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RW1 
36 Cal.
Posts: 96
12-19-09 07:20 PM - Post#797958    


Hi everyone,
A question on seasoning a bore with products like Wonderlube, Bore Butter, etc. In his Muzzleloader articles Mike Nesbitt talks about seasoning the bore, as does Caywood on his website. Both stress removing petroleum products from the bore and not reintroducing petroleum products into the bore once seasoning begins. Both point out that petroleum causes heavier blackpowder fouling. Some years back I used Wonderlube to season the bore on a .50 Pedersoli Kentucky flintlock with good results--no cleaning between shots, wiping the bore with Wonderlube after cleaning with no rust forming. However, I eventually went back to using gun oil in the bore. Part of that was due to some of our club members saying that doesn't work and my being the only member of our club using the stuff. And part was due to my being a 20th and 21st century shooter and being accustomed to using gun oil. Now I'm considering seasoning the bore on my other rifles. Staying away from petroleum products makes sense--I'm not aware of petroleum being refined into gun oil in the 18th century, if it were it probably would not make it to a trading post on the frontier, and if it did it probably would not be affordable to local settlers and longhunters. I can agree with those who say stay away from petroleum products. I'm sure on the frontier they would have used bear grease and similar natural lubes. One question I have is the use of mink oil. I have some from Track of the Wolf. This seems to be a natural lube. It does not get hard at low temperatures like Wonderlube. Could this be used to season the bore and as a patch lube like Wonderlube, and to coat the bore as a preservative after cleaning? I would think so. My other question is what to use to clean with? I currently use the Murphy's oil soap, alcohol, and peroxide mix. It looked like this may have been removing the Wonderlube when I used that several years ago. Is this safe to use when seasoning a bore without removing the seasoning, or should I use soap and water? Thanks for any input.


 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-19-09 08:47 PM - Post#797987    

    In response to RW1

You "season" a CAST IRON skillet"- emphasis on IRON. You don't " season" Steel. Barrels in today's guns are made of steel.

This whole "seasoning the barrel" nonsense is the result of people reading about what old timer shooters did with their guns made with iron barrels. Soap was made of Lye, and the concentration of Lye in any batch of soap could very from very little to way too much! The lye was hard on iron barrels, and pots. So, people seasoned iron tools and containers to protect them from rust, and to fill the pores to keep out foreign matter. This works fairly well with IRON gun barrels, but not so well with steel barrels.

There are many vegetable based oils available to the modern shooters that are perfectly useful for lubing the barrel of MLers. Olive Oil was known back in the day as " sweet oil", and was imported and used extensively in the original colonies. As people crossed the Appalachians, and moved into the interior, shipping good such as sweet oil there became problematic, until the Erie Canal Opened. The French and Spanish had it shipped to New Orleans, during their occupations, and it made its way up the river as steamboats arrived to power against the currents. What backwoods settlers did was render oil from whatever animals they killed, including deer, bear,and a variety of varmints. Hog fat was also rendered, but was usually used for cooking, not greasing shooting patches. We know hog renderings as "bacon fat" today.

If you use the Actual Oil, with all the impurities removed, you get a very good lube. It may not remain soft in very cold weather, but its useful for patch lubing through most of our typical weather conditions.

JoJoba oil is considered a fine oil substitute for Sperm Whale oil. I have used it, and its a great oil for the bore, and for patches. But, its just an expensive vegetable oil. I can buy the store brand of Olive oil cheaper. And I can buy vegetable cooking oil by the quart and larger quantities for pennies, compared to the cost of Olive Oil, or JoJoba( pronounced Ho'-Ho-Bah) oil.

You should also consider mixing up a batch of Stumpy's Moose Snot, and Moose milk. The formulas can be found under member resources on the index page. Mix vegetable oil, beeswax, and Murphy's oil soap together in various ratios to make the two different lubes. The milk is thinner, than the snot, which stays soft down into the sub zero range of temps. The "snot " has the consistency more like cold cream, than oil. Add more wax if you want a harder "cream".

I am still using a predecessor to Wonderlube- called Young Country 101 Lube, then Natural Lube 1000, then Wonder Lube, and Bore Butter. I can do without the scented stuff in the tube, but making this up using Stumpy's recipe is so easy that if I every use up the wonderlube I bought by mistake, and the second bottle I was given as a present, I will simply make my own.

A lot of older T/C rifles that were " Seasoned" according to " the book", were sold off by their owners when they thought they had " Shot out " the lands. In reality, the grooves had simply filled up with that burned lube residue, so there didn't seem to be any grooves left. A couple of folks who have been members here have made a small business about hunting down these rifles in ads, guns shows, and pawn shops, buying them for very little money, cleaning the barrels, and cleaning up the stocks, and metal, and then selling them for several hundred dollars more than they paid for the guns. If Caywood is passing on this nonsense, I don't know what to say. He should know better.

Use a bore brush behind a cleaning patch that is dampened with cleaning fluid( water and soap) and scrub the bore to get the residue out of the corners of the grooves. Soak the barrel with warm water, and soap, and let it sit for half an hour. Plug the vent or nipple, of course. The soap will chemically break the carbon deposits loose in the bore, and the water will dissolve the salts remaining from the powder. Pour the dirty water out and rinse. Then run that bore brush down with a patch to see how clean it is. If you still are getting crud on the patch after two patches, fill it with warm water again, and soap, and set it aside for another half hour. LET THE SOAP WORK.

When it appears to be getting clean, pump that patch up and down the bore so that the bristles and cotton patch will scrub and rub clean all the residue remaining. Then dry the barrel with a few patches in front of a dry cotton swab, or your cleaning jag. When those tight fitting patches come out white, run an oiled patch down the bore to oil the barrel to protect it from rusting.

Now attend to wiping and cleaning the outside of the barrel, the stock, the lock( remember to take the lock out of the stock and attend to the inside, too), etc. to finish your cleaning. Put that nipple back in the gun with a small drop of oil on its threads. Check all the screws to make sure none is backing out or getting loose. Some Wax on the stock & barrel will protect both it and the barrel from your fingerprints when handling the gun.

Edited by paulvallandigham on 12-19-09 08:53 PM. Reason for edit: typos

 
J.D. 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3196
12-19-09 08:51 PM - Post#797989    

    In response to RW1

IMHO, seasoning a bore is a myth of huge proportions. The makers of the yellow miracle lubes only recommend seasoning the bore with their products to sell more of the stuff. Moreover, a build up of any of the yellow miracle lubes has proven to destroy accuracy, over time, so it's best to clean all of it out after each use.

AS to cleaning with the stuff, all you are doing is covering up any left over fouling, instead of breaking it up and cleaning it out.

Tracks Mink oil is good patch lube, and though I haven't tried it for bore preservative, it might work well enough. Again, IMHO, a good petrol based bore preservative will probably be more effective in preventing corrosion in any MLer.

I prefer BreakFree as a bore preservative, and just swab it out with an alcohol saturated patch before shooting.


IMHO, any good gun oil, petroleum based or otherwise is a much better bet, to preserve a bore, than anything else anyone can come up with.
Just clean out the petroleum based oil with a patch saturated with alcohol, and shoot to your hearts content.

God bless

 
jbtusa 
45 Cal.
Posts: 596
jbtusa
12-19-09 08:56 PM - Post#797994    

    In response to J.D.

I agree. I read all of the phobias about using petroleum based oils in the bore... duh, doesn't take a rocket scientist... just clean it out before shooting! Petroleum based oil is cheap, use it!

 
ozark57 
45 Cal.
Posts: 821
ozark57
12-19-09 09:11 PM - Post#798003    

    In response to RW1

There is not,in my opinion, any such thing as seasoning the bore. There is surely a breaking in of a bore,that is removing tiny burrs and imperfections left from machining,but that is as far as it goes. Modern steel is not pourus. Black powder is better cleaned with water. Get your bore as clean as possible,then coat it with a light oil such as Remoil.


 
Joel/Calgary 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1251
Joel/Calgary
12-20-09 12:14 AM - Post#798077    

    In response to jbtusa

  • jbtusa Said:
I agree. I read all of the phobias about using petroleum based oils in the bore... duh, doesn't take a rocket scientist... just clean it out before shooting! Petroleum based oil is cheap, use it!


Therea re a couple of problems - not all petroleum products react badly with BP, and some folks are not rigorous in keeping petroleum products away from burning BP. I don't recall the details of the organic chemistry, but there are different classes of hydrocarbons involved and some, but not all, will react with the sulfur compounds in black-powder combustion products, under the influence of heat, and produce an asphalt-like mess. This can be a major pain to remove and will continue to accumulate if not cleaned out. The problem is knowing which petroleum-based products contain components of the sorts that will produce this tar. For example, Ballistol is based on a modified mineral oil yet works very well with black powder.

The Mad Monk researched this, but I cannot locate the reference at the moment. Does anyone else have it, or a link to it (or something similar), available?

Regards,
Joel

 
makeumsmoke 
58 Cal.
Posts: 2187
12-20-09 09:52 AM - Post#798202    

    In response to Joel/Calgary

Hot water -dish soap-dry-rem oil..Use a light thin patch on a bore brush to scrub and pump.
A clean bore is a happy bore!

 
necchi 
Cannon
Posts: 11602
necchi
12-20-09 10:08 AM - Post#798217    

    In response to RW1

I gotta jump on board with the seasoning is a myth crowd.
Why is it the when one person that get's in print say's something that thousands of others do or don't do it suddenly becomes gosple.
Clean with soapy water, oil the bore with a good grade gun oil, and clean the oil out before ya shoot. Simple. It's been working with my BP guns for over 20 years.
Sure the bore butter and wonder lube works,if you wanna go through all that hassel,,but I've NEVER seen a top shooter using the stuff

 
hanshi 
Cannon
Posts: 8007
hanshi
12-20-09 07:28 PM - Post#798532    

    In response to RW1

This "seasoning" myth is like a monster in a Hollywood movie; it just won't die! Steel is a different animal than iron. But even with iron barrels who in their right mind wants a layer of crud buildup in the rifle's bore? For one thing, I don't want the dimensions of my rifle's bore getting smaller and smaller or have the rifling get buried under a blanket of carbon. Rust happens under that blanket. Clean it down to shiny steel and oil it!

Somebody heard talk about seasoning or read the reference in a book and went hog wild without even knowing what was happening. I hear talk frequently about seasoning soldiers, hunters, doctors, you name it. That doesn't mean these people are coated in a black crust! "Seasoning" means only two things: 1. Using salt, garlic, oregano and other spices to perk up food. 2. getting people experienced enough to do well at something or, in the case of barrels, getting the bores smoothed up by shooting and cleaning them.

Another thing, science, technology and experience has GROWN exponentially in the past two hundred years. We no longer "bleed" folks who have flu, tb, etc. We give them modern medicines. Notice how metallic cartridges are used in warfare now instead of loose powder? Modern gun oils, rust preventatives, and lubes are cheap and available. Use them! If you clean your bore well, dry it completely and use a modern oil, it won't, surprise, rust. Just remember before you shoot it patch out that bore and remove any oil present. That's it; no magic, secret formulas, hidden knowledge guarded by a secret society or rents in the fabric of space/time.

I personally do not like the bore butters/wonder lubes and other money making scams perpetrated by some of these companies. I know there are many who use them as patch lubes with complete satisfaction but they've never done it for my shooting. And there are much better rust preventatives out there. If you use them make sure you clean the bore very thoroughly, down to the bare steel.

As you can see by my post, I am NOT opinionated in the least. Actually I really am not. This post was written by my evil alter ego, Spud.

 
BrownBear 
Cannon
Posts: 13673
BrownBear
12-20-09 08:09 PM - Post#798563    

    In response to hanshi

One of my hunting pards was real proud of the bore he'd worked years to season. Sure looked purty and traditional. Eventually it simply quit shooting accurately, and this guy's a good shot.

Took brake cleaner on patches and a bore brush to it and brought it back to shiny. Now it shoots like it did in its youth.

Nuff sed.

 
Muskeg Stomper 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1044
Muskeg Stomper
12-20-09 10:31 PM - Post#798635    

    In response to BrownBear

I too read Mike Nesbit's article and was going to comment after previously debating with others on this forum whether a bore can be seasoned or not. More folks seem to think that it's than not but I still believe that the natural lubricants have merit over petroleum based products. Just MHO.

I am no scientist but 25 years of military experience tell me that I can clean a weapon three days in a row and finish with snow white patches after each session and yet the following day come out with a dirty first patch. Is something going on down at the microscopic level?

I've been cleaning with water and maybe just a little dish soap or Simple Green for years. As long as the weather is warm, I like natural lube patches and I've had no issues with accuracy. I always run a couple down the bore after cleaning and don't experience any rust problems.

In cold weather, I use my own moose milk type formula or TOTW mink oil depending on whether I'm shooting at the range or hunting. I always follow up with a good water cleaning and natural lube patches.

I've heard opinions that differ from mine (that I value as constructive debate) and I've heard smart aleck comments about adding butter and a touch of salt & pepper. In the end, I always go back to the attorney-like statement "Your results may vary". (Sorry Paul).

Just my 2 cents.

 
KanawhaRanger 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3370
12-20-09 11:44 PM - Post#798658    

    In response to RW1

Seasoning the bore is just a way for the lube makers to get rich. You season cast iron. You can't season wrought iron or steel. I've used only light oil (3 in 1) for over 35 years to protect the bore and it's done a great job. Like any other lube or preservative, you need to wipe it out the best you can before shooting, especially if you store your gun standing. Eventually, some will run to the breech and cause some problems. If you don't get every bit out, after a couple of shots the barrel will be clear. Main thing is, just don't over do it with any preservative or lube. Remember the old Brylcream commercials? "A little dab will do ya!"


 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-21-09 10:23 AM - Post#798779    

    In response to Muskeg Stomper

I too have experienced "stuff" showing up several days after I cleaned a barrel and got white patches out of it. The mystery was solved when I converted the gun from cap and ball to Flint, and the Breechplug had to be removed. I had a small gap between the back of the rifling, and the face of the plug!

With another gun, we found that some of the threads of the breechplug were exposed, so that the oil I put down the barrel for short-term storage would flood the threads, and float out more BP residue. Its was that "new" residue that was coloring my patches- a ring at the outside of the bore diameter, with NO BP residue in the middle of the patches.

Many barrel makers do not square the shoulder at the front of the threads, or taper the first couple of threads on the plug in an attempt to match, somewhat, the angle of the drill bit used to drill the hole for the tap that cuts the threads in the back of the barrel.

The extra work involved in squaring the shoulder, or matching the taper Exactly, and then dealing with the threads is a real PITA, particularly when you don't have a fully equipped machine shop. Putting a tapered shoulder on the front of the plug, that matches, or marries, the taper on the internal shoulder from the drill is thought to be the easiest way to "seal" the threads.

But, I know one barrel maker who uses bottoming taps, and a boring bar to square the shoulder, and then removes the first couple of threads so that the face of the plug butts up against the square shoulder like a tight bank vault door.

That is the only way I have learned that a Breechplug can be put in a barrel where the threads are NOT exposed when cleaning, and to receive BP residue, UNDER HIGH PRESSURE, when the gun is fired. I asked the barrel maker about teflon tape, or Anti-seize. He told me they help, but cannot be made to seal completely.

Personally, I developed a habit of simply running another patch down the barrel a few days or a week after I cleaned my rifle, to get out the extra residue, then re-oiled the barrel and forgot about it. I really believe that if the residue is held in suspension in oil that it simply cannot harm the bore.

Now, it you let the oil dry out, you might have a problem....

 
Muskeg Stomper 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1044
Muskeg Stomper
12-21-09 03:09 PM - Post#798880    

    In response to paulvallandigham

  • Quote:
I too have experienced "stuff" showing up several days after I cleaned a barrel and got white patches out of it. The mystery was solved when I converted the gun from cap and ball to Flint, and the Breechplug had to be removed. I had a small gap between the back of the rifling, and the face of the plug!



That makes perfect sense to me. That said, can anyone explain how you can get a dirty patch from the bore of a modern bolt action firearm with the bolt removed after having previously cleaned it the day before?

 
BrownBear 
Cannon
Posts: 13673
BrownBear
12-21-09 03:15 PM - Post#798886    

    In response to Muskeg Stomper

I've always figured the solvents have been absorbed into stubborn fouling. Even after you can't get any more out in a session, it keeps on working on what's left, slowly loosening it for the next day. It's always amazed me how often there's a little fouling left that simply won't shake free on the first cleaning and needs soaking. In my CF guns I'm in the habit of running a patch wet with solvent through the bore after I'm "finished" cleaning it. Then I let it sit a day. Guess what color the first patch comes out the next day?

 
Stumpkiller 
Moderator
Posts: 17113
Stumpkiller
12-21-09 03:57 PM - Post#798891    

    In response to BrownBear

I don't try for a "seasoned" bore as I don't believe it is worth the risk of leaving fouling and crud around the breech. What is "seasoning" if not old fouling and greases not removed? I want everything out and then I start fresh with a clean barrel. Prior to shooting I run an alcohol patch (91%) and then run a well lubed patch up and down a few times to coat the bore well with lube before the first shot. This puts my first shot in the group with subsequent ones and allows me to use a protectant/penetrating oil for storage.

PS - my lubes use castor oil, which shares some properties with animal oil that other vegetable oils do not. Much more stable under heat and pressure than many natural oils (it is used in jet engines, racing motorcycles and model aircraft engines as a high temp/pressure lube).

PPS - I avoid fresh hydrogen peroxide in lubes as that is introducing an oxidizer to the bore which can cause rust (I used to keep my "in the white" Bess browned/darkened by applying peroxide and wiping it off after the barrel had rusted lightly.) If you carry it in another container mixed it will be plain water in a short while, anyway.
"Don't take life too serious - it ain't nohow permanent."


 
hanshi 
Cannon
Posts: 8007
hanshi
12-21-09 06:14 PM - Post#798958    

    In response to Muskeg Stomper

With modern rifles, fouling is also caused by jacket material smearing off and sticking to the bore. It covers powder fouling which is there to stay until the copper fouling is removed-lots of work. Jacket fouling oxidizes as does lead and that wipes out over time as the "clean" bore is swabbed. It does take time for the oils & cleaners to dissolve stuff, maybe days, maybe weeks.

Jim Carmichael's bore break-in procedure involved firing a few shots then thorough cleaning, firing/cleaning, firing/cleaning. This way jacket fouling doesn't get a head start and when it did form later, it was aggressively cleaned out. Any modern rifle will accumulate jacket material and normal cleaning won't remove it.

With prb I think Paul's explanation makes the most sense. Also some of the combustion fouling may dissolve over time. Thus Jacket/lead fouling is the culprit in modern rifles, assuming thorough cleaning to remove powder fouling.

 
Muskeg Stomper 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1044
Muskeg Stomper
12-21-09 10:51 PM - Post#799077    

    In response to hanshi

Guys, these are great posts! This is what I meant by valued constructive debate. Your opinions are informative and appreciated.

I do clean thoroughly and use the natural lubricants sparingly in that I don't slather the bore with it before storage but simply run a lubed shooting patch or two down the bore. While I don't regularly run an alcohol soaked patch down the bore before shooting after storage, I do usually run another lubed patch down before my first shot. I should mention that these patches are not heavily lubed and I never have a problem with dampening the powder. Maybe this doesn't qualify as "seasoning" in the first place but it seems to work for me.

Edited by Muskeg Stomper on 12-21-09 11:03 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-21-09 11:37 PM - Post#799094    

    In response to Muskeg Stomper

I have gotten green colored patches out of barrels where the copper residue had not been fully removed during the initial cleaning. I got " clean " patches at the end, and put a good oil in the bore. A few days later, I checked the bore, and the patch came out "green". I got out the bore brush, and more lead and COPPER solvent, and went to work on the barrel again.

I got lead out of a revolver barrel once, when I thought the barrel was clean of lead, and it wasn't. A few days later, I ran another cleaning patch down the barrel with a tight jag, and it came out "dirty". I went at the bore with my bore brush, and lead solvent, letting the lead solvent sit in the barrel for an hour, and work its magic.

Sometimes, I think our biggest problem is being in too much of a hurry. At least, it seems to be part of my problem.

 
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