Fouling is a necessary evil when dealing with front stuffers, but maintaining the breech plug is quick and easy thanks to a couple of cheap tools.
The first step will be to disassemble the rifle according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the breech plug is stuck, start by filling a tub or basin with hot water and soap. Place the breech plug end of the receiver in the tub and let it soak for at least an hour. This will help free the breech plug.
Next, remove the breech plug by turning it in a counter-clockwise direction with the wrench. You could scrub it with soap and water, but to do the job right, I would recommend a product specifically formulated for the job such as Thompson Center’s T17 Breech Plug Cleaner. T17 comes in a handy container and was specifically formulated for Triple 7 powder. Just drop it in and shake for 30 seconds. No additional scrubbing should be necessary.
If however, the threads of the breech plug still need a bit of work, try Thompson Center’s Breech Plug Cleaning Tool. It’s as simple as inserting the threads through the stainless steel bristles and twisting. The tool performs a thorough 360-degree cleaning, at home or in the field.
Cleaning the threads in the barrel is another story. Jamming a toothbrush up your barrel is hardly a solution and patches won’t clear the threads. Thompson Center’s Speed Breech XT Thread Cleaner is quick and easy. Simply screw the thread cleaner in place of your breech plug and remove. The grooves capture the fouling and eliminate the need to brush or patch the breech of your barrel.
With just a modicum of maintenance and the right tools, keeping your muzzleloader shooting like the day you bought it is quick and easy. Take care, keep your powder dry, and put plenty of venison on your table.