Sunday, January 06, 2019

Neatsfoot Oil as a Patch Lube

My preferred lube for several years has been Track of the Wolf's Mink Oil, which is actually more of a grease. It's what I used last week when zeroing the Lyman peep sight I installed on my Cabela's Hawken.

However, I recently read on the Muzzleloading Forum and the American Longrifles Forum about using neatsfoot oil as a lube when shooting patched round balls. A couple guys reported being able to shoot all day with no swabbing between shots. Neatsfoot oil is good to have around for treating leather and it's cheap enough, so I figured it would be interesting to try.

On Thursday I took delivery of a quart of Fiebing's 100% pure neatsfoot oil from Amazon. The first thing I did with it was treat the sling on my 1860 Henry. It slightly darkened the leather and softened it noticeably.

Today I took the Hawken back to the range with 30 ticking patches pre-soaked in the neatsfoot oil.

It was in the upper 40s but not ideal for shooting round balls since it was very windy. As you can see from the target, accuracy was very meh. The wind was definitely a factor in the group, as was the varying light on my front sight.

On the other hand, I was able to load 30 shots without any swabbing. The last shot loaded as easily as the first.

On the gripping hand. there was a nasty ring of crud down in the breech that really grabbed my cleaning patch until I floated the bore with some Windex to dissolve it.

So, in conclusion, I haven't concluded if neatsfoot oil is a good patch lube in this rifle. I need to experiment with different powder charges, maybe .495 balls, and a thicker patch.

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