While the water is heating, he threads the shotgun swab onto the end of the ramrod and coats the swab evenly with bore butter. After that, he folds the towel lengthwise into thirds so it forms a long, thin strip. He wraps the strip around the middle of the barrel, dons the oven mitt and uses his gloved hand to grasp the towel-wrapped barrel.
When the water in the kettle begins to boil, Jones puts the funnel into the barrel's muzzle, grabs the kettle with his free hand and, holding the barrel over the kitchen sink, then pours the water into the barrel through the funnel.
"You want to pour just fast enough that the barrel stays full," he said. "You'll know the barrel is hot enough when you just start to feel the heat through the towel and the oven mitt."
Jones then removes the funnel, grabs the ramrod and runs the coated swab down the full length of the barrel and back two or three times.
"You'll see the grease melting and coming out the nipple hole," Jones said. "Set the barrel aside until it cools, and then repeat the procedure twice more. After the third treatment, you'll never have to do it again."
After the barrel cools for the final time, Jones runs a couple of dry cleaning patches through the barrel to absorb any surplus grease and then reassembles the gun.
"You're good to go at that point," he said.
Jones said the only thing that can ruin the barrel's seasoning is the use of harsh chemical bore cleaners.
"Those will strip the seasoning away," he said.
To avoid having that happen, Jones employs a very specific method for cleaning his well-seasoned rifles after they're fired.
"I break down the gun until I just have the barrel, and then I take the nipple out," he said. "I put my finger over the nipple hole and pour 1/2 to 3/4 ounce of Thompson's No. 13 Bore Cleaner into the barrel. I put the thumb of my other hand over the muzzle and then invert the barrel six or seven times, letting the cleaner slosh back and forth.
"When I pour the cleaner out, it comes out black. I repeat the procedure again, and then I start swabbing the bore with patches. The first patch comes out black. The second patch comes out dirty gray. The third comes out light gray, and the fourth comes out clean.
"I run another patch through to dry out the inside of the barrel, another patch with some bore butter on it to lubricate the bore, and I'm done."
Jones said the beauty of the procedure is that he can "hunt and shoot all day" without having to worry about his barrel becoming fouled.
"I could go out and fire 100 shots, and the last shot would load as easily and fly as accurately as the first one," he said. "Even after all that shooting, the cleanup would take about 10 minutes. It's unbelievable how easy it is."
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or e-mail johnmc...@wvgazette.com.