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View Full Version : Help requested in cleaning a new '61 Springfield.



JustinPrince
11-06-2006, 10:17 PM
Hi everybody.

A little about myself. I'm a college senior at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, majoring in History, and have been wanting to get into reenacting for a long time. I've started buying my equipment as this year goes on, both so it should all be ready by the time I can actually have time for reenacting, and to get in shape for it.

My first purchase was a EuroArms 1861 Springfield from the Regimental Quartermaster.

A beautiful looking weapon. I got one of their deluxe cleaning kits, and this past weekend set about cleaning it. I've got a few questions though about my experience (want to make sure I'm doing it right).

I used a reprint of the Soldier's Manual for the M1855 musket as a guide.

I followed the instructions and disassembled the musket. Some questions as to the normalacy of what I encountered.

1) To remove the lock, I had to remove the tang screw (on the barrel) and the front screw on the trigger guard (in addition to the side screws). Is that normal?

2.) The rear side screw washer fell out of the stock. Is this bad? The front one hasn't budged, even when unscrewed, but after the second time of removing the lock (I took it apart Friday and again Saturday, to familiarize myself with the musket) the rear washer popped out. It is secure when the screw is in place, and the lock and hammer function normally.

3.) To remove the barrel, I also had to remove the rear trigger guard screw. Is this normal?

4.) When I removed the barrel, I removed it and the breech as one piece. Is this how it is supposed to be done, or did I do it wrong?

5.) This may be me, but how far is the ramrod supposed to seat when it is returned to the stock? It had always seemed to me to sit around 1/4 to 1/2 an inch below the muzzle, but after taking it apart Saturday it seemed to be even with the muzzle. Is this wrong or were my eyes just playing tricks on me?

6.) When I removed the lock and barrel, I noticed a crack (on a supposedly new weapon) on the stock, on the small part of the wood where the lock rests. It is around the indention (I believe... I am back on campus away from my parent's house and the weapon) near where the cone is on the barrel. It is small, kind of long (as in not a circle), and I can see through the wood at that point. It isn't very big, but when I held the stock up to the light I could see the hole clearly. Is this a problem? Can it be repaired, and if so how? Or is it perfectly acceptable.

7.) When I cleaned the barrel (according to the manual and to some reenacting unit's websites), I used hot water all through the barrel. It came out clean. I then began running patches, dry and oily, and used a large cotton swab attachment for a 4 piece cleaning rod. It came out with a ton of brown gunk that didn't come out with water. I used a wire brush attachment and got more out with patches, but no matter what I couldn't get it all out. What is this gunk, and what do I need to do to clean it out? Also, is this normal for a new gun, or has it previously been fired?

8.) How much force should it take to bring the weapon from half to full cock? Sometimes it seems like it is easy, other times it feels a little stiff. Is this normal too?

Thanks for any help, I would really appreciate it!

Frenchie
11-06-2006, 11:32 PM
My first purchase was a EuroArms 1861 Springfield from the Regimental Quartermaster.

I have an Armisport '61 Springfield. I dragged it over to the computer to follow along and answer as best I can.


I used a reprint of the Soldier's Manual for the M1855 musket as a guide. I followed the instructions and disassembled the musket.

Good. It's a very common-sense procedure for the care and feeding of a rifle-musket.


1) To remove the lock, I had to remove the tang screw (on the barrel) and the front screw on the trigger guard (in addition to the side screws). Is that normal?

No, the tang screw and trigger guard screws shouldn't have anything to do with holding the lock plate in place. If the tang screw is cranked down too hard it could cause the bolster to press on the lock plate and hold it in. I've no idea how the front trigger guard screw could do that, the wood there is thick between the guard and the lock plate.


2.) The rear side screw washer fell out of the stock. Is this bad?

Not really, don't worry about it, just don't lose it when it falls out.


3.) To remove the barrel, I also had to remove the rear trigger guard screw. Is this normal?

No, that screw has nothing to do with the barrel. This isn't looking good.


4.) When I removed the barrel, I removed it and the breech as one piece. Is this how it is supposed to be done, or did I do it wrong?

I should hope you removed them as one piece, as the breech piece is screwed into the barrel and it takes a special wrench and not a little bit of leverage to separate them. If they can come apart easily, that is extremely bad!


5.) This may be me, but how far is the ramrod supposed to seat when it is returned to the stock? It had always seemed to me to sit around 1/4 to 1/2 an inch below the muzzle, but after taking it apart Saturday it seemed to be even with the muzzle. Is this wrong or were my eyes just playing tricks on me?

Possibly the rod is bent, or there may be something in the channel interfering with it going all the way down.


6.) When I removed the lock and barrel, I noticed a crack (on a supposedly new weapon) on the stock, on the small part of the wood where the lock rests. It is around the indention (I believe... I am back on campus away from my parent's house and the weapon) near where the cone is on the barrel. It is small, kind of long (as in not a circle), and I can see through the wood at that point. It isn't very big, but when I held the stock up to the light I could see the hole clearly. Is this a problem? Can it be repaired, and if so how? Or is it perfectly acceptable.

I think you're talking about the wood behind the flat of the breech piece, since you noticed it when you removed the lock and barrel and saw light through it without the tang in the way. It certainly can be a problem, it can be repaired, and IMO it is not acceptable in a new musket.


7.) When I cleaned the barrel (according to the manual and to some reenacting unit's websites), I used hot water all through the barrel. It came out clean. I then began running patches, dry and oily, and used a large cotton swab attachment for a 4 piece cleaning rod. It came out with a ton of brown gunk that didn't come out with water. I used a wire brush attachment and got more out with patches, but no matter what I couldn't get it all out. What is this gunk, and what do I need to do to clean it out? Also, is this normal for a new gun, or has it previously been fired?

It's either surface rust or some preservative grease the factory put in the bore to keep it from rusting. Neither is a big deal as long as you get as much out as possible and put a light coating of good black powder gun lube in the bore. Maybe try a good bore cleaner that is intended for black powder guns. CAUTION! Do not use lubes or cleaners that are petroleum-based and intended for guns that use nitrocellulose propellants (smokeless powders) because they will react with black powder to form a sticky gunk that is a huge pain to get rid of. Guess how I know this? Trust me - make sure it's for black powder only.


8.) How much force should it take to bring the weapon from half to full cock? Sometimes it seems like it is easy, other times it feels a little stiff. Is this normal too?

Sounds like an internal part could be binding on the wood inside the lock plate cutout, especially if you cranked down the tang screw and/or lock plate screws too much. I'd say look inside for shiny spots that could be areas where the steel is rubbing on the wood or if the end of the rear lock plate screw is rubbing on the hammer. However, given the problems you described in 1), 3) and 6), I say pack it up and bring it right back to R.Q. and exchange it for another one that's been through better quality control. Take it apart right there in the store before you leave to make sure it doesn't have any of these problems. While you're at it, make sure the hammer face rests squarely on the top of the nipple and is centered.

One more thing: Get a good gunsmith screwdriver set, the kind with the handle and different-sized bits that are held in the hex end of the shaft. They aren't expensive and they save your screws from getting buggered up.

31stWisconsin
11-07-2006, 12:07 AM
I have an Armi Sport so keep that in mind.

1,3 This is not good, and confusing. The trigger guard screws don't relate to anything but the guard. The screws on mine are really tight and I've never removed them because I've never had a reason to. Also they are wood screws so moving them in and out constantly may not be the best.

2. Although I would prefer one that stays in, you spent under $500 so I wouldn't complain.

4. Removing the breech screw is not something you should even think about at this point in your firearms skill.

5. I've seen considerable variance of where the ramrod is with relation to the barrel and don't know how the originals are.

6. If I got a new musket and it had a crack I would get a new one.

7. New muskets come with a lot of packing grease. Before you fire it snap off a few caps to get the gunk out the vent. Also the outside grease will rub of rather quick in the field and the steel will rust very quickly.

8. Could be wood binding the lock internals. When tightening the lock plate screws don't make them super tight.

I don't know about Frenchie but a solid cleaning kit is good to have. A cleaning rod, mop, bronze bristle brush, nipple pick, 1855 musket tool, wiper, and jag make up my kit.

Frenchie
11-07-2006, 12:13 AM
Tim, I changed my mind about the cleaning kit and agree with you about what is in a good one, except a nylon brush is just as good as a bronze one and won't get stuck in the bore. Bronze is for removing rust and the gunk from using petroleum-based lubes and cleaners. Taking care of the piece makes a bronze brush unnecessary.

JustinPrince
11-07-2006, 01:51 AM
Thanks guys for the info.

When I get back to the weapon, assuming I don't send it back (if they'll take it), I'll double check on the guad screws. It may have just been me with regards to the screws. The manual said first the tang screw, then the side screws, but the lock didn't want to come out. I looked through the manual and noticed it called the trigger guard screws tang screws, and when I removed the front one the lock came out easier. I guess it might be unrelated.

The rear trigger guard screw is what really stumped me. I removed the lock, the tang screw, and even the front trigger guard screw, lightly tapped the tompion on the ground (as the manual stated), and the barrel could not be pulled out (I didn't want to force it). I removed the rear guard screw and it slid out easy.

As for the breech that is what I thought (they did not come apart. They were as solid as rock). I just wanted to make sure I did that correctly (being both an entrance to reenacting, and my first firearm, I find myself extremely... err... protective of it :) ).

I'll be calling them tomorrow. I got the thing in mid-late September, but because of classes and being away from home I was unable to completely check it out (never mind not having a cleaning kit with solvents, lubricants, cleaning rod, etc until recently).

Unfortuneatly I think I'm out the $600 bucks. First they only take refunds after 30 days (my own fault... since it was tightly packed and there was nothing externally wrong I had assumed it was fine, just needed a good cleaning). If that didn't get me, then the fact I had to do some work on the bayonet I bought with it, which when fitting and testing made a few scratches on the front of the barrel, would.

Oh well... maybe I can get it repaired fairly reasonably.... I just hope I don't have to buy a new stock... for a few hundred $$$ more I could just get a new musket from a different sutler.

I guess my next question would be could some of the custom defarbers do the repair work? Maybe I could have it repaired relatively cheap and have it defarbed too.

HighPrvt
11-07-2006, 06:18 AM
A professional wood adhesive could permantly fix the crack in the stock.I don't recall the brand, but I remember using one that came with a needle, similar to a hypodermic, to inject the adhesive into tight spots. Might try Home Depot/Lowes.....

As far as your dissassembly issues, I'd have someone with some knowledge check it out, and see if there really is a problem.

Rob Weaver
11-07-2006, 07:40 AM
Your disassembly questions have been really well handled by the others who have posted here. The rammer of my '61, also an Armi from RQ, is flush with the tip of the muzzle when the barrel is empty. I don't think this is right; it makes doing "Inspection Arms" difficult. The rammer on my old Dixie '63 sticks out a lot farther. I guess that's just how they're makin' 'em these days.
My '61 came with a fairly liberal application of packing grease, too. It takes quite a bit of effort to get all of it.

cblodg
11-07-2006, 07:56 AM
Hi everybody.

A little about myself. I'm a college senior at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, majoring in History, and have been wanting to get into reenacting for a long time. I've started buying my equipment as this year goes on, both so it should all be ready by the time I can actually have time for reenacting, and to get in shape for it.

My first purchase was a EuroArms 1861 Springfield from the Regimental Quartermaster.

A beautiful looking weapon. I got one of their deluxe cleaning kits, and this past weekend set about cleaning it. I've got a few questions though about my experience (want to make sure I'm doing it right).

I used a reprint of the Soldier's Manual for the M1855 musket as a guide.

I followed the instructions and disassembled the musket. Some questions as to the normalacy of what I encountered.

1) To remove the lock, I had to remove the tang screw (on the barrel) and the front screw on the trigger guard (in addition to the side screws). Is that normal?

2.) The rear side screw washer fell out of the stock. Is this bad? The front one hasn't budged, even when unscrewed, but after the second time of removing the lock (I took it apart Friday and again Saturday, to familiarize myself with the musket) the rear washer popped out. It is secure when the screw is in place, and the lock and hammer function normally.

3.) To remove the barrel, I also had to remove the rear trigger guard screw. Is this normal?

4.) When I removed the barrel, I removed it and the breech as one piece. Is this how it is supposed to be done, or did I do it wrong?

5.) This may be me, but how far is the ramrod supposed to seat when it is returned to the stock? It had always seemed to me to sit around 1/4 to 1/2 an inch below the muzzle, but after taking it apart Saturday it seemed to be even with the muzzle. Is this wrong or were my eyes just playing tricks on me?

6.) When I removed the lock and barrel, I noticed a crack (on a supposedly new weapon) on the stock, on the small part of the wood where the lock rests. It is around the indention (I believe... I am back on campus away from my parent's house and the weapon) near where the cone is on the barrel. It is small, kind of long (as in not a circle), and I can see through the wood at that point. It isn't very big, but when I held the stock up to the light I could see the hole clearly. Is this a problem? Can it be repaired, and if so how? Or is it perfectly acceptable.

7.) When I cleaned the barrel (according to the manual and to some reenacting unit's websites), I used hot water all through the barrel. It came out clean. I then began running patches, dry and oily, and used a large cotton swab attachment for a 4 piece cleaning rod. It came out with a ton of brown gunk that didn't come out with water. I used a wire brush attachment and got more out with patches, but no matter what I couldn't get it all out. What is this gunk, and what do I need to do to clean it out? Also, is this normal for a new gun, or has it previously been fired?

8.) How much force should it take to bring the weapon from half to full cock? Sometimes it seems like it is easy, other times it feels a little stiff. Is this normal too?

Thanks for any help, I would really appreciate it!

I'm not so sure that it's a bad piece, you may have just been a little over zealous when removing screws. Now I should mention that I own and use a EuroArms Enfiled, but I have seen cleaned and cleaned many a '61 Springfield.

To remove the lock plate (i know this is going to sound stupid and don't take it this wa) please make sure you have the lock a half cock, otherwise the darn thing isn't going to move (this was my initiation hazing). It is entirely possible that the tang screw was a little too snug in the shipping process and it did squeez the wood and barel a little more than usual, so you may have to loosen it. But the only screws that should have to come entirely out are the side screws.

Your trigger gaurd screws should have nothing to do with removal of the barrel. Just get all of your bands off (a ton easier than the Enfield) and unscrew the rear barrel screw. Turn it upside down and it should pop right out.

As for the gunk in the barrel, you've recieved some pretty sound advice already. Let me throw in one more. After you have used the weapon at an event and you get home, clean it imediately. Don't let it sit too long. I use my garden hose set on 'Jet.' I remove the barrel, then I remove my cone (NOTE: on the Enfield all I have to remove is the cone to clean, you have a side screw that lets you gain quick access to the chamber. Remove this screw and keep it SAFE!). Then with the muzzel up, put your nozzel over the opening and blast that crap out of your musket. Now this isn't gonna get it all out. You'll still have junk in the grooves and on the sides, but it removes a lot of it.

Run your patches through as you have been and you should be fine. I use a bycicle tire inflater with a basketball nozzel to air dry the breech of my rifle.

Well that's pretty much all I have to say on the subject. And it may not be perfect so again go with what Frenchie et al have told you. They won't steer you wrong.

oh yeah Welcome;

Chris

Frenchie
11-07-2006, 09:38 AM
Some of you guys have brought up things I hadn't thought of, but I'm still of the opinion that the piece ought to go back and be exchanged for one in better shape. $600 ought to buy something that has no cracks in the stock or other problems that can't be easily fixed, especially when I paid $375 for my Armisport which has no cracks or other obvious defects. Well, the hammer still needs to be tweaked a bit to center on the nipple and the trigger pull is still brutal, but that's about it.

Regimental Quartermaster should have no problem exchanging it for another one, they need to maintain good customer relations like everyone else.

JustinPrince
11-07-2006, 08:07 PM
Good news!

I spoke with the Regimental Quartermaster's Gettysburg store, and they were more than happy to take it back. Fed Ex should be picking it up tomorrow.

Now my dilemma: Do I accept another EuroArms in return, or do I pony up another $100 and have a Defarbed '61 Springfield sent in exchange? I'm leaning to the defarbed, it'll save me money in the long run.

Also I was impressed with their service, as they were trying to make sure I could get a replacement as soon as possible, as close to a week as they could get.

Also, thanks for the tips on cleaning. I thought I had been doing it right, but I just wanted to make sure.

P.S., I did remember to half cock the hammer. That was the second thing I did (as per the manual) after removing the tang screw. Though after assembling it back and I was polishing it it took me about 5 minutes to remember to return the hammer to normal position. Oops... :)

Frenchie
11-07-2006, 09:46 PM
Good news!

I spoke with the Regimental Quartermaster's Gettysburg store, and they were more than happy to take it back. Fed Ex should be picking it up tomorrow.

Told you so :p


Now my dilemma: Do I accept another EuroArms in return, or do I pony up another $100 and have a Defarbed '61 Springfield sent in exchange? I'm leaning to the defarbed, it'll save me money in the long run.

If it'll save time and money in the long run, then that's what you ought to do.

FloridaBummer
11-07-2006, 10:42 PM
Pard;
I would fork over the extra pesos and get a nice defarbed 61 or 62 contract model from them. I believe their defarbed muskets are done by James River. I believe you would save quite a bucks. Because possibly later on, you may want to defarb your out of the box Euroarms 61, as you get more into the hobby.
Kindest Regards

JustinPrince
11-13-2006, 10:18 PM
Good News!

They took it back with no problems. I paid an extra $100, and they shipped out a defarbed '61 today. Should arrive in the next few days. Can't wait to see it.

I have to admit I was really impressed with their service. I hope all the sutlers out there are like that.

Now all I need to do is drop a few pounds to get in shape and finish getting a kit together.

FloridaBummer
11-14-2006, 03:47 PM
Justin;
Good for you!
You won't be dissappointed.
Make sure you thoroughly inspect your musket for any shipping damage and such when you recieve it.
I purchased a Euroarms Springfield from them 2 years ago and sent it off immediatly to James River for defarbing.
This was before they offered defarbed muskets.
Kindest Regards;

JustinPrince
11-18-2006, 03:15 PM
The new Springfield arrived Thursday, and I got home Friday to check it out. It is beautiful to say the least!

I disassembled it, and unlike the other it came apart fine.

But the downside...

There was rust on the inside of the barrel bands, which came off easily. There was also what looked like rust on the breech end of the barrel, which also came off easily.

Also, the crack, or hole, as on the other one is there as well. I borrowed a friends (low quality) digital camera to get some pics. Is this how it is supposed to be, or did I get another lemon?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Tankerace/Picture001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Tankerace/Picture004.jpg

The hole/crack is right to the side of where the cone on the barrel rests in the stock. I know these are low quality pics, but you can see the hole.

So, is this how it is supposed to be? I think two muskets with the same "problem" is a bit suspicious. Or is it another lemon? It isn't a big hole, but it does look too jagged to be purposeful.

31stWisconsin
11-19-2006, 11:01 PM
The rust is to be expected. Springfields rust alot so it's not uncommon that during the defarbing work some developed.

Those pictures are not good enough for me to see anything. Get some light on that picture.

JustinPrince
11-19-2006, 11:25 PM
The rust is to be expected. Springfields rust alot so it's not uncommon that during the defarbing work some developed.

Those pictures are not good enough for me to see anything. Get some light on that picture.

I wasn't too worried about the rust, as I said it came off easily.

Yeah, I'll see what I can do with the pictures. I didn't expect his camera to be THAT low quality... half the time the shots didn't even come out, or the light flooded it where you couldn't see anything.

Now I'm even more confused... I tried to find a diagram of a stock to illustate, and I found this pic from dixiegunworks.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Tankerace/WP5561.jpgThis is a Dixie Stock, and has no wood where the flash channel of the barrel would rest.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Tankerace/WP55611.jpg

I've circled it here. On both muskets (the one I sent back and this one) that I had there was a strip of wood here (where the white bar is on the second picture), and there was a jagged hole in it. This was the crack/hole I was describing. Yet it seems that on this dixie stock at least, there is no wood there at all.

I guess then it is ok... the rest of the weapon is fine, seems to work like a charm, and disassembles fine (unlike the old one). I'm guessing now that it is in fact not a problem.... just the way the hole was (and the fact that some small slivers of wood came out of it) it SEEMED to me to be a defect or problem.

Oh well, live and learn I guess. I'm still happier with this musket though, both in appearance, balance, and that it disassembles as it should (without having to remove the trigger guard... that was definately wierd...

road_apple1861
11-26-2006, 12:21 AM
The crack in the stock yeah i just found out i had that too and i have a Euro Arms weapon maybe its something to do with there manufacturing i dunno but i havent had any problems with my rifle its a good gun just keep it clean and show it some loveing.


Edmund Lockhart
5th Michigan Co.k
Saginaw Light Infantry

31stWisconsin
11-26-2006, 04:06 PM
My armi-sport doesn't have that wood peice at all, it's like the dixie model.

road_apple1861
11-26-2006, 05:10 PM
I dunno, maybe they have diffrent companies make them for them and they come out diffrent..??????!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!



edmund lockhart
5th Michigan Co.k
Saginaw Light Infantry