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Old 04-16-2004, 02:42 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Posts: 105
Best Black Powder Cleaning Solvent?

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For those of you who shoot a lot of black powder, what cleaning solvent would you use? I am interested in comments for all of you on this subject. Thanks Bobby
Better Hunting and Shooting Thru Finer Gunsmithing AKA Gdoc
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:58 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 305
hot water with a bit of sunlight dish soap is my favourite.
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Old 04-16-2004, 03:07 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Posts: 105
Thanks for the tip. I am helping out a group of Cowboy shooters just getting orginized here, and want to get as much info for them as I can. Bobby
Better Hunting and Shooting Thru Finer Gunsmithing AKA Gdoc
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Old 04-16-2004, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jefferson Parish (via N.O.)
Posts: 9,035
Use hot water most of the time. A little detergent or Murphy's Oil soap can help speed the process, but most often it's hot water, brush, cold water, bursh, and hot water to finish.
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Old 05-27-2004, 08:32 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 40
cleaning black powder

There are alot of cleaning solvents out there. I have used a few of those, but I always went back to the kitchen sink and used hot water.
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Old 05-27-2004, 09:09 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 254
I use hot, soapy water with an assortment of bristle brushes and a cleaning rod with patches. Q-tips help get in the corners of cap and ball revolvers.
A pipe cleaner will go nicely into the cone of a nipple. Then bend the pipe cleaner 90 degrees an inch or so back from the nipple and you have a good handle to scrub the threads on the nipple.
For my cap and ball revolvers, I use a large, square plastic tub. I disassemble the revolver down to the last screw and toss all parts (except the wooden grips, of course) into the tub. Then I put in a small, plastic colander. Add plenty of hot water, to cover all parts, and toss in a cake of Ivory soap.
Why Ivory? Because it floats and I can easily find it if I want to work up a good lather on a brush.
As each part is cleaned, it goes into the colander so it's separated from the dirty parts at the bottom of the tub.
When the colander is full and no more dirty parts exist, the colander of parts gets run under the hot tap of the kitchen sink. But beware! Ensure you place the strainer in the sink drain to catch any parts that may fall from the colander.
Likewise, choose a colander with holes too small to allow parts to slip through.
When all parts are rinsed, give them a shake or puff of breath to remove excess water and place in a shallow baking pan.
Place the pan in an oven at low temperature, about 150 degrees, with the oven door open to allow steam to escape.
I place the frame of Colt revolvers upside down, so all screw holes can vent moisture. Keep this in mind with all parts, their nooks and crannies must be open to the air so steam may escape.
Leave the parts in the oven at least 30 minutes, preferably 45 to ensure all moisture is chased out.
Remove from the oven and cover the hot parts with copious amounts of (salt-free) lard, olive oil, Crisco or my personal favorite --- mutton tallow sold by Dixie Gun Works.
The hot steel will really soak up these oils or greases. Apply it liberally and ensure the bore is well-coated too. Allow to sit overnight, covered in the natural lubricant.
Reassemble the next day and remove excess lube. Do NOT use any petroleum product in the bore. When black powder fouling mixes with petroleum grease or oils, it often forms a hard, tarry fouling that affects accuracy and is difficult to remove.
Remember to put plenty of lube on the nipple threads. This will help removal later.
Inner parts may be very lightly oiled with a petroleum product such as 3-In-1 oil or Break Free CLP but don't overdo it.
Most often, I place a layer of Crisco over the interior parts. This keeps them lubricated even with heavy fouling. In cold weather, though, grease like Crisco will stiffen and may affect functioning.
I have a Colt 2nd generation 1851 Navy that I bought new in 1984. I've put perhaps 2,000 lead balls through it over the years and it's always received the above treatment. Not a speck of rust may be found on it.
Depending on the humidity in your area, and the conditions under which you store your revolver, you may not need to clean it so thoroughly.
I live in the Utah desert, where humidity is low year-round. I clean my revolvers in the above manner about twice a year. Most of the time, I clean the bore, chambers (remove the nipples so moisture doesn't creep into their threads and rust them in place) and around the frame.
For this quick-cleaning, I keep a small spray bottle of water. Into the water I put a few small slivers of Ivory soap and a small amount of white vinegar. This solvent on a patch, rag or Q-tip will really cut the grease.
I've tried all kinds of commercial black-powder solvents in the 30-plus years I've been shooting cap and ball revolvers. Never found anything that works quite as well as soapy water with a little vinegar added.
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Old 05-28-2004, 05:46 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Schnecksville, PA
Posts: 2,370
My preference

Since 1970, I have used hot soapy water patches, hot water patches, dry patches and oil patches. It works well and the bores are perfect to this day. All the best...
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:05 PM
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Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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I prefer Wipe-Out for all my gun cleaning needs, and since it's a foam it works itself into the nooks a crannies of your firearm and get things clean without brushing. It does not disolve lead, but rather loosens it so it can be easily patched out, and I found it works very well on my black powder guns. After cleaning I then spray AMSOIL MP oil, a synthetic lubricant, inside and out. No rust, no problems.
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Old 10-11-2005, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: western Pa
Posts: 200

Originally Posted by Bobby
For those of you who shoot a lot of black powder, what cleaning solvent would you use? I am interested in comments for all of you on this subject. Thanks Bobby
Hey Bobby! How ya doing? To put my 2 cents in, I've tried just about every kind of cleaner out there. Unless I'm shooting sabots, I found plain old hot soapy water works just fine. For cleaning plastic from sabots, I found Butch's black powder bore shine works great. I also found Butch's gun oil is a real quality product for inside and out.
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:22 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Washington State
Posts: 27
Originally Posted by Bobby
For those of you who shoot a lot of black powder, what cleaning solvent would you use? I am interested in comments for all of you on this subject. Thanks Bobby
Butch's bore shine works great. Lately I've found window cleaner really cleans things up fast. I drop the nipples and other small stuff in a glass bowl of glass cleaner and I litterally see the carbon disolve. I mean faster than water.

Course hot water is much cheaper. Just make sure you rinse off the stuff. Not sure if the Amonia is any good if left on metal.
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Old 10-16-2005, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NW Montana
Posts: 132
A mix that I put together years ago still works today.

32 oz of Murphy's Oil Soap $3.97 at Wal-Mart
32 oz of Alcohol $.89 cents
32 oz of water free unless distilled

Others have used Hyd Peroxide, but this is an oxidizer and will hurt your barrels.

Mix 3 equal parts, makes 96 oz for less than $5.00 that will last for years.

This has worked great for me, and have used this as a patch lube as well to just spray on my patches for round ball.

Now cleaning up at home, I use my wifes shark steamer with the nipple out Wear gloves because the barrel gets hot.
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Old 11-07-2005, 05:18 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: central Iowa
Posts: 366
At the range I use Windex with vinegar. It comes that way in the bottle, just spray it on a patch follow with a dry and load another round.
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