Gone Outdoors

How to Remove a Stuck Breech Plug From a CVA

by Ryan Hotchkiss

Breech plugs were designed in response to the difficulty soldiers and sportsmen had cleaning the breech block of muzzle loading firearms. Without a breech plug, a muzzle-loader can only be cleaned by sliding a cleaning patch down the barrel. A breech plug, however, can be removed to allow easier cleaning. However, if the breech plug itself is not cleaned regularly, powder residue will corrode the plug and cement it into place.

Point the rifle in a safe direction and dry fire the weapon. Never work on a loaded firearm. Once you know the weapon is unloaded, cock the hammer. Place plastic wrap over the firing nipple and wrap a rubber band around it to keep it adhered to the nipple.

Place the rifle on the floor, muzzle up. Pour cleaning solvent down the barrel. Allow the solvent to soak in for 24 hours, then pour the solvent out of the barrel into a disposable container.

Wrap the barrel of the rifle in a bathroom towel. Place the towel-covered barrel in a vise and tighten it down. Break open the breach and put your breech wrench over the plug. Turn the plug counterclockwise until the plug breaks free.

Items you will need
  • Water-based solvent
  • Rubber band
  • Saran wrap
  • Vise
  • Bathroom towel
  • Breech plug wrench


  • Prevent your rifle plug from sticking by cleaning your rifle regularly. Gun powder residue accumulates quickly and begins to corrode a firearm almost immediately. If you go too long without cleaning your firearm, the damage can be irreparable.


  • If you can not get the plug to break free, take your rifle to a gunsmith. You can damage your rifle by over-tightening the vise on the barrel or pounding on the arm of the breech plug wrench.

Photo Credits

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