wonder wads


pierre bouchard
August 24, 2008, 10:32 AM
Just a question:

One talks a lot about the use of bore butter or Crisco over the chambers. But, instead, what about the use wonder wads ? I use them all the time and I find them more practical than bore butter... the cleaning is easier.

I guess it is maybe a case of historical authenticity, correct ? But I want to make sure with you that the use of wonder wads is as safe as bore butter.

If you enjoyed reading about "wonder wads" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
August 24, 2008, 10:37 AM
I use them with my Old Army. I like to load the ball so it is just below flush on the face of my cylinder. I don't use cream of wheat as a filler, so I put enough powder to seat properly. It works out to be about 35 gr with a felt wad.

August 24, 2008, 11:57 AM
What would make you think Bore Butter or any other grease is historically authentic? Can you imagine Civil War officers with a grease soaked pistol in their holster? Or them reloading with grease in the middle of a battle?

August 24, 2008, 12:01 PM
My 23 year old Pietta '58 NMA likes them & tends to produce it's best acuracy with a lubed wad under the ball but my 26 year old Pietta '60 Army & my 1 year old Pietta '58 NMA with 5-1/2" barrel seems to shoot better with just some grease over the ball than to use the wads.

I've found out yesterday that there is no room for a Wad in my chambers when I use my 220gr bullets.

August 24, 2008, 12:29 PM
I discovered that with my old army too. Since I'm loading for hunting, I wanted max powder with the 220 gr Lee hollow point. The bullets are pre-lubricated and fit tight in the chambers so chain firing isn't a concern.

August 24, 2008, 12:52 PM
Try some lube pills, they work great!

August 24, 2008, 01:56 PM
Historically, beeswax was used as a bullet lubricant in cap and ball revolvers.
I know I've read a contemporary account that mentions the conical bullet being dipped in melted beeswax before the paper cartridges were placed in their little wooden blocks and wrapped in waxed paper.
It may have been mentioned in the report written by Charles Dickens (yes, that English author) when he visited the Colt's plant in New Hartford in the 1850s.
The earliest reference for greased wads I've found is Elmer's Keith's writings. But since Keith was taught how to load cap and ball revolvers by Civil War veterans (circa 1912) perhaps they showed him the value of a greased, felt wad twixt ball and powder.
Keith doesn't say where he learned the practice, but he much preferred greased felt wads instead of lubricant over the balls.
When using conical bullets, you must sacrifice powder to accommodate the space taken by a greased felt wad. Since conical bullets already reduce the amount of powder that may be used, you end up losing even more velocity.
For conical bullets, it's best to either smear bullet lubricant into their grease grooves (if so designed) before loading or smear lubricant over the conical bullet after seating.
I've yet to find a conical bullet as accurate as a ball of proper diameter (.380 for the .36s and .454 or .457 for the .44s, depending on chamber diameter).
I don't hunt deer or similar game but if I did I'd use a conical bullet because of its greater weight and energy.
Balls work fine for me, as I only want to perforate tin cans or paper, or the occasional cottontail rabbit.
You may wish to read my long-winded article on use of the cap and ball revolver in this site. It includes a formula for the best black powder lubricant I've yet to find.
This lubricant recipe has been named Gatofeo No. 1 on the net. I blush but accept the honor.
You may also order Gatofeo No. 1 bullet lubricant from a gunsmith in Ohio if you'd rather not make your own. An internet search should find him.
I've been away from the message boards for a couple of years for personal reasons. I'll check in occasionally.

August 24, 2008, 02:59 PM
guilty of using both. wonder wad and greese on top. historicly in correct or not. This is what i do and i often find that with a warm water soak and running 2-3 patches afterwards im done. So i will continue to do both. My accuracy at the range and ease of cleaning pays off.

.38 Special
August 24, 2008, 03:01 PM
I love Wonder Wads and use them in just about everything.

August 24, 2008, 03:21 PM
Not using filler, grease or wonder wads leads me to wonder whether or not there was a relatively higher rate of chain fires in the old days or during battle, especially if loading with less than precision made cast round balls? :rolleyes:

August 24, 2008, 03:35 PM
I lube up a swath of wool felt material with natural lube 1000 plus bore butter and cut my own.

August 24, 2008, 03:54 PM
Without being there and having a lack of knowledge of how it was i. Do not remember where but i do recall reading somewhere. That the men used to spit on the fronts of the chambers to wetten any powder. Now i really dont know how true this is as it seems to me that it would require a lot of spit. Same time i heard of coating the balls with bees wax. Then out in the field they would just load them up. The beeswax would be forced out or on top of the ball. That and the ball was already coated with it. That one i am more to believe.

Mike 56
August 24, 2008, 10:40 PM
I make my own wads and lube pills ( grease cookies) homemade 1/8 inch wads are so much than Wander wads. Lube pills also work well and they are cheaper and easier to make.



August 25, 2008, 02:01 AM
K.A.T. and Mike 56, also along the same line what Gatofeo said... got the right idea...I have found lube pill to be the best product buy far to make or buy. When was the last time anyone shot lets say 200 balls without cleanin yur rev? Lets say 100 rounds. I don't know hw many times I have mentioned it here but apparently no body believes me, or are too lazy to try um:D Jus kiddin' folks.
Make um and try it, never like wooly wads, started with Crisco (in the Desert), Used runny Bore butter...then wax mixed lube cut out to .44,.36, .31calibers, parafiin makes it as stiff as you want, bolwax/beeswax makes it more plyable...and both carry you favorite lube, mine is Olive oil/soy oil.
If you make just buy some let me know. Call on Rifle Wayne in Voy his wife sells um.


Mike 56
August 25, 2008, 06:47 AM
I make my pills using one part paraffin wax one part bees wax and one part Crisco they stay firm don't melt. I have been using mine over the powder but others say they use them over the balls. How do you use the pills.


August 25, 2008, 03:58 PM
Place them between the powder and ball. I like rifle to make um and I like to shoot um.

August 26, 2008, 08:37 AM
The possibles shop sells some wool fiber /lubricant impregnated wads that have worked much better than wonder wads for me. The barrel stays clean for extended firing. The same is true of some wads that were available a while back impregnated with Gatefeo lube.
Without wads, the ony way I can shoot accurately is to clean the barrel after each cylinder full. The over-ball lubricant is widely thought to prevent flashover chain fires. With properly fitting caps and bullets/balls, I have not had any chain fires with extensive shooting of unlubed projectiles. Accuracy does not suffer from omitting the lube nor does the lube slow fouling buildup in the barrel or elsewhere on the gun. On the contrary, the revolver tends to gunk up much more rapidly with the addition of various commercial overball lubes.

Elbert P . Suggins
August 26, 2008, 02:08 PM
I watched a YouTube video of some guy in Europe who was demonstrating loading a C and B and he actually put a big smear of BoreButter over the powder and than he pressed home the round ball. I tried this and I had ignitions 30% of normal and one ball actually fell out ten feet in front of the barrel. He surely must have tried it before he made the video. It always contaminates the powder so I don't if he was intentionally pulling every viewers leg or what. But he tricked me into trying it. I felt like an idiot. I do however smear extra borebutter on the top of the wad before I ram it down and than follow up with the ball. This has always worked for me.

English Bob
August 26, 2008, 03:18 PM
Sounds like he's an idiot doing that! Sure putting a smear of Wonderlube over the ball is fine...in fact it's obligatory in most official comps, but never straight onto the powder....that's just plain daft.

August 26, 2008, 04:23 PM
There are some rather famous 'misfeasance' videos about. Two that come to mind: a program on the cable outdoor sports channel in which a black powder 'expert' loads the wonder wads ON TOP OF THE BALL, and one that finally got pulled from YouTube in which a self-proclaimed expert charged the pan, closed the frizzen, put the hammer on full cock and THEN poured the powder in the muzzle and rammed the ball down. AND THEN he looked down the barrel!

August 27, 2008, 10:17 PM
id save the wads for shot loads. one over powder an one over shot w about 25 grains pyro p works excellent at up to 15 feet. i just use paper cartridges for rb loads and have a 12 cc syringe (no needle duh,) full of bore butter so i can squirt a nice small bead where the ball and cylinder touch so there is not an excess to gunk up the gun... and no mess on your fingers. being kind of runny, bore butter works good for this, mix of .5 oz beeswax and 1.2 oz olive oil works well too.

August 28, 2008, 12:18 AM
Wonder Wad between 22 gr. 3 F and .454. R.B. (no Filler) works great. Using lube over the ball gets a little messy, but both methods work.

August 29, 2008, 02:38 PM
thats something i couldn figure out when i first got my 58'... when shootin rb do you completely fill the rest of the cylinder w/lube even if its only say a 15-20 grain load? well i never figured that one an jus filled it up completely until i ran out of rb cause i only got one box, after that i had been shootin 200g conicals for the last yr. now i have just got a rb mold i use a syringe an just put a bit of lube in.. minimal amount really. but when the wonder wads get here today ill try em out, if they are good ill order this pack of 1000 dry for 26$ an lube em up myself. in my opinion its worth it to pay for the pre cuts cause i don't have a punch an would spend more than id save gettin stuff together......( less i make my own punch:rolleyes: Off to make a new tool!!!)

August 29, 2008, 03:08 PM
Dosent matter to me i always put lube on top of the ball. I have found it is so easy to clean up the barrel when you have lube on top of the balls as well as behind. in fact i dont use wonder wabs i use fiber wads. they are so cheaper 16.99 for 1000 at cabelas


August 29, 2008, 03:31 PM
ooh! i forgot about those. i meant to get some of those in my last order!!! they would be excellent for shot loads lol. but do you use them with lube on top of the ball too, and the wad as kind of a gas check? or just one or the other?

August 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
you got it.

lube on the top. Fiber wad on the bottom. With the powder and explosion behind. pretty much gives a good seal and cleans all fouling out of the barrel. Fouling that is caused by the bullet. Not the powder. Ever since i started doing this. Lead in the barrel is non existant. I even use these in cartridges.

August 29, 2008, 06:07 PM
did you often get leading if you didnt lube enough.... or had too hot of a load for soft lead... pretty good idea though... jus got a raise an more hours at the job so i plan on gettin a chrony an ill put some of those fiber wads in the order too with the extra money. btw i just made up about 100 lube pills, takes no time at all, and with a little baby powder on them in an altoids can i imagine it would make for quite a funny prank

August 29, 2008, 06:38 PM
first time i shot a whole bunch of rounds through one of my guns i put some hot soapy water through the barrel. I then used a clean dry patch and pushed it through the barrel very tightly. When i looked at the patch carefully there were traces of lead on the patch careful inspection of the barrel showed some small signs around the rifleing of the barrel. After that is when i started using the fiber wads and lubing on the top as well. I did the same thing. However now i only get fired black powder residue. The rifeling looks good sharp edges not any leading i have been using it ever since. weather loaded heavy or not. No problems using this way. Makes for a very consistant load after many shots. Same time assures i can go longer without having to stop to clean.

August 29, 2008, 11:00 PM
you dont happen to have a neat trick like that to keep the cylinder from binding up after prolonged shooting from powder residue

August 29, 2008, 11:08 PM
Nope i wish i did. Happens all the time. Though i once thought that if i took a 1/8 inch piece of felt and siliconed it in between the chambers on the cylinder what would the powder residue due. On colts it always seems to gather up on the front of the arbor shaft. Would even a small piece of sheet metal on the cylinder between the chamber and the arbor deflect the powder residue to go outword rather than downward. Those are the things that would be neat to try. Another thing i once thought of was a small piece of sheet metal at the top right of the hammer and cylinder. After you fired the revolver and pulled back the hammer if a piece of caps was sticking out it would deflect off the piece of sheet metal outward rather than go around the cylinder. Those are the things we should be looking into. I once heard the cylinder thing was looked into. Someone posted a patent on changing or adding something to a colt to deflect the spent caps. However you gotta think that right when everyone started to figure these guns out. They changed to cartridge guns and made the c&b a part of history.

August 30, 2008, 12:09 AM
so that leaves plenty to tinker with... are the ruger OA any better far as cylinder not binding? i think they quit makin them but they have improvements off rem 1858...on a black hawk frame i think... might be good to look an see if they overcame these problems at all. i would like too look into improving cap deflecting w/out ruining the guns beauty though. for now i just aim for the sky between shots

August 30, 2008, 07:21 AM
I have a'51 colt .44 I use vaseline on the cylinder pin, and fired as many as 30 shots, and have no bind up problems. I keep hearing that you should not use any petroleum product in a BP gun. Maybe vaseline has a different composition or something, but it does work, and rinses off readily with the hot water clean up process. I have also used it for for years now on breach plugs as my anti-seize, and have no problems with gum up.

Mike 56
August 30, 2008, 07:44 AM
Shultzhaus, I don't think you can argue with results. I have also heard of guys using Vasoline for over the ball lube. I had problems with rust after cleaning my black powder guns when i lube with Bore Butter or bristol. I started hoseing them down with W-D40 after cleaning then wipe them down good with a dry rag then i apply Bore Butter. No more rust problums.


August 30, 2008, 08:06 AM
neither Vaseline or paraffin wax have the negative effects generally associated with petroleum based products. normally i use some of the bore butter i have left and shooting 25-30g 777 can go like you say 30- most often about 50 shots though, try it. also if you just take the cylinder out an wipe the cylinder pin off with a wet q tip or two and put some more bore butter on. only takes a sec and really helps.

August 30, 2008, 11:04 AM
Hornady one shot lube. After i clean my guns i spray the outsides with them. Even the insides of the cylinders and barrel just one good coat. I have found that Hornady lube dries and when it does it does a pretty good job of protecting the gun.

Mike 56
September 1, 2008, 04:30 PM
I load my 58 on a bench loader every other time i load a cylinder i use a q-tip for a cleaning rod. I push a small patch with Go Joe hand cleaner on it though the cylinder pin hole to clean it. I also clean the pin with hand cleaner and relube with bore butter.

If you feel your gun is leading up load a few target loads with grits for filler cleans the barrel right up.


September 1, 2008, 05:34 PM
Petrolatum (Vaseline), paraffin waxes (micro-crystalline paraffin waxes) and mineral oil all appear to be related substances.

Since they are all derived from petroleum, the fact that they don't react negatively with black powder is a characteristic that they all share.
Bore butter/wonder lube contains these and now we know that Vaseline does too and is safe to use.

Petroleum jelly, petrolatum or soft paraffin [1] is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons (with carbon numbers mainly higher than 25)...


Mineral oil or liquid petrolatum is a by-product in the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It is a transparent, colorless oil composed mainly of alkanes (typically 15 to 40 carbons) [1] and cyclic paraffins, related to white petrolatum.

Microcrystalline waxes are a type of wax produced by de-oiling petrolatum,

September 2, 2008, 02:51 AM
Make or buy some Lube Pills...I knowe you have seen these mentioned.
Contact Wayne on http://Voy.com/60048/ to buy some. or PM me for a recipe to make yur own. Ido shoot all day usin' um.


September 2, 2008, 02:59 AM
Make or buy some Lube Pills...I know you have seen these mentioned.
Contact Wayne on http://Voy.com/60048/ to buy some. or PM me for a recipe to make yur own. I do shoot all day usin' um.


If you enjoyed reading about "wonder wads" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!