Homepage of Company H, 4th Texas Infantry

                              Clean That Musket! by Michael Bosshardt

                                    The Richardson Method

    I noticed several members of the company struggling while cleaning their muskets at the end of the day, so I’m going to narrate to you the Richardson method of musket cleaning.  This method was developed by Larry Richardson, a founding member of Co. H.
     I’m going to start with the alcohol/hydrogen peroxide/Murphy's oil soap mixture first.  I mix a quart of each in an old bleach bottle and keep it under the kitchen sink in the dark (the peroxide is photo reactive,)and bring it to the events in the black peroxide bottles.
     Put a quarter folded patch under the hammer then pour the barrel almost full with the mixture.  Don’t fill it all the way as the mixture will hit the powder and start to foam, and run down the outside of the musket.
     After about 5 minutes pour the mixture out.  Then fill the barrel about 1/3 full then put your ram rod or cleaning rod down the barrel WITHOUT a patch, just the naked rod and agitate the mixture.  Particularly work the broad end of the rod against the breach plug face until you feel solid metal contact repeatedly.  Slush the chamber real good, withdraw the rod then pour out the mixture. This agitation step was Larry’s invention.
     Pour the barrel 1/3 full again and start your cleaning rod with a patch on the jag then cock the hammer back full with your foot.  Then push the rod down the barrel.  This forces the mixture out the nipple clearing that channel.  Don’t push the rod too hard  as you will force the mixture up above the patch and when you pull the rod out the mixture will come with it making a mess.
     Now that patch should come out clean.  If not repeat the agitation step.
     Now the bore of the barrel should be clean.    Run patches until they come back dry usually 3 or 4.  At this point I like to pour a small amount of Hoppe’s powder solvent down the bore aiming to have it drip out the nipple attacking the primer cap residue in the nipple channel and absorbing any left over mixture.  Then run an oil soaked patch down the bore which you can subsequently rub all over the metal surfaces because Rust Never Sleeps.  Also don’t forget the ramrod.  I put a couple drops of oil down the channel in the stock to keep the rod and stock greasy.
    To clean the lock around the nipple, first put the musket on full cock then scratch through the black primer residue with a hard steel tool to break it up. Then go after the area with a brass brush, emory cloth (sandpaper for metal) or a Scotch Brite green pad.  You may want to remove the nipple with a wrench to get better access.
     With this done you should have musket ready to pass the Sergeant Major’s inspection in the morning.
     This whole process can be done with hot or cold water instead of the mixture. Cold water will take longer.  At home I use hot water and a measuring cup.  I blow the nipple out in a large cooking pot or the toilet.  If you can clean outside without alarming the neighbor then do so.  If indoors clean up after yourself.  Please be aware that this cleaning solution will damage the finish on the stock of the rifle is not washed off immediately.                                     

                                           NEVER DO THIS:
Never push a dry patch down a dry bore. (You’re asking for it to get stuck.)

Never use the tulip end  (Springfield or Richmond) ram rod to clean  your musket. (the tulip end will stick with a patch on it. Use a cleaning rod.)

Never store your musket in its cloth case for long periods of time (it holds in moisture promoting rust and prevents you from seeing it happen.)

Never jerk the cleaning rod out of the barrel with a patch on it. (move too fast and you create a vacuum in the barrel and that will suck the patch off the rod and back down the barrel, then you have to come up with a patch puller.)

NOW AVAILABLE:  from Muzzle-loading and More at the next event: An adapter that threads on your ramrod an will fit a patch jag, fouling scrapper and patch puller, all for about 15.00.  Bring your ramrod to him and he can sell you a cleaning kit you can put in your pocket.