Tow & Toggle?

Discussion in 'Shooting Accessories' started by Smokey Plainsman, Nov 29, 2019.

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  1. Nov 29, 2019 #1

    Smokey Plainsman

    Smokey Plainsman

    Smokey Plainsman

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    In researching historical cleaning methods I’ve read and heard from members here about a method called “tow & toggle”. From my limited understanding it involves a piece of tow tied to a string... other than that, I have no idea and am having an incredibly difficult time visualizing the proper appearance and usage of this implement.

    If anyone can please explain in detail how to use tow & toggle for swabbing a rifle bore, I’d be forever in your debt. Pictures would also be extremely appreciated so I (and others in the future reading this thread) can actually see what it’s supposed to look like.

    Thank you!!

    -Smokey
     
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  2. Nov 29, 2019 #2

    Pete G

    Pete G

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    Tie a string around the tow and use the ramrod to run it to the breach. Use the string to pull it back out. Repeat as required.
     
  3. Nov 29, 2019 #3

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    That's the way I use my tow and toggle, Pete. You can tie a stick (the toggle) to give a better grip on the string when you pull it out.
     
  4. Nov 29, 2019 #4

    Smokey Plainsman

    Smokey Plainsman

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    What type of string? Something historically correct yet strong? Do you wad the tow up into a ball by rolling between the hands? Does it work well? Can it be used to wipe the bore once it becomes fouled from firing? What knots should I use to secure the string to the tow? What type tow should I use, the kind that looks like blond hair (combed?) or the kind with short scrappy fluffy fibers?

    Just want to be totally sure I do it correctly!!
     
  5. Nov 29, 2019 #5

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    I used linen thread. Specifically four strands of heavy waxed linen thread that I wove using the round boy scout lanyard weave to make a loop. I used two colors to make the string a bit more interesting. Now that it has been used, its hard to see the pattern in the string. It makes for a strong string, but a single strand would have worked as well and knots to make the thread fast to the ball of tow.
    Tow and Loop.jpg
    Since this is being pushed down a fouled bore, it doesn't need to be pretty. This tool is something that would be very expendable, so documentation is somewhat iffy. I use a coarse fiber tow. Short scrappy fibers work just fine. You want this ball of tow to scrape the fouling off the walls of the barrel.

    Tow and Toggle 01.JPG
    What's great about this is that you can pour water over the dirty tow and rinse most of the fouling out. I'm not sure how many times I used this, but it still gets the fouling out of the bore. If your ball of tow feels loose, just pull off some more and stick it in the loop. You can feel how tight it is as you wrap the ball of tow around the tip, button, or tulip of your ramrod. The tow can be caught in the wire coils of a worm. The tow will compress to fit in the bore. If it pulls off the end of the ramrod or out of the worm, there is always the string to pull it out.

    If the tow is taking the fouling out of your bore, its being done correctly.
     
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  6. Nov 29, 2019 #6

    Brokennock

    Brokennock

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    You are overthinking this my friend. Something I think a lot of us do regarding these things.
    It is like a modern "bore snake," except it goes in and back out from the same end. The linen "thread" that Tandy sells 15750662785394107729420345229096.jpg is more like light kite string than thread as we think of it. One piece might do but in would take 3 that are very overlong and reverse twist them together.
    I just use some lightweight cotton cordage I found somewhere.
    15750665459061876925901649543538.jpg
    Any knot that holds the tow should be fine, no need to get fancy. Same with tying off to the toggle.
    I don't think this works as good as a vigorous scrubbing with a tow worm. But it is field expedient, especially given that many gun mounted rods don't leave much to hold on to once the business end is all the way down at the breach.
     
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