Cleaning A pinned-barrel flintlock.


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BoltActionPrepper
June 13, 2012, 06:32 PM
Hey guys. I've been thinking about building myself a North Carolina style flintlock rifle from a kit sold by Pecatonica River long rifle supply co. and wile pondering on the project it occured to me that i don't know anything about cleaning black powder firearms! I know i'm kinda jumping the gun here (i don't even have a black-powder gun yet) but how would i clean the bore and chamber of a flintlock rifle with a pinned in barrel without removing said barrel? Is that the best way?

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AJumbo
June 13, 2012, 06:52 PM
I notice that Pecatonica sells a touch hole liner as part of the kit. Dixie Gun Works sells a flintlock cleaning kit that replaces the liner with a part that looks a lot like a musket nipple. A plastic tube can be slipped onto the "nipple," and the the other end of the tube goes in a bucket of hot soapy water. You can then use a cleaning rod and a swab to pump the water in and out of the barrel.

That's fine if you feel you MUST clean with water, but I've used solvents and patches for years now, and have observed no untoward effects. I only clean my shotgun with water, and then only about once a year.

mykeal
June 13, 2012, 08:18 PM
I clean mine using water as described by AJumbo. I do remove the lock, however.

Pete D.
June 13, 2012, 09:53 PM
I run a scraper down the barrel and get as much gunk as I can out with that. Then I put a coating of MinWax paste wax on the wood, remove the lock, and then plug the touch hole with a round toothpick. Then I fill the barrel with warm, soapy water and stand the gun in a corner for 20-30 minutes.
Point the barrel down and pull the toothpick. Then it is wett patches followed by dry til they come out clean. Last patch has oil on it.
Then I buff the wax off the stock. Frequently, I will rub on a coat of type A transmission fluid and then with a dry, soft cloth remove any excess. Put the lock, cleaned and oiled back on.
Pete

loose noose
June 14, 2012, 10:02 AM
I clean all my BP firearms using a third of Murphy's Soap Oil, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. After I mix the solution (it will foam) I go about and clean as I would any other arm. After I'm done I use Thompson's Bore Butter down the bore as a perservative, which gets cleaned out just before I get ready to shoot it again, usually just one dry swab will do it. Been cleaning BP arms for over 35 years with no hint of rust or corrosion using this simple solution. Also the Bore Butter smells really good too. I've heard Ballistrol also works good, but I don't care for the smell, it smells like dirty socks.

mykeal
June 14, 2012, 03:23 PM
The question wasn't what you use but how you use it. Do you remove pinned barrels from the stock first, and if not how do you flush out the barrel?

Cosmoline
June 14, 2012, 03:30 PM
I've always just popped out the pins and removed the barrel. I can see this being a problem with a very fine rifle, but the ones I shoot aren't that ornate. Besides I really don't see any damage from the removal of the pins. You just use a suitable brass tap.

Loyalist Dave
June 17, 2012, 11:28 AM
It may also depend on the pins. Some folks taper the points of the pins and round them, some do not. I have found without rounded tip pins, the holes may be damaged as the wood can swell and thus be moved when the pin is driven out if the pins are made to recess instead of being flush with the surface of the stock. Sometimes when the tip is replaced this happens.

I have never found a reason to drench the barrel on my long rifles, muskets, or fusils, so normally don't remove the barrel from the stock except but once a year for inspection, OR if I get caught out in a drenching rain. I grease up the underside of the barrel that is covered by the stock before I replace it.

Some stocks on certain rifles can be rather thin, and removing the barrel for each cleaning may not be a good idea.

LD

alsask
June 17, 2012, 02:30 PM
I much prefer a hooked breach when it comes to cleaning chores but I have found that plugging the barrel with a round wooden toothpick in the touch hole works if you are carefull. Some gun makers cut a slot in the tenions so all you have to do is remove the tang screw and pull the barrel forward to release it from the pins.

hang fire
June 17, 2012, 02:32 PM
Constantly removing a pinned barrel for cleaning will soon ruin the wood.

I have yet to remove a pinned barrel for cleaning. Before final assembly of a pinned barrel, I give the barrel several coats of a hard carnauba wax and also the barrel channel in wood. After final pinning I liberally apply wax on both sides full length along the barrel/wood fit to seal and periodically repeat. I have yet had a barrel rust under the wood when barrels were removed several years later.

mykeal
June 17, 2012, 05:06 PM
give the barrel several coats of a hard carnauba wax and also the barrel channel in wood. After final pinning I liberally apply wax on both sides full length along the barrel/wood fit to seal and periodically repeat.
+1
That is very good advice.

BoltActionPrepper
June 17, 2012, 09:17 PM
thank you all for the advice... looks like i'll be removing the lock each time i clean it anyway.

Cosmoline
June 18, 2012, 11:37 AM
I have yet had a barrel rust under the wood when barrels were removed several years later.

Are those blued barrels?

hang fire
June 18, 2012, 03:58 PM
Most are browned, some were blued. Why the question?

Cosmoline
June 18, 2012, 04:02 PM
Just wondering if an in-the-white musket barrel will truly be safe with only wax on it and no periodic cleaning.

Thinking back on it, the only rust trouble spot for me has been around the lock. Gets pretty messy in there after sustained use. And even with well-fitted locks there tends to be some grime behind the lock on the barrel.

Dave Markowitz
June 19, 2012, 08:58 AM
I never remove a pinned barrel from a stock for cleaning. They are not designed to be removed. Do it enough and you'll need to get new, oversized pins.

Use either the flush kit that replaces the touch hole, plug the touch hole and soak, or just use a series of wet patches.

Cosmoline
June 19, 2012, 01:54 PM
Do you ever dismount the lock at least?

Loyalist Dave
June 20, 2012, 08:18 AM
Just wondering if an in-the-white musket barrel will truly be safe with only wax on it and no periodic cleaning.

The answer is, from my observation, nope. All of my pinned guns with the exception of the Pedersoli trade gun, are armory bright (polished steel) or were bought in-the-white and allowed to develope a patina. Now, production guns such as my muskets, and some semi-custom guns such as my rifles, may not have quite the same, tight, wood to barrel fit that a custom rifle or fusil would have. So..., my stuff may be more prone to water getting in, and my observations may not be the norm.

The rusty areas, even though I grease up the barrel and the barrel well in the stock, are just below where the wood ends and the barrels are exposed. Yet, as I mentioned, I only unship the barrels from the stocks to be sure that the rust hasn't caused real problems..., and I only find surface rust that I remove with 4-0 steel wool. I have never found a catastrophe lurking..., so maybe I am doing too much?

Now my muskets are used for military battle reenactments, and get so hot (our rate of fire is a bit too high) that greasing up the underside of the barrel and the stock simply means that hot, liquid grease will be dripping from the gun. You can't wax them as it will simply cook off. (Maybe folks who only hunt and target shoot with them can wax them) The musket barrels get a bit more rusty, but nothing scary, and I clean the underside of the barrels once a year, unless we get in a drenching rain or I fall in a creek or something.

The worst problem that I have seen, and I have seen it way too many times, is the pins on the Pedersoli 2nd Model Bess (any size), and trade gun, rust through from water seeping in via the pin holes from the sides of the stock. I have found badly compromised pins, and some rusted through, when the barrel lugs are barely rusted, and the barrels not rusted at all. I have found this so often that when a fellow reenactor has me "overhaul" a Bess, I automaticly replace the Pedersoli stock pins with pins made from finishing nails, and enlarge the pin holes just a bit to accept them.

LD

St8LineGunsmith
June 20, 2012, 09:16 AM
best way is to remove the barrel, Remove the clean out screw from the drum, ream & pick out any fouling from the drum and nipple.
use black powder solvent and let it sit in the barrel for a few minutes then ram a bore brush down the barrel several times to remove fouling then put a swab on the rod, stick the barrel down in a bucket of hot water up past the drum, squirt some dish washing liquid down the barrel and ram the swab in and out, this will create a suction and pull water up in the barre land push any remaining fouling out.

sit the barrel upside down for several minutes to let the water drain then ram a clean dry patched barrel swab down the barrel.
reinstall the barrel to the furniture.use a pipe cleaner on the drum and nipple to get it good and clean and replace the clean out screw.
black powder fouling is very corrosive so clean it often.

Dave Markowitz
June 20, 2012, 09:49 AM
Do you ever dismount the lock at least?

Any time I shoot a flinter I dismount the lock. There's always some fouling that makes it between the lock and the barrel.

St8LineGunsmith
June 20, 2012, 03:21 PM
I have to dispute the comment that pinned barrels were not designed to be removed from the stock.
the reason the pins were used was for quick removal of the barrel from the stock for cleaning.
muzzleloaders have to be cleaned often and back in the day they would submerse the barrel in a tub of water or in a creek.
wonder how long a stock would last if it was submerged in water every time it was cleaned?
Things that make you go Hmmm.
not to mention thatwater would soak in the wood and rust out the lock parts and the under side of the barrel.
so Yes the design included easy removal of the barrel for cleaning purposes.

Cosmoline
June 20, 2012, 03:24 PM
I guess there are flintlocks and there are flintlocks. Mine tend to be pretty workaday and have plenty of bruises and scrapes on them. A very fine one with perfect wood is another matter. But you wouldn't be taking that out shooting much.

pins made from finishing nails, and enlarge the pin holes just a bit to accept them.

I use finishing nails too. They make really good pins and don't seem to rust up.

Dave Markowitz
June 20, 2012, 07:53 PM
I have to dispute the comment that pinned barrels were not designed to be removed from the stock. the reason the pins were used was for quick removal of the barrel from the stock for cleaning.

This contradicts everything I have read for about 30 years about muzzleloaders with pinned barrels. Care to cite a source?

mykeal
June 20, 2012, 08:39 PM
I have to dispute the comment that pinned barrels were not designed to be removed from the stock. the reason the pins were used was for quick removal of the barrel from the stock for cleaning.
And the reason wedge keys were used on other guns?

St8LineGunsmith
June 20, 2012, 09:02 PM
this is the kind of pin I am talking about
http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb23/roguetitan/PICT1414.jpg

Iggy
June 20, 2012, 09:33 PM
That's a wedge not a pin. They are meant to be removed. Pins ain't.

St8LineGunsmith
June 20, 2012, 09:48 PM
we have always called them wedge pins
nevertheless it is still a pin.

Pete D.
June 21, 2012, 07:27 AM
Regardless of whether a wedge is a pin or not, it was, I thought, obvious that the OP and responses to it were focused on much finer pins than wedges. The references to substituting finishing nails for the originals is one clue.
Barrels pinned that way are not designed to be removed. Doing so is neither quick nor easy and requires proper punches and more than a modicum of care. Removing and reinstalling them repeatedly is akin to removing a nail from its hole in a wood project and then putting it back - doing it again and again - and expecting it to hold properly. The very fact that shooters have resorted to finishing nails, while resourceful, tells us that the holes have been enlarged by repeated removal/resetting of the pins.
Pete

Cosmoline
June 21, 2012, 01:37 PM
Well I *START* with finishing nails because they're less liable to bend or rust and because I can shape them to just the right size to fit a particular stock. I haven't noticed any dramatic hole erosion from removing the barrel. The hole for the pin is something you drill before hand so it isn't like you're nailing a hole in a stud. And I also try not to wedge it too tightly otherwise you're creating stock interference with the barrel. They're still fitting snug but not pinching.

It's my understanding that pins WERE intended for removal. That's why they're pins not something more permanent. And over time the hooked breech and wedges replaced them because it was easier to repeatedly remove and replace barrels that way.

Now if you have a primo flinter that you want to keep in absolutely prime condition, removing the pins is not a good idea. Because you can slip and mar the wood with a punch. But my builds ain't in that category ;-)

Pete D.
June 21, 2012, 06:08 PM
It's my understanding that pins WERE intended for removal. That's why they're pins not something more permanent. And over time the hooked breech and wedges replaced them because it was easier to repeatedly remove and replace barrels that way.
Well...since you are making the guns and I ain't, I will defer to your knowledge about that. It just doesn't seem like a good idea but....
Pete

St8LineGunsmith
June 21, 2012, 06:13 PM
thanks for the response cosmoline
I too build muzzleloaders
I think there are two diffrent views of this topic
one being that of the owner ocasional shooter and the other being that of a gunsmith/builder
am just starting a left hand Jaco Hawken project.

ya it wont have any fancy scroll work but I might do some checkering and the pins will be chamfred not to harm the wood when removal for cleaning purposes.

St8LineGunsmith
June 21, 2012, 06:24 PM
here is the deal all long guns whether muzzleloader or repeating rifles were designed to seperate the metal parts from the furniture and reveerse the process without being a complex procedure and with a minimal amount of tools for the express purpose of cleaning. I think the term is called "field stripping"

anyway clean your guns however you want.

Dave Markowitz
June 21, 2012, 07:05 PM
http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb23/roguetitan/PICT1414.jpg

That's a wedge and is designed for easy removal. Typically, guns which have the barrel secured with a wedge will also have a hooked breech, allowing easy removal and replacement in the stock.

This is what a pinned barreled gun looks like:

http://flintlock.org/pics/var/resizes/Flintlocks/M1717_sideplate.jpg?m=1314053845

Note the pins which are basically like nails. The left one secures a ramrod pipe while the one closer to the lock is a barrel pin. Further, the breech end is secured to the stock via a screw through the tang. In this gun it's a wood screw, although some others use a screw which extends down through the wrist of the stock and screws into a threaded hole in the trigger plate.

Rifles or muskets like these were never meant to have the barrel removed from the stock as part of regular cleaning. Regularly doing so will cause excessive wear. If you do that enough on a properly inlet longrifle there's a good chance the stock will get damaged.

In fact, militaries during the flintlock period commonly issued combination tools only to sergeants, to minimize the damage privates would do to their guns. Muskets were not commonly field stripped in the same way that modern firearms are now.

mykeal
June 21, 2012, 07:08 PM
St8LineGunsmith was misunderstood, certainly by me and, I believe, several others, by referring to a thick, flat wedge-shaped piece of metal as a 'pin', what I call either a 'wedge' or a 'key'. In my experience a 'pin' (used to secure a barrel in a stock) is a thin, straight piece of wire.

If a 'pin' is a thick, flat, wedge-shaped piece of metal, what is a thin, straight piece of wire used in securing a forestock to a barrel called?

Dave Markowitz
June 21, 2012, 07:16 PM
Well, that's why correct terminology is important when asking questions and giving good advice.

AJumbo
June 21, 2012, 08:45 PM
Just a passing thought.... before cleaning a pinned-barrel gun, what if one were to get a roll of blue masking tape and apply it to the gap where the stock and barrel meet, around the lock, and any other place where water may seep in? If you're cleaning a high-$$$ firearm, that tape might be pretty cheap insurance.

St8LineGunsmith
June 22, 2012, 09:28 PM
get a piece of surgical tubing that will fit over the nipple this will divert the water out and away from the rifles furniture, you can also put the end of the tube in a bucket of hot soapy water and pump with the ram rod, wrap a dry towel around the muzzle and rod while pumping this will prevent water from spilling over and out on to the stock.
then you can take the drum cleanout screwout and pick and pipe clean after draining the water out of the barrel.

Still IMHO the best and most through way to clean the barrel is to take it off the furniture regardless how it is mounted on the furniture.
In the words of Larry Potterfield...
and that is just the way it is.

alsask
June 23, 2012, 01:58 AM
I have one pinned flintlock, the rest are hooked breach. For the pinned one I rigged up an air compressor nozzle, the type with the rubber tip, to a section of hose that snaps on the kichen sink faucet.

Now all I do is remove the lock and touch hole liner, press the rubber tip against the hole where the touch hole liner sits and blast hot water through the barrel. Makes cleaning a snap and never gets the stock wet.

4v50 Gary
June 23, 2012, 10:59 AM
The Williamsburg gunsmiths (Wallace Gusler and Gary Brumfeld) apply beeswax to all interior wood. That includes the mortise for the lock, the area beneath the side plate, patch box, buttplate, trigger guard. Why? Nature flush! Sometimes they put their guns in the creek and walk away.

Now I don't suggest trying it at home, but you can apply beeswax (not the modern stuff with some petroleum added to it but the stuff from a beekeeper) to all wood surfaces as a measure of protection against moisture.

Cosmoline
June 24, 2012, 05:30 PM
Sometimes they put their guns in the creek and walk away.

!! If the idea is to avoid a wee ding from removing the pins, I'd say they'd be much better off using a punch and just being careful. There is no comparison bewteen the minor cosmetic injury of a mistake with a small brass punch and what immersion of wood in water can do. Even waxed, it can find routes to seep in and swell the grain, causing no end of damage up to and including splits and cracks. They'd probably call me crazy for removing the barrel, but I think they're crazy!

I think we can resolve the history debate by answering one simple question--who invented the hooked breech and why? Because if there was no practice of popping pins out (with commensurate injury to wood) why would anyone have bothered to create a hook and wedges?

arcticap
June 24, 2012, 08:45 PM
The hooked breech goes back at least as far as 1722 in France and 1730-35 in England:

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=3235.0

In 1820 the Hawken brothers filled an order for 18 rifles having a hooked breech system:

http://www.ehow.com/facts_7317781__50-hawken-rifle.html

Apparently the barrel keys or wedges were called sliding loops, and barrel lugs were called loops:

http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/showtopic.php?tid/255135/

Anyone can register for free to read the entire thread at the MuzzleLoadingForum by following my personal referral link:

---> ---> ---> http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/index.php?referral/4225/

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