Pan lubing .45-70 bullets???


April 24, 2012, 10:56 AM
I'm using the Lee 500 grain pointed bullet mold, and getting some really good bullets that weigh around 475-476 grains.

The question is, how do you size up a .45-70 case so it will easily slip over the bullet in the pan? I reckon the first thing I need to do is measure the diameter of my bullets, but once I do that, how would one size up a case to be one or two thousands larger than bullet diameter?

So far I've just been rolling lube into little snakes and thumbing it into the grooves, then scaping off the excess with a flat knife. Believe or not, that is a fairly slow way to lube bullets.:D

BTW, I pan lube .44-40 and .45Colt, and haven't had much problem making a cutter for those little short bullets. But these big long bullets are a different animal.

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Driftwood Johnson
April 24, 2012, 11:06 AM

Why do you need a cutter? I pan lubed 44 and 45 caliber pistol bullets for years without a cutter. When the lube is the right temperature and consistency, bullets can be shoved out without a cutter and they will retain the lube in the lube groove.

Jim Watson
April 24, 2012, 11:09 AM
Might take some experimenting, the lube cake needs to be at just the right temperature to punch out the bullets without smearing too-warm lube, or stripping too-cold lube out of the grooves. But then you are in business. Leaves your hands well lubed too, and beeswax and lanolin are good for your dishpan hands from washing the brass.

Phantom Captain
April 24, 2012, 11:10 AM
Yeah, that's the hitch in your plan. I use the .45-70 cases to cut out .45 Colt bullets when I pan lube them and they work perfectly as my .45 Colt bullets are .452.

One thing you could try, and how I lube my minie balls, is to simply heat up your lube in a small cup or deep dish (I use SPG and it melts into a thin liquid easily in the microwave) and then simply dip them, base first obviously, into the cup. The lube hardens pretty much instantly once you remove them. It remains soft for a few minutes but will stick to your bullets fine. You might have a bit of extra lube on them, as I do on the minies, but it should trim itself as the ball goes down into the case.

April 24, 2012, 11:31 AM
I usually just have my pan sit all the bullets base down into the pan till I get it filled with enough to have enough room for each to get lube, then I heat my 50/50 bees wax & crisco up till liquid & pour it over the bullets.
Let stand till it cools then I take the whole cake & press out each bullet by hand.

Only the ones where I crack the cake will have less lube due to the fult line but normally I can get around 60 per pan of .456 done in one setting.

April 26, 2012, 11:41 AM
Pulp, I used a old golf club cut to length for a long time then one day I got lazy and found I could just push them out with a piece of dowel worked just as good.

April 26, 2012, 11:03 PM
I hand lube my 45-70 bullets with the room temp lube hockey puck. I ran the groove portion of the bullet over the edge of the puck like a cheese grader until the grooves were filled. Messy but it worked, maybe 2 hours of TV watching to lube 150 bullets.

You could also purchase an oversized expander die but that is probably not the answer you were looking for.

April 30, 2012, 09:35 AM
I tried the push out method last night, works great. Thanks for the tips. I'd have never come up with that on my own. My little ol brain wants to complicate things when I know the simple things are usually the best.

May 1, 2012, 02:18 AM
even simpler is to make grease ''cookies''...I use both lubed grooves and grease cookies on the theory that more lube is better than not enough lube.

Driftwood Johnson
May 3, 2012, 03:45 PM
In my experience, grease cookies create more work for not much return.

When I was pan lubing bullets for 44-40 and 45 Colt, the thin, skimpy lube groove on the bullets did not carry enough lube for a rifle barrel. So I started adding grease cookies. I soon found out that a soft lube cookie would glue itself to the base of a bullet, causing it to be unstable. So I started putting a thin card wad between the bullet and the lube cookie. I was also putting a card wad between the lube cookie and the powder, so as not to contaminate the powder with lube.

So I was priming the case, adding powder, stuffing in a wad, stuffing in a lube cookie, stuffing in another wad, and seating and crimping a bullet. Way too much work. That's why with 'pistol length' cartridges I just use Big Lube bullets now. No wads or cookies, much less work.

With 45-70 I buy Montana Precision bullets that are sized and lubed with SPG. Much simpler. If the bore starts to get a little bit cruddy, I swab it out.

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