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“To Clean or Not to Clean”

The first thing to realize about your Colt Peacemaker is that it can be shot many hundreds of rounds without needing to be cleaned. Probably the most critical area to address is the blue and case outside finish. Nickel guns are more resistant to surface rust and corrosion. Nickel finishes will turn dull and cloudy from perspiration over time, but can easily be brought back to a shiny like new look with a light application of a fine metal polish like Simichrome, or Flitz and a soft cloth. Make sure that if you have Fire Blue screws or other parts on your Nickel Colt that you remove them before you start your polish job or you will remove that nice Fire Blue along with the cloudy finish on the rest of your Colt. Also be advised: some historical or collector Colts with a Nickel finish may be worth more money if left alone, preserving the natural discoloration on an aging Colt surface. Shiny finishes are not always desirable on Nickel plated Colts with provenance or collectability.

Back to blue and case color Peacemakers. If you had to shoot your Colt several days in a row without cleaning the inside, just make sure you wipe all external surfaces with a light film of a good gun oil or CLP (Cleaner, Lube & Protectant) so the finish is protected. The important areas to address are the places that need to be lubricated before each shooting session. These include the back of the cylinder where the ratchet touches the frame. (see photo A)

Photo A

Then inside of the cylinder where it rotates on the base pin, be it a pressed in spacer (3rd Gen only) or the slide out bushing. Remove the cylinder to accomplish this.
(see photos B & C)

Photo B

Photo C

I also like to keep my ejector lubed by lightly oiling the rod & spring through the slot in the bottom of the ejector housing. (see photo D) This will help keep the carbon from attaching to the parts and creating a bind on the critical areas.

Photo D

The other important thing to keep in mind is that shooting lead bullets will deposit lead at the back of the bore in the forcing cone. This will not usually affect accuracy if kept within moderate amounts. If you had to shoot your Colt daily without cleaning the bore and you were worried about over leading the bore, just fire a cylinder full of full metal jacketed bullets at the end or beginning of each shooting session and most of the fouling will be removed. Anymore than that and you may have to deal with removing the copper fouling which is even more difficult.

I kind of use a broad rule of thumb, that if I shoot more than 100 rounds at a time then I try to clean the gun. I always clean it no matter how many rounds I’ve shot if I’m going to store the Colt for an extended period of time.