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CLEANING—Can you tell me bow to keep a rifle free from rust?

Having served in the U. S. Infantry I think I can answer this question. U. S. regulars clean their rifles after shooting with a brass or bristle brush and sal. soda water, which is just a solution of common soda and water. This is to remove the lead and burned powder. Then the bore is cleaned in good shape with cotton patches, using plenty of them and keeping it up until they come through perfectly clean. Then they moisten a patch with some light oil like Three-in-one, or the Winchester, Marble, Savage, or Marlin gun oil and run this through the barrel a few times; then they clean the outside of the rifle, bolt, stock, barrel, etc., and stand it away. Next day they run clean patches through the barrel and these conic out quite dirty. This is the “sweat” of the steel. When the patches conic through perfectly clean they oil the bore again and stand the gun away as before. This is kept up until there is no more sweat. After this they run a dry rag through the barrel each day. If the rifles are to be laid away for quite a long time the bore is filled with cosmoline or Vaseline and all metal parts are covered with it. This is the way the ordnance department packs rifles away to keep them from getting rusty. The U. S. troopers as a rule clean a little at their rifles every day that they are in camp or quarters, and keep their rifles spotlessly clean, in fact they must be kept this way to pass inspection. If the woodsman cleans his rifle in this way and treats it with cosmoline or Vaseline he has nothing to fear from rust, etc.. But don’t forget to run something through the barrel to remove the grease before firing. I hope this may help some of them to keep their rifles so they will “stand inspection.”

Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.

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