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Shelf-life of unloaded cast bullets (i.e., lube on MO bullets?))

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mongoose33, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. mongoose33

    mongoose33 Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking of laying in a goodly supply of bullets, and the Missouri Bullets have done very well by me. So I'm wondering this:

    What is their "shelf life"? More specifically, obviously, is that of the lube.

    I understand that keeping them in a hot place is likely to be NG; mine are stored in my basement where the temperature never exceeds 68 or 70. Cool and, yes, dry, as a dehumidifier runs more or less constantly.

    But if I kept them for, say, 5 years before I reloaded them, would I expect any degradation of the lube? What about after loading?

    I don't expect to keep a bunch of them loaded--I shoot, I reload, I shoot, I reload.
  2. warnerwh

    warnerwh Well-Known Member

    I seriously doubt it. I've been shooting some Lasercast I bought not long after they got going and leading is still a non issue. Lube looks like it did back in the 90s.
  3. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    I have several thousand .38s given to me about 25 years ago. I rarely use any, but last time I did (a year ago), they were fine. Lube is Red Rooster; stored in the garage in FL.
  4. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    If we're talking a few years, should be no problem as long as they are kept cool & dry so the wax/lube doesn't melt and they do not corrode.
    If we're talking long term, consider sealing them in a plastic bag so that the volatiles do not evaporate off of the lube and make it get hard. Takes many years for this to happen, but eventually the lube will turn rock hard due to the evaporation of the VOCs.
  5. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I have reloaded lead bullets I bought more than 10+ years ago. Before my local bullet caster retired, I bought a huge supply of lead bullets in various calibers and weights. He used the hard blue bullet lube. These have been stored in hot California garage that often exceeded 115F+ in the summer. The hard blue bullet lube is still intact like day one and the hard cast lead does not show any sign of deterioration. I believe Missouri Bullet Company uses the same bullet lube.

    It doesn't get down to 10F where I live, but many shooters I shoot with live up in the mountains where it gets down to 20F and they also bought a huge supply of the same bullets when the caster retired. They have not had any problems with long-term storage of cast bullets with the blue lube.

    Besides, Missouri Bullet Company has great customer service. If you have any problem with your bullets, I am quite certain they would resolve any issue you may run into.
  6. Wilburt

    Wilburt Well-Known Member

    This interest me as well. I've looked into casting my own for about a year and a half. I've even melted down a bunch of wheel weights and never got around to casting them. IIRC when I was lurking over at castboolits some had slight problems with dust are grit getting stuck on the lube?

    I can't remember but I think most try to either load them soon after casting or size a bunch and let them sit. Then lube before loading. If you lube/size in one operation then...? I know I'm rambling. Anyway can't remember if they suggested storing in bags or......
  7. mbopp

    mbopp Well-Known Member

    I had a 20 year hiatus from shooting and reloading. When I got back into it I had a box of 500 cast 158gr LSWCs. No corrosion or lube degradation, so I used 'em up.
  8. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I kept them in the cardboard boxes them came in - no dust/grit.
  9. Wilburt

    Wilburt Well-Known Member

    That definitely makes sense.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I still have odds & ends designs of cast bullets stacked & stored in cigar boxes that I cast & lubed about 40 years ago.

    They are still perfectly fine when I get around to using some of them occasionally.

    Probably the main danger is the lube drying out eventually and falling off the bullets.
    I have had it happen with the old Lyman black graphite, and especially beeswax based lube.
    Never had it happen with alox based lube sticks.

    Don't know if storing in sealed Tupperware type containers would prevent the lube drying out, but it might help. I always used cigar boxes so I don't know the long-term effect sealed plastic boxes might have if any.

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  11. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

  12. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    I've got a different brand of bullet that I have had for over 10 years - from the hot/cold/dry of the high desert to the warm/humid confines of a garage in FL - still work great
  13. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "What is their "shelf life"? More specifically, obviously, is that of the lube."

    Don't yet know the "shelf life" of my cast bullets, lubed or not lubed. The oldest I have are some I cast/sized/lubed in the 60s and 70s, they are still quite good. It's never occured to me to question them. ??
  14. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    Someone sent me a box of home-cast a couple years ago from Mississippi. They were lubed with something that looked like beeswax - but I don't know what it was. They sat in the garage for a summer or two (in Houston...garage temp was probably 120+ some days) and were pretty much a mess by the time I got to them.

    I have two boxes of Missouri Bullet from my first order 4 years ago (back when their .357 Magnums were 20BHN). They have been in the same garage, plus two more years, and are as good as wehn I received them.


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