Longrifle Cleaning and Care
Cleaning of your blackpowder arm is something that must be done thoroughly. Due to the corrosive nature of blackpowder, consequences are dire for not removing its fouling from the bore and lock of your gun.
While it is possible to take the barrel from the stock, there is no need if you follow the instructions below. Generally speaking, most Longrifles can be cleaned in this manner.
- Start by removing the lock. Set it aside for cleaning while waiting for the water you’ll pour into the bore during step 2, to soften the fouling.
- Insert a toothpick into the vent liner. This effectively plugs the barrel and will allow you to pour hot water into the bore. Fill the barrel with water as hot as you can comfortably stand working in. Stand the gun in a corner and go to work on the lock.
- Using a nylon bristled toothbrush and hot soapy water, give the lock a good scrubbing. Make sure you remove the flint so the jaws can get the attention they deserve. Once you are satisfied that all fouling has been removed, rinse it off with the hottest water you can handle comfortably. The temperature will heat up the metal and cause the excess water to evaporate from those surfaces you couldn’t dry off with a cloth rag. Set the lock aside to dry.
- Pour the water from the bore and remove the toothpick. Using your ramrod with cleaning jag attached, run patches soaked in hot soapy (I use a liquid dish soap designed to cut grease) water through the bore, changing them until the patch comes out clean. This will undoubtedly take several passes. Placing the gun on your work surface so the vent liner is down will allow any seepage to fall free rather than run into the lock mortise, which will cause the wood to swell and make replacing the lock a difficult task.
- Once you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the bore, run a dry patch or two down the bore to take up any excess moisture. After that, stand it in a corner, muzzle down, for a short time to give any remaining moisture a chance to evaporate rather than run to the breech and sit in a puddle.
- If you are done for the season, run an oily patch through the bore. If not, leave it dry. Ensure the lock is dry and reassemble to the gun. Rub an oily patch over the surface (minus the face of the frizzen), leaving a thin coat of oil to prevent rust. You’re all set!