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Cleaning Your Inline Muzzleloader


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#1 cayugad

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:28 PM

I was asked to explain how to clean an inline rifle. That's a good question but very hard to answer in a specific manner so I will be more general in my explanation. As we know, all muzzleloaders are not alike. Different barrels, different triggers, different actions, different ignition systems. All of them can and do present special problems when it comes to the care of our rifles. So to clean your rifle the best way, READ YOUR MANUAL AND FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS. That of course sounds too simple, so I will break down MY cleaning process for you. Now understand, I am very fussy about how I clean a rifle. Many of my friends tell me I go a little over board. That's fine, their rifle and my rifle. Their way and my way. To each their own.

Cleaning a scoped or open sight rifle is really no different in my book. With my inline rifles the first thing I do with them is break them down into their different components. The barrel, trigger assembly, the scope (if you use quick release rings), breech plug, ramrod, stock, and the ignition system. This is my method. Your methods might vary.

    remove the ramrod from the rifle.

    remove any of the barrel lugs or what ever is used to hold the barrel and action to the stock.

    remove the trigger assembly. Normally held on by one or two screws. Some triggers are pinned so do not attempt to remove them unless the manufacturer recommends it. Now remove the bolt and or striker system. I throw the bolt and or striker system into soap and water.

    Using a breech plug wrench or socket set, or what ever you use, take out the breech plug. Many times these breech plugs can be tuff. If they are tuff, I have taken the rifle to the work shop. I then put the barrel in a vice grabbing it by the lug bolt section. Then with some gentle tapping, you can often times make them break free. If the breech plug is frozen in place, there are other ways you can persuade the breech plug to come out.

    Put the breech plug into a soaking solution. I like to put the rifle into a dish pan filled part way with hot water and some dish soap in there. Because I am going to use that same water to clean the rest of the rifle.

    With the rifle broken down, you now are really going to clean parts... So the first part I clean is the stock. I take a soft cloth and dampen it with some soap and water and wipe the inside and edges of the stock out. If the stock is wood, I do the same thing but use a soft cloth with some furniture polish on it. I wipe the inside out and set the stock to the side.

    Next I take the trigger assembly to the pan with the soap and water. I then put that in the soap and water and with a tooth brush I scrub every possible part of the trigger I can reach. I also swish that trigger assembly around in the water with the hopes that the water will penetrate into the inside mechanisms of the trigger assembly and wash the fowling out of that. After I have done that I shake the trigger assembly out real well, trying to get all the water out of the trigger assembly. I then take that trigger assembly outside and using brake cleaner, isopropyl alcohol or carburetor cleaner I spray into the inside of that trigger. Watch your eyes here so that spray does not splash back into your face. These cleaners do a couple things, not only do they clean the trigger but they drive any water that might be in the internal mechanism out. After they are sprayed down I take them to the air compressor and using a hard PSI air blast, blow all the fluids, water, etc out of the trigger assembly. If you touch it down you will see it is bone dry and very clean. Take the trigger assembly now and put a few drops of a quality gun oil into the internal mechanisms.

    I now clean the breech plug. As you might remember, the breech plug was soaking in soap and water with the bolt and or striker assembly. I take a stiff brush or an old tooth brush and I scrub the threads and face of the plug. Pay special attention to the breech plug as you want to get it clean. After I have that all nice and clean, I take and start using Q-tips and solvent and again wipe out the inside and outside of the breech plug until it is 100% free of fowling. This is then set to the side.

    Some bolts do partially come apart. So if they do, them take them a part and clean all the parts. The striker assembly system is also cleaned in the water. After they are cleaned in the water they are wiped down with solvent patches and then dry patches. Set these aside.

    The barrel is next. At the water tub I take a small cup and pour water down the barrel. I do this for four or five cup fulls. This will was out the major fowling from the barrel. Now with the rifle over the tub of water I take a breech plug brush. I put some liquid dish soap or hand soap on the brush, and then scrub the breech area, the breech plug area, working that soap into a good think foam. After I am sure the area is clean, I again, pour water through the barrel flushing out all the soap and fowling that the soap has picked up out of the rifle. Examine the threads inside the rifle. They will be spotless. Use the same tooth brush and scrub the outside area of the rifle around the breech. If you have a scope, this is a good way to scrub around the mounts and under and around the parts of the scope. Simply use soap and water. Then a little rinse and it will be nice and clean.

    If the scope is removable, this is easy to clean with the water bath and tooth brush. Not by dunking it of course but carefully brushing if your rifle is like mine and likes to deposit fowling on the bottom of the scope. After that some solvent patches to wipe the scope down will make sure you did not miss any part of the scope. Set this to the side for later reassembly.

    Now the barrel is taken to the bench and a solvent patch is pushed from the breech, through the barrel, out the muzzle. This patch will be wet and filthy. Do a second one. This might be a little dirty. By the third one, normally the solvent patch will come out clean and since it was solvent used, will also remove any plastic, copper or lead fowling from the barrel. After this I like to push a few dry patches through the barrel until they too come out spotless clean.

    Now is when I oil up my rifle. The first thing oiled is the barrel of the clean rifle. That patch is then set to the side. I then put the breech plug back into the rifle. Be sure to either tape the breech plug with Teflon tape, or use an anti seize. I personally tape the breech plug then paint it with anti seize and replace it into the breech of the rifle.

    I now wipe the trigger assembly down with the oil patch and replace that onto the barrel.

    Next I wipe down the bolt assembly or the striker system and replace the bolt, or the striker, into the rifle.

    Now using the oil patch I wipe down the scope and the mounts. I then replace the scope if it is quick release. If not pay attention and wipe the scope down well making sure all areas are covered.

    Now I wipe the rifle barrel down. I put a drop of oil into the locking lug blocks. I also then replace the barrel back into the rifle stock. I then wipe the locking lug bolts and reattach the barrel to the stock. After this I wipe the ramrod off, then the rest of the rifle one last time and put it back on my shelf.
Now granted there are people that do not use water. Instead they clean their rifles with cleaners or solvents. That's fine. I have cleaned the rifles without water. The main difference is after I break the rifle down, I basically clean all the parts with solvent patches and then oil each part. After all of the parts are clean and oiled, I then reassemble the rifle. So if you are not a water person then you need lots of patches and cleaning solutions is all. It is basically the same operation. I only wanted to show how I do my rifles. I am sure the manner most of you use is quicker and just as good.

I am sure I have missed some steps but I hope this helps some.
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#2 irinman2424

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 09:36 PM

in the dvd that came with my cva they tell me to remove the stock, then take out the breach plug and put it in boiling water with soap, then take a patch with the breach end in the water and swab it up and down drawing the water up the barrel then run either solvent or rubbing alcohol through it and reassemble it (in the tub of boiling water it should be enough to cover the trigger assembly so when the water is going up and down the barrel its moving around the trigger flushing it out) when reassembling it oil it as you go and use anti seize on the breach plug, my brother bought a new inline one year and didnt put any anti seize on the breach plug we took a torch and heated it up (NOT to glowing) just warmed it and it popped right out with the breach plug wrench once it was warmed up
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#3 cayugad

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 10:11 AM

To remove a really stuck breech plug I put the barrel in the freezer once, and then the next day, took it out, heated it with a torch and it turned out like there was not a care in the world. Another way is to soak them overnight in brake cleaner, but I hate to do that to the rifle metal. The brake cleaner will work into the threads and actually take that fowling out. Kroll oil applied will also help a stuck plug come back out.
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#4 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:14 PM

Cayugad you are a man after my own interests. I thought I was the only person that cleaned my front loaders twice. Once in Hot water and soap and then with conventional solvents. What always surprised me was after scrubbing, swabbing and even nylon brushing between patches in the hot soapy water I still get some pretty bad looking patches when I use the modern solvents. You and I both use essentially the same method except for the trigger assembly which mine never touches water. For some reason I would rather dunk my scope than dunk my trigger assembly. I do clean that assembly with conventional solvents and use compressed air and oil but I just can't bring myself to use water.
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#5 irinman2424

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:58 PM

now a question for you all my inline rifles I do not have a problem with them at all cleaning them in this mannor but here is a problem that I am trying to get figured out as mentioned before I have a 44 cal navy revolver muzzle loader I do NOT clean this one with water I use nitro solvent swabs and then oil it up real good and put it in its holster (leather a tad big for it so its not tight at all) then put it on my gun rack in my room (where we have a fan blowing all the time and where the gun rack is every time the furnace kicks on it blows over the gun rack (I do this to dry them out and keep them from rusting) all my guns stay in good shape even taking the revolver out of the holster for more circulation doesnt help if it sits there for 2-3 months without being shot and cleaned it is caked with rust in the cylender barrel and hammer areas the oil I use is either the outers or more then likely I use the oil that I make a 50/50 mix of non detergant motor oil and stp oil treatment its alot thicker then the oil you buy in the store and has in the past done a better job for me then store bought does
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#6 cayugad

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 06:52 PM

I clean my black powder revolver in the same manner as I do my rifles.. water and then solvent patches, dry patches and finally a good gun oil. So far the revolver is rust free. I've owned it about seven years.
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#7 irinman2424

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 07:06 PM

I was thinking that with the rust problem I wouldnt add moisture to it and that would help
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#8 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 07:56 PM

It sounds to me like you may not be getting all the residue out. That black powder residue if left in there will draw moisture like a magnet and that will rust metal. I suspect that your homemade oil is not protecting the metal either.
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#9 irinman2424

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 08:04 PM

I thought that too Paul but it doesnt matter if I use the outers, remoil or what I use on it
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#10 cayugad

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 09:22 PM

Something I found over the years is when I wash something with soap and water, I always rinse with very very hot water. A friend of mine told me a little trick although I have not tried it yet. When he rinses with very hot water, he puts in four drops of "Jet Dry Liquid Dishwasher Drying agent." He said that very hot water will then not only dry on the metal and heat it up, but it leaves no spots on the metal. Then when he takes solvent patches to it, the gun basically dries as he cleans it. He shoots his revolver much more then I do. But like me, he then sprays the revolver down with Birchwood Casey Sheath.
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