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Thread: What do these dirty patches mean?

  1. #1
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    What do these dirty patches mean?

    When I clean my musket barrel, I put the breech end in my utility sink full of hot water, and I first scrub the bore with a soapy brass brush. Next, I run a patch up and down the bore, with a pumping action to make sure the fire channel is blasted clean. Then I use a breech face scraper, and follow up with a soapy patch once again.

    The soapy patch comes out basically spotless.

    Then I take the barrel over to my workbench, and I run a dry patch down the bore.

    This comes out dirty.

    I then ran a second dry patch down the bore. It also came out dirty.

    What is going on here? Is this leading?

    Full size image here: https://i.imgur.com/UGZkB27.jpg

    On the left is the patch from wet cleaning with soapy water in the sink.
    On the right is the first dry patch down the bore.
    On the top is the second dry patch down the bore.


    Any ideas what is going on?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  2. #2
    MR. GADGET's Avatar
    MR. GADGET is offline Moderator
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    Rust in the bore.
    MR. GADGET
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  3. #3
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    I went to the grocery store and bought a Scotchbrite scrubby and scrubbed the bore. Patch came out dirty again.

    Full-sized image here: https://i.imgur.com/7unTxFZ.jpg



    I had checked the package very carefully to see if it was "copper plated" and no mention. After I had already scrubbed the bore I stuck a magnet to it and sure enough it stuck. Hopefully I have not ruined the barrel.

    Steve
    Last edited by Maillemaker; 01-30-2022 at 08:01 PM.
    Steve Sheldon
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  4. #4
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    Here is a video of before scrubbing and after with a borescope:

    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  5. #5
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    This barrel is a Whitacre P53 barrel that I bought new about 10 years ago. It probably has over 6,000 rounds through it.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  6. #6
    Muley Gil is offline
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    Brownells sells bronze wool.

    Don't worry, you haven't hurt the bore.
    Last edited by Muley Gil; 01-30-2022 at 08:23 PM.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
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    Great, great grandson of Cpl Elijah S Davis, Co I, 6th Alabama Inf CSA

  7. #7
    Don Dixon is offline
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    Oh was the poor musket leaded. The things one can learn using a bore scope. Look at the layers of lead and fouling on the edges of the lands. After your normal cleaning routine - which will hopefully remove the black powder fouling - hit the bore periodically with J-B non-embedding bore cleaning compound used in accordance with the instructions on the container. It will keep the lead fouling knocked back [the cleaning patches come out positively black] and is not as aggressive as bronze wool or a scrubby. Whatever you do, don't use one of the steel wire brushes. Based on observation with my Hawkeye bore scope they really scratch the bore, no matter what the manufacturer's propaganda says.

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V

  8. #8
    clowdis is offline
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    The soapy water is cleaning the patch while you're sloshing it up and down the barrel. It won't get any dirtier than the water it's in. Afterwards you can get more carbon and fouling out by using just a patch and your cleaner and it looks dirtier because you aren't sloshing it around in water. You can get some mild abrasive bore cleaners to help with the carbon. A borescope can be your friend here, but it can also lead to buying new barrels for no reason. A gunsmith's best friend :-)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dixon View Post
    Oh was the poor musket leaded. The things one can learn using a bore scope. Look at the layers of lead and fouling on the edges of the lands. After your normal cleaning routine - which will hopefully remove the black powder fouling - hit the bore periodically with J-B non-embedding bore cleaning compound used in accordance with the instructions on the container. It will keep the lead fouling knocked back [the cleaning patches come out positively black] and is not as aggressive as bronze wool or a scrubby. Whatever you do, don't use one of the steel wire brushes. Based on observation with my Hawkeye bore scope they really scratch the bore, no matter what the manufacturer's propaganda says.

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V
    Thanks Don. I've gone back and looked at my videos and while I can see some dark splotches that might be lead I'm really not sure what I'm looking at. This is also a cheap-o low-res borescope.

    I have ordered some of the J-B compound from Brownells. I have also ordered some pure copper Chore Boy scrubbie pads.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
    Commander
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
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  10. #10
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    what do these dirty patches mean?

    Many years ago I also used hot water to clean my musket. A fellow team member asked me to run a dry patch down it the next day after I cleaned the bore. to my amazement I had a dirty patch. He then told me the next time I shot the gun to clean my bore with "cold" water. I uses cold soapy water. The next day I ran a patch down & it came up clean. My team mate told me when you use hot water it causes the pores in the metal to trap dirt. When the barrel cools dirt is squeezed out. Now I use cold soapy water check the next day with a patch & it is clean. Right or wrong for over 50 years it works for me.
    Joe Plakis Jr
    Hampton Legion
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