Black Powder Rifle Accuracy System

The 99.9999% Waterless Rifle Cleaning Method

When you clean your rifle with water you end up with immaculate white patches. Two days later you pull rust and occasionally black schmutz out of the barrel. You assume the rust had formed on the surface of the bore, but where the hell did the black come from?


Years ago I acquired a very much used pair of pliers that were slick with oil. They had apparently spent some time in oil pans or some such container. My first tool. Great help with the bike in 1936 Omaha. I wiped off the pliers to where they seemed pretty clean. A few days later they were oily again, Wiped again, Oily again. ??????

Flash Somewhat Forward

Its 1984-5 or 6 and I read that in the preparation of bronze bearing, the bearings were subjected to some process that saturated the metal in a lubricant. How can you saturate a solid. Then I remembered the oily pliers (See above)

The Plot Thickens

Back in those days I was in love and not only that, but capable of it.

End of the day at the range filthy rifle, filthier Schoultz and a need to get into town, shower and get going with my, now lost. other life.

Cleaned the barrel with double wiping patched jag with Moose Milk till I had white patches. Soaked the virginal patches with WD-40 scrubbed the barrel one more time with the somewhat sloppy patches. Left the steel ram rod with the WD-40 soaked patches in the barrel, Of course I had a bore protector on the rod. How could you ask? I knew I would check the barrel in the morning and do a proper cleaning job with hot soapy water.

Didn't.You know how people in love are. Or have read about it. Three days later I remembered and in a panic pulled the ram rod out. No rust, But a whole hell of a lot of black stuff that came from where?

Didn't give it the hot soapy water treatment. Next day to the range, tossed 40 grains down the spout, capped and fired down range to pre-foul the barrel. Wiped one time in and out. Loaded with my regular 73 grains of 2 Seated and rammed a patched ball and fired. No problem. Didn't use water that night, Cleaned with moose milk, (Very very little Moose Milk.) And then two patches wet with WD-40. Left ram rod in the barrel and went home. A few days later, when I pulled the rod there was no rust but still black stuff on the patching, but not as much. A few more times at the range and after cleaning I didn't pull any black either.

What I think has happened is this. While we think of steel, or bronze, as a solid, which it is, there are spaces between the molecules. The dread water you so lovingly bathed your baby (the barrel) in has gotten into those spaces along with the black crap (tech talk). I think that this WD-40 process not so gradually replaces the schmutz and water molecules with the WD-40 and that in time, there is no place for the water or schmutz to congregate. These spaces are tinier than your last pay raise, but THEY ARE THERE. I don't really care what they are filled with so long as it isn't water.

I have used this method for years. Never pull rust and the only black that shows up is caused by careless cleaning with the moose milk.

Since my vision has diminished to where I'm worried about losing my drivers license in a year or so, I no longer can shoot. My rifles stand in the corner covered in dust.

Anyhow, In the middle of my writing this I went over and pulled the ram rods out of the barrels of both .45 Hawkens. No Rust, No Schmutz.

Sweet and clean and I don't know how long they've stood in this humid apartment in humid St. Louis. At least six years. Those are seasoned rifle barrels.

One slight random drawback to the waterless system is that WD-40 will sometimes leave an easily-removed varnish that on occasion can plug your touch hole. As I fire one ball-less charge down range before settling down to shoot, it tells me that the fire chute is clear and it usually will clear any plugging.

The opening shot also removes any WD-40 from the bore so you are not shooting your first shot with too slick a barrel which allows the ball to fire down range like a hot suppository long before all the powder has burned and full compression achieved.

Another thing to consider is that you'll have to remember to clean around the snail and/or touch hole by hand because you are not getting it clean with that hot soapy water.

I do tend to run on. When I wrote my Accuracy Information I had a hell of a time keeping it from becoming a book. I had to edit and edit to keep it down to an affordably printed size. I do tend to run on about the things I'm enthusiastic about.

This has worked for me for years of active shooting and for quite a few years of neglect when I had to give up shooting because of vision problems. As stated above, I last cleaned both of my Hawkens at the range with the above method and then a flood came so I couldn't get to the range (In fact it was swept away) and then some marvelous eye surgery removed my ability to shoot, so the rifles leaned against the wall covered in dust for quite a few years. I cannot pull rust from them which in very humid St. Louis is a rare thing.

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