Special Interests - Groups & Societies > 1860 Henry

black powder cleanup for the 1860 and the 1866

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what steps do you take

how lazy can you be with black powder without causing damage or functional problems?

does caliber enter into the answer
(straight v. bottleneck)
(shorter alternatives such as .44 Russian or.45 Schofield)


Black Powder in and of itself isn't very corrosive.  the residue is hydroscopic though, and will attract and trap moisture.  The BP Subs are more corrosive chemically and must be removed toot sweet.
With straight wall cases, BP fouling will cause the rifle to get stiff and begin to cause the Carrier Block to hang up fairly quickly.  Any straight wall case.  You'll have to clean every match.
Bottle neck cases don't have the "blow by" problems the straight wall cases do.  They seal much better.  A Caveat though,
the residue from BP Subs must be removed from brass rifles immediately.  The residue from the Subs will also attack steel very quickly.
Hot soapy water for clean-up has been the favorite for ever.  If you must use a custom mix, equal parts of Murphy's oil Soap, Hydrogen peroxide and Alcohol is simple and very effective.


Will Ketchum:
Personally I have had problems with Hydrogen peroxide.  It is an oxidizer and can cause nearly immediate rust if not oiled right away.  I once was using a mix with it and was interrupted by a family emergency by the time I got back, just a couple of hours I had rust growing out of my Henry.  Cleaned up fairly well but have never used it since.

I use some type of plug in the chamber (usually just a spent cartridge case) while cleaning the bore to keep the gunk out of the receiver area.  Montana Slim is the expert on cleaning BP guns.  I hope he joins in.

Will Ketchum


Dusty Morningwood:
Since I started shooting CAS I use Moose Milk (1 part Ballistol 7parts water) to clean and lube revolvers and lever guns.  Keeps them running and rust-free, along with some heavy grease on the cylinder pins, between shoots.  But for my single shot cartridge rifles I have been using patches soaked in windshield washer fluid (pre-diluted).  Cleans out the bores nice and shiney and then a little Bore Butter to lube.

Grizzly Adams:
Ask this question of 100 BP shooters and you will get 125 answers, and a crash course in chemical engineering! ;D

Here's mine!  The method I  use is pretty quick and simple, and I have never had one speck of rust or failure of any kind.  Open the action, push carrier to the bottom.  Place rifle upside down in a vise or across the arms of a chair.  Saturate a patch with Windex with vinegar (not ammonia.)  Use a good stainless steel rod with a proper size jag, and run the wet patch through the bore.  The dirty patches and any moisture drops down and out of the action.  Usually takes only 3 or 4 to do the job.  Dry the bore with a couple of patches and then lube same with ballistol.  Turn rifle up right and wipe down the carrier with a moist cloth and Windex.  (If you have a 45LC your going to spend more time on this part! :-\) 

Put rifle away, grab a cold one, and pick a few tunes on your banjo! ;D  You do have a banjo don't you? ;)

Now if you can't find the Windex with vinegar, tap water will do!



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