General > Hobbies and Interests

Anyone into muzzleloaders, black powder?

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That's a shame.  Gunsmiths are usually extremely expensive (at least I think so) because it is a dying art, too; its worth a shot.  But you can mess with firearms quite a bit, the more you do the easier they come apart and together, the learning curve is not too great.  Just think of the operation of a firearm; all it really has is barrel, stock and action and most are meant to come apart quite quick (at least for field stripping) in case of jams and what not.  They don't require tools, or very little, and most allow you to use other parts of the firearm to tear down and build up.  I don't know if it is that you haven't shot much before, or just are not familiar with these older firearms; this post may seem like I am going all over the place (sorry) but the point I am trying to make is just take some time to familiarize yourself with this stuff and I am sure you will come to enjoy it.

I don't have the resources to load my own as whitetail does but still love shooting.  Do quite a bit of trap shooting and target shooting anywhere from 100- ~450 yards (1000 is a dream).  But I have 1 Mosin-Nagant, soon to be two hopefully, the Benelli MR1 - .223, a Benelli Supernova 12 gauge, a 7mm Rem. Mag for hunting, and a Smith & Wesson M&P40 for concealed carry.

I love shooting, just never got into the blackpowder stuff.  Right now, along with what is already mentioned, I have a S&W 38 special, two Mossberg 12ga, a Remington 1100 12ga, a Marlin 22 rifle, and a Glock 17 9mm and a Colt M16A1 (last two for work).  I also have my first gun that I learned to hunt with, a single shot 20ga shotgun.  Just can't get out like I would want to though.

Ah, ok.  I came from a city and never shot much at all really, and now that I am where I am, when I go "home" no one really knows anything about firearms.  And even fewer people believe I can have a CCW at 19 :P haha   I had a thread about shooting on here a while back and didn't get too many responses.  My trips to the range have definitely decreased since I concentrate on my car, would rather put money into that than just bullets.

here's something about cleaning the black powder rifles.  I will deal with the .45 second.  I wish I would have know you were going to take them into a gunsmith for I could have given you some pointers before you did.  First, get the gun back from the gunsmith and you can do it yourself.  All ML's use pyrodex, or 777 or other blackpowder replacements (haven't seen anyone use black powder for years because it is so dirty and a very unstable powder).  All you need is a bathtub of some very hot water and some dish soap.  The absolute (and nothing that comes close) to cleaning out ML's is hot water and dishsoap.  For your inlines, take out the breach plug in each of the TC's.  Fill your bathtub about 4 inches deep with as much very hot water as possible (even if you add some boiling water from a large pot) just to make sure.  Stir in some dish soap, even put it in when the water is running to get your sudds up.  Swish the water back and forth in the barrels and then let them sit for a while.  Never start your cleaning with a brush when it comes to ML's (that's the gunsmith's mistake).  Use the cleaning patch attachment and run it back and forth through the barrel.  In a very small time the water in your bathtub will be black and it will smell like an egg fart (best way to discribe it).  For the brush that is stuck, after soaking for a while, gently tap it right through the breach plug hole.  If your barrels are real dirty and rusted up use a .50 cal brush for the .54 cal, .45 cal brush for the .50 cal.  This process might take you a few repeats but the powder for these guns is very water soluable and will definitely clean up with soap and hot water.  In a short time check the barrel by holding it up to a light.  Once you have most of the gunk out then you can start to clean with the right cal brush.  For the inlines, start by pushing the brush right through the gun (do not try to work back and forth yet or you will get it stuck just like the gunsmith that didn't know what he was doing).  Once you can start to push through with some ease then try to work it back and forth.  Spray some WD40 on the copper brush to help with this process.  Don't worry if you can't get all the rust out, there is a very quick solution for that. After this process, wash out once again with hot water and dish soap.  All you are looking to get is the ability to slide a bullet down the barrel.  After cleaning this time, role up about a half of a paper towel and send down the barrel to clean and dry out the barrel.  You will have to do this a few times and will be amazed how black the paper towel will get.  The reason why I use a paper towel is that if it ever get stuck you can use a soddering torch to set it on fire and it will easily come out (only had to do this couple of times).  Put the inlines back together and make sure your breach plug is in there good and tight.  slide down 2-50gr. pyrodex pellets and then your sabot and bullet.  If you are still worried that the bullet will not go down smoothly then just use some bore butter on the sabot and you will have no problem.  Fire off a couple of rounds and then clean again the same way.  You will be pleasently surprized how clean your barrels will be.  If you are not going to use the ML's for a while then take some good gun lube (comes in spray can and will have a rust inhibitor in it (problem with pyrodes is that it sucks in the water out of the air and that is why your barrels have gotten so dirty.  They were stored before they were cleaned out.)  Once the inlines are back together give then a quick overall spray with the gun oil and wipe them down for they will be ready for the gun safe. (it helps if you have one of those humidity bags at the bottem of your gun safe.  Never ever keep a gun in it's travelling case, they will rust up for sure.  The .45 being a side lock will be a little different for you can not push through our cleaning rod.  Take off our primer nipple and place it in a cup of boiling water and leave for now.  Once again use the soft swap to work the barrel.  Fill your sink with the hot water soap mixture.  Place the barrel so that the hole where the nipple was is under water.  Work the swab up and down the barrel and the water will be sucked up the barrel like with a plunger.  You will know you are doing it right when the barrel is getting hot in your hands.  You can then use a .40 cal brush to do your initial scraping (keep the nipple hole under the water during this process.  You will prob have to change the water a few times depending on how dirty your barrel is.  After the scraping go back to using the soft swab (do not use the .45 cal brush for this cleaning.)  Use a jag where you can use cloth to dry out the barrel (You can even use an air hose to make sure it is dry.)  Clean off your nipple with your wire brush and make sure you hold it up to the light to make sure you have a clean fire hole (I even blow through the nipple to make sure there is no water in there.  Put nipple back in.  Load up with only 1-50gr pyrodex pellet and load up your sabots same as for the inlines.  A couple of rounds through the gun will clean her right out.  After shooting, reclean and dry the gun the same way and once again give a light swab down the barrel with the gun loob (not too much).  Spray and wipe down the outside of the gun and you are good to go. 
This process will definitely save your firearms and put them back into working order.  Been working with ML's for over 30 years and have never lost one yet.  Too many people get the news from a gunsmith that their gun is done when a good cleaning is all that it needs.  It takes some time but once done this time regular maintanance will be a breaze.  Let me know how it works for you.  All my best.

Thanks for the process.  The guy I gave the 54 to wasn't a gunsmith, he is just someone at work that shots muzzleloaders.  He did tell me about using a smaller brush than the actual caliber, think he just didn't have the right stuff though.


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