Care and Cleaning of the Rifle

By M0917 Dean Fleet

2831 Cameron Crowe is a member of the class of ’52 and resides in Burlington, ON. After RMC, he elected to pursue an academic calling at McMaster University, where he retired as the Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1996. He wrote numerous articles for The Marker (the forerunner to The Precision) and for the Annual Review, always taking a sarcastic approach in making a point about life at RMC. His cousin, 2872 Charles Crowe, was also a member of the class of ’52, while his father and two uncles graduated as part of the classes of ’24 (1542 Ernest Watson Crowe),’21 (1385 George Kenneth Crowe), and ’33 (2081 Ralph Marston Crowe, KIA in Sicily as an RCR CO).

CARE AND CLEANING OF THE RIFLE – Reprinted from the 1951 RMC Review

By No. 2831 Cadet C.M. Crowe

For the past few weeks, the alert observers of The Marker have noted numerous rumblings among the cadets. In trying to find the cause, we discovered the unrest all stemmed from one thing – “How do you clean a rifle?” The special service department of The Marker has therefore decided to improve their lot. After extensive research, we have uncovered the following information:

(1) The cleanliness of the rifle varies inversely as the time spent cleaning it. This has been proven again and again by a great number of cadets. Applying the Principle of War, Economy of Force, it is unmilitary to spend the better part of an hour on the rifle when a neater job can be done in a few minutes. It is a secret of those who know their rifle-cleaning best that blowing on the rifle for two minutes is worth hours of careful work.

(2) The number of places to clean tends toward infinity as the cadet approached the day of inspection as a limit. Hence to attempt to clean all portions of a blunderbuss would take a lifetime – if not longer. The quick blow dislodges dirt from all sorts of hidden crevices that a rag misses and an experienced blower can cover all known dirty spots with three standard puffs.

We therefore recommend the following procedure for cleaning your rifle. Open your window and door as wide as possible. If it is practical, also open those of the cadet across the hall. This will produce a gentle hurricane through your room. Caution, remove all light objects to a place of safety and wear heavy boots. Grasp the rifle firmly and remove all parts. Holding the pieces in your hands throw them up in the air and stand well back. The mild gale through the room will remove the dust and dirt as gently as a breath. The rifle will land on the table in the proper layout and you can go to class with an easy mind.

Another Caution – Do not heave the weapon too hard upwards as it has an injurious effect on lamps and the cadet upstairs may not like a bayonet in his foot.

With this sage advice drawn from the wisdom of those who know, you are now able to study an extra hour a week. Until the next inspection cheer up and keep your safety catch on!

– this article has been reprinted from the 1951 yearbook

One Comment

  • Richard Ronholm

    June 1, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    What a great article! I well remember that once the FNC1 had been fired, it was impossible to have it completely clean again, regardless of how many hours you spent on it. I wish I had read this before, and obviously one of my Platoon mates in BOTC did – he never seemed to sweat over an upcoming inspection…

    Capt Richard Ronholm
    18890
    Class of 93