Cleaning a flintlock - Graybeard Outdoors
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-05-2007, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cleaning a flintlock

I've got my gun, black powder, patches, lead balls and most other things that I need to work up some loads for deer season. What I am still fuzzy on is how to clean a flintlock.

I've read about using hot water, windex , ballistol and numerous other methods. What I want to know is how the mountain men did it. Just pour some water heated on the fire down the barrel and scrub? Did they plug up the flash hole? I don't want to try to take the rifle apart every time I shoot it, or is that the way it's done?

What methods do you use?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-05-2007, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning a flintlock

I take the barrel off, put the rear in a pot of hot soapy water and use a mop down the barrel. Since you are new I will warn you against using a dry pach and jag to clean your barrel. Don't do it - it will get stuck! Between shots at the range I use a lightly wetted (soapy water or windex) patch to clean the barrel followed with one or two dry patches. Get some extra barrel pins/wedges before you loose one which you will also do! Someone did make a tool to replace your flash hole liner where you could attach a hose but then you would have to keep unscrewing the liner. I found it easier to just take off the barrel.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-06-2007, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning a flintlock

Scout, what kind of flinter you have will help you determine the best way to clean it. If it's a "pinned" barrel, taking it down for cleaning is not only a real hassle, but will eventually cause the pins to loosen up. Also, some of the touch hole liners can't be removed without taking off the lock and that gets to be a hassle too, although preferable to removing barrel pins.

My cleaning process does not involve a bucket of water or pumping action or any of the similar cleaning styles.

I plug the touch hole with a toothpick and pour about half a barrel full of cold water and plug the bore and tip the gun back and forth several times and pour out the dirty water. I do that about 3 or four times until the sloshing doesn't remove any more crud. Then I scrub out the bore with a mild soapy water mixture and a bore brush and I use a smaller brush for the chamber area. When I'm sure I've cleaned out the innards, I rinse a few times using the same sloshing technique. Last, I pour extremely hot water in the bore to the top and let it sit until the steel has heated up real good and pour it out.

I dry the bore and while it's still really nice and hot, I use my metal preservant.

One way I have found to make sure the chamber area is good and dry is to heat up a small patch jag from a .22 or .30 depending on your firearm's caliber. The jag must be small enough to fit down into the powder chamber easily. I heat one up with a hand torch intil it fairly glows and I drop it down into the chamber to do its work. It dries things up nicely down there!

I give it a squirt of water displacer and the gun goes into storage until the next time.

No rust...no muss...so fuss.

Dan
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-08-2007, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Cleaning a flintlock

The barrel isn't pinned, but the lock would have to be removed to get the touch hole out. Sounds like a good, simple procedure that works. I'll give it a shot. How soon after you shoot do you clean?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-08-2007, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning a flintlock

How soon? Within the same day. There is talk about seasoned barrels and what not, and to tell the truth I've experimented a bit with my cap and ball revolvers and found that the bore when treated to a constant swabbing of bore butter or wonder lube upon firing, seems to do just fine for a couple of days without cleaning. I do this with careful monitoring for experience sake.

Frankly, we have to assume there may be some damage that occurs which is smaller than our eyes can notice, even before we see evidence of rust. So, a thorough cleaning should be accomplished within "hours" of the days activities.

The "salts" deposited in the bore can be quickly eliminated at the range and a thorough cleaning can be put off for a later hour if you desire, but really, to completely forego such a cleaning for another day is somewhat akin to ignoring your wife's needs on your anniversary.

Dan
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning a flintlock

If your barrel has wedges instead of pins, it probably has a hooked breech. So just remove the wedges and lift the barrel out. Don't use force, if it hangs up, something else needs to be removed. If you have to remove the lock, it should also be easy to do and it is good practice to clean and oil the back side of it anyway to remove the fouling that finds its way in. Do not oil the face of the frizzen!!! I use the hottest water I can handle with a few drops of dish soap. The heat helps the barrel to dry quickly. After patch drying the bore (you probably don't want to do this in front of your buddies), suck (do not blow it will cause condensation) air through the bore to dry the areas you couldn't reach with a dry patch. This cured the misfire problems that plagued me when I first started. Then oil your barrel with any of the above mentioned non-petro lubes. If your barrel is pinned in, I have found that screwing a hose on works great and keeps the crud from leaking down between the stock and barrel. Traditionally, with regular shooting, I would imagine that cleaning was a bit less important than in stored guns and probably consisted of a few spit patches each evening and some tallow. That is the method I use when in the field and have never experienced any rusting problems.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-05-2007, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning a flintlock

With my Kentucky long rifle flintlock I put a toothpick in the touch hole and then hang it muzzle lower than the breech over the laundry tub. I have a piece of 1/4 copper tubing with a hose attached to it. I run the water until its very hot and then insert the tube into the barrel. I run the water until it comes clean and then dry to bore with several dry patches. I then use a fairy wet patch of WD40 to absorb any remaining water. After a couple of days I run dry patches down until they show no oil and then grease with a patch of bore butter.

This method has worked for me for 30 years.

Pete

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