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We've had a good amount of response so far on this forum regarding bullet lubes, so I thought it might be insightful to hear what the do-it-yourselfers on the forum are making and using for bullet lube.

We are interested in what works, and in what applications, and how you make it, too we need to know what DOES NOT WORK!  That is just as important!  It might save many folks lots of wasted time!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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I have been using a homemade lube of 50/50 Satylube Moly grease and beeswax for about 4 years and have had nothing but success. I have used it in pistols and rifles with velocity up to 1600 fps. Just last month I decided to try some Lithium Staylube grease and beeswax but I am still trying to get the proportions down. It looks like I'll need a 60%beeswax to 40% lithium grease mix to work in the RCBSII. I'll let you know how it works. So far I have had no real leading in my hot 45 with either formula.
 

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I use both hard and soft lubes, depending on my particular needs. Mostly I use hard lube, mainly for conveniences sake, I like to do a large batch of bullets, then lube all of them for use later. I use three different hard lubes interchangably, Beartooth, LBT, and Thompsons Blue Angel. All perform very well for me. My soft lube is home-made, and is commonly known as "Felix's lube". I have only run Felix lube up to 1600 fps so far, without any problems. Others I have talked to often run over 2100 fps, so i know the potential is there. Here's a link to CASTPICS for the formula.CASTPICS
 

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The February 1943 issue of the American Rifleman has an article on bullet lubrication.
When I read it, I was reloading heeled bullets for the .32 Long Colt for an 1892 Marlin rifle.
The article included a very old lubricant recipe once used by factories for heeled bullets. So I made some and tried it.
It worked very well in the .32 Long Colt, whether I used smokeless or black powder.
Then I used it to grease the felt wads for my .36 caliber 1851 Navy. The results were amazing. The bore had just a fine coat of ash in it, unlike the fouling I usually see with the lubricant used in commercial cap and ball wads (which, I believe, have too little lubricant to do an effective job).
The inclusion of paraffin in this lubricant results in a fairly stiff, lubricating felt wad, which I suspect scrapes out the fouling.
I tried it in my .50 caliber muzzleloading rifle, as a patch lubricant, and never had to swab the bore to fire about 35 times.
Then on to my reproduction 1873 Winchester rifle in .44-40 caliber. I used the Lyman 427098 bullet, cast of nearly pure lead, and sized to .429 inch. I used up to 35 grains of Goex FFFG black powder and the bore remained remarkably clean of fouling.
Next stop: soft lead bullets in my .45-70 Springfield reproduction. I used up to 60 grs. of Goex FFG. Again, fouling was minimal.
Then I lubricated some Lyman 358156 155gr. gaschecked semiwadcutters for my Ruger .357 Magnum.
I loaded this bullet up to 1,200 fps. No leading problems, but then the gas check surely helped.
Whatever gun I used it in, accuracy was very good. I gave this lubricant a good workout.
It closely resembles a popular black powder lubricant sold commercially.
To make it, add the ingredients to a large jar (mayonnaise size), then place the jar in a pan of water about 3 inches deep. This gives you a double boiler effect. Mix ingredients thoroughly with a clean stick (I use a disposable chopstick from a Chinese restaurant).
Allow to solidify at room temperature. If you refrigerate it to hasten hardening, ingredients may separate.
When cool, put a layer of plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar and screw the lid down tight. Store in a cool, dry place.
When you need some lubricant, return the jar to boiling water, stir, and pour off what you need.
Okay ... you've waited long enough .. here's the recipe:

1 part paraffin (I use the type sold for canning)
1 part tallow (I use mutton tallow sold by Dixie Gun Works)
1/2 part beeswax.
All measures are by weight, NOT volume.

Others have suggested adding graphite and so on, but with the kind of performance it's given, I don't think it's necessary. I just don't feel it's worth messing with success.
 

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I found this formula in an old issue of "The Silhouette", the newsletter of the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association:

1 pound paraffin
1 pound petroleum jelly
2 tablespoons STP oil additive

Mixing directions are about the same as the post by Gatofeo, I use a tin can with a chopstick stirer.
When I put together a batch about 15 years ago I threw in a stick of Rooster Red that I got as a door prize somewhere.  I have used this exclusively ever since in 38sp, .357 mag & max and .44 mag handguns with good results.
 

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The above lube is known as the "Darr Lube" after the Western New York gunsmith who first developed it.  Years ago, it had quite a following among Schuetzen rifle shooters.  Some very fine groups were shot using this lube but leading could be a problem in some rifles.  A variation of this load substituted Arco Graphite Motor Oil for the RCBS case lube.  I suppose that other motor oils could be used, as well.  I no longer shoot Schuetzen rifles but I understand that  petrochemical-based lubes are less favored than they once were and vegetable and animal products-based lubes have been more popular, in recent years.  Mixing petro and animal and/or vegetable products seems to be less favored, too, I understand.
 

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A gentleman using the handle Texas Pete suggested the following on another board - Midway "Drop-out" mould release.  No other lube of any sort.  I have tried it with two bullet/caliber/firearms.  Browning highwall in 454 with hardcast 270gr fn and a custom lowwall in 50AE with RCBS 360gr FN.  Both run in the 19-2000 fps range with no leading.  Guess its a form of moly or graphite coating.  The 50 with its hand cut and finished barrel was not prone to lead with any lube - but the factory highwall showed great improvement over "traditional" lubes.
 

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I came across the bullet lube recipe posted by twodot, in the American Rifleman about 30 years ago and have been using it for that long on pistol bullets.  I generally add a couple of crayons for color.

I have not had any leading problems but generally do load above 1,000 fps with cast bullets in pistols.

I have used it on reduced loads in .45-70 but have a little leading at velocities around 1200fps.
 

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The bullet lube recipe I have been using came about because I had been having some difficulty...

I was working on load development for a Shiloh Sharps in .45-70.  The loads were only generating about 1200fps to 1300fps range and I had lubed with LBT blue - a relatively hard lube and was getting some leading.  It struck me as interesting because I had shot similar loads in the same gun with the same bullet/sizing/alloy/etc. but had used a another(softer) lube and with that - got no leading.

Hmmmm- I got to thinking about this and with the excellent reputation that LBT blue has I took a guess that it may be as simple as the lube being too hard.  I decided to "thin" the LBT Blue and mixed it 50/50 with the "Darr" lube mentioned in preceeding posts.  It has worked like a champ - but not just for the low velocity range in the Sharps.  I've used it in other loads running upwards of 2300fps and have had no leading.  A side benefit is that it flows through the lube sizer much easier.

Best regards-

Sky C.
Loongmont, CO
 

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Gatofeo

Thanks for telling us about the Feb. 1943 Article in the Rifleman.
I went back and looked at it. Mr. R. C. Skaggs was very knowladgable on waxes and animal fats. His discussion on the limitations of animal fats is interesting.
At .25 cents a stick the bullet lube of the '40's was expensive! I buy Javalina lube for about $2.50 a stick, in tadays dollars I think it is a bargin.

Perhaps someone call tell me about "leaf lard". I am a little too young to know about that.

I find that for the majority of my loading the NRA's 50-50 Alox formulae works fine. It does not do anything for black powder loads though!

Thanks again, interesting reading.
 

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I forgot to mention that I have been reading about somone using Midway mold release spray as a stand alone lubricant for pistol bullets.
Has anyone else heard of this?
 

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william iorg, leaf fat is simply the thick, hard, and almost dry fat on nearly any animal.found mostly between the skin and the meat. it will usually pull free of the carcass with little or no trimming.

halfbreed
 

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I've only used Lyman Orange Magic in my short career as a bullet caster.  No leading so far.  The local commercial cast bullets I used had a hard blue lube on them and leaded a bit in my old 1911A1.  The S&W Highway Patrolman I picked up 2 years ago was choked with lead.  The air cooled wheelweight + 2% tin 358665s aren't leading at 1300 fps.

 The Orange Magic doesn't smoke up our indoor range like the blue lube or Lee tumble lube does. It does need about 105°F to flow in the luber.

Bye
Jack
 

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does anybody use the LEE liquid alox. i'm tempted to try it up to about 2100-2200 fps. also is their sizing set up any good.

thanks halfbreed
 

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I like the Lee sizing set up. the dies are easy to mofidy, open up to whatever size you need. They seat gas check well.
I hand lube a lot of bullets so they are very useful to me.

I have not used liquid alox at these speeds but if your bullet fits the throat of your rifle and your barrel is not too long it will work. For these speeds I would double lube them.
 

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Lee Liquid Alox

Lee's liquid 'tumble lube' works, but is rather messy. It takes longer to dry than they claim, and even after several days, remains 'sticky'. Tumbling the bullets coats ALL of the bullet completely, including the base and nose.

Having lube on the nose tends to gum-up the bullet seating die and the crimp die (I use separate dies for seating and crimping, so two dies are affected).

I've got a good friend that uses large plastic 'tweezers' to hand-dip bullets into liquid alox, which keeps the nose clean.

Personally, I still prefer a lubrisizor of some type; however, in my limited use of tumble lube, I saw no signs of leading at normal handgun velocities. --CC
 

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For years I've used a mixture of 60% commode seal melted with 40% canning wax. I use it with complete satisfaction in everything from .32 s&w to 30/06 & .444 with no leading problems at all. Is cheap and works very well. I melt the mix in a can and pour it into my RCBS sizer. When It hardens I put the top on and size away.
 

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Commode Seal ???

Hey Kaboomer, I've read that the commode seal is actually beeswax... any opinion on this ? And I guess by "canning wax" you mean parafin, right ?

I may try this mix -- is it sticky, or does the parafin make it fairly hard ? --CC
 

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The commode seal appears to be an "oily" type beeswax. When mixed with the canning wax(paraffin) it makes a lube that is not sticky when applied to a bullet. If you want a color other than clear you can add a couple of squirts of lee alox lube to turn it brown.
 
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