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Muzzleloader cleaning products. What do you use?

Discussion in 'Reloading, Target Shooting, and Firearms' started by bywayofthearrow, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. I'm working on a deep clean to put the muzzleloader away for the year and wow, what a pain. I've brushed, patched, tried about all the solvents I currently own, and there is still a bunch of junk stuck in the barrel. What does everyone use on their muzzleloaders? I bought my gun used off a friend who upgraded. I got a steal on the setup mainly because it came with an awesome scope that was worth what I paid for the whole setup. The barrel has some pitting but held tight groups at 100 yards still so thats good enough for me. I'm not sure if this is sabot plastic or what but I clearly need different tools or solvents to get this thing clean.
  2. tc foaming stuff....stinks but it works
    bywayofthearrow likes this.

  3. what kind of gun? i was given one this year because someone upgraded and it was caked with crap so i soaked the barrel with solvent and wd 40 to kill some of the rust. caked on crud all through it and it seemed to loosened it up a good bit. try some of the cva foam i have heard good things about it. i have to clean mine this weekend and going to cabelas tonight to get the foaming stuff. I took the breach plug out and put wax on the hole so the stuff didn't seep through and then just melt the wax off with a lighter or torch.
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
  4. I have a TC omega. Here's my routine:

    Take out breech plug and soak in hot soapy water

    wipe out barrel using TC blackpowder/pyrodex solvent (takes around 5-6 patches to come out clean)

    run a dry patch through barrel

    run a patch with rem oil through barrel

    run a patch with bore butter

    in total 8-10 patches

    I then take my breech plug out and dry it off. Spray it with rem oil and wipe down. Put anti seize lubricant on thread and stick it back in.
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
  5. Thanks guys I'll give the foaming stuff a try. Its a CVA Optima.
  6. I use water. Spray it out with a garden hose.
  7. my optima gets a weird crud ring around where the pellets sit and its a motha to get out. m
  8. Thats where mine is the worst. Brush and all the solvent I have wouldnt break it down.
  9. use the bronze brush and just keep scrubbing. I own 2 optima's a 1 and a v2 and both do that odd ring. i used to use a 20gr brush and shove that sucker in there and go to town. don't use a drill like i almost did one day with a rod and brush. gunsmith said it polishes it and not good. :(
  10. Solvents made for smokeless powders will not break down black powder residue hot soapy water or black powder solvents are your best bet
    ohihunter2014 likes this.
  11. bywayofarrow

    If your Wal-Mart sells ML stuff go there like today and look for the stuff you need. I've gotten stuff that was $15 for like $5. im going tonight and pick some cleaner up if they have any. i got some tc liquid last year for $5-was $15. haven't used it yet but ill get cva foam as a backup. even powder is dirt cheap too.
  12. Pro Shots plastic remover if you shoot sabots works well for me. also I use Pro Shots Copper Solvent for newer rifles, for both solvents let sit for about 10min. then brush, then swab, then brush again, then solvent barrel, wait 10min. etc. with the Copper Solvent same process. I've done barrels for friends and they were a little embarrassed by what came out. Blue Jean or Green color is Copper. For years I thought I knew how to clean and that my guns were clean, then I came across this product and boy was I embarrassed by what came out. 18yr old 22-250 I thought was clean took me close to 80-90 patches to get the Copper out. At the end of cleaning I will run a patch with Hoppes #9 then dry patch and then oil and store the gun Barrel down for about 2mths.
    DuckSlayer83 likes this.
  13. where do you get this at?
  14. Deehntr56

    Deehntr56 Staff Member Mod

    I have used as needed most of the information in this article by Randy Wakeman/Chuck Hawks over the last 25 years or so- and depending on what issue you have here, their solutions have worked for me and others......he addresses copper, plastic removal etc....... Triple seven powder brings its own issues and he has soltions as well. I have had very little issue with BH 209 powder- Very clean.

    Good Luck-

    How to Clean an Inline Muzzleloader
    By Randy Wakeman

    I've received more correspondence regarding cleaning an inline muzzleloader than I expected. Apparently, some great mystery has been ascribed to this, although you would think that after all these years we would have figured it out by now. Though I'm hesitant to state there is only one "best" or even "better" way, it need not be a frightening or formidable task. You really don't need any esoteric or unique concoctions, although those who sell them would rather you believe that is the case.

    Shooting an in-line muzzleloader causes two basic types of fouling: ignition-based and propellant based. The ignition-based residue is the bulk of the primer compound that coats actions and the inside of breech plugs. The primer energetic primarily leaves behind carbon composites, which can be dealt with efficiently by various automotive carburetor and parts cleaners--Permatex "Pro-Strength Brake & Parts Cleaner" is one specific example. The more aggressive gunmetal cleaners as Brownells "TCE" or "Gun Scrubber" work just as well, if not better. Most metal cleaners that contain trichloroethylene, used in conjunction with a bronze brush, break up the carbon crud quickly. An often-overlooked area is the internal breech plug threads of your barrel, which should receive the benefit of a good brushing.

    Any light machinery oil will protect the now bare metal, though I've long felt that a drop or two of Breakfree CLP is the best thing you can apply as a protectant. Contingent on gun, a wipe with Breakfree around the very lightly fouled areas (perhaps the trigger group) is all you need. The worst product ever applied to guns, in my experience, is WD-40. A good irrigant, squeak stopper and penetrant, it is a very poor lubricant or protectant, with a low film strength. You are far better off with motor oil than this aromatic gun-wrecker. Though WD-40 is not the pits for everything, it is a very good way to find them in your barrel.

    As for the barrel itself, water is touted as all you need for cleanup of Hodgdon's "Triple Seven" from gun bores, though you really don't need much more than that with black powder or Pyrodex. After all, spit patching between saboted projectile shots is all that is normally required, though some may be blessed with more cleansing spittle than others.

    A plastic pail of hot water with a few drops of laundry detergent added does the trick, just shoving your muzzle in the bucket and working your bore brush up and down a half dozen strokes is all you need. Finish with a dry patch, and then a Breakfree CLP patch (which is also a mild cleaner) and you are good to store your weapon.

    On the road, a bottle of any of the commercial black powder cleaners is handy. That, a handful of patches, your jag, and a small "to go" bottle of Breakfree is all you need. Windex (yes, with ammonia) is a very good bore cleaner.

    Dan Lilja of Lilja Precision Rifle barrels has never seen any damage in one of his barrels caused by the use of ammonia. Dan writes: "The rumor is that copper-removing cleaners with ammonia will pit and damage the interior surface of a barrel. Ammonia is very effective as a copper remover. We use solvents, such as Butch's Bore Shine, to remove copper during the break-in. We routinely leave Butch's solution in the barrel over night too. Again, I repeat, we have never seen a problem with ammonia in the concentrations found in commercial cleaners, in either our chrome-moly or stainless steel barrels. This includes examination with our borescope." Black powder enthusiasts have universally praised Dan's personal favorite barrel cleaning solvent, "Butch's Bore Shine."

    The snake oil "Bore Butter" concoctions of various animal fats and wax are better off left where they came from--the pot of rotting miscellaneous flesh and animal carcasses bubbling at your local rendering plant. The idea that your modern steel barrel can be seasoned like a cast iron skillet has no basis unless your barrel is also cast iron and you cook pizzas in it regularly. Some of the earlier lubricants were outstanding, like sperm whale oil. Bear grease and bacon drippings were never good, but when that's all you have, that's the best you can do.

    There are times when I wonder if the removable breech plug was invented just to give in-line muzzleloader shooters something to complain about. The Thompson "Hawken" breechplug is also removable, but few do, and so few carp about it. Any viscous, high temperature grease works for the fractions of a second our breech plugs see direct heat in a range session, but I've found Bostik "Never-Seez" and other readily available automotive "Anti-Seize" products that meet Mil-Spec 907E to be as good as can be had. Breechplugs vary by manufacturer, but the key seems to be just to be sure to coat all the threads.

    Triple Seven, a sugar-based propellant, has gained a reputation for causing problems in a few guns. To eliminate that problem, taking the time to crack and then retighten the breechplug after a few shots at the range will break the bond line it can form, and makes removal at the end of the day much, much easier. The "crack the plug then retighten" sequence helps in almost all inlines, regardless of propellant. The first time you try it you'll be convinced as well.

    The issue of plastic fouling from sabots has been a bit overstated. With the latest formulations of polyethylene, it is not the issue that it once was. Yet, depending on gun and load, I have seen plastic fouling build-up after a couple of hundred shots. Plastic solvents, such as shotgun choke tube cleaner, run through with a patch after every hundred shots or so, will usually prevent it from becoming an issue. A metal cleaner with the warning "will harm plastics" applied to the bore also takes care of it, as that is the idea.

    A quick summary is that all you really need is hot water and elbow grease to clean, then Breakfree CLP to protect, with an anti-seize for your breech plug. Windex or Butch's Bore Shine can speed along the barrel cleaning process a bit, as can Brownell's TCE or Gunscrubber for the small, primer residue fouled parts. There really isn't much more to it; it's just important that you do it as soon as practical after making some smoke.
    bluedog and bywayofthearrow like this.
  15. Yup! I thought my 25-06 was clean until I tried this. I couldn't believe what was left in there.
  16. Thanks 56. Nice thorough article. I'm not too far off from how he is doing his. Large bucket of soapy water with dish soap is what I use. I do have solvent as well. Must admit I use Bore Butter on the threads of the breech plug. That's how I was taught. Seems to be working ok for me so I guess I'm not going to change anything at least until I run out. I do want to look up some of the other products mentioned in the article.
  17. I have a steel brush I don't know why I think it's for a 20 gauge that I use to clean the tough stuff where the powder ignites. I don't go the full length as it is incredibly stiff and might hurt the rifling but knocks the hard stuff off.
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
  18. I do believe Rural King has it, ask Squak. Cabelas doesn't carry it
    ohihunter2014 likes this.