WEAPON MAINTENANCE
Pvt. Duke Harless

3rd Regiment, Co. E, Engineers
CSA
December 1998

 

Many things go into making a unit good and making a good unit better, in my opinion clean, serviceable weapons are one of the best signs that a unit is both safe and authentic. The first thing to address is what are the things that damage your weapon. They are as follows:

RUST: this will destroy a weapon.. when a weapon rusts it pits and flakes the metal off, changing the size and seal of the bore on the inside and making it unsafe to fire live rounds. Once a rifle is pitted it will constantly rust, so best to keep the rust off and the protective coat of oil on it.

DIRT: Dirt can foul the action of the weapon, and attracts and holds moisture which causes Rust.

CARBON: Black powder leaves a dirty fouling in the bore and the nipple... this attracts and holds moisture and causes corrosion and pitting in the metal. When built up it can cause misfires by preventing the spark from the percussion cap from getting through the nipple to the powder in the barrel.

MOISTURE:

This Is the main cause of rust.. be it from cleaning water, rain, dew or sweaty palms...

Cleaning gear is something that should be kept well stocked, and is not that expensive.. all you need is a ram rod with a eyelet for cleaning patches ( a modern one can be used at home if yours doesn’t have the adapter for patches) cleaning patches for the bore Cleaning solvent, lubricant (CLP is your best buy) soft toothbrush, screwdriver, q-tips, pipecleaners.

CLEANING PROCEDURES:

T
he sooner the better after a battle... the longer carbon sits in the bore the harder it is to get out and the chances are it will attract moisture and start corroding or pitting the metal. First plug the nipple with either a piece of leather or a patch, or what I do is leave the last cap on from the battle. Then you can simply use your canteen and pour water down the barrel, or if available use hot water, a cup, and a funnel. Block off the end of the muzzle with a cork, tampion, a rag or your thumb and shake repeatedly. Pour the water out and repeat until the water comes out clear.. The next step is to take a patch and start drying the bore out by ramming it repeatedly, changing patches as needed. Once the water is dried out start using CLP on the patches to clean and lubricate the weapon's bore. This is done until the patches come out slightly black at the most. The bore should be given a good coat of CLP on the inside as it will break up the carbon over the next few days.

The next step is to remove and scrub the nipple, using the toothbrush, CLP, QTips and Pipe Cleaners. A fine, small screwdriver can be used to scrape the inside areas to remove carbon. once cleaned lubricate and put to the side. Then using the same materials clean the nipple recess of all carbon and ensure that the opening to the bore is clear. Then place the nipple back in its proper position. The next step is to wipe down all the outside metal parts using the toothbrush and CLP to remove any carbon or rust then using a patch and CLP apply a coat of lubrication to the entire weapon. This should prevent any major problems with the weapon and it can be stored until the next event. However it is suggest that when you get home take off the bands and lockplate, lubricate and clean the areas that can’t be reached when the weapon is assembled in the field.

This is a very basic procedure that if followed will result in a "ping" of your ramrod during inspection and ensure that when a yankee is in your sights your Musket goes BOOM instead of "pop".