up a new version of the magnetic / tube / water pumping thingy.  Will report back in a few days on how the new one looks and works.

OK....made up the required fitting and installed the magnet.  Put on the water tube, put the unit on the rifle, and dropped the tube end into a gallon jug of water.  Pumped the ram rod, with a patch and jag, up and down the bore as fast as I could about 20 times.  Worked perfectly with no leaks ...and the magnet / tube didn't come off the rifle.  (The water flow, even with fast pumping, is still restricted through a 1/16 inch touch hole.) 

The only improvement I intend to make is to glue the silicone gasket to the end of the magnet to eliminate dealing with a loose piece.  The only two guns of mine this won't work on are my brass barreled blunderbuss and my Ferguson.

Hope this trick helps someone out.

Dave C








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Offline Hutch

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2021, 04:54:15 PM »


I've been using his method for quite a while.  Quick and easy. Sorry it's a stupid Facebook link but it's all I got. 

Offline bluenoser

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Re: Flintlock longrifle cleaning
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2021, 01:44:09 AM »
davec2
I am very impressed.  Is it a rare earth magnet and where did you find one with a hole in it, or can they be drilled?