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Cleaning Breech Plug

I normally let the breech plug soak in hot soapy water while I'm cleaning the barrel. This normally loosens the fouling to where I can take a rag and wipe it off. I use a torch tip cleaner to clear the fouling out of the flash hole,or you could use a nipple pick.
Good Luck!!
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

Black powder is corrosive in its unfired state. There was quite an article in Muzzleblasts recently. I'll never leave powder in a gun again after reading that article.
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

Bridger- please give me the details on black powder being corrosive in the unfired state.
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

I left a revolver loaded for two years. After fireing it to unload it (every shot went off on the first strike) and cleaning it, there were tiny pits in the chambers where individual grains of powder had been in contact. It polished out with a twist of ScotchBrite. I had a couple of .45-70 USG rounds head-stamped (18)90. The brass was brittle and you could break them in half. The inside of the case looked corroded. If blackpowder is corrosive, unburned, it isn't much so. :wink:
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

Pipe cleaners come in handy on the primer end of the plug. Seems to me there is also an expansion area just below the flash hole in the forward end. That's a tuffy. I soak, pipe clean, usually run a patch on a small flat screwdriver around the inside of the primer pocket, toothpick out the flash hole, dip it solvent and hit it with compressed air. Use the air to blow any remaining solvent and particles out.

And I bought a spare. Pretty cheap insurance.
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

I don't remeber all the details of the article. It was probably about two months ago. Basically the authors cut a barrel into several sections. Each section was then plugged, charged with powder and left for a year. The corrossion found was extensive. Most of the barrel sections were so corroded the plugs could not be removed. They used different sections to do different test data and I cannot remember everything involved other than it convinced me never to leave powder in a barrel for any length of time. I was at a rendevous last spring where the shooter next to me mentioned that his rifle was still charged from last years deer hunt. It went off fine and I have heard of many people who routinely leave powder in the barrel. I just know I was convinced not to do it.
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

Muzzle Blasts is the publication of the National Muzzleloading Association which is well worth the membership cost. They may have a web page that you could locate it. I am certain it was part of the monthly "Bevel Up, Bevel Down" column. Seems like I read it sometime this last fall but I have this CRS problem so....
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

Thanks for the info. I have left a rifle loaded for two weeks, and done that several times during hunting season. I never had any problems, but I never looked at the bottom of the barrel with a bore light. You could get some corrosion at the very bottom of the barrel and it not affect anything, but of course you want to avoid all corrosion. On the other hand the frontiersmen had to leave their rifles loaded at all times. The Shawnee nickname for me [Simon Kenton] was "He Whose Rifle is Always Loaded."
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

OK guys, think this through. Black powder, unburned, containes saltpeter. This is chemically a salt, and salts are hydroscopic. That is, they absorb water. Water containes oxidizers (oxygen) and this causes rust.

Therefore the rusting properties of unfired black pwder will be dependent on the amount of water available for the salts to absorb and hold agianst the metal. Here in the east, that's typically a lot. In Arizona or the Anza Borrego Desert, not much. I would worry much less about a weapon kept loaded in a heated and air conditioned house than one kept in a garage, but I know how damp our house gets at times, and that's all it takes, one time, to get rust started.

I don't keep my BP guns loaded, and I keep my BPCR cartridges sealed.

Bottom line, Black Powder doesn't cause rust, oxygen does and it's found in water. Even that's not completely true, I'm no chemist, but it makes the point.
 

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Cleaning Breech Plug

kenmc77777 said:
Wayne, what about Pyrodex or Clean shot ( or now powder sticks ) ?
Those alternative powders are considerably more hygroscopic and are not able to give the absorbed moisture off when the reletive humidity drops below 30% as BP will so it's imperitive that you keep the containers tightly sealed and in a cool dry place.
fredj
 

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Encore Breech plug cleaning

I've been using a 1/8" drill bit with a hex head on it that you would use in a screwdriver to clean the breech plug primer hole. It is perfectly sized to clean out the 209 primer residue. Use a nipple pick to clean flash hole. Do not clean under power just using your fingers. You don't have to put much pressure on drill bit to clear out the crap so it doesn't even begin to bother the steel. :D Finish with pipe cleaner that has wire bristles and it is ready to go clean as new. Clean out debris powder with any one of hte cleaners to finish. I carry the drill bit in my possibles bag as well. If you clean every few shots it will not plug up as easy from the 209 flash residue. Also carry spare plug as back up.
Muddyboots
 
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