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Need a bullet lube recipe for BPCR use please

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BCRider, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    I tried a search on the BP forum here for some keywords which would bring up threads on bullet lubes for BP use but the keywords are all so general that I keep getting massive amounts of returns. So here I am simply asking.

    I'm about to launch into shooting BPCR with a rolling block rifle in .38-55 that I picked up recently. But I'll be using bought cast bullets that come with "modern" lube in the groove. So I'd like to boil the lube out and re-lube with a good BP friendly lube.

    And yes, I know I've been dropping hints on this rifle but so far no pictures. Been busy with house renos and when I wasn't I was "resting" at the computer or simply flopped on the couch watching movies. I promise I'll get some pictures taken and posted real soon. But just as a teaser I'll say that she's a very sweet looking "antique" with a lovely deep brown finish.

    Now, about those bullet lube recipes please?
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  3. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    What an interesting read!

    One part I found particularly interesting is the part on Canola oil;
    This could explain why I found it worked so well in resisting corrosion when I did some rust testing a couple of years back.

    As for all those recipes at the bottom is there any that folks have used and found work better than others?
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Well, Harry Pope would be pretty hard to argue with about bullet lube I betcha!

    But I haven't used any of them.

  5. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    I use mostly bee's wax with a bit of Crisco [unsalted and unflavored, obviously] with a table spoon or two of Thompson's Bore Butter. I'm sorry I can't be exact in my measurements [I'd have to guess 75% beeswax, 20% Crisco, 5% Bore Butter] but I adjust my formula for the weather, heat, and other circumstances, such as whether I'm using it in a muzzle loading revolver, or the bullet to a black powder cartridge, such as .45-70, or to make ''grease cookies'' with.
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I can't be much help since I did all my pan lubing with SPG. The commercial bullets I am loading now are lubed with DGL. Both are respected commercial products available from Buffalo Arms.

    A friend did some home mix involving beeswax, lanolin, canola, castor oil, and LubeGard (an automotive product.) One such formla was ok, the other ended up being used as casting pot flux.
    There are several listed at:
    Look under BPCR Lubes in left menu.

    We can only hope that your commercial cast bullets are large enough for your barrel.
    A lot of the old guns have larger groove diameters than we expect nowadays.
    My rebored Winchester was cut to .378" and a .379" as cast bullet was just barely big enough.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Apparently new ones too.

    My buddies brand new Chiappa Little Sharps 38-55 has almost micro-groove rifling, and an oversize bore.
    And it broke the firing pin transfer lever on the sixth shot.

    He is not a happy camper so far.

  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Italian proof law requires manufacturers to go by standard blueprints.
    The SAAMI drawing for .38-55 shows a .379" groove diameter and that is what you get from Pedersoli and Uberti. Maybe even Chiappa.

    US practice has trended smaller than the old guns and drawings.
    Badger makes .38 BPCR barrels at .376", Krieger and Douglas .375". Same as .375 H&H (except for twist rate.)
  9. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    When I was pan lubing bullets I used a mix of 50/50 Crisco/Beeswax. I used to melt it in a double boiler because it is flammable. You don't really have to go overboard with BP lubes, most will work. I didn't measure or anything, just threw a chunk of beeswax in the double boiler and threw in a glob of Crisco about the same size as the chunk of beeswax.

    These days I mostly use SPG.
  10. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    I'm likely overthinking the whole thing then. Seems like mostly half and half beeswax and Crisco and toss in a small dash of whatever else within reason catches my eye that day since it likely won't make a lot of difference... :D

    At the risk of teasing a little more the barrel on this thing is a relatively recent Shiloh barrel. So it likely follows the US pattern of being a hair under the SAMMI spec.

    For ready cast bullets I don't have a lot of options. The box of 200 I'm getting first time around are 245gn stated as being .379 in diameter and have double lube grooves and a bevel base.
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I have read that while Shiloh makes their own barrels for the traditional Sharps calibres, they buy Douglas for the .38s. Gets you a .375" groove.
    The storebought .379" ought to shoot, IF the loaded round will chamber.

    Boiling the blue hard wax off a bulk cast bullet sounds like a lot of trouble.
    I buy Montana Bullet Works. Not cheap but good quality, any desired diameter the mould will handle, and proven DGL black powder lube.
    I used to cast the Lyman 378674 "Mini-Snover" for a 15" twist.
    If you have an 18" twist, you need a lighter/shorter bullet. Maybe the RCBS.
    I'd try no smaller than .377" better .378" or even some .379" if your present batch fits.

    My present .40-65 Browning/Badger has a nominal groove diameter of .408" but a .409" bullet did not shoot well at all. .410" was better, but .411" does best. I figure that it fits the throat which can matter more than the bore.
  12. Edarnold

    Edarnold Well-Known Member

    From experience shooting lead-bullet breechloaders in ASSRA matches back in the 1970's, the most common lube then was Paraffin and Vaseline. The hard white paraffin used in canning and other crafts, melted and mixed with about the same amount of Vaseline petroleum jelly. This was varied according to temperature, more paraffin for hot weather to harden the stuff up. Should not be sticky.
    Also the mix can be used for lubricating wads under the bullet for guns that need more than the bullet grooves can supply.
  13. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    Jim, At some point I'll get into the casting thing since I find it's hard as heck to find cast round ball up this way for any sort of decent price or with any sort of consistency. So it's not a big jump to begin casting my own bullets for a few calibers which I don't shoot a lot. At that point I can begin playing with sizing for accuracy and lead hardness.

    I've got a machine shop so I can make up some sizing dies which I can use to size down the bullets or even make up a crush swager to size up a little from the raw cast size. It'll all be a bit more work but for something like this which I'll likely only shoot a couple or three hundred times a year I don't mind.

    Edarnold, thanks for the idea of these easily obtained "modern" options.
  14. WYOMan

    WYOMan Well-Known Member

    Strained bees wax and virgin olive oil. All natural, no crusty fouling, can be tuned to the weather with more or less wax, and it smells wonderful. It can be thickened for smokeless loads to. Seasons the bore well.
  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I don't think you will catch many BPCR shooters using paraffin wax and Vaseline.
    Animal and vegetable products are said to keep the fouling soft better than petroleum.
    I can't say for sure because I have not used anything but commercial products and a little of the better homebrew out of the experiments I mentioned.
  16. NineMilePete

    NineMilePete Well-Known Member

    I've had very good luck with GATEFO's recipe. Very close consistency to SPG.

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