Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 23 - Dear Ballseye On Gun Care Accessories

I am not all that big of a gun guy and I am not referring to my size but rather to my interest in guns. Sure I like my guns, a lot at that, but I suppose I have only an average to somewhat slightly higher interest in guns overall among shooters, hunters, collectors and so on. I know about firearms safety, know how to shoot fairly well, can instruct others how to shoot fairly well, know a fair mount about defensive tactics with firearms, know how to properly care for the firearms I own as far as regular maintenance goes, know how to refinish a wooden gun stock (born more of a woodworking thing than a gun thing there but it applies to wooden stocks nonetheless), and know how to tinker with some parts if something breaks or wears out. My abilities in the last thing - tinkering with the works of guns - is very limited indeed.

Still, I can give you some of what I think is god advice with regards to things like gun cleaning accessories, basic tools for firearms maintenance and repair, and so on. Along those lines I can also tell you about some of the things to avoid. That is what this post will be about - some helpful hints on gun care accessories that are both those worth having and those worth avoiding. I guess in essence this will be something of a Dear Heloise kind of a write-up albeit a Dear Ballseye one at that. Dear Ballseye, imagine that - a blog called Dear Ballseye in which readers send me letters asking about shooting, tactics, self defense issues, and firearms care, cleaning, repairs and so on. That would be a blast but alas I do not see it in my future. Of course one never knows just what will show up over on the right side of my page as a new addition to Ballseye's Boomers. For now, let's just imagine that I have received letters from my readers asking me about this or that relative to firearms care.


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Dear Ballseye,
Recently I decided to clean all of my firearms - rifles, shotguns and pistols. I need a large work area so I decided to use the dining room table. Whoops - that was a big mistake. I spilled some Hoppes #9 on the Irish Linen tablecloth and it left a stain. Now the wife wants to kill me even though our dining room smells great! What can I do?

Signed,

A Worried Husband

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Dear Worried,

I wouldn't worry too much if it was my wife's tablecloth; instead I would start running far and fast - faster than a speeding bullet. If your wife has not shot you already maybe you do not need to run except to a lawyer. After your divorce is final, if you ever decide to remarry, you may want to try this tip when cleaning your guns. Don't use the dining room table if at all avoidable, not the kitchen table either. As much as I love Hoppes and other gun cleaning solvents they do not belong at a tale from which we will later take sustenance, drink beer, or play poker (that stuff is great for cleaning guns it can ruin a good deck of playing cards in no time).

If you do find some way to make up with your wife (I recommend a dozen long stem roses, a nice dinner at the most expensive restaurant you can find, and a professional cleaning of the linen tablecloth) there are some things I recommend to avoid this problem in the future. Go to a place like your local giant handyman's store, you know like the one with the big orange letters - Home Something or other, and get yourself a 4 foot long folding table just for gun cleaning and tinkering. You would be amazed at how readily your wife (that is if you still have one) will be willing to accept the expense of such an item. If you want to be comfortable get a nice folding chair too. If you want to keep the wife even happier, show her you learned your lesson by buying a vinyl tablecloth to cover it when you work on your guns. Make sure you already replaced that Irish Linen or had it professionally cleaned though before you show her your new tablecloth for the gun worktable. Otherwise the whole plan may backfire and she may just shoot you. Of course you can also buy her a table - for things like gardening, or whatever hobby she may enjoy that requires a medium sized work area. If all that does not make up for your mess - well follow my first advice and run far and faster than a speeding bullet because she may already be aiming at getting you and your guns out of the house.

Hope this was helpful,

Ballseye

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Dear Ballseye,

I followed your advice and got the table. I also decided to sort of follow your advice about getting one for my wife and decided I could save money and let her use my table when she needed it. I also bought one of those green felt/rubber backed roll up gun cleaning mats at my local guns tore for $14. They said it was well worth every penny. Now I wish I had listened to you and bought the wife a separate table, and that I had gotten myself a vinyl tablecloth instead. That green roll up mat is a piece of junk. Dirt of all sorts sticks to it, oil and gun cleaning solvents soak into it, and the stringy felt like fibers that cover the work side of it get all caught up in my bore brushes. I have even found the stuff in the actions of some of my guns. As for the table, my wife started to use it to make Halloween decorations and plans likewise for Thanksgiving and Christmas. What is a guy to do to get his table back and keep the wife happy - I need to clean and check my guns before the hunting season and I am not about to do it on the dining room table again. By the way, cleaning the linen tablecloth cost me $350 - so no new hunting rifle this year.

Signed,

Worried Husband Again


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Dear Worried Again,

You are getting there but sure could have done it better. Just break down and spend the extra money on another folding table, this one just for your guns, and go to a kitchen supply store and pick up a heavy duty vinyl tablecloth (with cloth backing optional) for it. You may want to write on it in large letters GUN CLEANING ONLY with indelible magic marker. That way your wife never mistakenly uses it for the family BBQ and then blames you because all the food tasted like gun oil. Of course, if you clean it each time you are done using it on the gun table, then it will smell nice and fresh should your wife ever mistakenly use it on the patio table. As for not having enough money for a new hunting rifle, you can now use the dining room table for poker games. Remember though poker is a hit or miss proposition. By the way, I too find those green gun cleaning mats to be just about absolutely worthless. All the things you say happens with them and more. I rolled mine up after the first time I used it thinking that rolling it so the rubber backing wound up on the outside of the roll was a good idea. All that did was to assure that the a good portion of the rubber backing rolled up against the oil and gun solvent soaked felt like material. You guessed it - the next time I used the mat, the now oily and gun solvent wet underside of the mat was in contact with my work table. Lucky for me I had already learned my lesson about using linen covered dining room tables - so I was already using a relatively inexpensive folding table. All that needed was a good cleaning with warm sudsy water and then a rinse and pat down with paper towels to dry it off. The $14 or so that I spent on that cleaning mat is probably one of the worst expenditures value wise I have ever made.


Hope this was helpful,

Heloise Ballseye

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Dear Ballseye,

Recently I decided to disassemble my Remington 870 Shotgun for a really good cleaning and to check the parts for wear and tear. Not having any the instructions, or gunsmith training or tools I searched the Internet for advice. I came upon a site:

http://www.bubbaspoorfellasgunschmidding.gun.nut/

I found a wonderful article there about how to accomplish my goal. Yeah it was a little hard to read what with no capital letters, run on sentences, poor punctuation, misspellings and lots of slang but I got through it okay. I figured this was truly the site for guys like me who have a few guns that we want to maintain, clean or repair now and then but who do not have a lot of money for a gunsmith to do the work or to buy professional tools made for guns. It gave what seemed like really great advice on how to use regular tools found in the tool box on my guns. So I tried it out and I grabbed my trusty 870, the one my grand-dad left to me, a claw hammer, a center punch, a screwdriver, and a toothbrush and went at it.

Everything was going okay. I took off the rear rifle sight assembly (mine has rifle sights) with the screwdriver and only stripped the screw head a little bit because the screwdriver was apparently not just the right size and that screw was in their tightly. I got the barrel off, took out the magazine spring retaining cap (again with the screwdriver and only bent it a little), had the magazine spring shoot across the room and knock one of my wife's precious little knick-knacks off the shelf breaking it into only a few pieces that I think I can glue together again.

I continued onwards and followed Bubba's instructions to the letter and I used a center punch and the claw hammer to knock out the pins holding the trigger assembly in the receiver. At first I just tried pushing them out while holding the punch in my hand. They were all in there tightly just like Bubba said it might be so I tried what he said was a sure way to get them loose. I put the tip of the center punch into the small indent at the end of the pins and I slammed the other end of the punch with the claw hammer as hard as I could for each pin. Well that first little pin sure came out. It too, like the mag spring, shot across the room but this time it didn't break anything - lucky for me. Then I pried the center punch out of the hole in the frame with the claw end of the hammer. I followed Bubba's instructions and grabbed hold of the punch with the claw, then twisted and turned it as hard as I could to free the punch. Yep that Bubba sure seemed to know his stuff because he warned that the punch, what with its tapered shape, might get stuck in the holes for the pins and he sure knew how to get the stuck punch unstuck with that claw hammer. I got out all of the pins the same way.

Then once it was all apart (except for the actual trigger assembly but only because I did not have time) and cleaned, I tried to put it back together again. This is where the trouble started. I knew I was in trouble when the pins kept falling out of the holes and Bubba's website did not say anything about it. I must have done something wrong but I would swear I followed Bubba's instructions exactly as he gave them. All those pins that fit so snuggly before just wobbled right through the holes and to tell you the truth the holes now looked kind of ragged and out of round to me. Bubba's website does not explain why this would happen and I am at a loss to figure it out. Please HELP.

Signed,
Frustrated Tinkering Gun Owner

PS: Any suggestions on a glue for my wife's knick-knacks.

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Dear Tinkering Fool Gun Owner,

Try buying a new receiver from Remington or maybe a whole new 870. Of course, you can keep some of the old gun for parts, or maybe just slap it back together as best you can using chewing gum to keep the pins in place. Then hang it on your wall forever, don't try shooting it again.

The next time you want to disassemble a gun for cleaning or maintenance contact the manufacturer if possible and get instructions from them on how to disassemble and reassemble your firearm. Luckily for you the monetary value of an 870 is not that high when it comes to replacement but the loss of sentimental value, since it was your grand-dads, must be high. Other than keeping it as a wall hanger and getting a replacement I have no other advice about it.

Oh - I do have one more piece of advice for you - forget about Bubba's website, remove the link from your link list and avoid all other similar websites in the future.

Sorry I am not a miracle worker,
Ballseye

PS: Buy your wife a new knick-knack or three to replace the broken one. Try to get one of the same as was the broken one, and two other even nicer and more expensive ones.

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Dear Ballseye,

I recently decided to place some of my less used rifles into long term storage. I used a space aged version of gun metal protectant that I bought at my local gun shop. it is called Cosmoline. The gun store clerk told me it is the most advanced space age metal protectant there is on the market and I was happy to pay $58.99 for a one gallon can of it. All went well and I followed the instructions that came with the product. My guns are absolutely slathered with this stuff inside and out and I have at least a half a gallon of the stuff left over. A great value if you ask me. Now half of my 8 gun collection is well protected and in storage for TEOTWAWKI. If you have never heard of this product I highly recommend it. It is supposed to prevent rust and other types of corrosion on metal and also protects wooden stocks from mold and other such nasties. It is easy to apply by hand using an old rag.

The only problem I had with it, and this is why I have written to you oh great gun master, is that while working this stuff into my guns I dropped some onto the floor and it got into the carpet. I was watching the big league playoffs and wasn't paying as much attention as I should have and I now have that mess on the floor. I also had a mess on my hands and I got some of this stuff into the cable company's remote control for my TV. The keys are now kind of sluggish, well the ones that still work anyway, the other ones are just right out stuck from all the goop around and under them. The other thing is that when I was done, I wiped off my hands then went upstairs and gave the wife a hug and kiss, as I often do when feeling good about having cared well for my firearms, and I sort of got some of this stuff on her favorite blouse. Can you get me out of this mess.

Signed,
Mess Making Man

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Dear Mess Maker,

First let me say it is nice to see people who want to care properly for their guns even when they plan to store them for the end of the world as we know it. It was also nice to see you followed application instructions for the product. Now allow me to suggest that if you ever do this again you read my first response above and get yourself a good folding table on which you can work on your guns. Also keep the TV off and do not handle the remote.

Before starting again, get yourself a good vinyl or other protective and grease/oil proof apron to wear while working on your guns with cleaners or protectants. You may also consider wearing a good pair of latex gloves (if not allergic to latex) or some other household rubber type glove while doing this kind of messy work. Take off the gloves and apron before hugging your wife. You may even want to clean up with some soap and water to get any mess off of yourself if you forgot to use the gloves. Dawn dishwashing detergent works well for me. I also use Go-Jo hand cleaner. I use it first to get off the gunk, then rinse, then I wash using the Dawn dishwashing detergent. Then I dry off. Then, and only then, would I even consider hugging she who must be adored. (No I am not about to hug your wife, I meant mine and you keep your hands off of her.) Oh yeah, remember to take of any jewelry that might get scratched by the grit in the Go-Jo - I sort of dulled the finish on my wedding ring in the first year of my marriage using that stuff and someone was really mad at me after that.

As for the rug and the blouse, you may want to try to absorb as much of the greasy mess that the Cosmoline left behind with paper towels. Then try washing each with a mild detergent - one that fights grease and oil - like dawn. (No this is not a dawn commercial and they are not paying me - but yes the stuff works pretty good).

As for the remote - I again have to say - I am no miracle worker. Maybe the cable guy will feel pity for you if he too is a gun guy and he can replace it for you for free. Of course if he is anti-gun he may report you to the authorities as a menace to society.

When you take your guns out of storage and want to clean off the Cosmoline don't go to the guy who sold it to you for $58.99 for advice; he might just try to sell you some other space age stuff to remove it, and you really don't need to get ripped off again. Oh, didn't i mention that the Cosmoline should ahve cost about $15 - if that much. There are lots of good gun forums such as TheGunCounter.com or the AmmoLocker.com where you can get free advice on how to remove it later without spending a fortune. Just make sure the forum/thread has plenty of posts in it with good grammar and that no post is signed by Bubba.

Hope I helped to
clean up your mess,
Ballseye

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Well dear readers, that is it for now. I hope I have imparted to you some of the littler bits of gun care wisdom that will make caring for your firearms just a bit easier on you and your pocketbook.

All the best,

Glenn B

1 comment:

Jungle Mom said...

OT, but I did not post your comments due to the length, but I enjoyed reading them and want to thank you for your part in serving our country in that way. I did save the comments as I hope you have them saved somewhere so that you can post them yourself some day!