percussion rifle never cleaned

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Howard Pippin

Squint
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While on a hunting trip a month ago, got into a discussion with a fellow that I see once a year and kind of know, and he asked me how I hunted besides archery and I said muzzleloaders. He said he had one he'd thought he would sell, seems he bought it in 1973, it's a Lyman 45 caliber. He had no instructions or knowledge on how to use it, I don't know if he ever got it to shoot, but he broke the ramrod off in the barrel and put it away for 25 years. A more knowledgeable friend told him to take the nipple out, dump in some black and he could shoot the broken ball loading end out of the barrel. He did this and promptly put it away for 20 years or more, where it set in his house till a month ago. He asked me if I would care to buy it, I said sure, what do you want, and he said $25. Very nice looking rifle, I took it out to my hunting camp, heated some water poured it in the barrel and it wouldn't go out the other end, and I couldn't get the nipple out either. After using a 22 rifle cleaning rod (That's all I have for cleaning guns in my camper,) and a rag wrapped around the end, I was able to pump enough hot water up and down to get it to come out the nipple. Everything was red rust and after spending some time swabbing and swabbing and swabbing, it did look better. Had to journey home about a week later for a dental appointment, so I took back some other stuff including some fine valve grinding compound. After work in the barrel over with this it seemed much better, a little heat got the nipple out and so I put it away until I got home. Poured a few 44 caliber balls three days ago and went shooting today. At 50 yards, experimenting with different patch lubes, using 777 2f ,About 47 grains equivalent, I got it To shoot an inch and a half group. Weather was kind of foul today so when I get a chance I'll try again.
Another strange thing, the rifling at the muzzle is partially gone on one side, Appears to have just rusted away, I imagine from the way it was stored and it doesn't seem to affect the shooting ability. When I get a chance to shoot a few more times, With no wind, Maybe I can see how it really does, but it does tend to be a keeper and not just a wall hanger. The deal also included the two hole bullet mold for round balls, almost a full box's of caps, the broken off tip, and a very nice powder measure. Said the rifle cost $65 when he bought it brand-new.
Squint
 

sheriff john

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Sometimes nasty barrels can be made to shoot, sometimes not. Haven't found short cuts that work better'n elbow grease and patience. A few minor pits (as long as they don't cut patches to shreds) will sometimes not be a huge problem with patched round balls. Not "competition" accuracy perhaps, but sometimes not bad. Never know 'til you try.
 

towgunner11h

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I have cleaned a couple with good results- - a fun project. One of the two would not perform until I recrowned the muzzle.
 

roundballman

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Like others have said, there is no short cut for badly cared for barrels. I have cleaned up a couple of them and was able to get acceptable hunting accuracy, even when some pretty bad pits remained. Use a well-greased patch and results are pretty good. After shooting them I always end the cleaning routine with several strokes of green Scotchbrite with a little ballistol. I also had to recrown the barrel on one to make it shoot better.
 

Scout208

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Nice job!
Thanks for resurrecting a nice weapon and keeping another muzzleloader in service!!!

Edit: Oh, yea PICS please!
 
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