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Easiest, effective way to clean revolvers

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Kansas Jake

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Today I cleaned my new to me Pietta 1858 and an extra cylinder. It got me to wondering what others do the is effective and relatively easy and quick. After pulling nipples, hot soapy water for the cylinders, nipples etc and it goes on. What do you do?
 

Carbon 6

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I remove the grips and drop the whole thing in a bucket of warm soapy water.
Once clean, then I put it in my parts washer, then hang to drip dry.
 

hawkeye2

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I start like Carbon 6 and clean underwater after a soak. I wipe it dry and then it goes into a 5 gallon bucket with 2 to 3 gallons of WD-40 to get the water out. After that I let it dry, lube and put the grips and cylinder back.
 

Carbon 6

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The parts washer does the same as WD-40 and allows me the chance for additional cleaning if needed. Especially around the forcing cone and barrel threads, and for deleading the barrel.

I wish I had a parts cleaner big enough for rifles, cause I've never had rust on a revolver.
 

.44 associate

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I personally completely dismantle the gun after each range trip, pop all the bits into the ultrasonic cleaner, and reassemble with Ballistol. But I only take one gun to the range at a time, as a rule.

The competition shooters apparently fill their guns with Mobil 1 synthetic grease, so that all they need to do after each range trip is swab out the barrel and chambers. Once a year, as I understand it, they detail strip the gun, wash out all the old grease, and start over. I have not tried it myself, but enough high level competitors do it that I cannot argue against them.
 

Kansas Jake

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I don't have a parts cleaner, bucket of WD40 or ultrasonic cleaner. I clean the barrel initially with moose milk if I can't get to it right away. For cleaning I use warm soapy water for the cylinders after removing the nipples. I run soapy patches through the barrel and also use them to wipe down the frame etc. I use WD40 in a spray can to give the barrel and frame a good blast to remove any water. I also use the canned air for computers to blow excess out of the gun and reassemble. Last is a coat of Barricade through the barrel and all external surfaces. Once or twice a year I tear the gun completely down and clean and inspect. I just have a lazy streak and wonder about quick and easy methods without a big expenditure on special equipment. Do you remove the nipples every time you clean or leave them in place. I use antiseize on the threads when installing them back in the cylinders. I don't want to be anal, but also don't want to find rust later.
 

Tom A Hawk

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In a Remington, I remove the cylinder and brush out the chambers and nipples with hot soapy water under the kitchen faucet ( when my wife is not looking), then do the same with the barrel running the water from the back - brush from the front. With a Colt I remove the barrel and cylinder and do the same. After which I towel dry, then blow off all parts with an air compressor, oil and reassemble. I never disassemble unless there is a reason to inspect the inner parts.
 

hawkeye2

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"I never disassemble unless there is a reason to inspect the inner parts." +1 :thumb:

I have been known to disassemble once a year but that may have been in leap years. Except for a repair or a hint of trouble I don't see a reason to in a regularly cleaned and lubed gun.

I install the nipples with anti-seize and only take them out to replace them. I clean the nipples with a pipe cleaner and then the chambers with a patch followed by a wire breech face brush. All this is done underwater in a bucket of hot soapy water and pumping the patch back and forth in the chambers sends a jet or water through the nipple scouring it clean. I have never had any trouble removing a nipple either.
 

RiverRat

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I personally completely dismantle the gun after each range trip, pop all the bits into the ultrasonic cleaner, and reassemble with Ballistol. But I only take one gun to the range at a time, as a rule.

The competition shooters apparently fill their guns with Mobil 1 synthetic grease, so that all they need to do after each range trip is swab out the barrel and chambers. Once a year, as I understand it, they detail strip the gun, wash out all the old grease, and start over. I have not tried it myself, but enough high level competitors do it that I cannot argue against them.
I do something similar but I use Wonderlube instead. It is a food grade grease that I use in my revolvers, both bp and modern and all my locks and bolt actions. It traps bp residue until a good cleaning is done.
 

Juice Jaws

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Some of you guys to me make cleaning more work than its worth shooting the gun. I have cap and ball pistols over 40 years old and none of them have any rust. Here's what I do, take the cyl and nipples out and clean in warm soap water. Clean barrel and wipe everything down. Wipe it all dry and oil. Put a few drops of oil down along the hammer for the inner working. About once a year I break them all down and give a good cleaning to the inner parts. Takes me about 20 minuets to clean. It works for me and no rust. I wonder where Wild Bill got his parts cleaner from.
 

Zonie

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Juice Jaws: You and I use the same method for cleaning cap & ball revolvers.

During those times I do take the revolvers apart to clean up the inner workings, I've noticed there is very little evidence of powder, fouling or smoke on any of the parts. The small amount that is there wipes off easily so I will say, there is no reason to totally dunk a C&B revolver in a bucket of water or in a dish washer. There is also no reason to totally take one of these guns entirely apart to clean them.
 

Gee Dog

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All of the C&B pistols at my place (eight so far) get used quite a lot. I do a full take-down on any individual gun about once a year or within ten months if I've been using one especially hard. Every time, I'll be pleasantly surprised at how clean things have stayed inside the frame case.
 

.44 associate

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I do something similar but I use Wonderlube instead. It is a food grade grease that I use in my revolvers, both bp and modern and all my locks and bolt actions. It traps bp residue until a good cleaning is done.
I really like Wonderlube. It works very well and smells terrific! I still use it on my flintlocks and have no complaints. For the percussion revolvers I have switched to Ballistol as it is so easy to just spray it all over everything prior to reassembly.

I still am on the fence about "packing" the action. I do not doubt the people who do it, but I think I would lay awake at night worrying about all that dirty grease in my gun!
 
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Kansas Jake

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I like the idea of putting grease in the action except we get pretty cold here at times in the winter and I worry it would keep the innards from working in below freezing weather. Actually, when I've done a complete tear down the actions parts haven't been that dirty. I do make sure there is plenty of rust preventative in the action. Either oil, Barricade or other rust preventative. I like Barricade, but also use oil to provide lubrication to moving parts.
 

sawyer04

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I carry a revolver everyday I am out on the homestead. Only in wet humid weather have I had a small problem with caps drawing moisture. I use paper towels, Qtips, and pipe cleaners, wood cleaning rod with olive oil to clean cylinders and barrels. No water, no soap. Once a year, depending on conditions, sometimes more often I disassemble completely and use the above mentioned along with a thin layer of wheel bearing grease on the internal parts. I have not had any rust or major problems in the last 50 years. Two things that will ruin a firearm quickly, politicians and water.
 

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