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I'm curious to know what kind of lube (not "gun butter", but rather the lubricant used for the weapon's internals) was used towards the end of the black powder era.

Also, anyone know what was used for cleaning and lubrication when smokeless started catching on? Hoppe's hasn't been around that long, has it?
 
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Goose Grease, Moose Grease, and other concoctions....mostly. Seems like everyone used a homebrew recipe back then. Not much different then today. Lots of us use mix...Peroxide, Murphy's Oil Soap, and Rubbing Alcohol mixed together to initially clean our guns our in the field....then use the commercial bore butters to do some more.

One Caveat, Bore Butter seal moisture inside a barrel. So your barrel has to be already dry and free of moisture before it's use...or you'll end up with rust.

giz
 

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For lubricating internals and small wear-points, you will frequently see old 19th century literature from gun manufacturers recommending "light machine oil" - and I'm guessing that is a mineral/petroleum-based oil. I have also seen oildag recommended for larger bearing surfaces. Oildag was a thicker emulsion of castor-based oil and graphite that was used to lubricate moving parts on steam engines.

As the oil business began to expand with the first big discoveries in the first couple of years of the 20th century, most lubricants quickly became petroleum-based. Oil could be refined into so many different and useful solvents and lubricants - and was so much cheaper to produce than solvents and lubricants from other sources. Whale oil was never cheap and lubricants made from castor and tallow beans was labor intensive, and fairly expensive, too.

Hoppe's claims that their solvent has been around since 1903. Before that, a lot of bore swabbing was done with soapy water and cotton mops.

xtm
 
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