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That's a very good question. Frankly, I do not have the answer but I offer this for consideration as based on what I have read in various texts / articles: like Fox Fire Vol 5. People, being what they are, hold certian things in high importance. Back in the day, a gun and a horse were not only valuable - but items that ones very life depended on. So, for the most part, these items were well taken care of as best as they owner could with the technology of the day. However, relative to smokepoles, I don't think that Jim Bridger had much time, or supporting implements, to boil water and plunger clean his Hawken very often. And neither did the average farmer. So, guns were cleaned as best as the owner could and that ment that they were often taken to a gunsmith for lock fixing and barrel "freshening" because outsided of a patch, pig brisle brush and a worn on the end of a ramrod they did not have much relative to maintanance products. Tow (flax strippings) was often used as a bore scrubbing medium and I can tell you that this stuff is not that good in terms of getting a bore, or any part of a gun, clean. Oh, it's better than using a dried up plug of tobacco or some useless part of ones Union-Suit but it sure ain't good. For rust prevention the order of the day was some kind of rendered animal fat with, I suppose, bear being the prefered. But I read a book years ago in which the author suggested that any rendered animal fat would be used to prevent rust and to lube a patch for a RB. So anyhow, my point is that the frontiers folk used whatever they had to clean and maintain firearms (worm, patch cloth and tow) and that there was a good business taking the guns to blacksmiths and gun makers for repairs, and barrel freshning needs that were caused, I would think, by poor cleaning practices based on the lack of good cleaning products. I know that does not do probably anything for the technology, but maybe helps with the dialogue you are hoping to get. I hope so too
!
 
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