Found! Proper Felt to Make Wads!


January 31, 2005, 01:23 AM
(Like most things I write, this is uncommonly long and you’ll want to print it out for easier reading and reference --- Gatofeo)

In a firearms site a few months ago, a member posted Durofelt as a good source for felt for making your own wads for cap and ball sixguns, cartridge guns and related uses.
I can vouch for Durofelt’s excellence. Not only is it perfect, when the right felt is ordered from this Little Rock, Arkansas company but the price is right.
I visited my brother in Little Rock during Christmas of 2004, so I made arrangements to visit DuroFelt. I have no affiliation with Duro-Felt
Asha Sahita runs it out of her Little Rock home but it’s no fly-by-night business. She’s been selling felt products since 1996.
Ms. Sahita, who is of Indian ancestry, said that a relative in India had a very successful felt-making business there. When he died, the family discussed selling the business but a family member stepped forward and said he’d like to try running it.
The family business continues to be successful in India but the business wanted to expand to other countries, including the U.S. He contacted his relative, Ms. Sahita, who agreed to begin selling the family’s felt products in the U.S.
Until I met with Ms. Sahita, she said she hadn’t had much interest from the shooting community but I expect that will change when word gets out.
She offers a variety of felt products: buffing wheels for polishing (gunsmiths take note), gaskets, polishing bobs, knife edge wheels, felt blocks, piano and organ felt strips, cones and felt with an adhesive gum on one side for various uses.
I’ll stick with the topic at hand: sheet felt for making your own wads.
To view all Duro-Felt products, visit its website at
Duro-Felt’s address is: No. 6 White Aspen Court, Little Rock, AR, 72212-2032. Telephone: 501-225-2838. Fax: 501-219-9611. Email:
Shipping is FREE for retail orders from U.S. customers!
And tell her Gatofeo sent you. I’m sure she’d be interested to learn how you found out about her business.

Now, on to the felt for wads.
I ordered a sheet of felt 54 X 36 inches, 1/8 inch thick, and of Hard density (Item FM1836H). The cost was $27.
The 1/8 inch is the right thickness for most black powder uses and the felt should be hard, to help scrape fouling from the bore.
Felt in other thicknesses and densities is offered: 1/16th, ¼, ½, ¾ and 1 inch. Some thicknesses may only be obtained in certain densities, such as soft, extra soft, medium or hard. If you don’t find what you want contact Duro-Felt and specify what you need.

With a sheet of 1/8 inch hard felt, 54 X 36 inches, I could conceivably make 7,776 felt wads of .36, .44 and .45 caliber. That’s calculating four wads per square inch (two down and two across --- 4 X 54 X 36 = 7,776).
That’s a lifetime supply for $27 --- and plenty left over to sell to your buddies to recover your $27 if you wish.
If you purchase Wonder Wads, at about $6 per 100, for $27 you’ll get a little over 400 wads. To purchase 7,776 Wonder Wads, at $6 per hundred, you’d need $467 --- compared to under $50 for a sheet of felt and a wad punch.
Quite a price difference, eh?

Ox-Yoke claims that the dry lubricant on Wonder Wads is all that’s needed for black powder shooting. This claim is not borne by my experience.
If I use a Wonder Wad, with its dry lubricant, the last few inches of the bore of my 7-1/2 barreled revolvers is heavily fouled and accuracy soon suffers. If I soak that same wad in a natural grease or oil, fouling is greatly reduced and accuracy is prolonged.
Now, if I soak the felt wad in the lubricant I’ve enclosed here (See “Making The Best Lubricant” below) fouling is reduced even more and accuracy maintained all day. Using a felt wad with the enclosed recipe, I’ve shot more than 100 balls in one day and never had to swab the bore.
Frankly, I’ve yet to find a lubricant as good as the one I’ve enclosed here, which was in a magazine more than 60 years ago. It’s not MY recipe, as some have reported, it’s an old factory recipe for lubricating heeled bullets (works great for that too).
For me, greased wads work better than placing grease over the ball. It’s easier, not as messy and reduces fouling in the bore more.
The downside is that wads take a little more time to load. If you’re plinking at the gravel pit, that doesn’t matter. If you’re shooting in a timed Cowboy Action Shooting event, it matters. But for most applications, greased felt wads are the best choice.

For .31 or .32 caliber, use a 5/16 inch or 7.5 or 8mm wad punch. For .36 caliber use a 3/8 inch or 9.5 or 10mm wad punch. For .44 or .45 caliber revolvers, or .45-caliber rifles, use a .45-caliber or 11mm or 11.25 to 11.5 mm wad punch. For .50 caliber, use a ½ inch or 12.5mm wad punch.
You’ll have to experiment with metric wad punches a bit. I’ve never used them, so I’m guesstimating the appropriate size. But felt wads are a little forgiving. If it’s oversized a little bit, a close-fitting wooden dowel with a flat end will usually get it started in the bore, chamber or cartridge case. In fact, a snug-fitting wad is good as it will make a more effective seal against the powder’s hot gases, protecting the bullet base or patched ball, and will scrape fouling better.
If you plan to make shotgun wads, or large-bore rifle wads, punches can sometimes be found in 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 20, 24 and 28 gauge. Search the internet auction houses for these items. I see the more common-gauge wad punches offered regularly on Ebay.
For 12 gauge shotgun, rifle and pistol calibers, see the Buffalo Arms website at
Buffalo Arms of Ponderay, Idaho offers a variety of wad punches. The drill-press mounted kind is $20, in calibers .38, .40, .44, .45 and .50. The hammer-struck wad punch is $18 each, in .32, .38, .40, .43, .44, .45, .50 rifle calibers. 38-40, 44-40 and 45 pistol calibers. The reloading press-mounted wad punch is made in calibers .25 to 12 gauge and costs $52 to $75, depending on size. The press-mounted wad punch will shell out hundreds of wads in an hour, if that’s what you want.

I use a 3/8 inch hand punch for my .36 caliber revolvers, a 7/16 punch for my .44-40, and a .45-caliber punch for my .44 cap and ball revolvers, .45 Long Colt and .45-70 rifles. It may be slower than other methods but I find that I can sit on the couch, watch TV and make hundreds of wads in one evening.
I place a piece of 2X8 inch board, about 18 inches long, across my lap. A piece of 8” diameter log, cut flat on both ends and about 8 inches long, is attached to the center of the board with long decking screws.
It is easiest to cut wads if the cutter goes into the end-grain of wood, rather than 90 degrees to the grain. Your cutting surface will last longer too.
A 12” long by 6” wide strip of felt is perfect for easy handling on the log. You’ll also want a piece of dowel, smaller than the diameter of your wad cutter, to push out any wads that resist traveling up the cutter and falling out. Watch your fingers around the sharp edges of that wad cutter, it will make a nasty cut!

Felt wads aren’t the only thing you can make with a wad cutter. Thick or thin paper wads may be made, to protect the bullet’s base or discourage contamination of the powder from lubricants on the patch or bullet.
A good source of card paper, in varying thicknesses, are the scraps found in a picture-framing shop. Most owners are happy to be rid of the scraps or will sell you a bagful for a few bucks.

Store cardboard or unlubricated felt wads in a small box, plastic tub (yogurt, margarine, cottage cheese, etc.), soup cans with a lid or --- my favorite --- small plastic, see-through jars. Plastic peanut butter jars are particularly good since they hold hundreds of wads and a quick glance often reveals the size. However, label the jar so you don’t confuse a 7/16 inch wad meant for the .44-40 with a .45-caliber wad, for example.

In most instances, the felt wad should be lubricated if it will be used with black powder. An exception is the use of one dry felt wad over the powder, with a lubricated felt wad over it and the projectile on top. This arrangement will keep lubricant from reaching the powder and affecting it over long periods of carry, as in hunting. In warm weather, when the lubricant may be rather fluid, this can greatly increase the reliability of a black powder gun.
For black powder shooting, a proper lubricant is required. Avoid petroleum-based greases and oils. When mixed with black powder, petroleum greases and oils often create a hard, tarry fouling that affects accuracy and is more difficult to clean.
Use a natural grease, wax or oil, made from animals or plants. Examples include lard, vegetable oils (canola, peanut, olive, etc.), Crisco, animal tallow, beeswax or carnauba wax, which is derived from palm trees (!).
The best substance I’ve found, bar none, is mutton tallow. It’s been in use with black powder, by the British military and others, for more than 150 years and I don’t think it’s by coincidence.

You can use Crisco, vegetable oils, lard or beeswax and they’ll all work okay. But, by far, the best lubricant I’ve found is a recipe I stumbled across in a 1943 American Rifleman magazine.
The article listed 10 pounds tallow, 10 pounds paraffin and 5 pounds beeswax as the factory recipe for outside-lubricated bullets.
I’ve settled on more specific ingredients when I make it: mutton tallow, canning paraffin and beeswax. With these specific ingredients, you’ll make a black powder lubricant with a variety of uses: felt wads, patches, lead bullets in muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge guns, etc.
Of course, you don’t need 25 pounds of lubricants. I use a kitchen scale to measure 200 grams of mutton tallow, 200 grams of canning paraffin and 100 grams of beeswax for the same ratio.

A note on beeswax: Most of the beeswax sold as toilet seals is no longer real beeswax but a synthetic. You’ll get an inferior lubricant if you use this stuff. Get the real beeswax from Muzzleloading Rendezvous, Renaissance Fairs, or hobby shops (but hobby shops typically charge an arm and leg). Also look under Beekeepers in your Yellow Pages or contact your local County Extension Agent to find out who rides herd on bees in your area. Most beekeepers will sell you a few pounds at a good price.
Raw beeswax will have fragments of the hive and dead bees in it. This can be a good deal if you’re willing to filter it a bit. Heat the raw beeswax at low heat in an old pan (thrift stores are good for old, knockabout pans) until the contaminants settle. Then, gently pour the clean, top beeswax through a paper coffee filter into mini-bread loaf pans or an old muffin pan, to make cakes.
You won’t remove every last speck of contaminant but it will be plenty good for use in bullet lubricants.
Or you can order unfiltered or filtered beeswax Beeswax from Beekepers in Minnesota at or Stony Mountain Botanicals in Ohio at

Mutton tallow, made from sheep, is harder to find. The only source I’ve found is Dixie Gun Works, which sells a tub of 6 to 8 ounces for $3.50. Thankfully, it’s not expensive. Buy two tubs and you won’t run out at a bad moment. If you live in sheep country, you may be able to find it at the local butcher shop or processing plant.
It’s remarkable stuff. If kept well sealed and at room temperature, it doesn’t go rancid.

Canning paraffin is the solid wax used by canners to seal off the tops of jars of jams and jellies. It’s most often seen this way, in homemade preserves. You’ll find it in the baking section of your grocery store. A 1 lb. block is less than $2 in most stores.

Measure out:
Mutton tallow – 200 grams
Canning paraffin – 200 grams
Beeswax – 100 grams
Place this amount in a wide mouth, one quart Mason jar. Place the jar into a pot containing four or five inches of boiling water for a double-boiler effect. This is the safest way to melt waxes and greases. Just in case of a fire, keep a box of Baking Powder handy --- but away from any flame area so you can get to it.
When the ingredients are thoroughly melted, stir well with a clean stick or disposable chopstick.
Remove from heat. Allow the lubricant to cool at room temperature. Hastening cooling by placing in the refrigerator may cause the ingredients to separate. When cool and hardened, screw the cap down tight on the jar and store in a cool, dry place.
What makes this lubricant so good? I believe it’s not only the mutton tallow but the inclusion of paraffin, which stiffens the wad somewhat and makes it a more effective fouling scraper.
I’ve tried other lubricants, commercial and homemade, and still haven’t found one that works as well as this recipe. It works equally well in other black powder applications.
It doesn’t smell too bad, either. It’s different, but it won’t stink up the kitchen like melting chassis grease and other noxious ingredients often found in bullet lubricant recipes.

For rifle and revolver wads, I use a clean tuna or pet food can with the paper label removed.
Place the can on a cast iron skillet, or in a low pan of boiling water. You may also place the can directly on the burner, if it’s kept at low heat and you watch it like a hawk.
Melt 2 Tablespoons of lubricant in the can. Add the wads. I can usually get 100 .36 to .45 caliber wads in a can, the larger ones if I cram them in a bit.
Stir the wads into the lubricant until they’re thoroughly soaked. Add more lubricant if it looks like the wads are rather dry. You want a wad that is soaked with lubricant.
No need to squeeze out the excess lubricant, simply remove the can from the heat and allow cooling with the wads and lubricant in it. When cool snap a plastic, pet food cover over the can and store the wads in a cool, dry place.
Now, you have a container to take to the range. And when you run low on wads, simply reheat the can, add more lubricant and wads, and refill it.
Cans may be marked “.36” or “.44” or whatever on the side with a large felt pen and stacked on top of each other for easy identification.

Carrying the wads in the field can be a problem. They are greasy, and your hands are often greasy, so you need a container that is easily opened with greasy fingers.
Some stand-out containers include:
1. Shoe polish tin, with the key on the side for easy opening. Elmer Keith recommended this container years ago and it’s still good.
2. Altoids Sour Candies tin. The Altoids mint tin may be difficult to open with greasy fingers, but Altoids also sells a sour candy in a round tin, in apple, citrus and orange flavors. This can’s lid has a dimple on the side that, when pressed, pops the can open easily.
These two containers fit easily in the pocket, possibles bag or range bag.
I don’t suggest plastic pill container with the easy-pop lid. It’s clumsy to fish out the wads from the long, narrow bottom. Percussion cap tins may be used but they’re nearly impossible to open with greasy fingers.

Felt wads, lubricated as above, are outstanding in cap and ball revolvers. Charge the chamber with a measured amount of powder. Push the greased felt wad in with your thumb, so it’s slightly below flush. Go on to the remaining chambers, charging with powder and pushing the greased felt wad in.
Now, use the rammer to seat the wad in each chamber down firmly on the powder. Don’t crush the powder with undue force, just seat the wad until stiff resistance is felt.
Why do you seat the wads separately, and not along with the ball?
Five reasons:
1. Should you forget to charge a chamber with powder, it will become apparent when you seat the wad. It’s a lot easier to remove a stuck wad than a stuck ball.
2. You get a better feel for how much pressure you’re applying to the wad with the rammer, when seated separately.
3. If you need to set the revolver down, for any reason, the felt wad will keep powder from spilling out of the chamber.
4. It’s easier to seat the ball if you don’t have to juggle a greased wad too.
5. You get a better feel for how much pressure you’re applying to the ball when you seat it on the wad.

In a muzzleloading rifle, a greased felt wad on the powder will often improve accuracy. It will protect the patch on round ball loads, and the base of the bullet on conicals.

A word of warning is in order:
NEVER use a wad of any kind under a hollow-based bullet, such as the .58-caliber Minie’. The wad will interfere with the expansion of the bullet’s skirt and affect accuracy.
NEVER place a wad over a solid projectile, no matter what type of gun you’re using. That wad may act as an obstruction in the bore as the bullet begins to move, raising pressures to catastrophic levels. An obvious exception is a muzzleloading shotgun, which requires a thin, paper top wad to keep the shot from rolling out.

Economy and tailoring your wads and lubricant are the reasons to make your own wads. There’s also a little satisfaction in making your own. Myself, I love the idea that I no longer have to search for old felt hats to make wads --- now that Duro-Felt is known.

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January 31, 2005, 10:06 AM

Thanks for the heads-up about the felt and the copious info. Saved to disk.

Cap n Ball
January 31, 2005, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the info Gatofeo! In a similar and somewhat related subject I was re-reading Fadalas excellent black powder shooting book and was intrigued by the 'Tap-O-Cap' percussion cap maker. I went to the site of the company that makes this tool and was given the following info by doing a search. Apparently they were still making this tool in 2000. I don't know if they are still but it shouldn't be too hard to find out.

"Forster makes the Tap-O-Cap tool that allows you to make your own percussion caps for black powder shooting. All you need is the Forster Tap-O-Cap, a roll of toy pistol caps and an aluminum beverage can! Forster's ordering part number is TC1000. The tools are a stock item and the price as of 1/1/2000 is $26.98"

This tool will make #11 percussion I might not use it all the time but it would be great to have in a pinch. If I can get one I'll report on the success or failure of the device. One six pack of empty aluminum cans would keep me in caps for months. Finding a toy store that still sells roll caps might be tricky though. :scrutiny:

Ok, I called them and they are still in stock! the part # is TC1000 and the price is $30.50 plus $8.00 shipping. Their address is ...

Forster Products
310 E. Lanark Avenue
Lanark, Illinois 61046

I'm going to get one on it's way today!

I also found a source for roll caps at

1000 shots for $3.99!

Can shooting get any cheaper?

January 31, 2005, 02:11 PM
Cap n Ball,

Around here there are Fred's discount stores that sell the little toy gun caps.

February 1, 2005, 12:51 AM
On some site, perhaps this one, in the past week I read a post on the Tap-0-Cap.
One reader inquired about it. Two others replied that they had tried it and found it unsatisfactory. Both said they had a devil of a time getting the caps to fire on their guns. One said he used up to six caps on some home-brew caps before he could it to fire.
Both agreed that it was a lot of work for what you got out of it, and said they went back to buying caps like everyone else.
I dunno, mebbe they just got hold of bad caps.
But I've read of that device for many years and it seemed like a lot of work, considering the cheapness of caps.
Making my own wads is different, however, since I can easily go through 100 in a day's shooting. In the Salt Lake City area Wonder Wads sell for $6 to $8 per 100. I'm a cheap ol' cat and that kinda grates on me.
I don't know if I'd want to make my own caps though, especially if it takes a lot of time or they don't work nearly as well as the commercial variety.
Shooters are a strange lot. They'll spend $1,000 on a new rifle, top it with an $800 scope --- then wince because a pack of 10 targets is $5!
I guess I'm kinda like that but I draw the line at anything that gets me aggravated. If it doesn't work, I abandon it quickly.

4v50 Gary
February 1, 2005, 12:57 AM
Ugly Cat - you are one cheap ****** - just like me. :p

BTW, both my brother & I have used Tap-O-Cap with good success. I generally put two caps into every cap. I have an article that is appearing in MuzzleLoader magazine about Muzzleloading in China. It'll tell you how the Chinese hunters improvise for their percussion fired guns. Not to give away any of the story's details, but I did not go to China and come back with a story. Rather, I interviewed someone who did and it's interesting to see how other people do things. Should be out by June, 2005.

February 1, 2005, 11:30 AM
Gato, Cap, Gary,

Tell you what...if you want some (mostly) reliable, cheap shooting caps you can use the little toy caps directly. That is, with some modification. Something I "tinkered" with a while back. :)

The toy caps take a lot less force to make them go bang than do standard #11's. Often I've found that the toy caps seem hotter than some standards do. At least the report is louder. Just depends on the batch, I reckon. If you have a percussion rifle with a weak hammer spring it works just right for the plastic ones. You also have to modifiy a spare #11 nipple so that it won't split the toy caps when you push them on. I chucked one in a (vised) 3/8" variable drill. This nipple had a fairly thick wall so I was able to turn it down a good bit and not loose wall strength. Just file lightly as the drill spins untill the caps almost fit, then smooth them with fine sand paper till they fit snug without splitting. A good polishing with crokus cloth makes them load easier. The plastic has some give to it, so the caps tend to stay put. So snug, I'd venture to stay there might be a bit of waterproofyness to it. A cork in the muzzle and one of these toy caps would probably be a good shield in damp weather still hunting.

The only drawbacks are that some caps are duds (which you get with standards too) and that if the hammer strikes too hard it tends to leave a small plug of plastic in the nipple afer ignition. This is where the weak hammer spring comes in to play. Just carry a fine vent pick or stick pin to fish the plugs out if it happens. A fine, straightened, wire crappie hook works best.

The caps come with fine ring sprue attachments and you have to razor these off to liberate individual caps before firing. One thing I've found is that if one cap in a ring is hot, the rest of in that ring tend to be. Just sacrifice one per ring and cull accordingly. I keep the tested ones in a 35 MM film cannister for waterproofing. Film cans are just the right size. That is also where I keep the spare, plastic shooting nipple. The film can safe is small and would make a dandy back up if your standards got wet or lost.

February 24, 2005, 03:07 PM
A weak main spring would mean a slower lock time. This would effect accuracy. I think it would be better to have a strong main spring and a faster lock time, then to go with the plastic caps. Just my .02 cents.

April 9, 2005, 04:49 PM
Question on the lube formula. I've made up a quart following the directions -- looks good, but it's very stiff, almost like candle wax. Is this correct?

A related question: I melted some last night and soaked some felt wads. They're very stiff (because they're now filled with the stiff lube) -- again, does this sound right? The ones sold by various vendors are always very goopy. If stiff is the right way for these things to be, they'll be alot less messy to use, so I'm hoping to hear that this all sounds correct.


June 13, 2005, 05:38 PM
I found these work better,easier,cheaper,biodregradable,more authentic than wonder wads. Just sharin' if ya wanna try it it's up to you. You can mix your own recipe I'll give you the basics. Beeswax and parifin wax melted and mixed with tallow. Cooled in a frypan lubricated so it doesn't stick. Make your own cutter with a stack tube for desired caliber. I use Beeswax, parafin, and Bore Butter. I found T/C 1000 Natural Lube Bore Butter to work the best. But you can use Crisco or any vegitable base lube you like. They work exceptionally well and you can make them as pliable or stiff as you like. Seasons and cleans/lubricates every shot. Load over powder behind ball or over the top of ball works well either way.

July 3, 2005, 03:09 PM
JNewell: Yes, the recipe I gave creates a stiff lubricant. Its consistency is a little softer than candle wax.
That stiffness helps stiffen the wad as well. A stiff wad will help scrape fouling from the bore.
I've used wads with lubricants that resulted in wads being wet (olive oil) to mushy (Crisco) to hard (canning paraffin). I still go back to the recipe I offered: 1 part canning paraffin, 1 part mutton tallow and 1/2 part beeswax, all parts by weight.
Lyman Black Powder Gold and SPG are very good too, but pricey. They are also not as stiff as the lubricant recipe above, which helps for the aforementioned reason.

September 10, 2005, 11:39 PM
Hi, Gatofeo;
I read your thread on the correct wool felt, and the part about maybe selling some of the large order. I am about to get into BP revolver shooting, and am getting ready to make and try lube pills and lubed wool wads, and try to determine which to use in loading my revolvers. I have gathered all the componants to make the pills and wads, including the brass tubing to make the cutters for .44 and .36 cal. so far I have everything but the wool felt, and the mutton tallow, which I am going to substitute with beef tallow. Would you consider selling a small amount of your felt, for me to try, so as to determine which kind of lube method to use?
Lowell Sites

September 11, 2005, 10:47 AM

September 12, 2005, 05:10 PM
Hiya Chubbo:
You'd do better to contact the lady listed above and see if she'll sell you a small sample. I plan to use all I have and am punching out wads for it on occasion.
Tell her that Gatofeo, whom she met in Little Rock last year, sent you.

November 18, 2005, 03:29 PM
Gatofeo , Ordered some felt from your lady friend on Friday and she said she would send it out on Tue. Got it today and it's great! Already cut out 220 wads for my .44. The felt was a strip that's 1/8" X 3 & 3/4" wide by 12 yards long for $10.00 including shipping. The felt is stiff and that's what I wanted but not quite as stiff as the wonder wads.The first thing I did was try to burn it and it wont burn, just turns slightly black but no burning at all.
I cut my first 128 wads fron a 11.5" long strip and I can get 6 wads across the 3&3/4" width. I already paid for the felt when you figure that 100 wonder wads cost $7.00 plus tax around here. I figure I should get about 1200 wads from this strip of felt :)
Thanks for the tip on this lady and the info. She is headed to India to visit family and friends and her other felt plants beginning next month I believe. Seem's like a nice lady to deal with. Mike

November 22, 2005, 08:40 PM
She is a very nice lady.
I met Asha last Christmas and spent half an hour with her, looking over her vast stock of felt products and listening to her.
She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. I visit my brother each Christmas in Little Rock, so I made arrangements to visit her operation.
She runs part of it out of her two car garage and has a bunch of felt in storage elsehwere, as I recall.
I saw all kinds of felt products, all 100 percent wool. Synthetic felt has taken over in the U.S. and it's hard to find the pure wool stuff anymore.
Among the products were sheets of wool felt, casters for under furniture legs, the felt cushion for piano key covers, polishing wheels of all shapes and sizes and a host of other products.
She was unaware that shooters had need of felt when I spoke with her but in the past year I'm sure she's received quite an education. :D
She's going back to India for a couple of months, to visit her family and the felt plant it owns and operates. So, if you've a mind to get some DuroFelt you should get it soon. Not sure when she's leaving or returning.
I'm visiting my brother in Little Rock again this year.
I'm also meeting a lady friend in Fort Smith. She's gonna get felt but it won't be the wool kind of felt! :evil:

December 22, 2005, 08:03 AM
Good post, LIKE the lube, bought out Dixie temporarily on mutton tallow and beeswax!

Talked to felt company,(Asha) did not like much the felt received (Soft) got harder/denser 1/8" felt, works better scraping i think! (Soaked in warm lube mix i call "Gatomix #1").

Will look up part #, denser felt if anyones interested!

December 22, 2005, 10:14 AM
That would be helpful, manyirons. I got some felt from them and it was a little too soft. Having the number that works for sure would save another experimental order. About buying Dixie out on the beeswax, is a bee-keeping supplier which offers beeswax in several different forms. I haven't priced it at either place, I have a large supply already, but I've been told it's considerably cheaper there (Dadant) than at some of the other suppliers. Might be worth checking on.


December 22, 2005, 10:44 AM

Looked at mail, Asha did not have an order#, copyied from mail;

I have 12" x 12" x 1/8" thick Felt Squares in 0.50 gm/c3 density and that might work for you. and;

The 1/8" and 3/16" thick felt hard density is 0.36 gm/c3 (SAE F-1).

So, denser/harder felt is; .050 gm/c3 against standard grade of 0.36 gm/c3. Will mail to Asha and request an order# for this.
Also got some of the denser in 3/16" for rifle, bought Gibbs .451 from Dixie, and 3/16" works better.

January 24, 2006, 02:47 PM
I received an email from the felt lady a couple of weeks ago. She's still in India. Expects to return the week of Feb. 6. Until then, I don't know if any of the DuroFelt orders are being processed. Just wait; she'll be back soon.

January 25, 2006, 01:42 AM
This might be sacrilege, but since all of you are buying up all the cowboy hats, so's you can look like truckdrivers, went to the lady's apparrel section, my local Goodwill, found a real wool overcoat, ankle length. About 1/16 inch thick felted wool, kinda like a Navy peacoat. Cost was 10 bucks, about 4 yds, at least, of material.

Tore off one pocket, saturated it, laid it out in the garage (35 degrees, today) punched out about 80 1/2 inch and 110 3/8 inch wads, half the pocket patch, about 5 X 10. Wads are still flexible at 25 degrees, now, do seperate when you grab one to load, do fill the chambers nicely, either .36 or .44.

Let you know how they do in practice. Bottom side is greasy, the fat cools under the wool, so that side will go up, can't miss it.

Sam Colt said to not use anything, from what I read, so mebbe we are trying to cure a problem that is not there. Some threads say when the gun wouldn;t turn anymore they would slosh it in a creek or a bucket of water, or pee on it to get back to shooting.



4v50 Gary
January 25, 2006, 02:04 AM
A used coat from a second hand story. Kudos to you George! :p

January 25, 2006, 02:22 AM

Hell, I couldn't find any hats, what could I do?

And yards of it means millions of punches, will be dead long before I run out of coat.

Wonder what the kids will say when they clean the house out, "What the hell is this coat fulla holes for. Dad wasn't shooting in the house, was he? Piss poor group, all over a square yard. But neat. Well, he couldn't make any 2 holes touch. Nah, throw the coat away, throw the guns away, they can't be very accurate."

Who cares what the hell they say? Mebbe they'll come on to this site and say make an offer, we were gonna get them melted. Treat them good , offer at least a hundred for the lot.:) :) :)

My kids aren't really that dumb. I don't think. Hell, mebbe they are.

Innyhoo, I'm having fun.



January 25, 2006, 06:31 PM

The wadcutters mentioned above are kinda expensive.

If you go to Harbor Freight, you will find a 9 pack, solid shank, hollow punches, 1/8 to 1/2 inch diameter. Regular 5.99, lately, at least till end of January, 2.99.
Nah, just looked at the ad, must have been the last ad. 5.99 for thr 9 pc set.

Used them yesterday, will punch 15 to 30 before they start falling out the slot, if you lube before you punch, come out in a column, easily peeled apart, if your felt is too thin for your liking, a felt hat, say, 1/16 or less, peel them off 2 at a time. and you can check there for a store locater, I had no idea they even had stores till I was told, and never dreamed there were so damn many. Probably 1 within 100 miles of anybody here.

You might have to take a slight burr out of the cutting end, a Dremel and a mounted stone, and seconds of work.

Store about 18 miles from me, been there several times, always buy too much.



October 25, 2006, 10:56 AM
Well I made me some .36 cal wads last night. Ordered some of the duro-felt. Very nice lady by the way. Had couple pounds of bees wax, parafin found at the canning section of supermarket, no luck on the mutton tallow.

Called several meat processing places and couldn't find any. Left a number with a couple incase they get some.

Decided to use Crisco as a substitute. 2 parts crisco, 2 parts parafin, 1 part bees wax. Melt it all down by placing a wide mouth mason jar in a pan of water.

Once melted, I poured the mix into little clear glass "crembrulee" dishes. (yes, I had to look up how to spell it)

Very happy with the results. Lots available, probably more than I will ever use.

Hammered out about 150 .36 caliber (3/8") wads, used the cat food can with just a tiny amount of lube. Placed the wads in the lube then the can in boiling water. Stir it with a chopstick. Easy to tell when the patches soak up a full load of lube. I stirred until they hardened to make sure they wouldn't stick together. Looks like they will work well. Now to get some time and run a few down range.

If you Need bees wax. I'm local to this place that sells it online.

The day I showed up, the family was making chocolate chip cookies. They twisted my arm and MADE me take a couple home.... Mmmmmm

Operated out of their house, nice mom & pop shop. Can't vouch for any of the honey or other products. Bees wax was cheap and plentiful.

If anyone has a supply of Mutton Tallow, I'd trade you for equal parts of bees wax.

October 26, 2006, 08:55 PM

December 30, 2007, 09:30 PM
ok Where da heck do i get a Wad Cutter. or punch. i have been looking on the internet. i guess i need .45 or 11mm to make for a .44 and .45. Whats the secredt where can i buy a good punch. How much do those things cost.

Roswell 1847
December 30, 2007, 09:51 PM
I bought a full set of wadcutter/hole punchers at Big Lots a couple of years ago. These are for punching holes in canvas or similar materials when installing grommets.

The set I got had about a dozen sizes.
If I can remember where I put it I'll dig it out and let you know if any are suitable for your use.

December 30, 2007, 10:03 PM
thank you thank you thank you

December 30, 2007, 11:06 PM
I got a set off ebay.3/8 to 3/4. Didn't cost much. I use 1/2 in for my ROA and 5/8 for my double barrel caplock .62.

January 10, 2008, 07:09 AM
Many thanks to Gatofeo for the information. I came across it last summer and finally got a chance to put the wads and lube to use a few days ago. The wads come out of the lube very stiff but aren't brittle or unworkable and are saturated with hardened lube. In a Uberti 1860 Army I was able to go through at least 4 cylinders more than before when I used commercial wads and a dry lube. It might have gone longer but that was when I had to stop for the day.

Using the new wads and lube in 45 Colt cartridges in a stainless Vaquero, the cylinder would get pretty stiff after 18 shots. I put 100 rounds through it the other day and it was still turning. Clean up was also easier.

All of this advantage for a cost that is a minute fraction of commercial wads, always having a source for the wads instead of running to the gun store, and so forth. And I like having more involvement with assembling the loads, cartridge and C&B both. That is part of the fun of black powder shooting for me. :D The next step is to try them in some 45-70 cartridges in a Rolling Block.

Regards, Jeff

January 10, 2008, 11:40 AM
Please post anything here regarding punches I have been all over West Palm Beach looking for anything but nothing PLEASE HELP I need punches also 1 for .44 and 1 for .36:banghead:

January 10, 2008, 11:56 AM
Harbor Freight sells a set for about $6. I just bought one two days ago.

January 10, 2008, 12:49 PM
Pancho funny thing is I live about 1.5 miles from a Harbor Freight store and was in there 2 days ago they said they didnt have anything like that when I saw your post I jumped on the web site found them and called over there and yup I just got back with a brand new set of 9 punches for 6 bucks lol thanks again.

January 10, 2008, 01:41 PM
I just got back on the forum after going out to the barn to check on what I bought and how much I spent and let you know. Glad you found out the best way.

January 10, 2008, 01:58 PM
I was there 2 days ago and was told by a assisstant manager that they dont sell anything like that. Guess thats why he is the Assisstant manager huh.

January 10, 2008, 09:48 PM
Whats these in the first post? €œ.36€ or €œ.44€ There is more of those and being no sort of computor wizard I have no clue.

2 years ago who ever this guy is/ was, was pretty informitive.. ol' long winded bastard that he is/was... ;-)

January 11, 2008, 12:39 AM
Macmac, You must check out the stickies at the top of the forum. Gatefeo is responsible for some of them especially the primer on C&B revolvers. As for his writing it looks like demons entered his computor.

Harve Curry
March 16, 2008, 05:27 PM
BTT to good to keep buried.
Opps didn't see it in the sticky above.
Seems good useful information for straight smokeless cartridges to.

March 16, 2008, 07:13 PM
Actually, I just got a new order. Same WONDERFUL comms and service.

Quickdraw McGraw
September 9, 2008, 08:22 PM
Thought I would say thanks to the folks posting all the usefull information! Keep up the good work. I'm currently looking for a set of punches, then I'll need to get the felt.

I got a used 1858 Pietta Remington New Army Brass framed revolver. I bought some bore butter to put over the balls to stop chain fires. What do you folks use? Would beeswax work?

Also, what the best size 44 balls to use in the 58 Rem New Army? Gun came with .457, bought a box of .454's, plus I see other sizes out there.

Checking out the felt website, apparently she has been selling to shooters, check it out here (!

Damn I thought reloading was addicting! :eek:

September 10, 2008, 01:05 AM
I order my virgin wool felt from an outfit called McMaster Carr,they are out of Cleveland. The wool felt is approximate 1/8 thick. Before I use my wad cutting attachment on the material, warm up some 1000 plus bore butter and lube up the wool.

Quickdraw McGraw
September 10, 2008, 07:01 PM
I got a set of hollow punches from Harbor Freight today and my felt will be here next week.

Question I have is when punching wads what do you guys put under the felt. I was thinking about a piece of scrap plywood or something similar. I'm thinking that something firm but not to hard to dull the punch.

September 11, 2008, 01:41 AM
I use a pine block; anything harder dulls my punch pretty quick. I use Gatofeo's wad/lube combo and can go well over 100 rounds in a 1851 navy without fouling trouble.

September 11, 2008, 09:42 AM
On my loading tool, I have a rubber puck set into the aluminum plate that I use. This saves the cutting edge from getting dull.

September 11, 2008, 10:35 AM
The punches from Harbor Freight sound like the way to go. The hollow punch set is only 4.99. What size are you using for the .44? 7/16 or maybe 1/2?

September 11, 2008, 08:49 PM
Rubber works fine. So do those semi-gel type cutting boards lots of places sell now. If you use wood (I do), make darned sure you are stamping into the end grain. You'll go through wood and dull the punch very quickly otherwise.

Quickdraw McGraw
September 11, 2008, 09:18 PM
The punches from Harbor Freight sound like the way to go. The hollow punch set is only 4.99. What size are you using for the .44? 7/16 or maybe 1/2?

I'm thinking the 1/2" punch but does anyone know for sure?

Stopped at the groc store this morning to get parafin. Kinda got a :scrutiny: look from the clerk. Guess I don't look like the jelly makin type :rolleyes: My beeswax should be here any day now and my felt will be here next week.

September 15, 2008, 01:52 AM
Does anyone know if the hammer type .38 caliber pistol wad punch from Buffalo Arms will work for our .36 Navies? I assume it would, but you know what they say about assuming?... I'm having one hell of a time finding a 3/8" hammer punch to make wads with. :(

EDITED: Ok, so I found the punch set offered by Harbor Freight, but Gatofeo says he uses a 7/16 punch for his 44-40 and a .45 caliber punch for his .44 C&B guns. Where have you all found a .45 caliber punch? (Not that I have a .44 caliber C&B pistol yet, but it'd be good to have just in case I buy one in the future.)

November 4, 2008, 04:30 PM
just cooked the first batch of wad lube.

mutton tallow(hard to get in the UK)
used lard (tends to be beef rendered fat over here)
instead mixed with (Bio diesel)
bio is a refined oil seed rape with good
cleaning properties.

canners parafin (also hard to get in the UK)

used unscented candles.

beeswax No problem.

Did a 2 parts lard/bio
2parts candle
1 part beeswax
seems to work ok as barrel fouling is minimal

also gun seems more accurate/my eyesight improving lol

will do more research and if easy to get STUFF works
aswell will post back

Fired 20 shots @50 yard target 1 1/4 inch group

February 7, 2009, 03:23 PM
I've experimentally substituted other ingredients in my Gatofeo No. 1 lubricant, but never found them nearly as good as the original:

Mutton tallow
Canning paraffin

I find references going back to the 1850s, of the British Army specifying mutton tallow to lubricate the bullets used in paper cartridges. I tend to think that Ol' Tommy knew what was good and stuck with it.
If beef or pork tallow were as good, I believe it would have been specified as well.
Of course, the Brtis may have specified mutton tallow to avoid religious problems with their Hindu or Muslim foreign troops, whose religion forbids them from eating cow or pigs. Biting off the end of the paper cartridge, to expose the gunpowder, would have constituted "eating" in their eyes.
One need only read about the Indian Uprising of 1857 and 1858 to delve into this subject. Fascinating reading, by the way.

Anyway, I've substituted deer, beef, pig and even turkey tallow for the mutton tallow, in small experimental batches. These result in inferior products.

I use canning paraffin, instead of old candles, because it's pure. Who knows what lurks in old candles, particularly those that are scented or colored. Canning paraffin is pure, slightly traslucent and unscented.

Beeswax is beeswax, as long as it's the real stuff. Much of what is sold as beeswax today is actually synthetic. It's not nearly as good as the real deal and results in a poorer lubricant.
Time was, the wax seals placed around the toilet base were made of beeswax. Not so anymore. From what I've observed in the past 10 years, they're all synthetic beeswax.
Look for real beeswax on the net, or at Renaissance Fairs, Mountain Man Rendezvous or big hobby shows. But ask if it's real; I've encountered "Beeswax" at these shows that is actually synthetic.

Mutton tallow is available from Dixie Gun Works. So is beeswax. Canning paraffin is found in most grocery stores in the housewares section, in one-pound blocks.

It may be a task to get the real ingredients, but it's well worth the effort.

February 7, 2009, 11:54 PM
I get my felt from Wally-World, and I got my punches from Harbor Frieght.

I cut my felt in a 3x3 patch and dip it in melted lube (beezwax and crisco) then freeze it till its hard, then punch my wads. I then put the wads in a cup with some flower or talc and give it a shake. the power sticks to the wads so the wads dont stick to each other.
Works great!

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