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DIY Case Lube.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Dan Shapiro, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. Dan Shapiro

    Dan Shapiro New Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Long Beach, PRK

    I spent sometime this weekend trying to make my own case lube. I have been using DCL since I started reloading two years ago. It has worked great for me and since it’s a pretty simple formula I wanted to try to see if I could make it myself and save a little money at the same time.

    After a couple of batches and a big mess in the garage, here is my report. :D

    The ingredients are simple.

    Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol)
    Anhydrous Lanolin

    I used a 12:1 (alcohol to lanolin) mixture, but I have seen different recommendations from 8 to 12 parts on articles from various web boards.

    There are two types of “pure†lanolin: hydrous (with water) and anhydrous (without water). Hydrous is more common and is what the pharmacists will give you if you do not specify anhydrous. Anhydrous only comes in 1 pound jars, whereas hydrous will come in one ounce tubes and one pound jars.

    I had to order the Lanolin from a pharmacy, but it only took a day to come in. It ran about $25

    Isopropyl Alcohol
    The most common rubbing alcohol is only 70% alcohol [pictured] and the rest is mostly water. Since lanolin is water insoluble this won’t work. You are going to need 91-99% alcohol. I was only able to find 91% without ordering this weekend, so that is what I used.

    I was able to get 32 oz of 70% for $.99, but 91% cost me $1.29 for 16 oz.

    Lanolin isn’t fun to work with. It has the consistency of petroleum jelly and is twice as sticky. Remember when I said that it was water insoluble? That’s very important when it comes to clean up. I recommend carburetor cleaner.


    I found that using a knife and putting the lanolin onto a sheet of aluminum foil works pretty well. Once you have the right weight, drop everything (foil and lanolin) into a jar. Once the lanolin dissolves you can remove the foil.

    I was told to shake. Oh, this doesn’t work. You can shake yourself silly and you’ll still have a blob of goo on a sheet of foil. Heat is the key here. It’s dangerous to boil lanolin (300 deg C), it decomposes and can produce toxic fumes. I found that putting it outside on a warm California day for a couple hours works great. Now you can shake!

    If you live in a place where you are blessed with good gun laws, but bad weather I have an easy solution. Heat up a pot of water, not to boiling level, but hot. Lanolin will melt at about 40 deg C. Then hold your jar into the water. After a couple of minutes the heat transfer should have warned up your lanolin blob. Now shake what god gave you!

    Does it work?
    I only shot .22 this weekend, so I didn’t have any lots of brass to reload. I did run a couple pieces of junked brass through the press and everything worked and felt the same as when I use DCL. I’ll post next weekend after I run some .45 and 30-06 through.

    I did't run complete numbers, but it will run me about $2-2.50 for each eight ounce bottle of Dan's Case Lube.

    Have fun!:D
  2. Shoney

    Shoney Participating Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Transplanted away from MT
    Yeah, in over 40 years of trying case lubes, this recipe works ok. So did STP, but bottlenecks were dented regularly and it was a problem to clean or every bit of dirt stuck, and I've tried a dozen others.

    Don't phart around, get the best (no musss no fusss no cusss) get Imperial Sizing Die Wax. Nothing else comes close.

  3. bogie

    bogie Mentor

    Jan 2, 2003
    St. Louis, in the Don't Show Me state
    I use either Imperial Die Wax or the similar stuff that the Trukote guy makes (actually prefer the Trukote stuff).

    If I'm sizing a BUNCH of .223, and I'm going to be running it through the tumbler, I spray it with PAM.

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