DIY Case Lube.


Dan Shapiro
January 27, 2003, 01:58 AM

I spent sometime this weekend trying to make my own case lube. I have been using DCL since I started reloading two years ago. It has worked great for me and since it’s a pretty simple formula I wanted to try to see if I could make it myself and save a little money at the same time.

After a couple of batches and a big mess in the garage, here is my report. :D

The ingredients are simple.

Isopropyl Alcohol ( (Rubbing Alcohol)
Anhydrous Lanolin (

I used a 12:1 (alcohol to lanolin) mixture, but I have seen different recommendations from 8 to 12 parts on articles from various web boards.

There are two types of “pure” lanolin: hydrous (with water) and anhydrous (without water). Hydrous is more common and is what the pharmacists will give you if you do not specify anhydrous. Anhydrous only comes in 1 pound jars, whereas hydrous will come in one ounce tubes and one pound jars.

I had to order the Lanolin from a pharmacy, but it only took a day to come in. It ran about $25

Isopropyl Alcohol
The most common rubbing alcohol is only 70% alcohol [pictured] and the rest is mostly water. Since lanolin is water insoluble this won’t work. You are going to need 91-99% alcohol. I was only able to find 91% without ordering this weekend, so that is what I used.

I was able to get 32 oz of 70% for $.99, but 91% cost me $1.29 for 16 oz.

Lanolin isn’t fun to work with. It has the consistency of petroleum jelly and is twice as sticky. Remember when I said that it was water insoluble? That’s very important when it comes to clean up. I recommend carburetor cleaner.

I found that using a knife and putting the lanolin onto a sheet of aluminum foil works pretty well. Once you have the right weight, drop everything (foil and lanolin) into a jar. Once the lanolin dissolves you can remove the foil.

I was told to shake. Oh, this doesn’t work. You can shake yourself silly and you’ll still have a blob of goo on a sheet of foil. Heat is the key here. It’s dangerous to boil lanolin (300 deg C), it decomposes and can produce toxic fumes. I found that putting it outside on a warm California day for a couple hours works great. Now you can shake!

If you live in a place where you are blessed with good gun laws, but bad weather I have an easy solution. Heat up a pot of water, not to boiling level, but hot. Lanolin will melt at about 40 deg C. Then hold your jar into the water. After a couple of minutes the heat transfer should have warned up your lanolin blob. Now shake what god gave you!

Does it work?
I only shot .22 this weekend, so I didn’t have any lots of brass to reload. I did run a couple pieces of junked brass through the press and everything worked and felt the same as when I use DCL. I’ll post next weekend after I run some .45 and 30-06 through.

I did't run complete numbers, but it will run me about $2-2.50 for each eight ounce bottle of Dan's Case Lube.

Have fun!:D

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January 27, 2003, 10:32 AM
Yeah, in over 40 years of trying case lubes, this recipe works ok. So did STP, but bottlenecks were dented regularly and it was a problem to clean or every bit of dirt stuck, and I've tried a dozen others.

Don't phart around, get the best (no musss no fusss no cusss) get Imperial Sizing Die Wax. Nothing else comes close.


January 27, 2003, 12:06 PM
I use either Imperial Die Wax or the similar stuff that the Trukote guy makes (actually prefer the Trukote stuff).

If I'm sizing a BUNCH of .223, and I'm going to be running it through the tumbler, I spray it with PAM.

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