Yeah, I Used To Shoot 'em

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Urban Coyote

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"Yeah, I use to shoot 'em, they're fun but too much work having to clean them and all."

I've heard this lament many times over the years, usually when I'm on a range and someone stops to watch. Time was I'd take two or three muzzleloaders out to shoot during the same session. Anymore it's usually one, sometimes two but mostly one. I took a couple out today but only shot one. I did my bore cleaning at the range and headed home. After unpacking all my gear I sat down and began my final assault on any remaining blackpowder residue. My wife commented on my detailed cleaning operation suggesting it was a lot of work. Well, it is but I still love shooting my muzzleloaders more than the "suppository guns" I own. I may have slowed down to one gun per session but I ain't giving up.
 
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You’re right Boss,

It’s the hole experience. It’s kinda like the old gunfighter movie or like in “Jeremiah Johnson” movie. It’s the attention to detail, slow, methodical approach. To make sure that all is in perfect working order. To me the time spent with a traditional gun is an exercise in meditation. I know that’s nuts but it’s true for me.

RM
 

new2bp

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To be honest, the only ways the centerfire and rimfire stuff I shoot are easier to clean is that I don't have to do it nearly as often and I don't need to deal with hot water to do it. I will say that my revolver cleaning method is messier than how I clean my cartridge pistols, but only because of the cleaning medium itself. Actual process is no harder.

But cleaning my rifle takes less time and effort than cleaning any of my semi-auto rifles, at least when I don't have to go to a friends house because my house is half apart for remodeling the kitchen and I got nothing but a coffee maker to work with .... and it is break-even with the bolt guns and single shots.

What is funny is that as far as rate of fire goes.... if we include time at the reloading bench (but not tumbler time), the coal burner has a higher rate of fire than the bolt guns and single shots.
 
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You’re right Boss,

It’s the hole experience. It’s kinda like the old gunfighter movie or like in “Jeremiah Johnson” movie. It’s the attention to detail, slow, methodical approach. To make sure that all is in perfect working order. To me the time spent with a traditional gun is an exercise in meditation. I know that’s nuts but it’s true for me.

RM
The Zen of Muzzleloader Maintenence will be my new book.
 
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Like most things, the more you do it the better you get. When I'm shooting regularly, my cleaning time goes down.

I also try to keep my wife from complaining about the smell by doing several patches at the range before I leave. Swabbing most of the crud out also seems to make clean up at home a little quicker.
 
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Perhaps you can refine your process. There are many ways to clean a muzzleloading gun. You may not have a laundry sink , but if you do , you might be in luck. Go to the auto parts store and buy a blank piece of auto brake line. The hardware store will have a few feet of clear plastic tubing and a clamp to clamp the brake line to the tubing. Most laundry sinks have a threaded fawcet arm. Mine has a standard hose fitting , so I put the std. hose fitting on the clear plastic tubing. Insert the brake line into the gun barrel , hild the muzzle over the sink , plug the touch hole or nipple with finger or something else , turn on the hot water faucet. All the ash and used lube is melted from the bore in 30 seconds. I wait until the barrel is hot to the touch. Dump out any excess water , run a few dry patches down the bore , then a few patches w/ WD40 or whatever suits you. Wax the outside , Let the gun stand in a corner overnight muzzle down to allow any residue or oil to run toward the muzzle , so you're ready to shoot next time. Don't forget to clean your lock w/ a toothbrush under the faucet , dry , grease , and oil it. I shoot only flint locks nowadays ,so I can clean , and service a rifle in 20 mins. , or so. My laundry sink is a double bowl , so I clamp a 10" wide by 6" long piece of 1/4 " osb board to the center web between the bowls to lay the gunon. works for me.........oldwood
 

smoothshooter

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"Yeah, I use to shoot 'em, they're fun but too much work having to clean them and all."

I've heard this lament many times over the years, usually when I'm on a range and someone stops to watch. Time was I'd take two or three muzzleloaders out to shoot during the same session. Anymore it's usually one, sometimes two but mostly one. I took a couple out today but only shot one. I did my bore cleaning at the range and headed home. After unpacking all my gear I sat down and began my final assault on any remaining blackpowder residue. My wife commented on my detailed cleaning operation suggesting it was a lot of work. Well, it is but I still love shooting my muzzleloaders more than the "suppository guns" I own. I may have slowed down to one gun per session but I ain't giving up.

The long laborious cleaning process is a definite turn off to prospective new shooters.
A good cleaning job on any long gun can be done in 15 minutes or less, and without the hot water.
Interested potential new shooters need to see the fast method. Not the slow, tedious one.
Revolvers take longer, but not over 40, 45 minutes. 10 minutes or less if there is to be more shooting in a day or two. I have done it in under 5 many times. My guns still look and work fine.
Some of us older shooters see the long cleaning process a labor of love; developed over time. The potential new guys aren’t there yet.

Let them discover that on their own.
 
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Was out to shoot Tuesday. Got home, pulled the lock, plugged the vent and did the water fill dump swab, fill dump swab a few times. It was pretty humid, and even rained a bit on me, by breech was especially nasty.
But a few fills and dump and swab all was clean. When done, dried then oiled.
Wiped down the out side, and oiled it.
Wiped stock with dry soft cloth, a few drops of stock oil rubbed in.
Pulled the main spring on lock, and frizzen spring, wiped all down with damp rag, dry, oil replace.
All the time thinking about my time at the range. Real nice day got to talk to some nice folks.
The smells of cleaning took me back to so many times in the woods, voos, or ranges.
Maybe fifteen minutes, May have been twenty. It wasn’t a half an hour.
I poured a beer when I started and it wasn’t half gone when I was done.
My wife was at my daughters house, my dogs asleep in the couch, as soon as they found out there was no food as I was in the kitchen
I just seemed to have missed the chore part.
 
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I can't say as i enjoy cleaning any type of firearm and ML's are just not that much 'fun" to clean(IMHO) I find it difficult on a pinned "flintlock" trying not to get any water under the barrel etc. Do you really want to pull the barrel? i don't! I have a set up that attaches to the vent hole to allow water in the barrel to run out. It works fairly well if I am careful. The rifles I have are the rifles I have, and I doubt I will change them or sell them etc. To much trouble ,time etc. But they are not easy to clean in my opinion. The easiest is my GPR. That hooked breech with a keyed barrel is like night n day, and makes cleaning so much easier. If I ever had a rifle built or if I built one. It would have a hooked breech and keyed barrel, HC or not!:dunno:
 

mark_fare

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You’re right Boss,

It’s the hole experience. It’s kinda like the old gunfighter movie or like in “Jeremiah Johnson” movie. It’s the attention to detail, slow, methodical approach. To make sure that all is in perfect working order. To me the time spent with a traditional gun is an exercise in meditation. I know that’s nuts but it’s true for me.

RM
I agree with your statement about meditation. And no, its not crazy.
 

Notchy Bob

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You’re right Boss,

It’s the hole experience. It’s kinda like the old gunfighter movie or like in “Jeremiah Johnson” movie. It’s the attention to detail, slow, methodical approach. To make sure that all is in perfect working order. To me the time spent with a traditional gun is an exercise in meditation. I know that’s nuts but it’s true for me.

RM
It appears that a lot of us agree with @Rod Man . I sure do.

I rarely bring more than one muzzleloader to the range at a time, although preliminary set-up and then putting things away afterward takes a lot of the time, and those two things would take no longer if I were cleaning more than one gun. When I'm shooting regularly, cleaning goes more efficiently because cleaning supplies are better organized.

I don't get to shoot as often as I would like. This means I never know when my next range day will be. Days, weeks, or even months may elapse. Consequently, I detail clean every gun after each session, whether shooting breechloaders or muzzle stuffers. The blackpowder guns don't really take any more time than the breechloaders if you clean them thoroughly.

The other thing about cleaning muzzleloaders is that you aren't dealing with stinking and potentially toxic chemicals. Even the plant or animal based lubricants we use are non-toxic.

Notchy Bob
 

Bighorserider

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Cleaning immediately kind of depends on where you live. I always do a light cleaning at the range but often don't get around to taking things apart for a few days. Living in Colorado with very low humidity means I have never noticed any difference from when I left the range until I got serious about cleaning. I didn't do that when I lived in Georgia though.
 

hanshi

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I guess it doesn't take a long time to clean a BP rifle and many report 15 - 20 minutes to complete the job; I'm not one of them. Cleaning a BP arm is only a minor chore in my opinion and I don't mind it much at all. But it takes me a LOT longer to clean one than most shooters apparently. The reasons are that - 1. I'm slow, really slow and 2. I'm OCD, really OCD. It can take me 15 minutes easy just to assemble everything together. I clean them really well but can't help but think "just a little more". That way time adds up. But I do agree they're rather easy to clean and I don't mind doing it.
 

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