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Thread: Cleaning in the field, etc.

  1. #1
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    Default Cleaning in the field, etc.

    A couple of questions: I feel like I'm missing out on some shooting opportunities because of my paranoia about not being able to get home to hot running water and a warm place to dry off the gun immediately after a range session. Obviously this isn't going to work if I'm going to be out in the field without access to such amenities. There is also the fact that guys were able to keep their rifles from turning into pieces of rusted slag for a few hundred years before running water was common. What are your techniques for cleaning in the field in below freezing conditions?

    Another question for modern times: What about having a muzzleloader in a car on school grounds? Do firearm laws apply, or is a muzzleloader still considered a non-firearm by the State in this Circumstance? Thanks!....Louis
    Louis Knapp

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    Two words, stainless steel... You can wash them off in the river and rinse them in the rain

    Living like kings

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    ...hot running water....
    Get that notion out of your head right now. Hot water causes "flash" rust, which can form within second or minutes after you swab the bore. Cold or room temp water cleans just as well as hot with no flash rust.

    No paranoia required on the cleaning. In a busy day of shooting, I just swab once in a while between loads with a lightly dampened (spit) cleaning patch, then a dry patch. Seating the next ball in its lubed patch nicely coats the bore to prevent rust developing during the course of the day.

    As for nightly cleaning while in the field, it's only necessary if you've fired the gun. The black powder is NOT corrosive, rather it's the combustion products if the gun has been fired. On that note, you have to REALLY clean a gun if you're using Pyrodex. The combustion products for that include perchlorates, which are much more corrosive than anything in black powder and harder to get completely out.

    As for how I clean overnight in the field, it depends on the gun. If a hooked breech, just pop off the barrel, remove the nipple if a capper, stick the breech in a cup or two of water and "pump the cleaning rod up and down a few times to suck the water up into the bore, then flush it out. Change the water and do it again. Keep it till the water stays clear. Usually takes me 3 or 4 water changes. Then wipe and oil.

    If a pinned barrel, I remove the lock and nipple or just the lock on a flinter. Plug the hole with something, and pour the barrel about 1/4-full of water. Put your thumb over the muzzle and slosh the gun back and forth real good a few times. Dump the water and repeat. Do it a few times until clean, dry and lube, then reassemble.

    As for school grounds, consult with your local LEO. Their opinion rules. "I heard it on the internet" carries about as much legal weight as honesty carries for a politician.

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    Thanks! I hadn't thought or read about the flash rust problem but that makes sense. I'm just trying to overdo things to avoid underdoing them until I figure out what I'm doing. Sounds like you can overdo the water temperature, however. It's good to have a few experience folks like you to talk to so, hopefully, I won't have to make ALL the mistakes.

    I'm stuck with Pyrodex for the time being as that's all I've found in Fairbanks so far. I'm hoping to meet up with some folks with the Midnight Sun Muzzleloaders soon so maybe I can find out otherwise. Of course the danger in that is that if I find a source of black powder it's really going to make me want a flintlock!
    Louis Knapp

  5. #5

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    You got it bad, alright. Glad to see it!

    I've used Pyrodex for years and continue to use it on and off, depending on my access to Goex. It's very good for anything but flinters as you note, but always with good cleaning practices. I'm in the habit of running a patch down the bore a week after cleaning, just to make sure no rust has started. I use black when I can get it because it's easier to clean up, but I think you're ahead of the game if you know how to use Pyrodex too.

    As for real black, at one time you could get it at Nor'west Company near you in Two Rivers, but I don't know if he's still in business. You can also get it at Northwest Guns in Anchorage most times, if you know anyone driving down that way.

    Traditional muzzleloading is fun stuff, and lots less complicated than the gun writers and gun advertising wants you to think. If the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) ever worked, it works on traditional muzzleloaders. Long as a guy doesn't try to stretch the range, it works dandy. Since I've always been a close range hunter by choice, it's perfect for me.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You can also get it at Northwest Guns in Anchorage most times, if you know anyone driving down that way.
    When you turn into a geezer like me, you tend to have more brain fotts. Make that "Great Northern Guns."

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    I figured that Great Northern Guns was what you meant! I love that place. I bought a couple guns there when I was a kid (and fondled a couple hundred more) I was in there last spring when we went down for a swim meet and when I started seriously shopping for a muzzleloader. I was glad to see they're still there. I really kick myself for not at least picking up a couple pounds or so of black powder when I had a chance.
    Louis Knapp

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    Thom Swan who owns the Nor'West Company still has his online store. Contact him through his website because he works on the North Slope. Be patient, he'll get back to you. He sells real black powder as Brown Bear stated.

  9. #9

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    Louis, I have sat by a campfire more than once cleaning a side hammer gun. I have usually got bottled water or a canteen on hand. However there has been a time or two where I have swabbed a bore in an overnight in the woods scenario with Coca Cola. It works better than you might think. I then run dry patches until they come out dry. Then smear some bore better on a patch and run it up and down the bore a few times. Then dry patch or two. I follow this by dropping the hammer on a few caps(2 or 3 ) just to make sure that the chamber and nipple are dry. Then I load her up for the next days hunt all but putting a cap on the nipple. Many times after loading the gun I remove the nipple and trickle a tiny bit of powder down the hole where the nipple threads in. Then screw the nipple back in. That little bit of powder under the cap gives me confidence that the cap fire does not have to jump an air gap to get to the powder in the chamber. Slapping the hammer side of your gun after pouring in the powder but before seating the projectile will aid in getting powder under the nipple two. However only after removing the nipple and looking down the hole can you be certain that there is powder under the nipple. I hope That I stated that so as to make sense.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, EKC. That makes good sense. I'm just working my way into this and am probably overthinking it. Just have to find the happy medium between preventing corrosion and not using the gun enough out of fear of getting it dirty!
    Louis Knapp

  11. #11

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    Louis, I've been hunting Iowa's Early muzzleloader the last 4 days(started Saturday). I've shot 3 deer since 7:00 A.M. saturday with my side hammer gun and just cleÓned it 20 minutes ago for the 1st time since season started. It was fine. Real dirty but cleaned right up. I shot my 4th deer last night with my Lyman Plains pistol. Once I get this forum and my cell phone to jive on picture posting I'll post a picture of the nice buck I killed with my Plains Pistol. A 50 cal. roundball at 1,000 FPS in the heart of a big white tail will make them just as dead as any magnum centerfire. Getting to within 25 yards of them is the fun part. If you have a cell phone that does text messaging PM me your number and I will text a picture to you. EKC
    You too BB!

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    Sounds like fun! I'd love to see your pictures. Sorry, no fancy picture phones here. I pm'd my facebook and e-mail contact info if that might work. It's too bad the muzzleloader hunt here doesn't allow handguns (at least that's how I interpret the regs) It might be nice to have a powerful single shot pistol like yours for a backup second shot. Of course those with much more skill than myself would probably just tell me to get faster at reloading and I wouldn't need a backup. Lots to learn about this!
    Louis Knapp

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