Pedersoli Pedersoli
Black powder Magazine
Cleaning single shot muzzleloading guns

Here is our quick and easy guide to help you clean your muzzleloader the proper way.

 

If you chose a gun with a hook breech, your job is easy. Remove the barrel from the stock (always use a proper size brass tool to knock out the wedges) and remove the nipple. Get a bucket of hot water (70-80 C) and your cleaning rod with proper size jag on the end, a bristle brush and several cleaning patches. Put the breech in the water, the water should be minimum 20 cm deep, so it covers the complete breech area. Use your cleaning rod with a jag and a patch first. Put the clean patch on the jag, and run it through the bore. If it is tight enough, it will suck up the hot water in the bore like a pump. Be careful! The barrel can get really hot if you have a correct water temperature. So use a rag for holding. Repeat this movement a several times. This will clean the powder chamber and the touch hole completely. Some shooters like to add soap, or any other “magic” solvents to the water, but to be honest, I never experienced any advantage compared to plain hot water.

 

With the first patch we softened and moistened the fouling, so it's now time to remove it with the bristle brush. If you are using only patched round balls, the bristle brush will be enough to clean your rifle. If your are using conicals that after every 4th shooting I suggest you to use a harder brush (brass or bronze). Some shooters are afraid to use the brass brush, as they think it can run the barrel. Do not believe this. If you care for the muzzle – you use a nylon muzzle protector – and you use a cleaning rod that's material is softer than the barrel - for example brass or aluminum - your brushes will never harm the bore.

 

After cleaning the bore with the brush, use a dry patch again to suck up some water again to clean out the residue particles. Now it's time to dry your bore. Lift it out from the bucket and put the breech on soft surface. If your water was hot enough, than the moisture evaporates quickly. Blow in the barrel strongly a few times. This will remove any water from the powder chamber as well. Wipe the surface with dry cloth, and run a few dry patches in the bore. If you see that the patches are a bit gray, do not worry about it. You are not preparing your rifle for surgery, but for the next shooting day. Do not overdo cleaning!

 

If the patches come out dry, it's time to cover the surfaces with oil. Spray a good amount of oil in the bore, and spread it with a patch. If you did your job correctly, the powder chamber will be covered completely with oil as well. Some shooters stop here and assemble the rifle, like it was ready. But it's absolutely not. The oil in the chamber will moisten the powder on the next shooting, or it will obstruct the touch hole channel, so it must be removed.

 

Blow a few times in the bore, so you will see a cloud of oil leaving the breech. After you done so, run a dry patch in the barrel. Now your barrel is ready for assembly.

 

If you are shooting a full stock rifle without a hook breech you will need another accessory: a cleaning tube. It is not the best idea to remove the barrel for every cleaning. However you have to to it before the first shooting. Take out the barrel, and cover the bottom with water pump grease, so it will cover all surfaces under the wood. This will prevent water accessing the metal surfaces.

 

The cleaning of the full stock rifle will be easy this way like child's play. Remove the lock. Install the cleaning tube, put the end of the tube in the bucket with hot water, and use the same process I already mentioned above. It is also a good idea if you close the channel in the tube, and pour some hot water with a funnel in the muzzle. Let it stay there for a few minutes, let it out and start cleaning.

 

If you follow this process, you can clean the bore in 3-5 minutes without making a huge mess in the bathroom.

 

Clean the nipple in hot water also. Check the touch hole, with a brush clean the residue and dry it. Blow the water out of the channel. You do not have to oil this part. Before reinstalling it cover the threads with PTF tape or with copper paste. This will prevent it from being stuck even if you left your gun dirty for days.

 

Cleaning the lock

 

 

The complete disassembly of the lock is not necessary. Take it out from the stock and wipe away the powder residue with a damp cloth. Check the screws of the briddle, and tighten them if it's necessary. Spray the lock with oil and wipe away the access. If you are using a flintlock gun, never oil the frizzen face! Dry it, but don't touch it with the oily rag, as the oil will prevent the stone from cutting small particles from the metal.

 

Cleaning the wood

 

 

Clean the wood with a lightly damp rag. If you are using a rifle with musket caps, you will recognize that the flash of the 6 mm nipple will damage the wood at the breech area. If you want to avoid this, add a thick layer of natural grease on the wood near the lock. This will prevent the flash touching the wood. You can also cover the breech area with a thin leather sleeve.

 

A good cleaning patch

 

 

A good cleaning patch can be any of any material that can easily absorb moisture from the barrel. The size is depending on the caliber of your gun: .32-.50 – 40 mm x 40 mm, .52-.75 50 mm x 50 mm. The best materials for this are the Pedersoli type flannel patches, or the kitchen wiping sponge cloth made of natural cellulose with great absorbency.

 

Oil

 

 

Pay attention to the quality of the gun oil. In the range I see many people using WD40. This is a good oil, that is capable of getting under the moisture, and it is making a light coating of oil film on the surface of the metal. However this film is not thick, so if you touch the surface, you can make easily rust stains. I personally like the Swiss Brunox, but you can find many good oils on the market. Brunox does the same as WD40, but leaves a stronger oil film. Be careful with Ballistol. It is a good oil as well, but do not clean the bore with it, as it just does not work with blackpowder. It will enlarge your group size, and it takes 30-50 shots to remove the layer from the barrel.

 

Before shooting always wipe out the barrel with a clean patch, and check the channel of the nipple. If you can, store your gun in horizontal position, or vertical, but with with the muzzle down.

 

Alternative cleaning methods

 

 

Recently I started to use a steam cleaner to save time in cleaning metal parts. This small boilers can be a useful help if you know what to do with it. They generate high pressure steam, that removes every residue from the metal surfaces. But be careful if you use it:

- It can damage the wood finish if you blow the steam on it, so be careful

- It warms up the parts quickly and strongly, so it can burn your hand.

- Don't use it on original guns, as their thin layer of bluing or browning can wear.

If you keep these rules, you'll recognize that it's a great help. It cleans quickly, easily, and warms up the metal, so you don't have to dry it before oiling. It's perfect for small parts also. It will dramatically reduce the time spent for cleaning.


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