Cleaning


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confederatemule
December 24, 2010, 05:19 AM
I am very new to BP shooting. Actually I have never loaded nor shot a BP weapon.

I own one flintlock pistol caliber unknown, one derringer percussion pistol caliber unknown, one 1858 revolver .44 caliber [Pietta], and one 1896 Iver Johnson top break non exposed hammer .32 caliber cartridge. I have owned the derringer for more than 15 years.

I would like to start shooting them. I have been reading and watching videos to get an idea about what is necessary to load and shoot these weapons.

There is, also, a lot of information on cleaning methods.

In the day of these weapons things were somewhat uncomplicated and relatively simple, with no written rules on every wall. In today's world everything is very complicated and dangerous and there are all kinds of "safety" rules posted everywhere.

Please don't misunderstand me here, safety is very important. I guess, if a person was not raised in a manner that developed common sense at an early age, then a written sign is necessary.

I would like to ask; "How did people clean the weapon back when these were the only fire arm available?" The modern conveniences were not available to, for example, a man that lived in the mountains, with no permanent living quarters.

Sorry, I'm just letting my mind run wild.

Mule

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georgi
December 24, 2010, 07:44 AM
hot water and little soap. make sure to dry well!

mykeal
December 24, 2010, 08:30 AM
Just plain cold water. Works quite well. In some cases urine (horse or human). We spend a lot of money trying to improve on good old plain cold water, with very little success.

J-Bar
December 24, 2010, 10:35 AM
Judging from the appearance of some antique firearms, a lot of them didn't get cleaned at all!

confederatemule
December 24, 2010, 11:15 AM
Judging from the appearance of some antique firearms, a lot of them didn't get cleaned at all!

And they still kept shooting! That's what I am talkin bout.

I ain't so sure all these requirements of today are necessary. Like Mykeal said "cold water".
I am sure there were many instances where there was nothing but stream water available and a fire was not practical, yet, lives depended on these BP weapons.

I just find it hard to understand how things could work with out all these requirements of today. But, they did. Probably with no more malfunctions than today.

Mule

Shoot The Moon
December 24, 2010, 12:31 PM
It's perfectly possible to clean with cold water, however rinsing with (very) hot water has the advantage that it's speedy evaporation makes ensuring that the gun is properly dry at the end of the cleaning session, somewhat easier and more certain. We all have our little rituals for cleaning - I remember reading here a post from a gent who would 'leave the ol' hog leg on the hood of the truck in the sun' to dry out.... :D I think my neighbours (and the police here!) would have something to say about that! - but mostly anything that gets the fouling off and leaves the gun clean and dry is ok.

Foto Joe
December 24, 2010, 12:43 PM
The simple answer to your question has been pretty much supplied above. But there are little tricks that we learn along they way.

I shoot both Cap & Ball and Cartridge Black Powder and I use two different methods to clean. Both of which would have been relevant to the late 19th century with the exception that Dawn dishwashing soap wasn't around.

Soap & Water (hot or cold) works very well on Black Powder residue. Commercial petroleum distallate solvents designed for smokeless powder residue?? Not so much!! I use soap & water on all my CB revolvers.

On my cartridge guns I use a combination of the soap & water along with Ballistol Moose Milk (Ballistol (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=164428) 50/50 with water). My reasoning with this is that it's not as easy to drop a top-strap revolver into a bucket of water as it is an open-top. Also the Ballistol formula works well for lever guns.

It's my understanding that Ballistol is a "Coal Oil" based mineral oil (if I'm wrong, somebody on here will correct me) that was introduced in the late 1800's. Since petroleum based products weren't widely available the "Coal Oil" make sense as it was used in lanterns etc.

What ever you wind up using, make sure that you clean well or your guns will wind up looking like the ones referenced above.

gclefton
December 24, 2010, 01:25 PM
Good memory on the Ballistol history:

"In 1874, Friedrich Wilhelm Klever, an attorney with interest in economy, founded the Klever Company” in Cologne, Germany. He began producing oils and greases from coal and eventually bought a coal mine so he would not run out of raw materials. At the turn of the century the imperial German Army (the Wehrmacht) began to look for an all-around oil. The idea was to maintain the metallic parts of the soldier’s rifle but also to protect the wooden stocks and his leather gear. The soldier was to use the same oil for the treatment of minor wounds, sores and scratches. Friedrich’s son, Dr. Helmut Klever, had become a professor of chemistry at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. He set out to develop what the Army wanted. In 1904 he succeeded to produce a special oil which he named BALLISTOL, from the word ballistic and the Latin word for oil, ‘oleum’. Thus the descriptive meaning of the word BALLISTOL is: ballistic oil. It soon became obvious that the new wonder Oil had truly amazing capabilities. The Army tested it and adopted it in 1905 and it stayed in use until 1945. But the word had spread and within a decade hunters, boaters, motorists, hikers, mountaineers and outdoorsmen in Germany, Austria and Switzerland convened to the new miracle oil."

arcticap
December 24, 2010, 02:07 PM
There's something called tow or flax tow that's a fibrous by product of processing flax. These are coarse fibers that have a variety of uses. I think that a small bundle of these fibers were used as a type of barrel scrubbie to help loosen stubborn bore fouling. Maybe also carried and used as tinder for fire starting. IIRC some reenactors use it for these purposes.

Characteristics & Types
Flax is the stalk of a plant that is used for fiber. It is considered a cellulose or bast fiber, similar to hemp, jute, and ramie. Flax, which has been spun, is called, linen.

http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/flax.shtml


Flax tow is used in the production of cigarette paper. It is also used in the cottonized bast fiber and papermaking industries, as crop baling twine, elephant thread, sacking and packaging fabrics, upholstery stuffing in the furniture industry, as stuffer yarn for wire ropes and cords and as a seal material.

http://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/ware/fasern/flachsgr/flachsgr.htm

usmarine0352_2005
December 24, 2010, 06:00 PM
.
I made the mistake of not cleaning my muzzleloader for over a year.


My friend recommended CVA Foam and we used it. My gun looks as good as new. I was really happy the barrel wasn't ruined and I learned my lesson.



I'm now a believer in CVA Foam and always use it.



Step 1: Foam and let sit.


Step 2: Clean with a bronze bore brush.


Step 3: Clean with dry patches until clean.


Step 4: Lube with patches with Bore Butter.


Step 5: Clean outside of rifle with CLP/Rem Oil/whatever else you want to use.


.

confederatemule
December 24, 2010, 06:51 PM
"Coal Oil"

When I was younger we used kerosene, we called it coal oil, in lanterns, we used it to clean auto parts and anything else greasy & oily, we did, actually, apply it to minor [and not so minor] cuts, we added it to car washing water etc.
We used 3-in-one household machine oil to lubricate almost every thing, especially guns.

Foto Joe
December 25, 2010, 10:50 AM
gcleftton,

You took my explanation of Ballistol and ran with it. Thanks for the interesting history, that part I didn't know. I meant to put into my post that Ballistol was probably the "WD-40" of that era (name recognition only, not function).

confederatemule,

I'm about to talk about something that I only have partial knowledge of again but being an oil company employee I pick up on a few things. In the 19th century, petroleum products were not common as far as refined oils were concerned. For instance the original formula for diesel fuel was actually derived from peanut oil. The kerosene you reference was probably made from coal oil, but it was still kerosene. Oil lamps used both kerosene and whale oil depending on your location and what you could reasonably get your hands on.

Personally, I wouldn't use Ballistol on minor (or major) cuts, neither would I use WD-40 on gout but I've heard it's effective. Back to the OP though. Although from the history gclefton gave us, Ballistol didn't come into existance until after the introduction of smokeless powders, therefore it wouldn't be a historically correct cleaning agent. This is possibly why the surviving guns of old, truly look like the guns of old.

I will add though, don't attempt to use Ballistol Moose Milk to clean a gun that has fired smokeless. It will get the job done eventually but it isn't that effective, one experience with that mess was enough for me.

confederatemule
December 25, 2010, 11:18 AM
gcleftton,

You took my explanation of Ballistol and ran with it. Thanks for the interesting history, that part I didn't know. I meant to put into my post that Ballistol was probably the "WD-40" of that era (name recognition only, not function).

confederatemule,

I'm about to talk about something that I only have partial knowledge of again but being an oil company employee I pick up on a few things. In the 19th century, petroleum products were not common as far as refined oils were concerned. For instance the original formula for diesel fuel was actually derived from peanut oil. The kerosene you reference was probably made from coal oil, but it was still kerosene. Oil lamps used both kerosene and whale oil depending on your location and what you could reasonably get your hands on.

Personally, I wouldn't use Ballistol on minor (or major) cuts, neither would I use WD-40 on gout but I've heard it's effective. Back to the OP though. Although from the history gclefton gave us, Ballistol didn't come into existance until after the introduction of smokeless powders, therefore it wouldn't be a historically correct cleaning agent. This is possibly why the surviving guns of old, truly look like the guns of old.

I will add though, don't attempt to use Ballistol Moose Milk to clean a gun that has fired smokeless. It will get the job done eventually but it isn't that effective, one experience with that mess was enough for me.

Foto Joe, I know very little about every thing, so, when I talk about any and every thing I sound dumb.
At least you know enough to carry on a sensible conversation.

Will Ballistol original [in the white label] work to clean "all" guns?

BTW..."The kerosene you reference was probably made from coal oil, but it was still kerosene. Oil lamps used both kerosene and whale oil depending on your location and what you could reasonably get your hands on." I was raised in Texas by Oklahoma parents that were raised on share cropper farms in Oklahoma. For those who don't know, my grand parents worked someone else's farm for a house and a small percentage of the crop. They were allowed to have a vegetable garden and a cow and a meat hog on the place. For transportation and work they had a horse or two.

Foto Joe
December 26, 2010, 11:23 AM
Will Ballistol original [in the white label] work to clean "all" guns?

Okay, you confused me there for a minute. I had to figure out where the "White Label Ballistol" came from. From the link that is found here (http://firehawk-technology.amazonwebstore.com/Ballistol-Allpurpose-Lubricant-NonAerosol-16-oz/M/B001O2L80E.htm) they are the same product with a different label. One is "Multi-Purpose" and the other is the more recognizable to me "Sportsmans Oil".

In answer to your question regarding "All Guns", I'm assuming that you mean smokeless firearms as well. My quick answer to that is in my experience Ballistol Moose Milk is less than effective with smokeless powder residue. Hoppes #9 works better and I'm sure that there are other petroleum based solvents out there that out perform the Hoppes. BUT!!!....I haven't touched a container of RemOil since I started using Ballistol. Of course I'm not using Moose Milk for lubricant, I use Ballistol straight for gun oil on both smokeless and my important guns.

One last note on Ballistol. If I were you I would stay away from the aerosol formula, it's way too expensive. Take a little trip down to "China-Mart" and pick up a couple of squirt/spray bottles (usually over by the pharmacy area). One can be filled with Moose Milk and the other can be used for straight Ballistol although I usually just use the one for the Moose Milk and an old sewing machine or machine gun oiler for the straight stuff. By the way, if your spouse has a sensitive nose, I wouldn't use this stuff in the house right away, it's got somewhat of a peculiar odor to it. I kinda like it, but my wife will beat me 'til my ears bleed if she catches me in the kitchen with it again.

confederatemule
December 26, 2010, 01:26 PM
Yes Sir, that is where I got "white label" from.

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