BIGIRON Wads with Gatofeo Lube.


September 6, 2006, 03:42 PM
The notion of placing rigid, lubricated felt wads between the powder and ball in a revolver chamber arose in the 19th Century and was reported by Elmer Keith who learned his revolver shooting from old western gunmen. Gatofeo (See Stickies) has experimented with felt wads and particularly, with a specially formulated lubricant now widely and properly known as Gatofeo Lube. BIGIRON Barrel Works send me some of their .44 revolver wads which are pressure impregnated with the Gatofeo Lube.
I checked them out against my experiences with unlubricated bullets and ball seated directly on top of the powder and simultaneously with the standard commercial wonder wads. The revolver is a Uberti Remington that is reasonably accurate with both projectiles but shows a tendency to do its best shooting when there is very little fouling in the bore. It will shoot a chamberfull with fine accuracy but generally needs cleaning between reloads for its best work. ( with overball lubricant or no lubricant at all)
I chose a 30 grain charge of Goex fffg for the 180 grain traditional bullets cast from a Dixie scizzor mould and the speer .457 balls. With the Bigiron/Gatofeo wads in place the bullet load absolutely filled the chamber and required a great deal of compression for adequate seating. Swiss Black powder is denser and the same volume of would probably not allow seating deep enough for the cylinder to rotate. (Swiss thrown from a measure calibrated for goex is several grains heavier.)

This revolver will foul up quickly when loaded with no under powder wad. The barrel is grimed and caked with hard fouling after six rounds with or without over ball grease/ lube of whatever kind and actually fouls inside and out quicker when lube is used. The six shot group in the above picture is not untypical of my best offhand work with this revolver loaded with bullet or ball. After shooting, I inspected the bore and found no accumulation of hard fouling and the rifling sharply visible from breach to muzzle. After 18 rounds of bullet and ball loads, the appearance of the bore had changed little with perhaps a small amount of dark fouling lying up against the lands. More fouling accumulates in the bore from a single bullet or ball loaded directly over the powder than from the full 18 rounds I shot with this wad.
Commercial wonder wads are far less rigid than the BIGIRON product and consequently , a bit harder to load flat over the powder. For this reason, I used two such wads to assure full bridging of the chamber. The second wad invariably seated flush with the powder column. After firing six rounds and then 12, the bore was markedly clearer than it would have been with no wad at all. Nevertheless, patches of hard fouling were visible in the bore and it was much more fouled than with the BI/Gatofeo product.

the five round group pictured above was shot at the end of the test sting with the BIGIRON wads and is the best offhand or bench group I have ever laid in with this revolver. There is a strong element of LUCK in the making of that group. Had I loaded in the traditional manner and failed to clean the barrel between loadings, the bore would have been quite incapable of any degree accuracy after shooting this many rounds. The bore cleaned up with a pass or two of a spit-moistened patch and this required less effort than the single unpatch ball or with the loads using wonderwads.

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September 6, 2006, 05:58 PM

BOSS says THANKS!!! Itsa good piece a writin!

September 6, 2006, 06:05 PM
I now know without any doubt at all that Gatofeo was not exagerating about his prefered loading method,felt wads and lube. Never doubted him a bit but seeing is believing even more.

Flintlock Tom
September 6, 2006, 06:21 PM
Thanks for the great write-up.
I'm a convert now, I'll try them at my first opportunity.

September 6, 2006, 06:29 PM
For those that are interested, check out the links in my signature. :)

September 7, 2006, 07:45 AM
Beat me to er! link;

FELT cause theys vegie wads too.

September 12, 2006, 04:49 PM
Tha BOSS wanted me ta mention that theys a THICKER wad fer those real problem guns, tha 1/8 inchers gots somethin like TWENTY times tha weight a lube ya find in them BLUNDERwads.

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