Grease Wads...Bullet Lube...


October 29, 2009, 04:47 AM
I was wondering...

Is there any History of Lubricant-Wads, such as thin Bees Wax Lanolin, or other saturated Cloth discs, being used in straight walled Metallic Cartridge?

Being either on top of the Powder when Powder is bulky enough to be compressed, or, adhered to the base of the Bullet?

Granted, the few grains such will weigh, would count as ejecta, Ballistics wise...which usually would not matter.

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Marlin 45 carbine
October 29, 2009, 05:03 AM
there is for black powder guns both pistol and rifle, front stuffers and cartridge guns.

October 29, 2009, 05:47 AM
Lubed wads are often used with blackpowder cartridges and muzzle loaders, as they help reduce powder fouling in the bore of BP loads.

October 29, 2009, 02:23 PM
People shooting in the 45-70 in France do use the lube pills with both BP and Smokeless.
In the smokeless loads they often add semolina to fill the case, seperating it from the powder with a paper disc. Top with a lube pill and then seat the bullet.

With the front stuffer's it is a given. I use them with my cap and ball revolvers.

October 29, 2009, 04:45 PM
Interesting...thank you all!

'Filler' being used with Smokeless, should allow a mechanical stabilization of a Lube-Wad.

And, of course, one takes into consideration the weight of the filler and the Wad, considering them to be part of the overall Weight of ejecta.

I am presently loading .38 Special, with 158 Grain Semi-Wadcutters, full charge (well, 20.7 grains anyway, which is all that will fit if I wish for standard OAL), Black Powder.

I made some thin Lube-Wads, and placed those between Powder and Bullet, but, for having the same OAL, and compression of Powder, I had to reduce the charge very slightly.

This got me to wondering about the use of such Wads in 'Smokeless' loadings.

Probably, the Wad could be adhered to the Bullet Base quite securely, if the ('clean') Bullet were heated and the Wad melted to it's base....thus allowing a Lube Wad to be used without the use of filler.

October 30, 2009, 02:19 PM
The late gun writer Elmer Keith (1899 - 1984) used original Sharps rifles as a young man in Montana and Idaho.
I recall him detailing the loading process for cartridges for these guns, noting that the old-timers loaded their cartridges the same way. Presumably, he learned from some of these old-timers, as he knew a few buffalo hunters who were old men when he was young.
He said they'd measure black powder into a primed case, add a cookie of tallow (deer or antelope tallow, as I recall) and then seat a paper-patched lead bullet on top of this grease cookie.
He also spoke of using felt wads soaked in tallow, or a combination of tallow and beeswax, for use in cap and ball revolvers between the ball and powder, and in cartridge cases between the lead bullet and black powder.
Keith's writings are the earliest reference I have found to the use of greased felt wads in the cap and ball revolver.
However, Keith knew a number of Civil War veterans in the early 20th century (he started carrying a Colt 1851 Navy when he was 14) in Montana. They showed him how to load his cap and ball revolver. Presumably, they showed him how to make and use the greased felt wads of which he was so fond.
I've been shooting cap and ball sixguns since about 1970. I've found that the greased wool felt wad, lubricated with tallow, keeps fouling to a minimum and allows for better accuracy.
Keith typically used greased wads, or a cookie of tallow, when he assembled black powder cartridges. I'm no student of target shooters of the 19th century, but I believe that they also used greased wads or cookies of grease between bullet and powder in their finely made rifles.
Hope this helps.

October 30, 2009, 06:07 PM
Thanks Gatofeo,

That was a nice read!

Jim Watson
October 30, 2009, 08:56 PM
At one time there was some support for graphite wads under jacketed bullets in smokeless cartridges. But one reporter said they increased chamber pressures out of proportion to their weight and thickness.

There is (or was) a company making sheets of wax to be used to cut wads for cast bullets; the CF Ventures "soft gas check."

I think it was Mike Venturino who pulled bullets from some period cartridges and found wax wads as their only lubricant, no grease grooves in the bullets.

Grease cookies are falling out of favor with BPCR target shooters; a good lube in the grooves or a paper patch and a blow tube or wiping rod give better accuracy.

October 30, 2009, 11:12 PM
Hi Jim Watson,



For now anyway, I'm strictly Hand Gun loading/re-loading.

Probably will be split about even as for Black Powder Cartridge, and Smokeless.

And...only a few Cartridge-kinds at that.

Lots to learn!

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