which lube to use


March 29, 2010, 10:40 PM
Hey all new user here

I was thinking about buying a new C&B revolver preferably an 1858 remington. I've read alot of the other threads and the only question i have is about the lube to put on the gun. I've heard that nautral lube like tallow and crisco or vegteable oils are best, but what about rem oil. I have tons of it and was wondering if it would work. Thanks to everyone

If you enjoyed reading about "which lube to use" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
March 30, 2010, 04:33 AM
I use wheel bearing grease. It's dirty but I've never had any problem with flashover and not hard to clean up. Remember the main purpose of the lube is to prevent the flash from the round you're firing from igniting adjacent chambers. This can turn your 6 shooter into a six shooter all at once. Vegetable oil and Rem Oil aren't viscous enough. You need a grease or similar substance to do this. I know people who have used Crisco successfully for years.

March 30, 2010, 04:45 AM
Howdy Smoke. I second Griz. I used to do WBTS reenacting and axel grease always worked for me. I see you are from Alabama. I am from South Carolina. In July, I think Crisco might run. Tallow might work nicely, though. But I might be worried about the salts in something like that from animals, or perhaps I am being overly worrysome. Back then they had to use lard and stuff. Today, axel grease is readily available and cheap. But then again, I am a proponent of self sufficiency so you might want to use tallow just to keep from depending on a store bought product. Try both and see what works best for you. I would not use something like breakfree or remoil to top off your loads. It would be too runny and I suspect you would have flashover problems, or the oil might seep past the bullet and ruin the powder.


March 30, 2010, 11:02 AM
I have used crisco in my C&B revolvers. It runs down the front of the gun in summer -- and that was while I was living in Connecticut.
Rem Oil is a good lube for modern guns, but for BP C&B you need something more solid, like bore butter or crisco. Liquid oils just won't work for the purpose. Half the purpose is to seal the cylinder against chain fires, the other half is to keep the fouling soft.
I wouldn't worry too much about using stuff with salt in it if it works. With BP you really ought to clean the gun thoroughly after you shoot it, and remove the lube as well as BP fouling.
For myself, I use those pre lubed felt discs. It is simply easier that way. IIRC they're called "Wonder Wads." If you use those you don't need to slather grease on front of the bullet.
However, both methods work and what you do is up to you ---just make sure you seal the cylinder so sparks can't get in!

March 31, 2010, 03:15 PM
Nothing to see here...


March 31, 2010, 09:46 PM
yeah crisco probably would run down here in alabama especially when you shoot and the gun gets hot. I never thought about axel grease i'll have to give it a try.

April 1, 2010, 10:11 AM
Natural Lubes like crisco and "bore butter" work ok for moisture protection, but make sure the gun is completely dry before you apply them as they do not displace water like a gun oil would.

A regular petroleum-based gun oil is fine for black powder guns as long as you completely remove it from the bore and cylinder before shooting, or else it will form a nasty sludge when mixed with black powder fouling.

April 1, 2010, 12:35 PM
I use the vegetable spray PAM (or a cheaper store version) on my Remington and Paterson. I spray it on the cylinder pin and it keeps the guns turning when Crisco or Bore Butter would not. I spray it down the barrel to keep it clean. I also spray it over the balls in the cylinder - it's thick enough to prevent chainfiring. Crisco disappears after the first shot, but PAM forms a film over the loaded ball.

Yeah yeah, I know, PAM belongs in the kitchen, people don't want to use baking ingredients in their guns, etc. But for some reason Crisco is OK.
I'm guessing that the ingredients in PAM aren't much different than those of Bore Butter. The problem is, Bore Butter doesn't list them.

Texas Moon
April 1, 2010, 02:49 PM
I use Rem-oil in the bore and chambers of my C&B revolvers.
Wipe it out before firing.
I don't trust the vegetable oils for rust prevention in the humid conditions here.

April 1, 2010, 05:11 PM
+1 What Texas Moon said.

p.s. On some cans of spray vegetable oil (PAM, et al) the ingredients have water listed....and if they don't list it as an ingredient I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's water in it albeit probably less than 1%.

April 1, 2010, 05:26 PM
I use PAM as a lube at the range only - never, ever as a long term (or even short term) rust prohibitor. For that, I use good old gunoil (RemOil, Hoppes, etc).

April 1, 2010, 05:27 PM


April 1, 2010, 06:23 PM
Are we talking lubes for preservation/storage or for over the mouths of cylinders?? I'm confused.
BTW...PAM or Crisco cooking spray is a spray form of an oil, combined with lecithin as natural greasing agent, an emulsifier, and a propellant such as food-grade alcohol, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide or propane. (from Wikipedia)

April 1, 2010, 07:34 PM
"Lube" has three functions when talking black powder revolvers: sealing the chambers to prevent crossfires, softening the powder combustion by-products (fouling) and rust prevention. As with almost any situation where we ask one product to multi-task they'll do one or two fairly well but not all three.

Crossfire prevention: You need a fairly heavy 'grease' like material that stays a bit flexible when cold and doesn't melt when hot. And it wouldn't hurt if it softened fouling while it was at it. Bore Butter and Crisco tend to fail at temperature extremes but do both jobs fairly well in the middle. Axle grease is better at the temperature extremes, does provide good crossfire protection but isn't particularly good at softening fouling. And it's not as user friendly as the others. The best product for this application seems to be the homemade 'lube pills' made with various mixtures of beeswax, tallow and other things.

Fouling softening: Again, good reviews for Bore Butter and Crisco. The mineral oil based lubricants shine here (pun intended), especially when used in one of the homemade pill mixtures. They are especially useful in that they are not subject to the low distillate problem of incomplete combustion that causes the dreaded petroleum based oils turning into tar. But their liquid state makes them hard to use for this job. Lubed felt wads used between the ball and the powder with all manner of homemade lube recipes are very effective. Beeswax, vegetable oil, mineral oils and many other things can be used here.

Rust prevention: This is the place where Bore Butter and Crisco come up a bit short. Like the vegetable oil lubes they depend on displacing water and keeping oxygen away from the metal surface. If applied to truly dry surfaces, and carefully worked (heat is often applied) to cover well, they can do an admirable job. The mineral oil based lubes are much easier to apply and can actually absorb and displace standing water. The low distillate petroleum oils also do a good job and are easy to apply; they do have the disadvantage of partially burning in the combustion gasses, so that they turn into a tar-like substance that's hard to remove. If you use these lower distillate oils be sure to remove them well before shooting - alcohol is good for cleaning them out.

April 1, 2010, 11:29 PM
What is the general feeling on using "WONDER SEALS". Reason I ask is last night while ordering parts and pieces from Rydon I saw them there and for the price thought I'd give them a try. I have always used Butter Bore over the ball with no problems. Just thought I'd ask.

April 2, 2010, 01:12 AM
I don't believe that grease over the ball prevents multiple ignitions, because I don't believe that multiiple ignitions begin at the front.
I've experienced three separate incidents of multiple ignition, back in the 1970s with a cheap .44 revolver.
I used Crisco over a .451 ball that left a ring of lead when rammed and STILL got multiple ignitions.
Rather, I believe that the flame of a shot entered through the nipple and ignited the other chamber(s). Shortly after these incidents, of which the last one ruined the pistol, I began pinching the caps into a slight elliptical shape, to better cling to the nipple. I also began using greased felt wads between ball and powder.
Since beginning these practices, and using a larger ball, in a variety of handguns I have yet to have another incident.
I believe that the use of greased wads between ball and powder, .380 or .454 or .457 inch balls, and caps pinched into an ellipsis all combine to keep multiple discharges at bay.
I use nothing but natural greases or oils in my revolvers. Olive oil is a good lubricant. The lubricant I concocted years ago, and named after me as Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant, is too hard as a grease, but wonderful as a bullet and wad lubricant.
I use CVA Grease Patch as a light grease, but I believe it's been discontinued. If so, I'll use Bore Butter or Crisco for greasing cylinder pins and the like.
Search the internet for my posts, "So you Want a Cap and Ball Revolver?" and "Proper Use of a Cap and Ball Revolver" for detailed information.
Been shooting cap and ball revolvers since about 1970. What I've learned and been taught are in those posts.

April 2, 2010, 06:40 AM
Smokepole14 said:
"...the only question i have is about the lube to put on the gun. I've heard that nautral lube like tallow, crisco, or vegteable oils are best, but what about rem oil."

This is what's confusing me...he's asking about what to use ON the gun and talks about tallow or Crisco which is not used ON it but over the mouths of the chambers...then asks about Rem oil which is used normally to lubricate and protect the metal exterior and interior of the gun. So what exactly is the OP wanting to know about...metal protection and lubrication or preventing chain firing??
I don't know anyone uneducated enough to load a BP gun and then spray Remoil into the chamber(s)...although I'm sure it has happened! :banghead:

April 2, 2010, 07:13 AM
Gatofeo - with respect, just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it can't happen. Please note that you state you used Crisco and a proper fitting ball to seal the chamber; do you see the irony of taking an effective preventive measure and then claiming that it can't happen because it didn't happen? Consider not using the grease to seal the chamber and a ball that doesn't shave a full ring of lead; many people have done so with the likely result of a chain fire, and posted those results here and in other forums. Chain fires can be initiated from the front of the chamber OR the rear; all it takes is an open path for the hot gas.

But this thread isn't about chain fires, it's about lubrication. I'll add my voice to the many who have used your recipe and had excellent results. The sport owes you many thanks for sharing it.

Bluehawk - the OP is confused also, hence the apparent contradiction in his question. That's not unusual for new practitioners - I was confused by all this stuff once, as I sure you were also, once upon a time. That's why I took the time to write a long post about the different reasons and methods for lubrication. Hopefully it cleared up some of the confusion.

Texas Moon
April 2, 2010, 09:43 AM
I've been following Gatofeo's advice. So far things are great.
Here's what I do:
Lube up felt wads using the beeswax/tallow/ canning wax recipe. These get loaded under the ball.
When making the lube I also make some with less canning wax and added olive oil. I call this my "Soft Lube". I use this on chamber mouths and on the arbor pin during shooting .
This goes in a small tupperware type covered bowl that goes in the range box.
Ice cream sticks make nice disposable applicators.
After shooting, the guns get broken down, cleaned, and baked in a warm oven.
When the parts come out of the oven I slather them with vegetable oil, including the chambers and bore. At the moment I'm using peanut oil. Only reason for that is I found an old gallon jug of it and got it for free.
During re-assembly most of the oil is wiped off. I also remove it using a cleaning rod from the barrel bore and chambers.
Then I'll apply Rem-Oil to the bore and chambers.
I also apply a very small amount of Brownell's Action magic graphite grease to the trigger sear, the hand axle, and under the hammer were the mainspring bears.
On final assembly I'll re-apply "soft lube" to the arbor, hand, and alignment notches on the back of the cylinder.
Before initial firing a few quick passes of a clean patch down the bore and chambers removes the Rem-Oil.

April 2, 2010, 02:31 PM
A few thoughts:

1.Ballistol works well for me for protection. Ballistol/water works well for cleaning.

2. SweetShooter, when applied by the directions, is A#1 for protection, but it is very expensive. The only thing I do different than the directions is, instead of heating the metal with a hair dryer, I just put the oven on 200 degrees and heat the metal that way. Or in an Oklahoma summer, just lay the parts on a tray in the sun.

3. For chamber sealing, Bore Butter works great in cooler temps. Like Gatefeo, I wish CVA still made Grease Patch as it stayed firmer in hot weather. For hot weather, you can melt Bore Butter and bees wax together to get a consistency that will stay firm.

4. I've never tried it, but a lot of folks have suggested white lithium grease for chamber sealing. It sounds contridictory to me to use petroleum products on BP firearms, but a lot of folks swear by it. I do plan on getting some before EOT.

5. A lot of folks swear by Wonder Wads. I can't argue with them, but I don't use them. I don't think they carry enough lube to keep everything running smooth, and it's just another expense in loading. But they are a good product. If they make you happy, then that makes me happy.

Here's a link to a corrosion prevention test done on another website. Based on their experiments, Ballistol and something called Lehigh are the best products for corrosion prevention.


Foto Joe
April 3, 2010, 03:23 PM

That link provides some VERY telling information for all of us.

Until recently I was using RemOil simply because that's what I could get my hands on. It works okay but the cylinder arbor directly below the chamber would get pretty caked up, the Balistol keeps that down.

The other thing that I noticed with the Balistol is on brass frame guns. My '51 Conf. Navy recoil shield is a pain to get clean with BP gel. I've had to resist the "that's good enough" temptation ever since I started shooting it. I even used my daughters dishwasher once, not worth the trouble. But...Balistol 50/50 water and the gunk falls right off the brass, I'm sold!!


April 3, 2010, 05:41 PM
First I'd like to say I use soap and water to clean my 58 Remy. Half hour in my toaster oven at 200 degrees to dry and Break Free to protect it. So far I haven't had any rust at all. For protection against chain fire I use grease cookies made from 50/50 crisco and beeswax under a .454 ball that shaves a ring of lead. I'll may have to adjust that recipe this summer. I have to watch my nipples (#10 CCI) because I still have one fall off now and then even after pinching them a little.
That said, I'm wondering how long I can leave my gun loaded before the grease cookie degrades the powder? Anyone know?

April 3, 2010, 05:58 PM
Search it on here - there is a guy who's experiemented with loading long term but I think he slopped grease over the front of the ball instead of using greased patches.

April 3, 2010, 06:16 PM
Yep seems I remember reading somewhere on this subject, but these old brain cells just can't recall when or who wrote the article. Actually I may not have too much to worry about. I'm not thinking of storing it loaded for an extended period of time. More like 2-3 weeks.

April 3, 2010, 06:37 PM
Back when my '60 was the only big bore pistol I owned I kept it loaded for up to 6 months by the bedside. It always fired. I know it's not the best choice for home defense, but it was all I had. I don't want to start a new arguement on the subject.

Anyway, I just used Bore Butter over the bullets.

A friend once, on a bet, loaded a '51 Navy, put bear tallow over the bullets, and soaked it over night in a bucket of water. All six fired, and he won the bet.

For long term loaded storage, here's what I'd do now. After charging, remove the cylinder and drip melted beeswax over each bullet to fully seal the chamber. After capping, do the same over the caps and nipples. No lube 'twixt powder and ball.

April 3, 2010, 07:50 PM
Wow...I don't do any of what you guys are doing...I simply load roundballs with grease over them or conicals with grease on them and no grease over the chamber mouths...never had any problems. Cleaning has always been with hot, soapy water and oiled with plain old Hoppes gun oil or lately Rem Oil, whether it's a BP rifle, pistol, or revolver and all have stayed rust free for over 30 years. I guess I've been doing it wrong all these years. :banghead:

April 3, 2010, 10:44 PM
Yup Bluehawk, those rust free guns are absolute proof you've been doin' it wrong all these years.;)

I'm not sure there is any absolute right way for percussion guns. And I'd reckon the only absolute wrong way would be to use smokeless powder.:eek:

There's lots of ways to skin a cat. If the skin comes off then whatever way you tried works. Some may be easier, some may be harder. But if your gun goes BANG, it doesn't lock up with fouling, and it doesn't rust away in storage, then keep on keepin' on.

A friend of mine dips his revolvers(grips removed) in a 5 gallon bucket of WD-40 after cleaning, then hangs them by a coat hanger to dry. Sounds like a bad thing to me, but it works great for him.

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