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I thought it would be interesting to read how the guns were cleaned in the 19-th century, what was used for lubricating, etc. For those who don't read Russian, bore cleaning was done with water. Surface scrubbing was done with "English clay" (not clear what exactly it was, but it is some kind of fine abrasive). Lubricating was done with vegetable oils or with animal fat. There is a lengthy description of how to make it from bacon/lard. Mineral oils are mentioned as a novelty.

Enjoy!
 

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Here is the manual dated April 30, 1877:
 

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IIRC it was only in the late 19th century that mineral oil became readily available. Chemistry for refining wasn't up to it earlier.
 

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Wonder if the process of converting bacon fat/lard into weapons grease is like the Swiss process?

Where molten lead is poured into the fat to remove the watery components of the fat, which is then mixed with olive oil that had the same thing done.
 

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First, the fat is boiled in water and cleaned.Then it's either melted in a pot ("thermal method") or treated with "mineral acids", after which it is treated with other solutions, such as saltpeter, ammonia, etc. ("chemical method"). The manual states that beef fat is preferable to pig fat. There is also a recipe how to make a "bone oil", which was considered superior to both pig and beef fat.
 

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Water kerosene I’ve used in barrels all my shooting life ..cheep and in the shed.
 

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Wonder if the process of converting bacon fat/lard into weapons grease is like the Swiss process?

Where molten lead is poured into the fat to remove the watery components of the fat, which is then mixed with olive oil that had the same thing done.
That's exactly how wood oil was cleaned of water and other unnecessary components. The process is described on page 74. Upon completion of the cleaning process the oil was vigorously shaken and if properly cleaned the bubbles of air formed on the surface were supposed to quickly disappear.
 

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i wonder if usage of animal fat would attract mice, rats and other rodents in field and trench conditions where soldiers had to live sometimes for weeks and months? Manual calls for carrying two linen pieces of cloth: one dry and one soaked in lard/fat. Also constant cleaning will make wooden stock absorb all that smell. So all this will smell like a gourmet buffet for field mice and pretty much many other wild animals.
 

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Rat attack on stocks evident chewings?
 

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Rat attack on stocks evident chewings?
I haven't seen evidence of such attacks, that wasn't a trench war time. But I have read of no cleaning during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, just dipping the guns into creeks and streams to wash out the powder residue.
 

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Thanks...I’ve heard bear grease on black powder long rifles ,.
pissing down barrels washing out with hot water..
 

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All non-mineral oils will eventually gum up and decay. The multitude of organic oils suggests that none of them worked satisfactorily. Water was and still is the universal solvent and cleaner.
 

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I have nothing useful to add, but that’s neat stuff. Thanks.
 
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