Cleaning up the revolver

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wb78963

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Cleaning up is the price we pay for the fun we have This is the hand gun cleaning method I use. It is not be the only way, but it is a simple way and works for me. It works well with Colt Open Top guns, but would work also on framed revolvers.

The cleaning agent is simply using “moose milk” made with Ballistol and distilled water mixed 1:10 ratio at room temperature. The water does the cleaning, the Ballistol does the preserving.
Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, a simple method.

All it requires are three containers. One to soak the cylinder, one to soak the breech end of the barrel, and a small one to soak the cones, if they are removed. I usually remove mine about every 100 rounds or so.

Use a cleaning rod with a cotton mop of the correct size. With both pieces in the soak give three or four pumps through the barrel and each chamber. Allow to drain and check with a jag and patch for any residue. Usually there will be none. Follow with a Ballistol patch through barrel and chamber’s and you are done.

Cleaning the cones is a lot slower, I wipe the cap part with a piece of Scotchbrite to remove cap fouling and wipe the threads with a piece of paper towel. They get a dab of anti-size compound on installation. Between removals they just get about a full turn off then tightened hand tight.
My 1860 Pietta Army revolvers that were cleaned this way over a year ago were checked yesterday and they were in perfect condition.

About every 500 rounds the internals are removed so all the small parts and frame get cleaned by soaking them in moose milk which loosens all the dirt to be brushed away and leaves a lightly oiled surface. Quicker than you can say “Robert is your father’s brother” or something like that.

Respectfully Submitted,
Bunk
 

M. De Land

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The trouble I have with the quick methods which I think are fine in the short term is that a cylinder full of shots will blow powder fouling into the revolver innards and depending on location and humidity percentages can cause damage. I have a ROA that was cleaned in the quick fashion and while the exterior looked like new I discovered some pitting of parts in the interior as soon as I got it home and apart. It definitely was from powder fouling residue that had not been cleaned, perhaps ever.
 

B P Arn

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After i'm done shooting my BP revolvers, I almost always take them completely apart. I then put the parts in a deep plastic ammo can (so the small parts won't fall out and get lost) and fill it with water and a good squirt of dish washing detergent. After they soak a while, I scrub them with a brush and rise them. Next I blow each part dry with an air compressor (just like they did during the Civil War ;)). Lube with Ballistol, then re-assemble.

I have tried only partially disassembling the gun for cleaning, and never had any rust result, but I did not feel comfortable doing so, or thought that it was worth the risk.
 

Carbon 6

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I remove the grips and put the whole thing into a bucket of warm soapy water. removing and cleaning the cylinder and barrel with brushes a copper chore boy wrapped around a small brush will remove any lead in the barrel. When done the whole gun goes into my parts washer and is hung up to dry. Then reassemble and your done.
 

M. De Land

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I remove the grips and put the whole thing into a bucket of warm soapy water. removing and cleaning the cylinder and barrel with brushes a copper chore boy wrapped around a small brush will remove any lead in the barrel. When done the whole gun goes into my parts washer and is hung up to dry. Then reassemble and your done.
I would caution you on this method as the usual thing is to spray the grip less dried gun with an are-sol lube of some type, blow it out with compressed air, wipe it down, reinstall the grips and call it good. There are some parts of a revolver that should be greased for maximum longevity and not just oiled.
The hammer cam and fingers on the bolt are one area in all revolvers and the arbor on open frame guns. Personally I prefer light grease to oil on the ratchet in all revolvers .
 
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I find the Colt’s quicker to clean.

I run a sink of hot dish water and preheat the oven to its lowest setting (170 on mine). Field strip gun and set nips into a shot glass of dish water to soak. Run a brush down the bore dunking the entire barrel assembly and cleaning with a brush. Rinse with hot water and run patches thru bore till clean. Blow out excess water and coat everything with ballistol and set in oven to burn away any remaining moistures.

Repeat with the cylinder and detail nips.

I clean the frame with Q tips and a moose’s milk.

Reassemble, lube, done. Detail strip every 200 rounds or so. Never any issues.
 

Carbon 6

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I would caution you on this method as the usual thing is to spray the grip less dried gun with an are-sol lube of some type, blow it out with compressed air, wipe it down, reinstall the grips and call it good. There are some parts of a revolver that should be greased for maximum longevity and not just oiled.
The hammer cam and fingers on the bolt are one area in all revolvers and the arbor on open frame guns. Personally I prefer light grease to oil on the ratchet in all revolvers .

Oops, I left out the lubing part.
Thank you for mentioning it . :thumb:
 

wb78963

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The trouble I have with the quick methods which I think are fine in the short term is that a cylinder full of shots will blow powder fouling into the revolver innards and depending on location and humidity percentages can cause damage. I have a ROA that was cleaned in the quick fashion and while the exterior looked like new I discovered some pitting of parts in the interior as soon as I got it home and apart. It definitely was from powder fouling residue that had not been cleaned, perhaps ever.
Well my thought would be that it depends on what powder you are shooting in your revolver.

If you are shooting real GUN POWDER (what is printed on my can of Du Pont) that is odd.
If you are shooting some of that rust in a bottle that burns, I am not surprised. The chlorate residue of that stuff would rust stainless steel.
On the other hand, I just pulled apart an1861 Navy that, (bad on me,) has not been cleaned in a too long a time. The inside of the frame was filled with oily residue black as the core of the pit.

But the gun was still running just fine. After a moose milk bath, it cleaned up like new except for a small stain on the bolt leg and side of the hand. No pitting, no rusting, no damage.
All this gun had ever digested was DuPont or GOEX FFFg powder with the barrel and cylinder cleaned as I described.

Right now, a pair of Uberti 1860 Army guns that have over 300 rounds each are being shot and after another 100 rounds unless they quit first, they will be opened and we shall see.

Good luck and keep on shooting

Bunk
 

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I've never had a revolver rust, and they have shot more pyrodex than anything. Can't say the same about rifles though. :dunno:
 
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I started black powder revolvers a few months ago and enjoy all the entries on cleaning. What I am looking for is a book/manual that will help me take the revolver apart and put it back together after cleaning. I am hesitant to unscrew screws not knowing how to put it back together. I have a 1851 colt and a 1858 Remington. Thanks.
 
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They really aren't complicated so just jump in. Find a couple of exploded diagrams on line and study them for a bit. Actually print them out and keep them in front of you for the next step. There may be some videos on U tube too. With a set of screwdrivers that fit the slots properly start to take it apart. Work slowly and remember where and how each part came out. Start with the Colt on half cock. Take the barrel assy. and cylinder off. Lower the hammer and proceed to take the backstrap and grip off next. At this point you can still cycle the action and observe the interaction of some of the parts. The mainspring comes off next followed by the trigger guard/front grip strap. Now you can see even more parts and still cycle the gun by using your thumb to keep pressure on the hammer. The 2 leg spring in front of the trigger comes out next followed by the bolt, trigger and finally the hammer/hand assembly. At this point you should be able to assemble it in reverse order provided some small parts haven't been sucked into a black hole. The Remington is similar but a little different, you shouldn't have any trouble with one after the Colt
 
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I am lucky in that my two BP revolvers are stainless. Dis-assemble, wooden grips off and into the dishwasher. Or, if the dishwasher is in operation for its secondary use, I use baby wipes. Hairdryer, oil. Re-assemble and hello Uncle Bob😎
 

M. De Land

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A trick I often use when taking apart unfamiliar or complicated guns is to take pictures with my digital camera at each stage of the process. It has saved the day more than once.
If that fouling is left in the gun in a high humidity environment ,it will rust eventually, black powder or pyrodex .
 
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csaduck

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I am lucky in that my two BP revolvers are stainless. Dis-assemble, wooden grips off and into the dishwasher. Or, if the dishwasher is in operation for its secondary use, I use baby wipes. Hairdryer, oil. Re-assemble and hello Uncle Bob😎
Yup this is the way I do it too !
 
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Another thing I do is I try and time my shooting sessions with car washes.

Strap the dirty revolver to the roof of my sedan and head to the local Suds n’ Wash! The giant heater blowers and the drive home dry most of the moisture off by the time I get home. A squirt of WD40 and it’s ready for the next outing! :D
 
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I started black powder revolvers a few months ago and enjoy all the entries on cleaning. What I am looking for is a book/manual that will help me take the revolver apart and put it back together after cleaning. I am hesitant to unscrew screws not knowing how to put it back together. I have a 1851 colt and a 1858 Remington. Thanks.
 

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wb78963

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I would suggest you look up Duelist1954 the You Tube channel of Mike Beliveau who has videos on loading, shooting and dissembling the guns you have.
The Colt is pretty simple to do I feel the Remington is a little more tricky but Mike has some videos on both makes of guns
The first thing you need, and I think every one will agree, is a good set of GUNSMITH screw drivers.
My source for that is Brownell's. Hardware store screwdrivers do not have the proper shape for gun screws.
Welcome to the wonderful world of reinventingan very old wheel
Bunk
 

Bighorserider

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They really aren't complicated so just jump in. Find a couple of exploded diagrams on line and study them for a bit. Actually print them out and keep them in front of you for the next step. There may be some videos on U tube too. With a set of screwdrivers that fit the slots properly start to take it apart. Work slowly and remember where and how each part came out. Start with the Colt on half cock. Take the barrel assy. and cylinder off. Lower the hammer and proceed to take the backstrap and grip off next. At this point you can still cycle the action and observe the interaction of some of the parts. The mainspring comes off next followed by the trigger guard/front grip strap. Now you can see even more parts and still cycle the gun by using your thumb to keep pressure on the hammer. The 2 leg spring in front of the trigger comes out next followed by the bolt, trigger and finally the hammer/hand assembly. At this point you should be able to assemble it in reverse order provided some small parts haven't been sucked into a black hole. The Remington is similar but a little different, you shouldn't have any trouble with one after the Colt
Youtube is your friend. There are numerous videos on disassembling any type of revolver you can name. Duelist 1945 who is a member on here has some of the best. He even tells you what size screwdrivers you need.
 
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