Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 60

the eye can't see: the lock mortise.
Triggers, levers, sears, springs, tumblers,
lock plates all get dirty in time. Black
powder has a nasty habit of sneaking
inside the lock mortise, stick to the oils
of the lock's mainspring, tumbler and
sear. The gooey mess accumulates over
time and then begins to corrupt the
function and reduce the longevity of
the metal. In time, the little L-shaped
detent in the tumbler that prevents the
hammer from bypassing the half-cock
position during firing, stops functioning. The tumbler slows down or hangs
up, and the gun doesn't function like it
should, which is a safety issue.
Before you take a bar of soap to your
favorite flintlock,
side-hammer or
in-line, you need
to understand the
fouling chemistry
generated by the
different kinds of
propellants. Black
powder, Pyrodex,
Triple Seven, Smokeless, and other
replica powders each create their
own chemical compounds, and they
won't be cleaned and neutralized
with the same cleaning solvents.
First, black powder is the standard
propellant for flintlock shooters. While
2Fg creates more fouling than 3Fg,
the sooty fouling is chemically the
same. When the three major components of BP - saltpeter, carbon and
sulfur - are ignited, they generate
an explosive 3,000- to 4,000-degree
volume of gas. Most barrels only
burn about 50 percent of the powder
and the high temperatures melt the
saltpeter and sulfur, leaving behind
a water-absorbing, sticky mix that
includes abrasive carbon. Known as

"fouling," this acidic, scratchy, foulsmelling slime is the bane of muzzleloading barrel accuracy and longevity.
Once potassium nitrate, the metallic salt known as saltpeter, absorbs
moisture from the atmosphere, rust
begins within minutes. This sticky soup
captures some of the burning gases,
potassium carbonate, potassium sulfate,
potassium sulfide, potassium thiosulfate, potassium thiocynate, as well as
carbon and sulfates. Within the mix are
abrasives, sulfuric acid and things that
quickly react with iron, causing pitting
and erosion of the rifling. They make
reloading difficult, and consistent pressures a thing of the past. If you don't
deal with them
on a regular basis,
plan on buying a
lot of new barrels.
Regardless of
whether you are
hunting or practicing, cleaning is
the secret to barrel
life. Spit patch is not a great choice if
there is a prolonged period of time between shots. Spit can lead to rust. Keep
solvent-moistened patches handy and
ramrod one up and down the bore. Use
each side of the patch, reload, and go
on with the hunt. A more thorough
cleaning will be necessary at the end
of the day.
A fouling patch ramrodded between
shots will remove 90 percent of the dirt
left behind, and provide the shooter
with a consistency of friction that allows minute angle of accuracy. If you
don't clean before that second shot,
your gun will still have sufficient accuracy for a deer-sized target, but don't
push it. Consecutive shots without
cleaning will result in a situation where

"...this acidic, scratchy,
foul-smelling slime is the
bane of muzzleloading
barrel accuracy and
longevity."

60

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 6
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 8
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 11
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 26
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 30
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 37
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2014 - Cover4
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