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Ramrod problem after cleaning

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by cjclong, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. cjclong

    cjclong New Member

    I have been interested in American history for a long time and some friends recently introduced me to black powder shooting. I have a Pedersoli Brown Bess and Charlesville musket. Also a Chambers Virginia rifle I had made. After shooting these flintlocks I was taught to begin cleaning by putting water in the barrel and pouring it out several times until it became almost clear. The last time I shot each of these guns it became almost impossible to get the ramrod out. In fact, I shot the Charlesville a few days ago and the rammrod is in so tight I can't pull it out. My friends who are very experienced (one of them makes his own guns from kits) clean their guns the same way and do not have a similar problem. I think the problem must be with the stock expanding for some reason since the ramrods on the Bess and Charlesville are metal. I had the same problem with my wooded Virginia rifle ramrod. Has anyone else had a problem like this? Does anyone have an idea why I would have rammrod problems after putting water down the barrel and my friends do not? I am new to black powder shooting and just joined this forum and any advice or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. My friends don't have an explanton for my problem. I need to know what to do to keep this from happening in the future I am totally frustrated as the ramrod cannot be used because I can barely pull it out after cleaning or not at all in the case of the Charlesville. Thank you for any help or advice.
  2. rdstrain49

    rdstrain49 Well-Known Member

    I am not clear on when you run into problems. Cleaning between shots, cleaning at end of the day? I use a ram rod to swab between shots, but never to clean. For cleaning I use a cleaning rod, or a range rod. The only things I can think of that may contribute to your problem would be wrong size jag, wrong size patch. Good luck
  3. 72coupe

    72coupe Well-Known Member

    I don't think it is a good idea to clean the barrel with it still in the stock. Water is sure to get into the inletting of the stock and cause swelling.

    For example if water went down the channel for the ramrod the wood might swell and cause problems removing the ramrod.
  4. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    I take it that your ramrods are stuck in the ramrod channels, not in the barrels.

    What you may have is a combination of the wood swelling, and the ramrod rusting. Try letting the wood dry for a few days, then putting penetrating oil on the ramrod, and then applying a gentle but strong pulling force, like clamping the rod with padded vise-grips and tapping the vise-grips with a mallet.

    The best way to clean black powder is indeed with hot, soapy water, but it's best to remove the barrel from the stock to do this. That's easy with the Charleville (because the barrel is held on with the bands and the tang screw), but difficult with the Brown Bess (because the barrel is pinned in place).

    If you can't remove the barrel, remove the lock, plug the touch hole (a round toothpick works), stand the gun up vertically, and carefully fill the barrel with boiling water using a funnel. Let stand for 5 minutes, carefully pour out, and repeat as many times as necessary. (Brush out the bore between pours of water.) Try not to get the water on the stock, and especially not between the stock and the barrel. Oil/grease immediately after cleaning, and reassemble.
  5. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Well-Known Member

    I had a simular problem with my Zoli 1803 Harpers Ferry Rifle at Rondy last week...Half hitched a cotton or silk rope about 8 times or as many as you can get and tie the other end to a tree and soak the barrel with water or mooses milk and have three guys pull. It came out with difficulty but came out ... My problem was cleaning with cotton patches using the Ramrod with the Ball loading jag on it ...too large for a patch , they will get stuck. Use a Range rod with a .58 or a .50 cal cleaning jag, or what ever caliber you are cleanin', that will go on your rod or range rod...you'll be good to go.:cool:
  6. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    You are mis-reading the OP. His ram rods are stuck below the barrel, not IN the barrel.
  7. cjclong

    cjclong New Member

    Thanks to all who answered. Sorry I wasn't more clear. The problem came in cleaning AFTER I finished shooting. The way I cleaned my guns was to pour some water down the barrel several times and pour it out until it became less dark. Then I would take the gun home from the place where we had been shooting and use a cleaning rod and clean the gun. The problem is that the ramrod would be stuck in its holders (I still don't know my terms) in its correct place in the stock under the gun barrel, not in the gun barrel. I had this happen both with the metal ramrods on the Charlesville and Brown Bess and wooden ramrod on the Virginia rifle. I guess maybe I need to quit putting water in the barrel before I take it home to clean it. The thing that had me baffled is that my friends clean their guns by initially putting water down the barrel and pouring it out several times and have been doing this for years and never have a problem with the ramrod getting stuck in its place under the barrel. I want to say this was my first post here as I just joined yesterday and I truly appreciate those who posted so quickly. This problem has been taking the fun out of shooting for me and I wanted to try to solve it. Thanks so much to all who share their knowledge, its very kind of you.
  8. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

    You could keep the ramrods out of the thimbles when going home and reinstall them after you finish with the thorough cleaning and things have dried out. Personally I remove the barrels on any rifle or musket for cleaning, and I don't clean until I get home.
  9. Norton Commando

    Norton Commando Well-Known Member

    I always remove the barrel from the stock when cleaning, depending on the gun this is easy to do. I then stick the nipple-end in a bucket of hot soapy water and swab the ID of the barrel with a cleaning rod. This swabbing action draws the soapy water in and out of the riffle bore and does a really good job of cleaning it.
  10. robhof

    robhof Well-Known Member


    One fix is to polish out the ramrod port; you can use a dowel that fits loosly and tape some fine sandpaper to the end and roll til lightly snug, then run in and out with a drill. Follow up with swabs on the cleaning rod of Trueoil or other good finishes. This will open up the port slightly and add water resistance. I did this to my Ky flinter as the ramrod would stick on damp days. Haven't had a problem since and it's been caught in the rain on a few occasions.
  11. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Well-Known Member

    Removing the barrel from the stock of a Brown Bess or a Charleville musket each time it needs to be cleaned is not only unnecessary, it's also likely to lead to extra wear and possibly damage. They are not designed to be dismounted for each cleaning.

    cjclong, it sounds like you're getting the stock wet when you clean it, and the wood is swelling. Are you plugging the touch hole well? The cleaning method you describe is one way it was done in the 18th Century but is not necessarily the best way. My recommendation would be to buy a separate cleaning rod with jags to properly fit the bores of your muskets, then clean with flannel patches just like you'd clean a modern gun. This will help you from getting the stocks wet and causing the wood to swell.
  12. dogrunner

    dogrunner Well-Known Member

    Beat me to it Dave! I believe you are right relative to wetting the stock.

    Might I suggest that you acquire a cheap plastic funnel that will fit your bore then wrap an old piece of terry cloth or whatever around the rod and forward section while doing your water flush.........I do precisely that, plus use a home made drain plug fitted with surgical tubing to clean my full length flint rifle, the end of the tubing is fitted to a lead weight & just plunked into a plastic coffee can with soapy water....followed with a very hot flush & then oiled...........too, I remove my wooden ramrod when I clean it to avoid wetting it, probably not a bad idea with a metal rod as well.

    Dave is spot on relative to pulling that bbl..........you WILL incur unnecessary wear &/or damage so doing.
  13. Noz

    Noz Well-Known Member

    You might try putting a finish on the inside of the stock. This would prevent any leaked solution from penetrating the wood and swelling.
    I too pulled the barrel to clean.
  14. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    +1 to both Dave and Noz...

    Remove the barrel and lock. Coat all the inside surfaces of the stock with tung oil, Tru-Oil, boiled linseed oil or other wood seal (I don't like varnish or shellac for this, but it will work). Be sure to get all exposed surfaces. One coat will work pretty well but 3 is best - won't build up too much and will provide good coverage. Be sure to allow the sealer to dry between coats. Reinstall the barrel and lock when all coats are dry. You should no longer have to pull the barrel to clean it, and the stock should no longer swell when you do. However, make it a practice to remove the lock and trigger assembly for cleaning and oiling occasionally as they will be subject to water damage.

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