Cap n Ball Lubing


December 23, 2010, 07:43 PM
I just purchased a Pietta 1858 Buffalo with a 12" barrel. I am hoping to prevent as much fouling as possible to maintain the accuracy of the 12" barrel. I bought the pre-lubed wads for it and now I am trying to figure out if you have to use a lubed wad and lube on top of the ball or just one or the other. I have also read on other THR posts about lubing the firing pin to prevent stickyness and was hoping to get input as to wheter this is necessary or not. I really appreciatte any info anyone contributes.

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December 23, 2010, 09:04 PM
I would think one or the other would be ok. Although I've never shot a cap and ball with a 12 inch barrel. The best thing for lubing the cylinder base pin is synthetic wheel bearing grease that you buy at the auto parts store. That'll keep the cylinder spinning smoothly for a long time.

Prairie Dawg
December 23, 2010, 09:46 PM
My 12" Ruger Old Armies shoot well with a 1/4" grease cookie made of Gatofeo's lube under the ball, or a felt wad saturated with Gatofeo's lube under the ball. Even so, I run a wet patch down the barrel when we break for lunch, since I have 45 minutes or so until the next stage.

I lube the cylinder pin, the recoil shield, and the sides of the hammer with bore butter prior to the shoot. Makes clean-up easier.

Since I pull the cylinder at the unloading table to load up using a Powder Inc. cylinder loader, I usually wipe the cylinder face and back of the barrel after each stage. I can also take care of any fouling on the cylinder pin at the same time. Spray a little Ballistol on the pin & she's good to go.

Keeping a 12" barrel free of fouling is all about the lube.
You need a good lube & lots of it.
Gatofeo's recipe is the best I've used.
2 parts canning paraffin (grocery/hardware store)
2 parts mutton tallow (Dixie Gun Works or make your own from lamb fat)
1 part beeswax (local beekeeper)
All by weight. Melt together in a double boiler.

Here's my 12" ROAs in action -- A real hoot to shoot!


December 23, 2010, 11:11 PM
Thanks for the help, I look forward to giving it a try over the holidays!!

December 28, 2010, 11:37 AM
I use a mix of lard and pure beeswax 60/40 ratio in summer about 75/25 in winter fully covering the balls and filling the cylindar I also add a small dob
of lard to the cylindar pin hole.tallow is maybee a bit better than lard
but lard is easier to find.

prairy dawg would that mix you posted not cause problems for ignition
if the temp got hot enough to melt the grease patty under the ball?
like after a few shots or on a hot summers day?

everything i read has said to use natural lubes not wheel bearing greases
and i have found that to be correct as i had lots of trouble with fouling
of the cylindar pin and leading of the barrel before i went fully natural.

never tried a synthetic wheel bearing grease though so who knows i might
have to give that a go?

December 28, 2010, 01:02 PM
I bought all of the ingredients/supplies to make the Gatofeo lube but I can't find mutton tallow anywhere. I tried Dixie Gun Works but they don't have any in stock. Does anybody know another supplier of tallow/ substitute for mutton tallow? Lard maybe?

December 28, 2010, 01:17 PM
lard is a good substtute for tallow from what i notced the tallow is maybee a little better but not by much.

the local butcher/meat processor may be able to hook you up with some
tallow thats how i got mine but i had to render it down myself

December 28, 2010, 02:03 PM
clancy, when I was unable to find mutton tallow anywhere (local or on-line) I went to Publix and bought some lard. I followed Gatofeo's recipe, substituting the lard, and it worked out great. Of course, never having used mutton tallow, I can't really compare head to head, but I am happy with the results.

FWIW, I did hear someone to not use salted lard. I don't know if there is such a thing, but the sodium content in the lard I bought is 0.

One other option, from Dixie Gun Works:

I've used that and it also works good.

December 28, 2010, 02:05 PM
Mobil 1 synthetic grease over the ball will help reduce the fouling. I have used this and it works.

Prairie Dawg
December 28, 2010, 10:46 PM
I've used it on hot Ohio Summer days and it did not melt the cookies.
Did not foul the powder either.
I was skeptical at first, but it makes a great lube.

Talk to a butcher about lamb fat & make your own tallow--easy.

Here is what Gatofeo said in his post:
"When it comes to lubricating stiff felt wads for cap and ball sixguns, black powder cartridge guns or muzzleloaders it beats SPG. This is due to the canning paraffin in it, which stiffens the wad a bit and makes it a more effective fouling scraper.
Though canning paraffin is a petroleum product, it does not cause the hard, tarry fouling associated with other petroleum products when used with black powder. I can't explain it but canning paraffin is benign in that regard. "


"A few final notes:
Stick to the ingredients. I've tried Crisco and lard instead of mutton tallow and it creates an inferior lubricant. Mutton tallow is by far the best.
Canning paraffin is also the best because it is pure paraffin. Who knows what lurks in old cancles, especially the scednted variety?
Beeswax must also be real, not the synthetic stuff. And be wary of so-called "beeswax candles." I've found some that I'm sure were mixed with modern paraffin, to make them more heat resistant. Use real beeswax.

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