With hunting seasons mostly over, it may be time to think about putting your treasured game-getters away until their moment comes again this fall. Keeping these guns clean is essential — no different than keeping any other tools in fine shape. Why? Because of something I see happen every year: guns come out of the cabinet with a pitted barrel, rusty or with much worse surprises in store.
The first gun (besides your squirrel guns) you may likely be using this fall is a muzzleloader. Here in New York we have both early and late seasons so if you tag out early you can sleep in during that last cold week after the regular season ends. Out and about with other hunters, I have noticed that muzzleloaders are usually the guns I find to be the dirtiest, not just because that’s their nature, but because some people seem to have never learned to take care of them. This is especially true of the newer inline guns.
I believe what often happens with these guns is that a hunter will fire off a shot or two and then think that the gun doesn’t need to be cleaned because they are using a black powder substitute instead of the real item. That can be a mistake that costs you a freezer full of venison.
Hoppeu2019s Boresnake ... Best Price: $11.50 Buy New $12.99 (as of 11:40 EST - Details) I recall seeing a Traditions Panther .50 caliber once that the previous owner apparently never cleaned. There was some light rust spots on the outside of the barrel, but the inside was cherry red and the nipple was so corroded I had to swap it out with a new one because of how badly it was plugged. The store owner didn’t want to bother with it so for $50 I took it home and spent a whole afternoon scrubbing, cleaning and changing out the nipple. I got it to shoot again and it shot quite well — all over a little laziness.
All of the black powder substitutes out there, while not as corrosive as the real deal, will cause corrosion if you let them go. While you might not have to use soap and water like you see some of the old timers use, it does need to be cleaned after shooting.
I use Thompson Center’s black powder solvent to clean not only the barrel, but under the hammer and inside the breech after removing the nipple. I soak the nipple itself in the solvent and I try to take a Q-tip dipped in it to every little crevice. I then take Thompson Center Bore Butter and season the barrel. I finish it up by using some never seize lubricant on the threads of the nipple and good old fashioned gun oil to clean up the outside.
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