Pvt. Duke Harless
3rd Regiment, Co. E, Engineers
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.
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 doesnt have the adapter
for patches) cleaning patches for the bore Cleaning solvent, lubricant (CLP is your best
buy) soft toothbrush, screwdriver, q-tips, pipecleaners.
The 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 cant be reached when the weapon is assembled in
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".