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Modern Black Powder Muzzleloaders Cleaning




Muzzleloaders and Black Powder - An American Tradition

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.

Detailed cleaning instructions:  Modern

Your firearm should receive a thorough cleaning and lubrication after a round of shooting.  While cleaning the bore, take care to protect the action and trigger mechanism from water based bore cleaners and debris from the bore.  The cleaning operation should be performed with the safety on and the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.  Before you start, be sure there is no percussion cap installed on the nipple. Use the ramrod to be sure there is no charge in the barrel.  (Use a ramrod that you have previously marked to show how far the rod extends into an empty barrel.  If your ram rod stops above the empty barrel mark, then that is an indication that you already have a charge or something in the barrel.)

Protect the action and trigger assembly from debris while cleaning the bore.  If you have one, install a bore cleaning guide tube per the manufacturer’s instructions. This protects the breech plug threads and trigger assembly from fouling and debris.  If you do not have a cleaning tube, be sure to cover the trigger assembly with a cloth or other guard to protect the mechanism.

Caution:  If there is a charge in the barrel or you can not verify the barrel is empty and free of obstruction, do not attempt to remove it by shooting it out.  If you are unsure what the charge is or if you are unsure if the charge is safe, remove the charge using the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

WARNING: Fouling and debris from the bore may fall into the firing mechanism and trigger assembly if a bore cleaning guide or other form of debris protection is not used. This could impair the function of the mechanism and may result in serious personal injuries or death to the shooter or bystanders.

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Secure muzzleloader in gun supports.

Clean the barrel, breech plug, and nipple as follows:

Note:  The Remington Model 700 ML is shown but the general approach to end of the shoot cleaning described here applies to most modern in-lines.
 

1.                   Safe the muzzleloader as described above.

2.                   Remove the bolt assembly or firing mechanism if applicable.

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Remove bolt assembly.


3.                   Unscrew and remove the nipple using the nipple removal tool.

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Remove nipple.


4.                   Unscrew and remove the breech plug using the breech plug removal tool.

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Remove breech plug.


5.                   Soak the nipple and breech plug in an approved bore cleaner.

6.                   Clean the breech plug using a small brush and bore cleaner, clean the threads in the rear of the barrel thoroughly. Use a cleaning patch or clean cloth to wipe the breech plug threads clean of all residue.


7.                   Thread the bore guide into the breech (where the breech plug was removed.)

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Install bore guide.


8.                   Attach the cleaning jag to the ramrod and place a cleaning patch soaked with bore cleaner evenly over the cleaning jag.

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Attach brass cleaning jag to ram rod.


9.              Insert the jag into the bore cleaning tube, and push it firmly into the barrel from the breech. Swab the bore with short strokes for best results.  Push the patch through the end of the barrel and remove the cleaning patch at the muzzle.  This pushes debris out the front end of the barrel.

Muzzleloader and black powder resources for hunting and recreational shooting with insight on care and cleaning blackpowder rifles.
Insert patch and jag from the breech end.


10.               Using the same method, push a dry patch through the bore.

11.               Repeat above three steps until a dry patch comes out clean.

Lubricate and Protect the Bore:

12.            Place a cleaning patch with bore lube for black powder evenly on the jag and push it into the bore from the breech. Swab the bore with short strokes to uniformly apply the lube.

13.               Repeat several times to properly condition and preserve the bore.

Prepare the breech plug and nipple:

14.               Thoroughly clean and dry the breech plug and nipple.

15.              Apply a bore lube paste for black powder on the threads of the breech plug and nipple to ensure the threads do not seize.  NOTE: Do not put bore lube on the front face of the breech plug or nipple or in the flash hole of the nipple. Excess bore lube may foul the powder charge and possibly cause a misfire or hang fire.
 

16.               Reinstall the breech plug and the nipple.

17.               Wipe the exterior of the barrel and receiver with a cloth treated with bore lube.

Optional  Methods:
Variations on the above procedures include the following:

Add a few drops of dish soap or laundry detergent to a plastic pail of hot water.  Place the muzzle in the bucket and insert the ram rod with a clean patch or a bore brush in the breech end pulling the water from the bucket up into the barrel for a thorough cleaning. Remove the barrel from the bucket and dry the bore with a dry patch.  Next, use a patch with a bore lube to protect the bore for storage.

See our listing of popular bore cleaning solvents and other cleaning aids.


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