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Cleaning an old rifle
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March 25, 2022 - 7:06 pm
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Hey all, I’m back with another question and seeking your wisdom. In the last couple days I have been “going through” and cleaning up the two latest rifles I’ve purchased. This has consisted of cleaning the bore, adding some furniture wax to the wood, and a general cleaning of the action without complete disassembly. A couple questions arose and maybe you all can help.

1. While cleaning the bore on both rifles, I found them to be extremely dirty. I expected this as they are both over 100 years old and likely have been sitting unused for quite some time. It seems though no matter how many patches or brush strokes, that the patch is still coming out quite dirty. Which led down the road of, “ I wonder if the results I’m expecting are different in these barrels of nickel steel, rather than the stainless modern rifle barrels?” 

2. Is there any real danger in disassembling the rifle completely and cleaning it very well, or if the level I’m cleaning at now is enough for the occasional yearly deer hunt? Maybe it’s better to leave well enough alone?

3. I’d like to use the takedown feature of the 30 WCF once per year or every other year for my Montana trip, is there any real danger to the occasional operation of the takedown feature? I have a new Pelican Air case coming specifically for this rifle for airline transport and will only do this for this one trip.

4. Not a cleaning question, but a random thought that has been rattling around in my head. Do you all think as time moves along, that the Winchester, or old firearms collector in general, will become a thing of the past? The younger “kids” I work with here at the fire department are all into hunting and shooting, but I can’t think of one guy over 30 who knows about or has the slightest interest in old rifles. They all want the latest greatest long range hunting rig, and I have those too, but they show know interest in the past. Hell, you try to put a western movie on TV, even a newer one, and they all throw a fit about having to watching it! It just got me thinking about the future of firearms collecting. That being said, when I look at the auctions, things sure seem to be selling with no problem, I just wonder the average age of the buyers!

 

Thanks all, have a great weekend!

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March 25, 2022 - 7:16 pm
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A6FF9A3D-D311-4D79-8201-53A9F9B2C713.jpegImage Enlarger06490F0E-5D0C-4748-85C3-3B1F869C4526.jpegImage Enlarger I used to love my Accuracy International ! But it became boring shooting so tight groups, sold it and now have these.

so after using modern rifles some of your friends will probably enjoy history too

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March 25, 2022 - 8:47 pm
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Matt Herman said  That being said, when I look at the auctions, things sure seem to be selling with no problem, I just wonder the average age of the buyers!

  

I guess so, with almost every big auction breaking price records!  Maybe a more realistic question to ask is, who in the future except the very rich will be able to buy them?

Separating your take-down once or twice a yr isn’t going to cause looseness, & the best way to clean the bore is from the breech

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March 25, 2022 - 8:59 pm
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 Matt,

 The questions you ask are common and I can only answer with my opinion.

 #1 Black powder bores will be worn, ruff, and contain a certain amount of corrosion. I usually clean only enough to stop the active corrosion. Shooting a few jacketed bullets will do the rest. You can not turn back the clock, it is what it is.

 #2 The danger in disassembling is boogered screw heads, scratches, and removing the dried oils that give the gun a honest old look. Less is more in my world. I just stop the corrosion.

 #3 The less you take it down the tighter it will be 10 years from now and less wear on the mag tube blue.

 #4 The current prices of collector Winchester’s is extremely high. I expect them to go up and down over time as they have in the past. These new guns will not be collector guns in my lifetime, so I don’t care. I collect what I like, I don’t consider guns an investment, it’s my hobby. That said if you buy a honest gun at a fair price it can be sold in the short term for what you’ve got in it. I’m pretty sure if I buy a big dollar gun today from a large auction house I wouldn’t get my money back when I sell, at least in my lifetime. All hobbies cost money, but boy, is this one fun!

                                                                                                 T/R

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March 27, 2022 - 7:43 pm
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Thanks all, I plan to proceed as follows…

Clean the rifles, understanding less is more. Now that I’ve given them a pretty good cleaning, I’ll only run a patch or two through after shooting and likely stay away from a brush. (Should I refrain from using a brass brush at all? Any danger there?)

In an effort to preserve screw heads and such, and given the fact that both function well, I’ll refrain from complete disassembly 

And on the takedown, if I do take it down only once every two years when I travel for this one specific hunt, I shouldn’t have to worry much about the lockup getting loose. I’ll also take extra care when unscrewing the mag tube to prevent as much possible wear as I can.

 

Thanks for the help!

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March 27, 2022 - 9:03 pm
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   Matt,

 A brass brush used when necessary is not a problem, you need to clean out the loose deposits. I am old school, so a wet patch of Hoppe’s #9 and let it set muzzle down for 8 hours then clean with patches. Repeat the process until your patches clean up. This process takes a while and if when your done it’s ruff, you got what you got. It doesn’t always take a nice bore to shoot straight. Things like bullet size, style, and powder can be played with to get good results. A ruff bore usually does better with jacketed bullets, they also help to clean the barrel.

 The rifling in the muzzle end of the barrel has a lot to do with accuracy. Be careful with steel cleaning rods, a guide helps. T/R

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March 28, 2022 - 7:30 pm
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I don’t like brass brushes.  I use stiff nylon and only go in one direction, not back and forth.  You can also play with bullet seating depth.  Just don’t go so long that they won’t cycle through the gun unless you want to single load them. Start as long as you can then push the bullet into the brass at about .005″ increments.  If you find a sweet spot investigate this area by going .001″ steps on each side.  If you have to crimp it can be done anywhere on the bullet not just in the cannelure.   Guns way more powerful than these are taper crimped to get the right neck tension.

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March 30, 2022 - 1:27 am
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clarence said

Matt Herman said  That being said, when I look at the auctions, things sure seem to be selling with no problem, I just wonder the average age of the buyers!
  

I guess so, with almost every big auction breaking price records!  Maybe a more realistic question to ask is, who in the future except the very rich will be able to buy them?

Separating your take-down once or twice a yr isn’t going to cause looseness, & the best way to clean the bore is from the breech  

I agree Clarence from the breech. And just clean it. Brass has been used for a century. If you need something softer you prob shouldn’t be shooting the rifle. 

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March 31, 2022 - 8:37 pm
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I use brass or nylon brushes. Bench rest shooters never use brushes on their BR bores but these bores are polished smooth and clean easily with solvent and patches. If I have a bore that after several cleaning attempts (brush, soak, patch) doesn’t clean up I’ll give the bore a close inspection and shoot it. Even a dark bore is capable of respectable accuracy with the right bullets and loads. 

I can’t address your 4th question, same question has been rattling around in my poor noggin for awhile. I follow the current state of firearms to be passably conversant in tacticool but the black gun folks have no interest in the classics other than resale value. I don’t know who these buyers are who seem to think the sky’s the limit but have heard some are offshore. I think it’s sad that some of our finest Winchesters are leaving the country but at those prices there is little I can do about it.

Good luck with your old Winchesters, I’ll bet they shoot just fine even if you never get a clean patch out of them.

 

Mike

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April 4, 2022 - 6:49 pm
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TXGunNut said
I use brass or nylon brushes. Bench rest shooters never use brushes on their BR bores but these bores are polished smooth and clean easily with solvent and patches. If I have a bore that after several cleaning attempts (brush, soak, patch) doesn’t clean up I’ll give the bore a close inspection and shoot it. Even a dark bore is capable of respectable accuracy with the right bullets and loads. 

I can’t address your 4th question, same question has been rattling around in my poor noggin for awhile. I follow the current state of firearms to be passably conversant in tacticool but the black gun folks have no interest in the classics other than resale value. I don’t know who these buyers are who seem to think the sky’s the limit but have heard some are offshore. I think it’s sad that some of our finest Winchesters are leaving the country but at those prices there is little I can do about it.

Good luck with your old Winchesters, I’ll bet they shoot just fine even if you never get a clean patch out of them.

 

Mike  

Try this once.  Clean your barrel as best you can.  Then spray a patch with GunScrubber.  You will be amazed at the amount of powder you left in the barrel.  I can’t recommend the next one because I have never tried it.  A lot of target people use CLR to soak their muzzle brakes clean.  Some even use it in their barrels.  Available at most markets or hardware stores.

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April 5, 2022 - 12:06 pm
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I know I’ll be criticized for this but, whenever I’ve encountered a really dark bore I’ve used Autosol Metal Polish to help brighten them up.

I’ve done this after a series of good soakings (24 hrs) with Hoppe’s Foaming Gun Cleaner which continually pulls out the black crud.

Autosol has a polish for Jewellery and Bright-work that contains Diamond Powder that really cuts the crud.

The Barrels shine-up nice and don’t seem damaged buy it.

This had led to good results and good sale prices.

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April 16, 2022 - 10:03 pm
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Chuck said

Try this once.  Clean your barrel as best you can.  Then spray a patch with GunScrubber.  You will be amazed at the amount of powder you left in the barrel.  I can’t recommend the next one because I have never tried it.  A lot of target people use CLR to soak their muzzle brakes clean.  Some even use it in their barrels.  Available at most markets or hardware stores.  

I use the foaming cleaners for copper fouled bores. Forgot to mention that as I haven’t encountered one in awhile. Never thought about CLR, would be a little nervous using it on a blue gun or getting it on the wood. 

 

Mike

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April 16, 2022 - 10:16 pm
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No OCD when cleaning old Winchester’s here. I just run a couple patches (Hoppes No. 9 and Breakfree CLP) through the bore and wipe the gun down with Old West Snake Oil.

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