Cleaning a flintlock barrel

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by Baxter, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Mar 7, 2013 #1

    Baxter

    Baxter

    Baxter

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    With all due respect to my rifle's builder, I understood him to say that I can/should? drive the pins out of the forestock, remove the barrel and then reinstall (he gave careful instructions regarding removing the lock beforehand) and use the "TOTW Flintflush". I own a "Flintflush" but I am hamfisted as anything and I loathe the idea of driving the pins out to remove the barrel. Remove the lock carefully? Yes, I can do that. Barrel is 44", swamped. I also fear getting water into barrel channel and having it remain there unseen though the builder waxed the barrel and channel and beeswaxed the pin holes if I try to soap-and-water clean the barrel with it in the stock. Is there a "pretty sure method" someone has used with the "flintflush" and left the barrel in the wood that they would like to explain to me? I just read a posting by a gentleman who had the misfortune of having a barrel pin drift awry and the subsequent problems with same. Were it me, I'd NEVER try to drift those pins out. Thanks in advance. baxter
     
  2. Mar 7, 2013 #2

    Copperclad

    Copperclad

    Copperclad

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  3. Mar 7, 2013 #3

    kaintuck

    kaintuck

    kaintuck

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    baxter...
    when you shoot flint...1/2 day spent shooting then 1/2 day spent cleaning and oiling/ then waxing......
    tomtomsez you don't HAVE to remove the barrel.....just the lock...then the 'flintflush" clamps over the hole. put the end of the flintflush tubing into a bucket or bottle of hot soapy water, then the meatl cleaning rod with jag, and a cleaning patch, will hydroliclly pull the water up and down with your rodpatch....
    IF you wanted to remove the barrel....MY pins will push out by hand pretty much. use a quality 1/16" long pin punch to do so. No steel hammers were needed, light plastic, or by hand...but that barrel is snug in her bed~careful not to crack the stock at her weak point~that LOCK area!

    I haven't removed my old rifles 50 cal barrel but a couple of times to clean her....the flintflush works good enuff. there was no channel rust/stuff to be seen UNDER the barrel~

    and don't be scared of water in the channel/lock area, that's HARD black walnut, unless you just took a shower with it, you ain't gonna hurt it~ the channel is TOTALLY sealed, and the lock area has coats of oil sealer/stain. that barrel has had coats of browning.....tuffer than blueing if my thoughts are right!

    Tomtom said that he sometimes uses a small amount of hot soapy water and a cleaning jag, over and over, and then oil her, checking to make sure that LAST patch has NO dirt/residue on it~

    but he IS just a kat.....he might be wrong :youcrazy:

    I would just clean her like a center fire, lots of patches with cleaning solution, then dry patched to death, then oil patches....

    :thumbsup:
     
  4. Mar 7, 2013 #4

    Darkgael

    Darkgael

    Darkgael

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    Before I clean the barrel on my flintlock fowler, I remove the lock. Then I coat the wood with paste finishing wax and let it dry. That stays on until I am done.
    The next thing is to scrape the powder chamber with a scraper. Then I put a toothpick in the flash hole and fill the barrel with soapy water.
    I set the gun aside for 15 -20 minutes and clean the lock....and maybe do something else.
    After the wait, I upend the gun as I remove the toothpick, dumping the now very dark water. Then I run a patch wetted with moose milk down the barrel, followed by a dry patch. I continue to do this until the patches come clean. I does not take long. Coat the bore with oil.
    Then I take a soft cloth and buff the wax off the stock.
    Finally, I take a clean cloth moistened with some type A transmission fluid and rub that all over the gun, followed immediately by a paper towel to remove any excess.
    Then I reinstall the lock.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2013 #5

    Trench

    Trench

    Trench

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    Ditto what Pete D. said. It doesn't get any simpler than that.
     
  6. Mar 8, 2013 #6

    Many Klatch

    Many Klatch

    Many Klatch

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    I wrap a rag around the barrel to catch excess water that might slop over when I fill it with a funnel. Sometimes I pour in too much, sometimes I get it right. Sometimes water gets between the barrel and the forearm.

    I had to pull the barrel for the first time from a rifle that I built in the 80's. A few months ago. There was just some minimal surface rust on the barrel that I removed with a light buffing with 0000 steel wool.

    Don't get all hung up about water under the barrel. As long as the barrel pins have a slot to move in if the wood moves then there really doesn't seem to be a problem with an occasional small stream of water.

    Many Klatch
     
  7. Mar 8, 2013 #7

    Dphar

    Dphar

    Dphar

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    Remove the lock with a screw driver that fits the slots in the screwheads.
    Plug the vent with a toothpick, just drive it in snug. Pour about 3" of water in the bore. Plug muzzle with finger or thumb and up end the gun 2-3 times to slosh the water. Dump water out. With a loose fitting patch run it up and down to the breech. Repeat the slosh, dump, wipe cycle a couple of times. Use a dry patch or two to remove excess water then wet patches with a tight fit (if you leave too much water in the bore you can force the water around the toothpick) 3-4 times. Till the black is gone. I like to twist a wet patch against the breech with a worm/patch puller, to scrub this area better.

    Dry the bore with more dry patches, twisting a dry patch or two in the breech. Pull the toothpick as soon as excess water is out of the bore. The air flow will speed drying.
    As it dries it possible to get some black on the patch even with a clean bore since there will be some black iron oxide appearing on the patches. Fouling will remain grey or black after a day or so. Iron oxide usually turned brown on patches set to dry as a test.
    Once dry oil the bore with a good rust protectant oil. NOT patch lube, olive oil etc. Wipe fouling from the wood. NEVER wipe the wood with petroleum oils. These can soften and even remove many wood finishes. Petroleum oils are the reason for all the black streaks and black wood rot seen around locks and barrels of old firearms. Walnut is very bad for black petroleum oil streaks in the wood from oil migrating from the metal parts to the end grain.
    Use STOCK finish. A light wipe with hardware store Boiled Linseed oil is OK. I would order some stock finish oil from Jim Chambers flintlocks to touch up.
    Use patch that is wet enough to oil the breech.
    Once this is done stand the rifle muzzle down on a folded paper towel for 10-12 hours to keep the oil from running out the vent and into the wood.
    Now clean the lock with water and a brush and a Qtip for some areas. The frizzen and frizzen spring only need to be removed now and then. But if the frizzen or frizzen spring have no roller then a little dab of grease needs to be used to protect the spring and the frizzen foot from wear.
    A drop of oil for the frizzen pivot.
    Oil the internals and if its not a link type mainspring some grease where the mainspring bears on the tumbler. Oil internals very sparingly of the oil WILL get into the wood. A light wipe to iron parts like triggers etc will prevent rust on the triggers, barrel etc.

    Replace the lock and leave the gun muzzle down at least overnight.

    Dan
     
  8. Mar 8, 2013 #8

    BillinOregon

    BillinOregon

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    Dan, do you have a favorite rust-preventive oil in mind for this task?
     
  9. Mar 9, 2013 #9

    yakimaman

    yakimaman

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    Here's an easy, inexpensive kit you can use at home or anywhere there's a garden hose. The silver fitting is an adapter for a sink faucet that has a male garden hose thread on the outer end - the brass fitting is just a female to female garden hose adapter, the white fitting is an RV blowout plug (about $1.50 at Walmart) and the rest is just 3/8" plastic tubing; for small calibers you could stick rigid aquarium tubing on it. Just hook it up to your sink, an outside hose bib or any garden hose, run the tubing in the bbl, plug the flash hole and turn on the water. Let it run as long as you want but it only takes seconds. Wipe it dry, oil it and you're done. You can clean it anywhere you have a faucet. Link
     
  10. Mar 9, 2013 #10

    Stumpkiller

    Stumpkiller

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    I am a habitual pin leaver-inner.

    What Dan said. In fact, I like bore mops that I rinse out rather than patches (and they are easier).

    I wipe with alcohol, let it sit a minute and then wipe with Barricade. Before loading the next time I wipe again with alcohol and then run a lubed patch. MAkes clean-up easier later and seems to keep the first shot in the group better.
     
  11. Mar 9, 2013 #11

    BillinOregon

    BillinOregon

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    Yak, that's a handy little device you made. Is that a Charleville you are cleaning?
    Stump, I think we need to specify that's rubbing alkeehol you're specifying, and not Bushmill's ...

    :haha:
     
  12. Mar 9, 2013 #12

    yakimaman

    yakimaman

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    It's an Indian gun (dots not feathers) 1728/46 French musket. Put that little cleaning thing together after I got the musket and kick myself for not doing it years ago. Makes things so simple, so quick - my wife loves it! No more mess.
     
  13. Mar 9, 2013 #13

    Bob J

    Bob J

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    baxter - I faced the same dilemna you do when I switched from percussion halfstocks (removed wedge key and put barrel in tub of water and started pumping patches with soapy water)to flintlock fullstocks with pinned barrels. Birddog6 of this forum suggested his method using the Flintlock flushing method and I haven't looked back. Here it is:

    After I run a few Ballistol patches up and down the barrel to remove excessive crud, I remove the lock and clean it a little dish detergent, toothbrush, and running water. While it dries in the sun, wipe excess crud off from touchhole area of barrel with a damp patch (Ballistol) and attach flush kit clamp to barrel. Turn rifle upside down in gun holder and put a couple of towels under forward section to elevate muzzle end. Drop weighted end of flush tube in a coffee can of water with a little Ballistol added (Use lid with hole punched for tube to keep from making a mess.)

    Now start running patches up and down, pulling cleaning solution into barrel and forcing it back into can. After three or four patches, remove flush tube, dry bore thoroughly with cleaning patches. Then run a patch down the barrel on a ramrod tip, without jag, causing it to come loose, and push it against breech face. Place a small patch on end of ramrod with patch puller, run it down against the patch in bore, "twirl" against breech face so it's completely dry. Now run ballistol patches up and down bore on a jag to protect from rust. Then I repeat the breech "twirl" with Ballistol patch. Wipe down exterior metal with Ballistol, spray lock both sides with aerosol Ballistol, wipe off excess, reinstall lock and WHOOLA! You are done.

    Be sure and recheck bore in a couple of days, but this works great for me.

    It helps to use a breech scraper to unlodge any crud PRIOR to using flush kit: after scraping breech, turn rifle muzzle down and tap the buttplate. Also you may look at the scraper to see if there is any crud - repeat until no crud falls out of bore or is visible on breech scraper.
     
  14. Mar 9, 2013 #14

    Billnpatti

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    Yours is similar to mine except that I have a piece of brass tubing on the end of my plastic tubing. The brass tubing is long enough to fit to the end of the barrel.
     
  15. Mar 10, 2013 #15

    pargent

    pargent

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    Makes my billy of warm soapy water ,tow , flanel patches and the guns rammer seem damrigth old fashioned.
     
  16. Mar 10, 2013 #16

    Model19

    Model19

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    When I visited Ft. Ticonderoga last summer I saw the young musket demo guys remove the locks and then pour boiling water down the muzzles, leaning the piece against the wall and letting it all "pee" out the touch hole. They swabbed and and flushed until they were satisfied. I did not hang around long enough to see how they oiled the barrel's though. They, of course, had to use more period correct methods I assume than we do.
     
  17. Mar 10, 2013 #17

    Baxter

    Baxter

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    I read all of the posts in the string and I am leaving the pins in. I have the Flintlock Fast Flush as recommended by Kaintuck and will just need to be as careful as I can be. Thanks for the cite. baxter
     
  18. Mar 10, 2013 #18

    Baxter

    Baxter

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    Kaintuck: Did not intend to do an "end-around" on you on this issue but I wanted to hear everything I could get for methods that folks on the forum use - gather as much information as possible, sort it out and go from there. The major issue for me in my query had to do with how many folks remove pins and why they do that and, of course, I was looking for the "downside" reasons for leaving the pins in place; experience is a major factor (I have none). "Second opinion" sort of thing and now, I will be following your, and others' advice to leave the pins IN. I sincerely appreciate the caution to store an oiled bore muzzle-down and otherwise avoid "oil-soaking" of the wood even though I've always done that it is good to be reminded. Thanks to all who responded. baxter
     
  19. Mar 17, 2013 #19

    tljack

    tljack

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    When I bought my first flintlock with pins, I really worried about taking them out. I bought one of the hose affairs to attach to barrel at the vent hole. I always seemed to have difficulty getting everything lined up. Consequently I tried removing the pins and the barrel from the stock.

    I put the vent hole end in a bucket of hot water and with a cleaning rod, jag and patch, work it in a pumping motion. Then run a few dry patches through it until they come out white. When finished, I saturate a patch with Wonder Lube and run it into the bore. Have never had any rust. I am one of those "do not use petro products in the bore" guys.

    I do the lock similarly. Remove, scrub in the deep sink in hot water with tooth brush, blow dry with compressed air. Spray with Rem Oil and remove excess with compressed air.

    I do all of my flinters this way and have now for years. Never a spot of rust and it takes me less than 15 min!
     
  20. Mar 18, 2013 #20

    MJMarkey

    MJMarkey

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    There's a lot who never take the barrel out to clean. If it works for them that's good. But for me I've been removing the barrel to clean since I started shooting these things about 1974. I never broke anything or caused any problems. But I never, ever had a problem with rust.

    Look at some old rifles I think they will show that the barrels have been out of the stock many, many times. My guess is when they cleaned them they cleaned them out of the stock.
     

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