Making your own wads?


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ottsm
January 16, 2013, 12:00 AM
I watched Mike's video on youtube about making your own wads. For years I've used cheap Crisco over the bullets. Of course if you look at the Crisco after the first shot, it's melting and most of it gets blown all over the place. It's never bothered me that much but in an effort to make things better and perhaps more accurate I'm willing to make a change.

On the video lamb tallow is used and of course it's currently not the season. I do see on durofelt that they also sell Lanolin for making wads. So which is better, Lanolin or Lamb Tallow? Is the ratio of beeswax to Lanolin the same?

I also wonder what happens to the powder and the wad if the gun was to stay loaded for a long period of time, would the lube start "bleeding" into the powder and eventually fowl the powder? Not that I leave a percussion revolver loaded but with the new crazy gun laws coming out who knows what we will be left with.

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FreddyKruger
January 16, 2013, 12:40 AM
Add some bees wax to the Crisco to raise the melting point. More for warmer weather, less for cooler weather.

tpelle
January 16, 2013, 09:31 AM
As far as I have been able to tell, there is really no definitive information regarding the use of over-powder wads in use during the Civil War.

HOWEVER, that being said, I have a 1961 edition reprint (available from Amazon.com) of Elmer Keith's "Sixguns", and in it he has a couple of chapters on cap and ball revolvers. I gather that he learned the use of cap and ball pistols (his first one was an original 1851 Navy) from two old Civil War veterans of his aquaintance - one Union cavalry and one Confederate cavalry - and he describes using a dry felt (cut from an old hat) over-powder wads.

Were I planning on leaving a cap and ball revolver loaded for an extended period of time, I would consider using a dry over-powder wad because I would be suspicious of any lube contaminating the powder. (I have no first-hand knowledge of this, but I'm just saying that's what I'd do.) I would also "weatherproof" the percussion caps with a drop of melted candle wax.

I also note that William Butler Hickock was known for emptying and reloading his cap and ball revolvers each day. At least, assuming a pair of revolvers, it would be an opportunity to get in a dozen rounds of target practice, wouldn't it? Perhaps that accounted for that one-shot-stop at 75 yards on Davis Tutt.

Logan5579
January 16, 2013, 12:20 PM
I also wonder what happens to the powder and the wad if the gun was to stay loaded for a long period of time, would the lube start "bleeding" into the powder and eventually fowl the powder?

It can, but the extent depends on how soft the lube is. A stiff mix of whatever (lard or tallow, etc) and beeswax is less likely to contaminate your powder over time than a softer mix. That said, I have left cylinders loaded for a long time (3 years) and fired them with no noticeable difference between them and a fresh load. I use a .030 thickness fiber card wad over the powder and under the lube cookie without going crazy on compressing when I load up. If you compress really hard when you load up this way, you will mash the lube across the card wad and into the powder charge. Done correctly, you can load one up and leave it in your nightstand (closet or other suitable indoor location) for a long long time.

Rattus58
January 16, 2013, 12:56 PM
I've not shot my '58 yet, but I am fully planning on using wads as I do on ALL of my black powder guns. Loading powder then wad and tamping it to a uniform pressure then loading ball or bullet, makes all the difference in a rifle for accuracy, don't see why it wouldn't help with accuracy in a pistol.

I've not heard of a wad over powder allowing chain fires in a pistol and don't think that a properly constructed wad (that actually wipes the cylinder) and a tight bullet could allow for such an occurence regardless how severe the flashover might be... I'm all for the use of wads...

Much Aloha,.... :cool:

rodwha
January 16, 2013, 01:45 PM
I've made Gatofeo's famous #1 lube, which, IIRC, is an old recipe, and one he found over trying many others was the best.

1 part beeswax
2 parts parafin wax
2 parts mutton tallow

These parts are by weight.

Mutton tallow and beeswax can be found at Dixie Gun Works.

A fellow on another forum makes quality punches at a very affordable price ($10). After buying a cheap set of punches from Harbor Freight, and finding they wouldn't even cut felt, I sent them back, and bought from this fellow. I now have 2 punches from him.
http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/showuser.php?uid/16531/

rodwha
January 16, 2013, 01:46 PM
For lighter loads that may sit a while I've just used dry wads mostly to bring the ball closer to the mouth. So it's more of a filler than anything else.

Rattus58
January 16, 2013, 02:33 PM
Most of this stuff can be found in your local grocery store as well. As for beeswax, I've used beeswax from bees (look for a local beekeeper person... they are almost everywhere there are flowering crops.. for example) or I've in a pinch used a beeswax toilet bowl ring which has worked reasonably well for me with the various recipes out there.

ottsm
January 16, 2013, 06:35 PM
Beeswax is no problem for me, my dad is a bee keeper. I read somewhere that Cisco leaves behind an undesirable residue, so I was wondering about using lanolin. Does lanolin have any advantages over tallow? I'm thinking it would have a lower moisture content but perhaps not. And I'm not sure that a lower moisture content is an advantage except for the shelf life of the product. I have some bullets from Buffalo Bullet Co that were prelubed by the factory, no they are all dried up with a white powder.

Rattus58
January 16, 2013, 08:54 PM
Beeswax is no problem for me, my dad is a bee keeper. I read somewhere that Cisco leaves behind an undesirable residue, so I was wondering about using lanolin. Does lanolin have any advantages over tallow? I'm thinking it would have a lower moisture content but perhaps not. And I'm not sure that a lower moisture content is an advantage except for the shelf life of the product. I have some bullets from Buffalo Bullet Co that were prelubed by the factory, no they are all dried up with a white powder.
Well that's a convenient association... yer dad bein a bee keeper... :D

I've used crisco and beeswax and sometimes there are "flakes" that remain with hot loads.. Hasn't hurt accuracy much that I can tell though. I've a friend that sent me a pot full of homemade wax, lanoline, and an oil of some sort... escapes me... frequently nowadays... and that works very well. If I can find that I'll post it... it is a pan lube and has to be softened... but it works very well too.

Aloha... :D

unknwn
January 17, 2013, 12:03 AM
Lanolin is used in conjunction with beeswax NOT as a substitute.
The purpose of lanolin is to make the lube "stickier" so that it adheres to the lube grooves in the bullet better.

Rattus58
January 17, 2013, 12:43 AM
Lanolin is used in conjunction with beeswax NOT as a substitute.
The purpose of lanolin is to make the lube "stickier" so that it adheres to the lube grooves in the bullet better.
In the formula that was sent me, there was no beeswax in it. It was either canning wax or candle wax along with lanoline and some other oil he had mixed into it along with some coloring, which I think you could do with a crayon or maybe food coloring.... I'm actually amazed at the number of different bullet lubes out there... so many in fact, I'm not sure that cast bullets do badly with anything that allows them to slip down the bore... :D

aloha.. :cool:

Hellgate
January 17, 2013, 12:24 PM
1 lb of lard (just over a buck in the grocery store) mixed with 1 lb of beeswax served me fine for a couple years til my brother shot a big fat barren doe and we had about 5 lbs of back fat deer tallow I was able to render after boning her out. I suspect it is a lot like mutton tallow. It is a slightly firmer lube and is working fine for BP & smokeless (50/50 beeswax/deer tallow).

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