Cleaning a flintlock - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning a flintlock

So I've read that when cleaning a flintlock to run the barrel through hot soapy water. I was wondering about the lock. Do you remove that to or just leave it on the gun and give it a good scrub down. All opinions welcome. Thank you.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 03:07 PM
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Remove the barrel from the stock and the lock should stay with the stock then hot soapy water the barrel.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 03:23 PM
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Do you thing the pioneers had hot running water and Dawn sitting in the cabin?

Cleaning a flinter does not require dancing naked and juggling snakes. The thing with BP is ..... ready..... get it wet. Once its wet the corrosive properties are gone. So a couple wet patches, then follow it with Ballistol down the bbl. The best way to clean the lock is to run it under hot water and then shoot it with ballistol. It is easy to pull so you can, but the main thing is to get the BP residue wet.

Every day you see it on the news. Another felons life needlessly spared by inaccurate fire.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 03:31 PM
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No soap on your lock, as you don't want it on the frizzen.

I pull my rifle apart, and I swab the barrel in a bucket of lukewarm, not hot, water.

The lock I will usually spray with the kitchen sink sprayer to help get into places I can't easily get a rag or such, and then I set it under a ceiling fan or by my pellet stove to dry the moisture off it.

Wet patches get run in the barrel to "plunge" out the breech, then dump the stinky water that makes, get a bit more and wet patching till they come out with no black fouling. Dry patches till they come back out dry and no fouling marks.

If I'm planning to shoot soon, I'm done.

If I'm not, then I run a lightly oiled patch down the bore, BUT....have to remember to dry-patch that out before shooting.

I'll work some light oil in under the cock/mainspring to make sure there's no corrosion taking root in there, lightly oil all the parts except for pan and frizzen/vent hole region, and then reassemble.

It's not rocket surgery.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 05:49 PM
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I remove the barrel, swab with boiling hot water until the water in the bucket is coming out clear and the patches are coming out clean. I allow it to sit a couple minutes and evaporate the water out, then swab dry. I lightly oil at the end of the season. I use alcohol swabs on the lock and don't oil at all.

I am by no means an expert or an old hand at this, so take the advice with a grain of salt ;-)
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 06:27 PM
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first, all of my guns are long rifles, so pulling the barrel all the time really is not a good option or one that is not necessary. very simple, I always have windex in my shop, so that's what I use. water will wok fine also. I simply take off the lock, spray it down good and set it off to the side. I then put a tooth pick in the touch hole and give the barrel 6 or 8 shots, put my thumb over the end and tip it back and forth a few time and dump it out. soak a few patches and run them down the barrel until they come out clean and follow with dry patches to dry. soak a couple patches with rem oil and oil it. follow with a dry patch to get out the excess. take one of the used oil patches and clean around the touch hole area. tooth brush the entire lock and blow it dry with air or you can rinse with HOT water and it will dry. soak the entire lock with rem oil and wipe off the excess and put back on the gun. oil outside of the barrel and done. its worked for me for 35+ years without any problems.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 06:46 PM
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Some guns have pinned barrels, and its not a good idea to remove them each time you clean the gun because you will eventually wear out the pin holes in the stock. For my Lancaster, I remove the lock, then install the fancy brass syphon over the touch hole that I bought through Track of the Wolf. Its a pain in the arse to use at first but I figured out a way that works pretty well. I install the clamp/hose and turn the gun upside down resting it on two sand bags with the barrel end slightly lower to facilitate any water running out the bore into the drain bucket. . Seems to work fairly well this way. Then I run boiling water with a little Murphy's oil soap in it. Cleans the bore mirror bright. Then I rinse it with hot plain water. For the lock, I just dip a nylon cleaning brush into the clean water and brush the lock down to remove any powder residue. I use an old hair dryer to dry the lock, then oil up the moving parts, run a patch dampened with breakfree down the bore and she's done.

This is the cleaning tube I have for my flintlocks;

I got mine from TOTW, but its the same one. As I said, a PIA to use at first as it will leak and fall off, but with patience you can get it to work fairly well. Meant for guns with pinned barrels. For hooked breech guns, don't even bother, just dip barrel into the cleaning bucket.

Last edited by Blue Bird; 12-14-2016 at 06:54 PM.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Outdooraddict24 View Post
So I've read that when cleaning a flintlock to run the barrel through hot soapy water. I was wondering about the lock. Do you remove that to or just leave it on the gun and give it a good scrub down. All opinions welcome. Thank you.
It's a good idea to pull the lock of now and then and depending on how much shooting you do. My point being that you need to be careful that your prime is not working its way into the lock mortise and collecting there as an IED. As for the hot water treatment for the bore - I do it probably more than I should mostly because it's an easy process (I have keys and not pins securing the barrel to the stock) and I like the cleaning process. Spent over 5 years in the Marine Corps and any rifle that is not cleaned down to the bare metal is cause for Brig time.

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 10:06 AM
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I have a pinned barrel, and the maker of my rifle recommended I pull the barrel, so I do. He also provides long-term "support" for his rifles, and told me if/when the holes for the pins get sloppy, he'll make me new pins. So....I pull it. I'm careful, but I pull it. I've toyed with the idea of the flush kit mentioned above. Dixon sells them. My worry is water getting under the barrel/breech when/if if leaks from the flush kit.

I wouldn't worry about live powder getting down between the lock and the barrel/stock. I've shot TC and Lyman guns for a long time, and I never had much of an issue there. Fouling, yes. Live powder, no. You'd have to have a pretty sloppy fit of lock/stock/breech for that to happen.

What I've started doing lately is I run a few patches of Hoppes 9+ through the bore when I'm done shooting, but still at the range. This knocks out a ton of fouling right away. This shortens the time for cleaning at home, and more importantly, cuts the sulfur smell waaaaaaaay down, which means my wife and kids complain less about the smell.

I read that some experienced flash rust from using hot water. I didn't believe it till I had it happen. So I use lukewarm water. It doesn't make the cleaning process any longer or more difficult when you don't use hot water. You just need to dry-patch the bore dry.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 10:44 AM
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Before I leave the range after shooting, I swab out the bore pretty good with wet patches. Gets most of the worst fouling out. Once I get home I pull the lock and dunk it in fairly hot tap water and use a nylon brush to get any fouling off, then lightly oil the workings after drying. The barrel I don't remove. I just remove the touch hole liner and screw in the cleaning tube. Place the end of the rubber tube in a bucket (I use a Folgers plastic coffee "can" with a hole cut in the lid to slip the tube through) of luke warm water. Pump water in and out of the barrel with a patched jag until clean. I then run patches until they are dry and then run a lubed patch down the bore. I also tend to go back a day or so later and run some patched down the bore followed by lubed patch to finish. Old habit from my military days.

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