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Were mzldrs and revolvers cleaned back in the day, as we do today?

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A longtime friend and a regular at Friendship once ran some test of balls that were damaged by a ball-puller. the results were that he couldn't tell any difference in accuracy or performance when shooting them. So if someone pulled a ball at night to clean the gun, he probably just re-used it the next day.
 
They would have to be, simply to work! I don't believe the Natives kept them as clean, esp. the cartridge-firing guns after the Civil War; few exist, they had a hard "life", and I just don't see them sitting by the campfire running patches down the bore; anyone have any actual info on Native care of guns?
 
Rebel bull, wouldnt you be able to pull the ball and dump the powder reclaiming both parts without making a large commotion? You could then easily recast the ball over the fire and reuse the charge of powder after cleaning? No wasted lead or powder using this method and no real noise.

-10 Ga
Pulling a ball can turn into a BFD. The idea works but not in a practical sense. I'd sooner leave the gun loaded and run a few damp patches down the barrel for a quick clean followed by a lube.
 
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They would have to be, simply to work! I don't believe the Natives kept them as clean, esp. the cartridge-firing guns after the Civil War; few exist, they had a hard "life", and I just don't see them sitting by the campfire running patches down the bore; anyone have any actual info on Native care of guns?
all I know is my guns are always squeaky clean before the sun goes down. taught to do so by my oldest brother. he was taught by our oldest uncle. he was taught by his oldest uncle. He was taught by his oldest uncle. this gets us back to about 1790 to 1810. before that the uncles all used sticks and sinew. didn't need to clean them.
 
They would have to be, simply to work! I don't believe the Natives kept them as clean, esp. the cartridge-firing guns after the Civil War; few exist, they had a hard "life", and I just don't see them sitting by the campfire running patches down the bore; anyone have any actual info on Native care of guns?
Scroll back and read Notchy Bob's post. For most of us shooting our guns is fun and games. For people in the 1800's it meant food and staying alive so I can see them taking extra care
 
Notchy I am of a different opinion if the question is did they ever clean their guns then the answer most decidedly is yes.
but given the fact that powder and lead were a finite commodity and it was a year or maybe more to resupply. I don't believe that it was a regular occurrence especially if they were alone. hmmm fire off a rifle (waste a shot just to empty the gun) in hostile territory and then sit with a empty gun and clean it ? I don't think it was a regular day to day occurrence. just my opinion
Thanks for your comments, @Rebel bull . I actually agree with you. However, my take on this is that they didn't necessarily need to clean a rifle or gun that had not been fired. The manual for the model 1855 rifle, quoted previously, advised the soldier to clean his piece after firing. There are members of this forum who have reported loading a (clean) gun at the beginning of hunting season, and simply leaving it loaded until they got a shot, which might be days or even weeks later. I think it is likely the frontiersmen did the same. Black powder is not necessarily corrosive... it used to be packed and sold in steel cans. It's the blackpowder fouling from a fired gun that's the problem. I do think it is likely that they would check their guns and maybe wipe them off on at least a daily basis, but I would think a more thorough cleaning of the bore would be on more of an as-needed basis.

As for "emptying" a loaded gun, I would agree that an unnecessary shot in hostile territory might not be wise. However, they could pull a ball if needed. Here is a quote from Rocky Mountain Life, by Rufus Sage, describing a trapper's equipment: “His waist is encircled with a belt of leather, holding encased his butcher-knife and pistols -- while from his neck is suspended a bullet-pouch securely fastened to the belt in front, and beneath his right arm hangs a powder-horn transversely from his shoulder, behind which, on the strap attached to it, are affixed his bullet mould, ball screw, wiper, awl, etc.” (p. 38)

Note the "ball screw." Some old rifles, such as the James Beckwourth rifle and the S. Hawken owned by Liver-Eating Johnson, had covered ball screws permanently attached to their ramrods. I'm pretty sure they did not load balls as close to bore size as we do, either, which would make them a little easier to pull. In his book about American military small arms, author Berkeley Lewis indicated the .54 caliber "Common" rifles, including the M1841 Mississippi rifle, which were intended for shooting patched round balls, were loaded with balls .525" in diameter, .015" under bore size. Most modern blackpowder shooters load balls .010" under bore diameter. I have no doubt that civilian/sporting rifles back then would have also been loaded with relatively smaller balls than now.
I don't believe the Natives kept them as clean, esp. the cartridge-firing guns after the Civil War; few exist, they had a hard "life", and I just don't see them sitting by the campfire running patches down the bore; anyone have any actual info on Native care of guns?
The only reference I can think of at the moment is this one, from G.O. Shields' Cruisings in the Cascades (1889). The mention of (not) cleaning is on the right-hand page, in the first full paragraph:

Shields - Cruising In the Cascades, 98-99.png

This is just one comment by one individual at one point in time, and in a specific locality. It goes without saying that "Indians" were and still are a diverse group. We can't say this one comment applies to every native group or individual, but it is an interesting statement about native gun care, nonetheless. Incidentally, Shields also mentions the man pulling a load from his gun. This was a shot load with wadding, and likely easier to pull than a patched ball, but in the man went about the task as if it was a fairly routine practice.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
Then, as now, there were probably those that overly cleaned and those that never cleaned, and all in between.

Coincidentally, a young man brought an old CVA caplock gun to a local meet I attended last Sat that was so packed and corroded I couldn't clean out behind the clean out screw with a steel touch hole pick. Concreted up w/rock hard crud. Corroded bore. Bouncing ramrod thudded like it was loaded...
 
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