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#3327793 - 09/23/09 How do you clean a flintlock?
Capt_Nemo Offline
New Member

Registered: 09/23/09
Posts: 1
I have a .45 cal Pennsylvania flintlock rifle made by Pedersolli. I would like to fire it but want to know how to clean it first. The barrel is held on by pins. I do not know the procedure to remove the pins?

RV 728 BP
#3327844 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Capt_Nemo]
LeonHitchcox Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 4782
Loc: Pikeville, TN
You don't remove the pins. You clean it in the stock. The wood protects the bottom of the barrel from corrosion pretty well.

#3327924 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Capt_Nemo]
Outcast Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/02/06
Posts: 3218
Loc: Hongry Gulch, WV
Glass cleaner with ammonia was recommended to me by a black powder only gunsmith. It works like a charm and I've never had to disassemble my rifles or use boiling water and all that mess.

Too old to suffer fools

#3328020 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Capt_Nemo]
1minute Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 19598
Loc: Burns/Hines, Oregon, USA
Welcome aboard Capt. If one is using black powder, then brushes, soap and water, dry patch thoroughly, and lube and dry patch the barrel. Warm or hot water will facilitate drying. If one has any humidity at all around, never ever postpone cleaning. Push the pins out and simply lift the barrel. Much easier to clean without any risk of staining the wood. Surf up cleaning muzzleloaders, and one can find plenty of info.

Edited by 1minute (09/23/09)

#3328157 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Capt_Nemo]
doubletap Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 5543
Loc: Atlanta
Perhaps I shouldn't be answering in this forum, because I'm not a gun writer. I don't even pretend to be one. However, I've cleaned lots of muzzle loaders.

I don't bother with boiling water, although it has the advantage of drying faster than cold water. Glass cleaner with ammonia, mixed with an equal volume of water works well.

After taking the barrel out of the stock, I put the breech end of the barrel in a plastic container with the cleaning mixture. I then put a wet, snug fitting bore mop on a cleaning rod and run it up and down the bore. It will pull cleaning solution into the bore through the flash hole, ensuring that the flash hole is clear and clean. After that, a quick wipe down, dry and lube and you're done. It only takes a couple of minutes.
He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.

- Albert Einstein

#3328230 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: doubletap]
Scorpion Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/29/07
Posts: 4823
Loc: Appalachian Basin
One thing I did to help make my life less miserable, is switch from black powder to a black powder substitute, made by American Pioneer. I suppose it doesn't have the luster or allure of the real deal but, it's easy as hell to clean up.

#3328257 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Scorpion]
Stoneybroke Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 11/25/03
Posts: 1111
Loc: PA
I can't comment on the American Pioneer powder,but triple 7 and Pyrodex, powder or pellets, aren't worth squat in a flinter. I use FFFg black powder in both of my flinters. Goex works well, but Swiss is more powerful and a bit easier to clean. I've been shooting rocklocks for 30+ years and I completey strip my rifles to clean. The bucket method works very well with either hot water or the mixture mentioned above. NEVER leave a piece fouled with black powder set overnight! The barrel will pit, since the fouling is hydroscopic, and you will have a great tomato stake.

#3328449 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Stoneybroke]
atkinsonhunting Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 03/04/01
Posts: 6954
Loc: Filer, Idaho, USA
I pull the barrel off anytime I clean a ML, and I don't recommend cleaning it in the stock as oils and so fourth drain into the wood.. I prefer to swab the barrel with natures best..Hot soapy water followed by a hot rinses..The water is so hot it heats the steel and drys quickly..also scrub the action and nipple etc. oil the bore wipe the parts with oil ever so lightly, and put it up. When your ready to shoot it again, swab the bore dry and your good to go...Yes I also use the bucket method and I also use FFFG in a flinter..Be sure and clean as soon as possible or practicle after firing is a good practice and don't let it set overnight or for a day or two as you will ruin the bore...
Ray Atkinson

#3328571 - 09/23/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: atkinsonhunting]
TNrifleman Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 5953
Loc: Tennessee
If the barrel on your rifle is indeed pinned in, rather than held in place by one or two barrel keys, as hooked breech muzzle loaders are, don't remove the barrel. Doing so will eventually cause issues with the small barrel pins and their fit in the stock.

#3328677 - 09/24/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: TNrifleman]
BRoper Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/22/03
Posts: 859
Loc: Parma, Idaho
The best way is to remove the barrel, fill a bucket with hot water and dish soap. Stick the muzzle in the water and run a brush up and down the barrel the brush will pull the water up the barrel. Then use patches or a mop. Scrub real good. Then take barrel out of water and wipe with patches until dry. The hotter the water the better, doesn't need to be boiling though. If the water is hot it dries faster. Then put a light coat of good gun oil inside and out and reinstall barrel. Thats the way I always cleaned mine and never had a problem. Always shot good the next time, never corroded or rusted. It's really pretty easy and simple.

#3328780 - 09/24/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: BRoper]
Gene L Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/15/06
Posts: 4773
Loc: Georgia
With a flintlock, you're not going to get much water coming up thru the flash hole, but that's a good way to clean a caplock after you remove the nipple.
Not many problems you can't fix
With a 1911 and a 30-06

#3328867 - 09/24/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: BRoper]
QSX15 Offline

Registered: 01/29/05
Posts: 43
Loc: Northwest Oregon
I am a fan of the hot water method. I use a coffee can half full and put the flash hole in the water and suck it up the barrel with the patch. 2 or 3 patches and I pull it out of the water, the heat helps it dry , another dry patch and then I am a fan of the Bore Butter products so I run a heavy patch of that down the barrel. I figure the heat opens the pores and helps it soak in the metal. I also remove the touch hole liner (Lyman) and grease the threads at this time as well. I rub the outsdie of the barrel wiht the same bore butter, and stand it in a corner. After it cools down, I wipe the exterior of the barrel and put it back in the stock. I really don"t feel this takes all that long, 15 minutes max from the time I start the water boiling. If thats a hassle then by all means do it some other way.

Before I shoot or go hunting the next time, I swab the bore with rubbing alcohol to get the heavy grease out and load as normal. I then run a grease patch over the load to recover the bore. I also tested this method and with my gun I can't tell a significant difference in grouping of the first shot.
"When a man with a pistol meets a man with a rifle, the man with a pistol is a dead man."

#3330190 - 09/24/09 Re: How do you clean a flintlock? [Re: Capt_Nemo]
Dan_Chamberlain Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 6497
Loc: Illinois, by Missouri

Do not remove the barrel. It's pinned for a reason. Each time you push out the pins, you are going to loosen the pin holes that much more. There is no need to remove the barrel to properly clean a flinter!

Get round toothpicks. Tap the point of one in the touch hole/vent hole to plug it. Pour "cold" water in the bore, about half full. Cover the bore with your thumb or a cork and slosh the water back and forth a few times. Pour it out and do it again until the water runs clear. Take a patch with some dish soap on it and run it up and down the bore a dozen or so times, followed with a bore brush a dozen or so times and rinse using the first method.

Last, pour about 3/4 full with water - cold or hot, your choice - and using a tight fitting patch, put it in the barrel and remove the plug with the vent pointed down. Force the water under pressure to jet out the vent hole until the patch has grounded at the chamber. Tip the barrel upside down and let the water run out that squeezed past the patch. Remove and dry with dry patches. Pour a little rubbing alcohol down into the powder chamber to soak up any moisure you didn't get and turn the gun upside down for half an hour.

Follow with lightly oiled patches to protect the metal.
This takes about 10 minutes to do once you get the hang of it and have all your supplies handy. (Except for the half-hour dry)

Some people pull the lock to clean behind it. I've found that this isn't necessary with my gun until I'm ready to put it up for the winter or if I've had several range sessions. Your milage will vary. Pull the lock to see if it's sooty and judge from there.

Keep the frizzen and pan clean and clean all the residue off the flint and cock.

If you use bore butter, be advised it works well, but you will get reddish/rusty looking patches after a while. It's not rust. It's yellow food coloring that has concentrated and become red looking.

Leave the barrel pinned!!! Or, eventually the pins will become loose.

"It's a source of great pride, that when I google my name, I find book titles and not mug shots." Daniel C. Chamberlain


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