Thoughts on cleaning a Flintlock without removing the barrel

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Greetings,

Yesterday I picked up a Pedersoli flintlock in .32 caliber and the barrel seems "difficult" to remove
for regular cleaning. It doesn't have wedges; it actually looks like the barrel was put in with finishing nails
(I'll attach photos from the manufacture).
With my old eyes regularly getting those tiny nails out and back in , in proper fashion, looks impossible
so I'll be regularly cleaning with the barrel in place using TC number 13 cleaner & Black Powder bore cleaning solvent by Track of the Wolf.
Actually the bore is so tight I promptly jammed my .32 cal bore brush & mop in the bore and had to get some
pliers to pull the wooden ram rod out of the bore. I'll just have to clean it out with my .30 caliber center fire
equipment and it gets as clean as it gets. Also I ordered both .310 & .311 balls but seeing how tight it is
I don't dare put .311 balls down the bore.
Q: Any better thoughts on cleaning the bore of a flintlock while it is still in place?

Blessings,
Longbeard

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Congratulations on the new rifle.

As you have just found out, pinned barrels are generally left in place for cleaning. I only pull mine once a year or so, just to check to make sure there's no rust developing in the barrel and to give it a wipe down. Or if I fall in a creek.

There are a variety of ways to clean the barrel. They make barrel flush kits that attach a tube over the touch hole or screw into the vent liner (need to make sure you get the right thread size). The end of the tube is then put in a bucket of water, some additional water added into the barrel and tight fitting jag/patch combo is pumped up and down the barrel. The idea being the water is siphoned up into the barrel from the bucket and the barrel gets clean. Personally never had much luck with this system.

Another option is plug the touch hole with a feather or toothpick, fill barrel with water/favorite cleaning concoction, let sit for awhile, dump, wipe barrel, repeat until clean.

Others will simply wipe repeatedly with a patch/jag soaked in their favorite cleaning concoction (moose milk, et al.) until the barrel is clean.

I do the plug and fill routine with hot water (heats the barrel up and promotes drying) followed by a Ballistol soaked patch.

Water is an excellent BP solvent and its cheap and plentiful. Just need to make sure the barrel gets dry and lubed afterward. Some people will add a little Dawn detergent to help with the cleaning.

Things to watch out for:

I would not use the loading rod that came with your rifle to clean. They don't tend to hold up to repeated stress from pulling a tight fitting jag/patch combination and the fittings tend to pull out at the most inopportune time leaving your cleaning patch/jag stuck somewhere down the barrel. That, and a .32 rod just ain't that robust to start with so you're just asking for trouble. Get a good cleaning rod with a muzzle protector (track of the wolf sells them, or The Gun Works Muzzleloading Emporium down in Springfield). Wear on the muzzle will eventually kill accuracy.

Don't use a bore brush. They get stuck when you try to reverse direction. One of the standard questions on muzzleloader websites is "How do I get a stuck bore brush out of the barrel?".

A properly sized cleaning jag and patch combination is your friend. Get a jag with a steel shank, not a cast in one. They tend to eventually break off and you're back to "How do I get a stuck jag out of my barrel?". Again, TOW or The Gun Works.

Your gun appears to have a removable vent liner. If so, get some anti seize on it as you will want to remove it for cleaning. There is a counter bore inside the liner that also needs to get cleaned. In addition , once removed, it will let you run a pipe cleaner up into the patent breech and clean the flame channel up to the main bore. Pedersoli's are known to clog up in that area. The touch hole will eventually enlarge and the liner will need to be replaced. Given you have a .32 and the charges are pretty light, you shouldn't have to worry about it for a long time.

FWIW, I'm shooting .318 balls and a .018" spit patch in my .32 (GM barrel) without loading issues. Those little balls swage down pretty easily. I did find I needed to turn my short starter diameter down a bit
 

Andy54Hawken

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Another option is plug the touch hole with a feather or toothpick, fill barrel with water/favorite cleaning concoction, let sit for awhile, dump, wipe barrel, repeat until clean.
This or better yet in my opinion :
Others will simply wipe repeatedly with a patch/jag soaked in their favorite cleaning concoction (moose milk, et al.) until the barrel is clean.
( Only I use water )

I hardly ever remove the barrel on a rifle that does not have a hooked breech...one can :
Lose the barrel pins...
Ding up the stock...
Not get the barrel aligned right...

Roundball58 has made a excellent post ...he offers some great advice .
Andy
 
OP
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Thanks to both of you,

Interestingly Track of the Wolf sent me a flyer on a Flint flushing kit. I also sent them a query about a Derlyn ram rod,
( my wooden one will never hold up in a tight bore like a .32) and I'll order a .32 compatible ball starter at the same time.

How do I remove the Vent Liner? I have no gun gunsmith tools. If I can make the drive I'll be down at the Gunworks
next Saturday.

Actually I bought a Pedersoli because of the poor QC control on my Lyman Great Plains Hunter (Andy saw the post).
I looked at the Traditions .32 percussion cap and about 50% of the reviews were about poor quality, screws in crooked,
etc. so I spent the extra money on a Pedersoli. Andy; my Great Plains in in the gun smith having better sights installed.

I think I'll just stick with the patch & jag method; I'm old and stubborn.

If I can get my old body out of bed I'll be at DRRC this Sunday morning trying the rifle out. I'm easy to see;
I have a white beard over 1 foot long... I'll try out the .310 & .311 balls , all I have for that caliber are .01 lubed
patches & similar dry patches.

Blessings,

Longbeard
 
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I wouldn't remove the vent liner ....There is no real need to , for regular cleaning in my view.
Andy
I'd disagree on that. At the very least he needs to pull it and get some anti seize on the threads for possible removal later. Plus there's always the possibility his liner may have been installed by the infamous Pedersoli gorilla. Better to get it out now. Only thing worse than a stuck nipple is a stuck vent liner.

How do I remove the Vent Liner?
Properly fitted screw driver. It should be slotted.
 

Andy54Hawken

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I am used to vent liners on original guns , when they are present and they often aren't ...they don't have a slotted head...
Plus in my experience with replica guns , the need to remove hasn't happened very often either...Do as you wish...what you are suggesting won't hurt the gun...but in my experience not needed...
Which is usually how these things go...you get two guys who know their stuff and you will still wind up with two different views at times.
Andy
 

Bon Sauvage

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One reason for pulling the pins and removing your barrel is to ensure that that there is a coat of finish on the wood of the barrel channel and also to apply a coat of paste wax, or perhaps bees wax, to the underside of the barrel to help prevent any hidden rust from developing. These are not mandatory steps but I believe that they are a good idea. I pull my pinned barrels every 5 years or so and renew the wax. No rust, so far.

I recommend that you remove the pins from left to right and replace them right to left. This is opposite to what your picture suggests and it is a pretty much a standard practice.

Some pins have a slight taper to them with the tapered end being inserted first. I think it is worth putting a slight taper on the pins, if they don't already have one, and I do it to all the pins in my pinned barrels.

If there is no screwdriver slot in your vent liner and you absolutely, positively have to remove it than I would use an easy out.

I suggest that you use the real McCoy, genuine black powder for your propellant. If you have none, I live right across the river from you and will GIVE you a pound of the real stuff should you wish to drive to Vancouver and claim it. :)



 
OP
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I am used to vent liners on original guns , when they are present and they often aren't ...they don't have a slotted head...
Plus in my experience with replica guns , the need to remove hasn't happened very often either...Do as you wish...what you are suggesting won't hurt the gun...but in my experience not needed...
Which is usually how these things go...you get two guys who know their stuff and you will still wind up with two different views at times.
Andy
As I say: "4/5 of people are wrong 90% of the time.." or "If there are two people in a room you have 4 different oppinions..".
 
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Everyone,

I looked with a flash light & the vent hole is slotted & behind the lock. To get to it I'd have to
disassemble the rifle. Having no gun smithing tools , no padded vice, etc. what I'll do is to
contact the fellow at : https://nwcustomfireatms.com/
and have him take a look at it. I may wind up taking it to a gun smith once or twice a year
for maintenance that I can't do myself.

Blessings,

Longbeard
 
OP
L
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One reason for pulling the pins and removing your barrel is to ensure that that there is a coat of finish on the wood of the barrel channel and also to apply a coat of paste wax, or perhaps bees wax, to the underside of the barrel to help prevent any hidden rust from developing. These are not mandatory steps but I believe that they are a good idea. I pull my pinned barrels every 5 years or so and renew the wax. No rust, so far.

I recommend that you remove the pins from left to right and replace them right to left. This is opposite to what your picture suggests and it is a pretty much a standard practice.

Some pins have a slight taper to them with the tapered end being inserted first. I think it is worth putting a slight taper on the pins, if they don't already have one, and I do it to all the pins in my pinned barrels.

If there is no screwdriver slot in your vent liner and you absolutely, positively have to remove it than I would use an easy out.

I suggest that you use the real McCoy, genuine black powder for your propellant. If you have none, I live right across the river from you and will GIVE you a pound of the real stuff should you wish to drive to Vancouver and claim it. :)


I should be at The Gun Works next Saturday and I'll see if I can pick up some authentic Black Powder. No store in
the metro PDX area carries real BP because it is considered an explosive; that's why I use 777. One of the fellows
that I shoot with wants to go in together to buy a large mixed lot.

Blessings,

Longbeard
 
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Everyone,

I looked with a flash light & the vent hole is slotted & behind the lock. To get to it I'd have to
disassemble the rifle. Having no gun smithing tools , no padded vice, etc. what I'll do is to
contact the fellow at : https://nwcustomfireatms.com/
and have him take a look at it. I may wind up taking it to a gun smith once or twice a year
for maintenance that I can't do myself.

Blessings,

Longbeard
Removing and cleaning the lock is a normal part of cleaning and should be done after every shooting session. All you need is a screwdriver to remove the one or two (depends on your gun) screws on the opposite side of the breech from the lock. They should be no more than snug and not hard to remove. Once the lock bolts are removed the lock should just pop out of the mortise. Once the lock is out of the gun, remove the flint and leather. Run the lock under the hot water faucet and brush with an old toothbrush. Doesn't take any more than a few seconds to remove the fouling. Dry off and oil. When reassembling DO NOT over tighten the lock bolts.

When you're at the Gun Works ask Joe to show you. It's really easy.

And yes, with a flintlock you will need to use real BP and not any of the substitutes.
 
OP
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Removing and cleaning the lock is a normal part of cleaning and should be done after every shooting session. All you need is a screwdriver to remove the one or two (depends on your gun) screws on the opposite side of the breech from the lock. They should be no more than snug and not hard to remove. Once the lock bolts are removed the lock should just pop out of the mortise. Once the lock is out of the gun, remove the flint and leather. Run the lock under the hot water faucet and brush with an old toothbrush. Doesn't take any more than a few seconds to remove the fouling. Dry off and oil. When reassembling DO NOT over tighten the lock bolts.

When you're at the Gun Works ask Joe to show you. It's really easy.

And yes, with a flintlock you will need to use real BP and not any of the substitutes.
Argh! does anyone know where I can get "real" black powder, FFFg retail in the Portland metro area?
Is there a store where I can go? I'll be at the gun works next Saturday but as slow as I drive its about
2 hours each way.

Blessings,
Longbeard
 
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I'm hoping to go out to TCGC on Tuesday or Wednesday to pattern a new 20 ga SXS flintlock I'm hoping will be delivered sometime tomorrow.

Since you live in Portland, too, we can meet up and go to the BP range and try out both our new guns. I've got plenty of FFFg Goex (not like your .32 will eat much anyway) and a supply of different sized flints to try. We can also do a crash course on basic disassembly and maintenance, flint knapping, loading techniques, etc...

If you want to try that, send me a PM and we can work out the details.

Otherwise I can just give you a can of FFFg, just need to figure out a meet up.
 
Last edited:
OP
L
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I'm hoping to go out to TCGC on Tuesday or Wednesday to pattern a new 20 ga SXS flintlock I'm hoping will be delivered sometime tomorrow.

Since you live in Portland, too, we can meet up and go to the BP range and try out both our new guns. I've got plenty of FFFg Goex (not like your .32 will eat much anyway) and a supply of different sized flints to try. We can also do a crash course on basic disassembly and maintenance, flint knapping, loading techniques, etc...

If you want to try that, send me a PM and we can work out the details.

Otherwise I can just give you a can of FFFg, just need to figure out a meet up.
I haven't figured out how to PM yet in this group...

I work swing shift during the week and leave for work about 11:30 am which kills my days but leaves my weekends.

I'm just planning on driving to The Gun Works this Saturday and stocking up.

The BP shoot @ DRRC is moved up to Saturday the 13th this month and I'll be there.
My .54 percussion cap should be ready & I should have powder by then for my .32 flint.

Blessings,
L.B.
 

Andy54Hawken

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For what it is worth...
I shoot 2F in all of muzzleloaders regardless of caliber or be it rifle , fowler , pistol or even revolvers...
You won't "hurt" a small caliber gun using 2F powder.
Shooting 3F in .45 or less and 2F in .50 or bigger is more of a 20th / 21st century target shooter "rule" rather than a 19th century shooting method.
Andy
 

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