Cleaning Your Muzzloader
By Ed Hall
Ah, cleaning your muzzleloader, whether you fire one shot or a dozen, is a necessity. Even if your 777 pellet residue is not in its own highly corrosive, it will absorb moisture and hold it against your bore, eventually resulting in rust.
One advantage of most of the new styles of muzzle loaders is that they do not need major disassembly for cleaning. The Traditions Pursuit for example has a readily accessible breechplug, unscrewed with just fingers or an included small spanner wrench.
Cleaning solutions for muzzleloaders are mostly water. In a pinch, use a dilute solution of a household cleaner such as Simple Green, though Hodgdon says just water is fine. I like a “range rod”, a longer rod having a knob handle for home use, find it easier than using the ramrod and its six-inch extension.
I like to use a wet toothbrush to clean any part of the rifle having any of the residue from firing. (I’m extremely fussy about my guns.) After cleaning, if at all possible, I run hot water through the barrel in the bathtub and wipe it dry. The barrel, being quite warm, guarantees any wetness will quickly dry.
Wonderlube is just that, a wonderful barrel lubricant. After cleaning, and between shots at the range and in the field when I can, I clean with one tight damp patch down the bore followed by a dry patch, then a couple of strokes with a Wonderlube patch.
I’ve saved the breech plug for last. As I said earlier, its tiny hole passes the primer fire into the powder charge. Find a tiny strand such as from a brass wire brush to insure that tiny passage is clean. Clean breech plugs very well and lube the threads before screwing the breech plug back in place.
One of the grandest inventions in modern muzzleloading is the removable breech plug. Nowadays we simply unscrew the breech plug to make cleaning a much simpler chore. Simply push a cleaning patch all the way through the barrel and out the muzzle rather than pushing a patch from the muzzle down, and hopefully pulling it back out.
Final instruction: Aim at a trophy buck and squeeze the trigger!
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