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Season a Barrel

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Blue Line, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Blue Line

    Blue Line Well-Known Member

  2. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    Yep it's balderdash.

    There are no "pores" in barrel steel in modern muzzleloading barrels. Check out this link from the Traditional Muzzleloading Forum for details: Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore by Paul Vallandigham.

    I would serously like to see him shoot 100 consecutive shots from his barrel and load #100 as easily as his first round, simply because he treated his barrel with some heat and some beeswax and lard (bore butter). :rolleyes:

  3. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member


    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    I have been keeping my T/C Bbls seasoned for as long as i can remember and i gaurantee you that i not only get FAR MORE easy loading and shots than with an unseasoned one, but they clean up far easier also.
    I use Bore Butter. I can't recall the number of consecutive shots last fired with my .50, but this past early fall i fired 28 consecutive, easy to load as the first,shots with a newly aquired and newly seasoned .45 T/C.
    I'd stand neck in neck with anyone and do a same load comparison any time and confidently know i'm gonna get many more easy to load shots that you with your unseasoned Bbl.
    And that's the truth :p
  5. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Ditto with Jim, West PA comments,

    Seasoning the bore is a key step in the care and feeding of your muzzleloader.

    The best comparsion is this;

    Compare a well used cast iron skillet from your wife's kitchen to a brand new one. Notice how much smoother the cooking surface inside the used skillet is compared to the new one. Ask your wife how much easier the used skillet cleans up. The grease cooks into the pores of the metal over time and seals it. I don't know where pards are getting the idea modern steel doesn't have pores in it.

    This is the exact same thing that is going on inside the bore of your frontstuffer and why you should avoid all modern cleaning solutions/chemicals. A seasoned bore cleaned with plain water maybe with a dab of dish soap followed by Ballistol will not only not rust but as more rounds are fired over time will be rust resistant and easier to clean.

    p.s. I belong to a muzzleloading club and all the members season the bores of their frontstuffers.
  6. kwhi43@kc.rr.com

    kwhi43@kc.rr.com Well-Known Member

    My muzzleloading barrels are not made from cast iron. All of this is just
    A bunch of hooey.
  7. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    From metals science. What they're actually saying is that modern steels are not the same as the cast iron used in cookware. And they're right.
  8. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Baloney...Steel is porous. Look at it under a powerful microscope. In fact it has a lot of imperfections.

    In addition look at the lands and grooves in the barrel. If you have reasonably good vison you can easily see tool marks inside the barrel from when the bore being cut. A common question has to do with lapping the barrel to rid it of the tool marks. Pores are more easily visible with the naked eye on castings used making parts for firearms (Ruger frames for example.

    Seasoning not only fills in small pores that may not be seen with the naked eye but it helps with covering the imperfections from when the lands and grooves were cut.
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Steel is porous (learned that years ago and relearned that today in my gun bluing class). However, I wouldn't bother with "seasoning" a barrel. It's hogwash. Go shoot and have fun instead of work at having fun.
  10. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    This is one o' them tweechisown things i 'spect.
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    We had a similar discussion over at CAS City just a few weeks ago. I don't shoot muzzle loaders but I shoot Black Powder in cartridge revolvers, lever guns, and shotguns all the time. Old guns from the 1880s right up to modern Stainless guns. Nice shiny modern bores as well as old pitted bores.

    I don't know much about 'seasoning', but I can categorically state that once they have gone through the firing and cleaning cycle a few times with my favorite water based cleaning solution and lubricating the bore with Ballistol, they are easier to clean and require less elbow grease to get clean then the first time they were fired with Black Powder. Whether or not you call it 'seasoning', whether or not there are micro pores in the steel, they clean up quicker and easier after having gone through the firing and cleaning cycle a few times.
  12. splattergun

    splattergun Well-Known Member

    I don't know about seasoning a modern steel ML barrel, but I do have a nice, expensive steel griddle which proudly proclaimed "no seasoning required". I washed the griddle according to mfr directions and went to cook with it. Everything I cooked stuck to the new griddle like glue to paper. In frustration, I seasoned it the old fashioned way, I baked on some no-salt lard at high heat until black. That griddle is now non-stick and a joy to use.

    FWIW, I think it won't hurt to season your barrel the way the old timers did. Might help.
  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member

    Howdy Again

    The comparison to frying pans and rifle barrels really does not hold much water, pardon the pun.

    Frying pans are usually made of cast iron. When iron was used for rifle barrels, it was wrought iron or malleable iron. Very different. Cast iron is full of impurities. That's why it is so brittle. Strong in compression but not very good in tension, which is what a gun barrel needs. Cast iron cannot be forged into a rifle barrel, too many impurities. Wrought or malleable iron can be forged because the impurities have been driven out of the iron. Much stronger in tension. Colt was still using malleable iron for frames and cylinders as late as the early versions of the SAA in 1873.

    Wrought iron or malleable iron is not as porous as the cast iron of a frying pan.
  14. frontiergander

    frontiergander Well-Known Member

    if you want something that truly helps a muzzy bore to stay clean and load easier after multiple shots, Dynatek Bore Coat. THAT stuff is awesome!
  15. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Well-Known Member

    Nonsense.........just shoot it and clean it well.....the gun will do the rest.
  16. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    Actualy, truth be told even, i don't actualy "season" my Bbls.
    I just treat them with bore butter.I keep a coat of BB in my Bbls at all times and i lube my patches with it.
    As for cleaning. I use only a few inches of HOT water in the sink with a couple drops o' Dawn. I dry the bore and imediately re-treat with BB while still hot.
    Don't think this is technicaly 'seasoning', but it sure works as i stated above.
    Without that BB applied to the hot bore..things go much different.
    As for the pore issue..no such thing as non pourouse steel.
  17. loose noose

    loose noose Well-Known Member

    Once again I agree with Jim, except for using a bit of dish detergent and hot water; I use nothing but Murphy's Soap Oil, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol to get my bores clean (equal parts), and swab the bore with Bore Butter, no muss no fuss. I can get about 10 to 15 shots. Also I used a valve grinding compound to smooth out the lands and grooves prior to shooting the weapon. Believe me these are the easiest arms to clean. Further after doing a lot of bluing and browning of firearms, I can tell ya for certain that gun steel definitely has pores.:D
  18. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Well-Known Member

    Like Jim, my experience has been that after a barrel is cleaned and "buttered" a few times it subsequently becomes easier and quicker to clean up. I can usually shoot our club course (25 shots or so) without stopping to clean. Never had a hint of rust in that barrel either. It does seem a bit like seasoning on an iron pan, because there is a residual coating in there that I can remove with overly aggressive cleaning - I believe it is beneficial and leave it.
  19. frontiergander

    frontiergander Well-Known Member

    bore coat vs nothing
  20. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Operative words. I've seen very detailed analysis of modern steel from metallurgists. There are no pores to be filled with bore butter. Nor do you need to limit your cleaning as you do with cast iron. In cleaning the problem is using petro-based smokeless cleaners that interact badly with black powder residue.

    However, the use of a light BP friendly lube before shooting will almost certainly make cleanup easier. The reason is simply that the fouling adheres to the layer of grease which can then be removed, instead of adhering much more stubbornly to dry steel. The analogy is not to a cast iron pan but to frying eggs in a steel pan with or without cooking oil. And in fact the same oils you use for cooking can work great for BP. My mix is beeswax and EVOO. But the oil isn't "soaking in" to the steel. Not unless something has gone horribly wrong ;-)
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013

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