rusty barrels

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Ross Smith posted this 27 December 2017

I read an old post on flash-rusting of a mold after cleaning and heat drying. I also read the same about cleaning black powder rifles with anything hotter than tepid water lest it rusts immediately. I've not ever noticed this in cleaning bp rifles with the hottest water my hot water heater puts out for the last 45 years. I live in Utah, maybe that helps.

Is there a threshold where rust will happen? Any experiences?

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RicinYakima posted this 27 December 2017

In my opinion, this can be traced back to an article on cleaning black powder residue with "Windex" brand glass cleaner in Handloader magazine. The author used a product that was not generally available around the country. When people tried cleaning with "Windex with vinegar" this cropped up. I saw an $5000 Spencer reproduction reduced to a rusty hulk in two days by using this product.

I started casting bullets and shooting black powder for the 1961 Civil War Centennial. I have used nothing other than boiling tap water, allowed the heat to dry and then oil with any light gun oil. I have been rust free for 56 years, knock on wood. I still clean my flintlock the same way.

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Ross Smith posted this 27 December 2017

Thanks Ric, that's been my experience also. Had to double check what I read.

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BigMan54 posted this 27 December 2017

I used to drench my cap & ball revolvers in BALLISTOL before leaving the range. The single shots I cleaned at the range using water heated on an ancient PRIMUS Stove. Oiled them up and was good to go, never a spot of rust.

With the cap & ball, when I got home, I used hot soapy tap water, then hot water rinse. by the time i was done the guns were so hot that the water evaporated immediately.

Then about 20yrs ago I got introduced to "HAR TRIGGERS 'ESPECIALL' BLACK POWDER SOLVENT" . I used it to clean 2 1860 ARMYS all the way down, an 1873 .44WCF all the way down and a SAVAGE 311 SxS. When I was done and the guns oiled up and reassembled. MY HANDS WERE PERFECTLY CLEAN, AND SOFT.

HAR TRIGGER'S concoction was a mix of 1/3rd each of:  MURPHY'S OIL soap, hydrogen peroxide and 91% rubbing alcohol.  

I've never used anything else since. not a speck of RUST on any Black Powder gun or gun that has shot Black Powder Cartridge ammo.

I tried the windex w/vinegar once too. In the hour it took me to drive home, an 1851 Navy already had rust on it.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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R. Dupraz posted this 27 December 2017

For ML fire arms when the real black is used, the answer is "BALLISTOL"  and water to clean. Pure to store, inside and out..

Except for my percussion double 12 gauge. Then it's hot soapy water for the heavy crud. followed by the above. Check each day for three days there after.

BPC rifles same as above.

I have been using this method for years and never any after rust or rust period. 

When I tried using the old hot water thing, I always got flash rust even when oiling after.

 

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Ed Harris posted this 27 December 2017

My introduction to BP shooting was an original 1851 Navy Colt which Harry DeButts and I found in an old barn marked for demolition in the path of where I66 passes close to the Manassas battlefield.  The old revolver was wrapped in a burlap sack and stuck up in  the barn rafters, still loaded.  We shot at some glass bottles and jars in the barn and took the gun home, where Dr. DeButts showed us how to clean and disassemble it.  It was pitted on one side, but the other looked pretty good, maybe 80%.  The bore and chambers were light rusted, but cleaned up to light frosting with cake Bon Ami and hot water.  All we ever used to clean was boiling water with a bit of powdered Tide detergent in it, and Bon Ami in the bores and chambers to remove any remaining rust, leaving a nice brown patina.  After that only plain non-detergent SAE30 weight motor oil.

Harry still has the revolver, and got a Colt factory letter for it. It has likely Confederate history, being sold in Richmond, VA before the war.  It is no longer shot but enjoys a place of honor among other relics he has dug up since.  The last person to shoot the revolver was the late O.H. McKagen, who did so at Bob Wright's farm not far from where the gun was found in 1962.  OH has since departed to join his Confederate ancestors and is sorely missed, the epitomy of the Southern Gentleman.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Ross Smith posted this 27 December 2017

Pretty good advice from all of you. How about climate, does your climate affect "flash-rusting"?

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RicinYakima posted this 27 December 2017

I live in Yakima, WA, on the desert side of the mountain range. I only shoot black powder in the good weather months, so humidity here is about 10% in the afternoon and 40% at night. When the weather is hot, it will be about 7% in the day and up to 50% at night because of the agricultural irrigation sprinklers running. Temperature swings are second highest in continental US, about 40 degrees every day, and sun about 300 days a year.

I should add that three cylinders from the .36 and 10 shots with the flintlock is a full day's shooting for me. If it is caked on because of the low humidity, I may add a drop of Dawn dish soap to the scrub water, but just boiling hot to rinse. HTH, Ric

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D.E.powell posted this 27 December 2017

Interesting discussion. I started shooting flint and percussion rifles thirty + years ago and the old timers who taught me used water soluble machinists oil and water (Moose Milk) . thirty eight years in the machine trades before retiring... taught me that this works. Rust can not be tolerated on expensive machines and tooling.  my rifles are never taken out of the wood ever. Cold water cleans just as well as hot and avoids the issue of flash rusting. The famous gun makers Holland & Holland making very expensive fire arms sense the 1800 insist that hot water never be used in cleaning process as flash rusting can be accumulative.

I use the Moose milk and follow with dry patches then a good oil. Takes longer to type this than to clean a rifle.

There is a thread currently running on the ALR  black powder forum about flash rust; under cleaning a Hawken,  that may be of interest.Moderaters If reference to another forum is not permitted please remove this.

Don    

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Ross Smith posted this 28 December 2017

DE POwell: The only Rifle I have that rusted is a custom Flint Hawken from St. Louis. The original owner lived in Indiana and the rifle barrel has been lightly etched inside the muzzle. To make the crime worse it is a Bill Large barrel.The Indiana humidity and bp fowling combination is the culprit. I too have used my own version of Moose milk but now I clean with water then clean like it was a suppository gun. I store with RIG. 

The original article that got me going is in the archives and talks about a mold that was zealously cleaned and set aside before casting with it. In that short time it flash-rusted. Some bp gurus blame too hot water, me I blame the cast steel used in molds and and humidity????????? maybe. Myself I've never seen flash rust.

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Dale53 posted this 30 December 2017

I have been using and competing with BP firearms off and on since about 1950 (no, that’s NOT a misprint). I have long used a home made solution to clean muzzleloaders and blackpowder cartridge rifles and pistols. The formula came from NMLRA Nationals at Friendship, In. We call it Friendship Speed Juice and it is the formulation described above by BigMan54. 

IMMEDIATELY after using you must use a good rust preventative solution (Friendship Speed Juice chemically cleans the gun and it WILL rust if this is not done. I use Ed’s Red which works beautifully. I clean at the range. Three days later I go over the guns again with Ed’s Red “just in case”. The advantage of FSJ is that it dissolves the BP fouling clinkers (water does not, it just flushes).

FWIW,

Dale53

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Ed Harris posted this 03 January 2018

Pretty good advice from all of you. How about climate, does your climate affect "flash-rusting"?

In the mid-Atlantic near the Chesapeake Bay in summer "flash" rusting can occur while you hold your breath!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Maven posted this 03 January 2018

I've also used "Friendship Speed Juice" for many years with nary a problem, but follow it with a liberal ( Hey, I live in NY!  LOL) application of WD-40 and then ATF on the 2nd day.  I get no rust with that even in the humid Hudson Valley.  Ballistol is OK, but I like it better as a patch lube than a rust preventative.

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BigMan54 posted this 04 January 2018

I live and breathe BALLISTOL as a preservative. I tried Black Powder in COWBOY SHOOTING.  Swabbing out rifle/shotgun barrels with "friendship juice" and pulling my 1860's(cyl&bbl) or 1858's(cyl) apart after every stage to swab out & wipe down, kept me shooting 8 or more stages in a day. That's 40+rds out of each revolver and 80+ rifle and 50+ shotgun. I gave it up and went back to smokeless after about a year. Spent all my time cleaning instead of "working the Posse" and socializing. BALLISTOL liberally applied after cleaning keeps everything rust free.

On flash rusting. This past mold cleaning prep for the 2nd set of undersized molds. I took each mold block half out of the boiling soapy water and rinsed under HOT tap water using silicone coated kitchen tongs. I then dried each mold half by immediately holding over a full on stove top burner. They then went into a 200degree oven to wait for all parts to be clean and dried. Then reassembled, fitted with handles and put on the hotplate to wait for me to start casting.  

No flash rusting this time. BUT I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT SCRUBING THE MOLD CAVITIES USING A BRONZE TOOTHBRUSH AND tarter- control toothpaste is a fantastic prep method. Those undersized bullets fairly jumped out of the cavities, when the mold was opened.

Joe's books are full of the best info, every caster, however experienced should read them covers to covers, before their next casting session.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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Eutectic posted this 09 January 2018

When I was in high school we shot a lot of black powder and the cheapest war surplus ammo we could buy, a lot of which was corrosive. We were in South Florida and shot in the Everglades. Guns would rust before we could get home so we cleaned in the field. We poured water down the barrel and sprayed with the new wonder product WD 40. the WD 40 displaced the water and prevented rust for a few days. It did not hold off rust forever, so we cleaned at home with hot soapy water, and applied RIG grease which was the only thing which would beat rust in the hot humid South.

 

Steve Hurst

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Ross Smith posted this 09 January 2018

Eutectic: That was my old routine exactly. Especially when I was in Laredo hunting javelina. Here in Utah we can skip the wd40 and just use a little oil of some kind. What I was interested in was the phenomena of flash rusting. I've never seen it despite breaking most of the "rules".

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