The patches then showed many flecks of gold in the dark stains.

The cartridges I used were old and of French and US manufacture, but performed well.

Would their age account for the shiny deposits or did I briefly touch the philosopher?s stone?

STRANGE BARREL FOULING

Bill Harriman

When a charge of lead shot is propelled up the barrel of a shotgun, some of the pellets remain in contact with the barrel wall.

Tiny amounts of the lead are removed and smeared on the barrel?s interior.

The inside of the bore may appear to have a mirror finish, but close examination would reveal ridges and furrows left by the polishing process, and the lead adheres to these.

When you clean the barrels, these small pieces of lead are first loosened or detached by the action of the bristles of the phosphor bronze brush.

They are eventually deposited on the cleaning patch. In certain lights they can seem to have a golden hue, even though lead is a silvery metal.

Equally, they may appear golden, if the oil used has a similar colour.

It is also possible that the cartridges you used had copper-coated pellets.

If that were the case, tiny pieces of copper would be deposited on the barrel walls and they would look golden.

I find that a solvent such as Parker Hale 009 helps to loosen both powder and metallic fouling, as well as any traces of plastic wads left in the bore.