Never attempt to clean a charged or primed muzzleloading firearm. AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE CAN CAUSE INJURY AND/OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDERS AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.
A quick alternative to submerging the barrel in a pail of hot water will be to use Thompson/Center's In-Line Cleaning Kit, sold as an accessory item. This will eliminate the need to remove the barrel, as you will be able to hook up the flush tube and flush bottle directly to the nipple or breech plug as it rests in the stock, even when the gun is scoped. See photo.
In-Line Cleaning Kit in use.
When cleaning the in-line muzzleloader through the muzzle, it does not entail removing the breech plug. However, removing the breech plug should be done at the end of hunting or shooting, prior to storage of the firearm.
Black Powder and Pyrodex are very corrosive, and the residue or fouling left over in the bore after firing your firearm can be very destructive to the steel, causing oxidation, rust, and pitting. Leaving your firearm uncleaned with this fouling present can lead to a ruined firearm.
When using a petroleum based lubricant, the build up of this fouling is much more apparent, and often it is necessary to clean the rifle or pistol between shots. Cleaning between shots will be necessary whether using black powder or Pyrodex. Failure to eliminate this residue will be destructive to the bore if left uncleaned for any length of time.
When using an all natural, non-petroleum based lubricant such as T/C's Natural Lube 1000 Plus Bore Butter, the bore becomes seasoned with use, much like the surface of a cast iron skillet. Fouling is greatly reduced, and as a result it is not necessary to clean between shots, or even immediately after extended firing. The reduction of fouling present and the void of any petroleum combine to eliminate the corrosive effects on the steel. This does not mean that your obligation to clean the firearm after use is eliminated. The use of T/C's Natural Lube 1000 Plus Bore Butter merely eliminates the need to clean between shots as excessive fouling will not build up. You can also delay cleaning after you have shot for at least the duration of your hunting trip without fear of damaging your firearm. You should clean your firearm after use prior to storing it away, and in order that you do not lose the "seasoned" characteristics already imparted to your bore, you should clean it with a non petroleum based cleaner such as T/C's all natural #13 Bore Cleaner. Once a petroleum based solvent is introduced, the "seasoning" process is neutralized, much like washing your cast iron skillet with detergent.
Often, when using petroleum based lubricants, consecutive shots with black powder will produce shot-to-shot increases in pressure with the build up of fouling. This will greatly affect accuracy. Eventually, (if not cleaned) the muzzleloading firearm will become impossible to load properly. Driven part way down the bore and blocked by powder fouling, the projectile will hang up and refuse to budge further.
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