How to clean a muzzleloader

Cleaning a muzzleloader properly is one of the most important steps to making sure you get the maximum use out of your gun.  A clean muzzleloader will not only last longer but it will shoot better the following year.  If you own a muzzleloader, check out how I clean mine. 

Why is it so important to clean a muzzleloader?  The main reason is because of the black powder used in muzzleloading.  Isn't black powder used when shooting a bullet from a shotgun or rifle?  It is but the entire load is enclosed by a shell in these applications.

When shooting a muzzleloader, the black powder is not contained by a shell.  When the gun is fired, the black-powder basically goes everywhere.  Because of this, you should always clean your muzzleloader after every shot. 

Black powder is extremely corrosive and if not cleaned properly will ruin your gun.  If left alone, the black powder will rust out your barrel and will eventually ruin the rifling.  You might as well throw out the gun when this happens.

Now that you know why cleaning a muzzleloader is so important.  Check out how I clean mine.  Hopefully this article will help you gain some tips you might not have tried before.

*** This article is how I clean my gun- these tips will probably work for you but consult your owner's manual before cleaning your own muzzleloader ***

The first step is to take your muzzleloader apart.  Look for a screw to remove to start the process.

Once the stock is taken apart, the barrel should pull away from the firing unit.

The next step is to remove the breech plug, mine screws out but check your manual on how to remove yours.

Once the breech plug is removed, clean it out with a special brush made for cleaning breech plugs.  This is a step that many people over-look but can be critical for the accuracy of your muzzleloader.  You will be amazed with how much gunk comes out of the breech plug.

The next step is to clean the barrel.  This process can be done a couple of different ways but I prefer a foaming cleaner.  To use the foaming cleaner, apply it to the barrel and let it foam out.  Let the barrel sit for at least an hour with the foam in it.  This will allow the foam to break down any junk in the barrel.

After the barrel has sat for an hour, take a clean patch and run it through the barrel.  Continue doing this until you pull a clean patch.  If you keep pulling dirty patches, use the foam again and let it sit in the gun overnight.  Repeat gun patch process the following day.

Once the barrel is cleaned, it is a good idea to apply bore butter to it for winter storage.  Bore butter is an all natural lubricant that will help with the accuracy as well as condition of the gun barrel.

Once the barrel is cleaned to your liking, put back in the breech plug.  I clean mine with gun oil before inserting it back into the gun.

The next step is to put the gun back together.  Before you do this, make sure to clean the firing mechanism to prevent future misfires.  Any brand gun oil will work for this but why mess with anything but a classic.  I use Hoppe's oil for this as well.

Once everything is back together, make sure to go over everything one last time with gun oil.  This will make sure that the gun will not gain any rust over the winter.

This completes the process on how I clean my muzzleloader.  I am sure there are thousands of ways out there to clean them but this process works well for me.  If you have a better way to clean a muzzleloader, please feel free to share them with me in the comment section below.

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Troy Flores said...

Thank you for this post. In order to be sure that your shotgun will work properly under any circumstances, you need to work on it by cleaning it regularly. Regular maintenance is very important for keeping your firearm clean and functional, as well as long-lasting. See more

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