Listen up, desperadoes. There’s a new sheriff in town that will forever change the way you think about black powder shooting. QMaxx BLU gun cleaning oil. Cleaning your black powder guns has long been a chore that took much of the fun out of hunting and sport shooting with black powder. Today the cleanup is fast…easy…and uncomplicated.
Break With Centuries of Tradition
When the smoke cleared and the shooting was done, 18th- and 19th-century soldiers, pioneers and mountain men hunting deep in the untamed wilderness and cowboys riding trail all followed a similar ritual. They sat around the campfire and boiled water in a small pot (sometimes called a mucket) in preparation for cleaning their firearms.
Historically (and until very recently) the best way to clean a black powder flintlock, percussion revolver or long gun was to pour boiling water down the barrel and over the action. This flushes the caustic powder salts. The problem, of course, is that it also brings water into contact with the metal surfaces of the gun. That’s about as counterintuitive a process as you can imagine, considering moisture is one of the key variables in the rust cycle. In fact, the reason black powder shooters clean up with boiling water is that it evaporates and dries faster than cold water, and thus may slow the rusting process.
Now, however, with the introduction of QMaxx gun cleaning oils, hunters, single-action shooters, re-enactors and anyone who enjoys shooting black powder can:
- Find better things to do than deal with the time and mess of cleaning a black powder firearm and
- Stop using water on their firearms.
Black Powder Changes the World
Although many historians attribute the invention of gunpowder to the Chinese in the 9th century, the dancing powder made by combining charcoal, sulfur and potassium nitrate may have been discovered several centuries earlier. Alchemists seeking an elixir of life may have stumbled on the rather lively properties of gunpowder.
Certainly, references to gunpowder being used in warfare appear around the 9th century. And it’s probably fair to say that the arms race was on once Chinese warriors figured out how they could use gunpowder to propel ballistics through bamboo tubes. The secret properties of gunpowder didn’t remain proprietary for long.
The advent of black powder changed the world forever. Warfare with shield and spear and bow and arrow gave way to mortars, cannons and eventually personal firearms. In 1588, England defeated the much larger Spanish Armada thanks in large part to a technological change in naval tactics. Rather than relying on overtaking and boarding enemy vessels and fighting hand to hand, the English basically outgunned the Spanish.
The Problems with Black Powder
At its core, black powder is a simple formula that requires just three ingredients:
- Charcoal (15%) and sulfur (10%) provide the fuel and
- Potassium nitrate or saltpeter (75%) serves as the oxidizer that ensures the fuel has the oxygen needed to burn quickly and throughly–enough so to produce the gas that turns gunpowder into a propellant.
But while potassium nitrate is effective, it’s not particularly efficient. With each firing, about half the potassium salts remain in the barrel and breech as particulate matter. This is why after only five or six shots it’s often necessary to stop and clean out the debris. The salts are not only highly caustic but hygroscopic, meaning they absorb and hold water.
So after a couple hours of combat, hunting or sport shooting, a black powder gun will carry enough caustic salt residue to initiate rust and corrosion. In fact, muzzleloaders have long experimented with oils, wax and grease as patch lubes to both reduce barrel friction and create a barrier between caustic salts and gun metal.
Results of a test using various commercial and home treatments demonstrates just how ineffective most solutions are at stopping or even slowing the rust and corrosion cycle.
Clean Up with QMaxx BLU
Throughout the patch lube tests, it was clean, dry steel that outperformed bore butters, waxes and oils. And on reflection this both makes sense and explains why QMaxx gun cleaning oils work so well with black powder.
The oils act as a sort of physical barrier against water, but they’re not impenetrable. What’s more they can actually trap small amounts of moisture in the microscopic pits and pores of the metal’s surface. That’s all it takes for the oxidation process to begin. And finally, waxes and oils can leave metal surfaces greasy or tacky–a perfect place for the caustic salts to build up and absorb water.
QMaxx is different: Because it’s heavier than water it can actually push water out of the smallest cracks and crevices and away from the metal surface. Water won’t become trapped between QMaxx and metal.
Furthermore, because QMaxx bonds molecularly with metal it creates a durable barrier against both moisture and the corrosive potassium salts.
And finally, it dries quickly and leaves no greasy or tacky film to hold particulates.
Moisture is locked away from the metal. The particulates won’t stick to QMaxx. And as black powder fans have shown us, the more they use QMaxx the easier their cleanup. They are the ones reporting to us that they’ve seen the last of boiling water and are having more fun than ever firing their black powder arms.