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Old 01-01-2004, 07:19 AM
hailstone's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: midwest
Posts: 1,405
Muzzleloader Lubes

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Happy New Year everyone. And for my new years reslolution I promise to shoot more this year than last. With that in mind I am looking for specific information on the use of various lubes in muzzleloaders. Specifically Wonder Lube 1000+ and Bore Butter which contains the former. Looking at the product it smells and looks like a mixture of bees wax and lanolin plus possibly other compounds. I guess if one wanted to know exactly what was in it then they could get an MSDS label and see whats in it.

I have reviewed the archives of muzzleloading and notice referrences to the above product and problems that it causes but nothing really specific just general. What I'm interested in is the specifics i.e. what happens, where at in the bore, are these in-lines, cap lock, flint locks etc, what do you look for yada, yada.

My experience with a in-line was very good so far. I tried the method recommended by the gun manufacture of shooting one round then clean then shoot a round and came to the conclusion it was for the birds. I had picked up a sample of Wonder Lube by Ox Yoke at a bow show back last century. I thought what the heck lets give it a try. Initially I loaded powder then filled the base of the sabot with the lube and seated this on top of the powder. I shot about two dozen times before quitting for the day. I did not clean between shot or during the entire string of shots. When cleaning the gun all appeared normal. After drying the bore I notice a wavy appearance between the lands. Using some plastic disolvent it came out readly. Being in-line I can remove the breach plug and see through the barrel and noticed no other abnormalities.

Some time latter on a warm day last month I thought I would experiment a little. First I prelubed the barrel by running a patch with the lube on it down the bore to coat it. Then I loaded with powder and saboted projectile. After 30 plus shots I had to clean the bore. Just ran several patches down the barrel and dried. Proceeded to fire another two dozen shots then quite for the day. Now I'm using black powder or pyrodex rs -- said I was experimenting -- for the fuel and projectiles of round balls with sabots, 245grain SWC cast wheel weight 44 cal swaged .430" bullets with sabots and 300 grain Hornady bullets with sabots printing them to paper in three and five shot groups.

Since this was an experiment I had scoped the gun and could really get groups once I got the powder charge right. I'm talking 2" at 100 yards. This is from a 50 cal gun and a sand bag rest.

After cleaning the gun in hot soapy water, drying and inspecting the bore I could not find or see any abnormalities in the barrel.

In light of these experiments and the earlier comments on this board I am wondering is the lube safe to use? Will I have a build up in the bore as reported? If so why am I not getting one? Is it because I haven't shot it enough?

After rereading this I noticed something I'm doing different from the posted messages. I'm using way more lube than everyone else seems to be using. I fill the base of the sabot with lube and upon retrivel of the sabot after firing it is empty which would make sense. At the time of firing the temperature of the gases would melt the lube and as the projectile traveled down the bore it would coat the barrel with the melted lube. Using an excessive amount of lube would give a genorous coating in the barrel and the excess would be blown out the barrel. (It does because I have a good coating on my bench below the area of the muzzle.) If one didn't use enough lube I can see where you would literally bake the lube on the bore as a result of hot gases from burned propellant.

Any thoughts out there? Ideas? Experiences? Lets hear them.
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Old 01-01-2004, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jefferson Parish (via N.O.)
Posts: 9,035
Lube doesn't have to build up in the bore...and while I don't shoot sabots, it hasn't been a problem for me using most lubes, commercial or home made. Some home-made lubes do tend to clog up a barrel, but I've no real clue to what the people used...know what they tell me, but suspect they added a little "extra sum'en-sum'em". OF the mystery-ones I've tried, the "sticky" ones seem the worst.

No sure it actually burns, but more combines with the residue from previous shots. Should be self-limiting, with each shot scraping/blowing the excess out with it...this seems to be what you're experiencing. Do think lubing the base is effective, but many worry about powder contamination while hunting. At the range, know you'll shoot in a fewe the field, may be all day.

Friend reminded me of the simply cure recently...a thin waxed paper wad over the powder.
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Old 01-01-2004, 10:43 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 43
On average I shoot over 700 patched round ball loads a year in my muzzleloaders and I use Wonderlube or one of the other brands of the same stuff (T/C, Remington etc).
Never had a problem of any kind with it fouling my barrels with either Pyrodex in my precussion guns or Black Powder in my Flinters. It seems to soften the fouling between shots better than some of the home made things I've used did and unlike some of my homemade lubes it doesn't start smelling rank after a month or so.

I know some of the literature says you can use it to wipe the bore after cleaning to protect your bore, and I know some who had the bore rust after doing this so IMO it is not much good at long term rust prevention.

I never used it for after cleaning protection so I'm just passing on what I've heard.

My rust prevention method is to use Birchwood Casey Sheath followed several minutes later with a liberal coating of Paste Wax. Works for me.
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Old 01-01-2004, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 185
I used Wonderlube for shooting and cleaning for a number of years, until my accuracy left. I was ready to get a new rifle or replacement barrel, when I came across the Wonderlube build up threads on several forums. I had always cleaned with hot soapy water and then used Wonderlube to finish with until patches came clean. I took my clean rifle and used WD40 and a new brass brush, and a bag of patches. I could not beleave what came out of that "clean" rifle. It now shoots as good as new, and I am using Moose Milk on my patched RB.
Manitoba Hunter   Hawk
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Old 01-01-2004, 05:16 PM
Jack Monteith's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 7,788
My used T/C Hawken flinter was loaded with Bore Butter/Wonder Lube when I bought it. The barrel appeared pitted, but I eventually got it cleaned out and the "pits" were the absence of Bore Butter. There's those who have had problems with it and those who haven't. I suspect those who haven't were more thorough at barrel cleaning and didn't let it build up.

The pre-lubed patches don't have enough lube on them and it pays to add a bit more. The rubbing alcohol - Murphy's Oil Soap mix works as well as anything as a patch lube for load & shoot at the bench. I haven't tried leaving it in the barrel all day yet.

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Old 01-01-2004, 09:20 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 4
Ok guys I am new here so be easy on me....I wanted to add my two cents worth on this subject. I have been trying out a new lube, its called "goop"
a non abrasive hand cleaner, and have had good results so far, it keeps fouling to a min. and makes clean up a snap. It even keeps my hands clean during a match and smells good too! So what do ya think? Am I nuts?
Thanks C.W.
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Old 01-01-2004, 10:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 39
I'm new here but not new to shooting ML's. I've got a TC Hawken, that I built from a kit in the early 70's, a TC GreyHawk (both percussion and both in .50 cal) and a SS Ruger Old Army. I've got an Italian replica of a Rem. 1858 .44 (I think that's the model... something like that) but I no longer shoot it.
I started out using black powder and burned 3 or 4 pounds through the Hawken (the GreyHawk and Old Army are relatively new). When I found out about Pyrodex, I tried it and liked it and haven't burned any black since. I also use the Wonder Lube (or Bore Butter) and TC's #13 bore cleaner. Neither the GreyHawk or Old Army have ever had a charge of black in them.
I used a bore seasoning method outlined by Ross Seyfreid (sp?) in a Muzzleloader magazine I read several years ago. I don't remember the exact method, other than starting with a super clean bore and not using any petroleum products in the bore afterwards. I have that article around somewhere and one of these days I'll find it again....
I will also mention that I have used the Neco fire lapping procedure on all three of these guns, with excellent results. The Old Army had the most dramatic improvement in accuracy, with groups shrinking from around 2" at 50 feet, to a clover leaf - six shots into one large hole.
I boreoscoped all three before and after the fire lapping. The after showed the grooves are still rough to a degree (checking and tool marks) but the lands are polished like glass and are sharp and well defined. This has made a tremendous difference with cleaning.
I have fired over 100 rounds in one day with the GreyHawk and never had to clean it once. It loaded the last round as easy as the first. It was marathon session trying to find the max load and most accurate bullet to use. I shot over a chronograph (Pact M2), determined the max load for each bullet and then shot a 5 round group at 50 yards. I shot sabots with several different bullets, Buffalo's, REAL's of different weights, round balls using different patches and a few other bullets that I have moulds for. It always came down to the TC Maxiball as being the most accurate bullet in both the TC rifles, although the Buffalo's were right up there. But I can't cast those so.....
To clean up, I used 1 (yep, one!) patch well soaked in #13 bore cleaner on a nylon brush and finished up with hot water rinse. Using the boreoscope again, the barrel looks brand new inside. There was no fouling of any kind, not even in the little checks in the grooves. Cleaning time was just over 10 minutes. I don't think I ever spent less than an hour cleaning up after shooting black powder and then cleaning up the bathroom after that.
I think that the combination of fire lapping, Wonder lube and #13 bore cleaner is a winner. At least it is for me. The Hawken is semi-retired now and I mostly shoot the GreyHawk and Old Army. The GreyHawk will shoot right at 3" at 100 yards off the bench. I don't have a scope on it but I suspect that if I did, I might get better groups. The Hawken is about the same. The Old Army shoots about 1" at 50 feet which is about as good as I can do with any iron sighted pistol - old eyes, you know.
I've never had any problems with the Wonder lube building up, nor any corrosion problems - but then I check them every couple of months and swab them out with the Wonder lube. Missouri is really bad for humidity, especially in the summer. And like Hailstone, I'm pretty liberal with the lube, both while shooting and in the bore for storage.
That's my experience, with my 3 muzzleloaders. While I would never suggest that Pyrodex and Wonder lube are for everyone, I do recommend the fire lap process for every gun, no matter what it's age. It's good stuff.
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