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Cleaning A pinned-barrel flintlock.

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BoltActionPrepper, Jun 13, 2012.

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  1. BoltActionPrepper

    BoltActionPrepper Member

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    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?
     
  2. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    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.
     
  3. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    I clean mine using water as described by AJumbo. I do remove the lock, however.
     
  4. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Flint

    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
     
  5. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    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.
     
  6. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    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?
     
  7. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.
     
  8. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    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
     
  9. alsask

    alsask Member

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    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.
     
  10. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    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.
     
  11. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    +1
    That is very good advice.
     
  12. BoltActionPrepper

    BoltActionPrepper Member

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    thank you all for the advice... looks like i'll be removing the lock each time i clean it anyway.
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Are those blued barrels?
     
  14. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    Most are browned, some were blued. Why the question?
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.
     
  16. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    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.
     
  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Do you ever dismount the lock at least?
     
  18. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    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
     
  19. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    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.
     
  20. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    Any time I shoot a flinter I dismount the lock. There's always some fouling that makes it between the lock and the barrel.
     
  21. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    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.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.

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

    Dave Markowitz Member

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

    mykeal Member

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    And the reason wedge keys were used on other guns?
     
  25. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith Member.

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    this is the kind of pin I am talking about
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
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