Newbie needs advice...


March 6, 2012, 10:30 PM
Just got into Black Powder pistol shooting and so far I love it! Bought a 1851 Colt Navy first (the brass one). Most of my questions concern cleaning, here's what I did...

Took the gun apart, removed handle, let the rest of the gun soak in boiling hot water and Dawn dish soap. Then, I cleaned with a toothbrush and copper brush and then dried. Finally I put in in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees to make sure all the water was out of places I couldn't see.

FINALLY, I sprayed all the metal parts (the entire gun basically) with Rem Oil, re-assembled and wiped it down.

SO, is this the best process??? Is there a better thing to use than Rem Oil??? As I am new to this, ANY advice would be helpful.


If you enjoyed reading about "Newbie needs advice..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 6, 2012, 11:04 PM
Rem Oil should be OK on the deep insides. Use an organic lube on the surfaces where the fouling accumulates, like the barrel, inside the frame, etc.

Ballistol works for all cleaning and lubing applications in a black powder gun. But there are others that work too.

Fingers McGee
March 6, 2012, 11:38 PM
What J-Bar said.

March 7, 2012, 02:54 AM
I use the bullet grease (beeswax/tallow) on the whole gun after it comes out of the oven.
Just drop a dab down in the pan with the parts and spread it around with a brush as it melts to cover all the parts, don't forget to push some through the barrel with a wad, after it's cooled down I wipe it off with a rag and reassemble all the peices.
Smells nice too.

March 7, 2012, 02:57 AM
If you try my method and like it, here's another tip.
When you put the grips back together, put in a dollop of the grease in the hollow made by the grip frame. In that way you always have some with you in case you need it.
It's the same dollop i use to cover the gun after cleaning and then I put some fresh in.

March 7, 2012, 06:52 AM
is this the best process?
That word 'best' is dangerous.

There are literally tens of thousands of people cleaning black powder guns, and every one of them is using the 'best' process. Trouble is, they're all different. And 99% (or so) work just fine. What I'm saying is there really is no one 'best' process or we'd all be using it. What you're doing is just fine. You may want to try and simplify it someday and I encourage you to experiment to find the process that fits you and your situation best - there's that word again.

I use plain lukewarm water, no soap, regular cotton cleaning patches, no brushes, alcohol and dry patches to dry it out and either Ballistol or Barricade (depending on where I am at the time) as a rust preventative. Simple and effective. Best? Sure, at least for me.

March 7, 2012, 08:53 AM
What Mykeal said!! Couldn't have said it any better.

March 7, 2012, 10:02 AM
Yeah, everyone is different. My guns have never seen hot water nor have they seen an oven. I clean the innards when something breaks. I use a wet (with moose milk) shot gun mop to clean the cylinders, a bore snake on the barrels, a nylon brush around the nipples. Spray with Ballistol and go get a beer.

March 7, 2012, 10:09 AM
SO, is this the best process???

After taking it out of the oven, did you notice whether any flash rust had formed?
Without first drying the gun off before putting it in the oven, I noticed some flash rust had formed so I stopped using the oven.
Some folks experience flash rusting while others don't.
Now I just dry off the gun as much as possible after a final rinse using scalding hot water.
The cylinder is easy to scrub clean & wipe dry by using patched craft sticks/Popsicle sticks inside the chambers, and a thin piece of wooden dowel for the nipple threads and recesses.
Cotton swabs are handy for applying oil.
Lastly, I apply breech plug grease to the nipple threads using a toothpick and just barely snug them up to tighten.

March 7, 2012, 12:17 PM
Lastly, I apply breech plug grease to the nipple threads using a toothpick and just barely snug them up to tighten.

That step really makes life easier. A good supply of toothpicks, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and Q-tips are definitely a "must-have".

Blue Hill
March 7, 2012, 08:17 PM
I've a stainless gun so rust isn't as much of an issue. I'm pretty new at this as well, but several suggested original formula Windex, which I tried and liked (a lot). First time cleaning a new to me gun gets me a little anal so I soaked it in hot, soapy tap waterafter a complete disassebly. Didn't do the oven thing and don't see the need, but my pistol is stainless. "Best"?, probably not, but it works for me.

Driftwood Johnson
March 7, 2012, 11:27 PM

I stopped putting Black Powder guns in ovens a long, long time ago, maybe around 1970 or so. I found that heating them that way to drive the water out caused flash rust.

I have been cleaning all my Black Powder guns with a mixture of 1/3 Murphy's Oil Soap, 1/3 Rubbing Alcohol, 1/3 drugstore Hydrogen Peroxide for a long time now. This mixture is sometimes referred to as Murphy's Mix. Yes, there is no question that hot water is a fine way to remove Black Powder fouling. The problem is getting all the water out again and I was not happy with the results of heating the gun.

With Murphy's Mix, you don't have to get it all out. You just leave it in there. The water in the H2O2 and the alcohol evaporates, and the oil soap leaves an oily coating on the parts. Once coated with oil, BP fouling becomes harmless, it can no longer suck moisture out of the air to cause rust. Think of it as a sponge that is already saturated with water, it cannot absorb any more.

I shoot A LOT of Black Powder, I go through about 20 pounds a year in Cowboy Action Shooting. I no longer disassemble a Black Powder gun, cartridge or C&B, every time I clean it. Way too much work for how frequently I shoot BP. With any 'new' gun I first completely disassemble it and remove all the oils from inside with a strong solvent like lacquer thinner. I will also deburr any parts that need it at that time. Then I relubricate the gun with Ballistol when I reassemble it. Ballistol is completely Black Powder compatible, not all modern gun oils are.

After this treatment I just clean the gun with Murphys Mix, and squirt some down inside, followed by some straight Ballistol. I just leave any fouling inside. Once a year I take the guns apart to remove all the black, oily guck from inside. There is always plenty of it, but there is never any rust.

Much less work in the long run.

If you enjoyed reading about "Newbie needs advice..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!