Whether a muzzle loading rifle was owned by Daniel Boone or is the newest edition of the “modern” muzzle loading rifle doesn’t matter. When the shooting is over, the rifle will need to be cleaned and oiled to ensure it remains as pristine as when Daniel picked it up from the gunsmith or you purchased yours at a gun shop.
1. Read the instructions which came with the rifle if available. They will detail how best to clean and lubricate the firearm. Most will also suggest using cleaning products and oil which they manufacture or license. Those are likely to be good products, but you can do just as good a job using dish soap, regular gun oil and a few household items.
2. Disassemble the rifle using the appropriate (often furnished) tools in the correct sizes. Most models have a detachable barrel, trigger assembly and firing mechanism (bolt action, hammer and nipple or flint and firing pan).
3. Fill a small bucket with extremely hot water. Water straight from the hot water tap is okay, but heating it just short of boiling is better. Add a healthy squirt of dishwashing liquid.
4. Drop all the parts except the barrel of the gun into the hot water. Let them soak for a minute, not so much to soak off any powder residue, but to allow the metal to heat to the temperature of the water.
5. Remove hot parts from water, scrub clean using a toothbrush, then set aside to dry. The moisture residue on the hot metal will quickly dry.
6. Attach the cleaning jag to the gun’s ramrod and affix a 2-inch square flannel patch to the cleaning jag. Patches can be purchased or cut out of old shirts or bolts of flannel cloth.
7. Wet the patch with hot, soapy water and run it up and down the interior of the barrel until it’s thoroughly wet and warm.
8. Affix the appropriately sized bore brush to the ramrod and scrub the interior of the barrel.
9. Switch back to the flannel patches and swab out the barrel, switching out dirty patches with clean ones until the barrel is clean and dry.
10. Apply a gun oil to a flannel patch or larger flannel cloth.
11. Apply a few drops of oil to each metal part which should now be moisture-free. Rub with oily cloth to remove any excess, but still leave a thin, oily film on the metal.
12. Drip several drops of oil inside the barrel then swab out with an oiled patch attached to the cleaning jag until the interior is coated with a thin, oily film.
13. Oil the outside of the barrel by wiping it with an oily cloth.
14. Reassemble the rifle. It’s ready to store with all metal parts clean and protected by the thin film of oil.