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Big Lube bullet; how it compares with multigroove ones

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Onty, Nov 25, 2022.

  1. Onty

    Onty Member

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    For black powder revolvers:

    Big Lube bullet:

    DD-PUK-ROA-II-1045_WEB_PROF.jpg

    How it compares with multigroove ones, like this Lee R.E.A.L.:

    2990389-500x500.jpg

    Which one is better in terms of accuracy on 50 yds., and reducing black powder fouling?

    What is more important in your opinion, more lube volume like on Big Lube, or longer contact surface as on Lee R.E.A.L.?

    Also, do you use lube wad behind those bullets? I was told by one BP shooter from UK that he uses two wads; lubed one just after bullet, and "dry" one (no lube) after lubed wad, to prevent powder contamination.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
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  2. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I use a smokeless design with narrow lube grooves in my 44-40 revolver. I used them in my 44-40 1892 carbine too. The bullets didn't hold enough lube to leave a lube star on the muzzle but they were accurate and fouling wasn't excessive. I think either would be more than sufficient in a cap and ball revolver.
     
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  3. woodnbow

    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    My favorites carry less than half the lube of the big lube bullet I’m guessing. Work just fine…
     
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  4. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Driftwood Johnson may have something to add to this thread.

    Me? As I understand it, those Big Lube bullets were intended to carry sufficient lube to coat the length of a rifle barrel. So, there should be plenty of lube for any normal revolver.

    I thought the Lee bullet was also built for rifles, not aware they came out with a version for revolvers.


    In my 1860s and my Improved Navies I shoot round balls. I find them to be the most accurate. I have contemplated getting a full wadcutter mold set up for one of them but since I no longer compete, why bother.

    Kevin
     
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  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    First off, when you say "Black Powder Revolvers", I assume you are talking about Cap & Ball revolvers. The Big Lube bullet you have pictured is a bit unusual, it was designed specifically for C&B revolver. Notice the rebated diameter at the rear of the bullet. This is there so the bullet can be easily inserted into the mouth of a chamber of a C&B cylinder, without tipping. Once the bullet has been seated on the powder, the larger diameters both in front of the lube groove and behind the lube groove will seal the bullet in the chamber. These will also be the contact surfaces for the bullet in the rifling of the barrel. I believe the two rebated diameters at the rear of the bullet were designed so it could be used either in a 'standard' 44 caliber C&B, or the Ruger Old Army, which has a slightly larger chamber mouth diameter and groove diameter.

    http://www.biglube.com/BulletMolds.aspx?ItemID=09d6fdda-c105-4c87-b269-68ebfdaba982



    Now the disclaimer. I have never used any Big Lube bullets in a C&B revolver, only round balls.

    All of my experience with Big Lube bullets has been in cartridges loaded with Black Powder. I currently load Big Lube bullets in 45 Colt, 45 Schofield, 44-40, 44 Russian, and 38-40.

    Yes, the Big Lube bullets carry enough soft bullet lube to keep the bore of a rifle barrel coated with soft bullet lube for the entire length. The idea is you do not want to use modern, standard, hard bullet lubes with Black Powder. Using modern bullet lube with Black Powder can create hard, crusty fouling which fills the rifling grooves. Not only will this hard crusty fouling destroy accuracy, it is difficult to remove. Keeping the bore coated with soft BP compatible bullet lube, such as SPG, for its entire length will keep the fouling soft. Each bullet will wipe the bore clean of the lube left behind, and deposit a new layer of soft lube in the bore. That is the whole idea behind the Big Lube bullets, lots, and lots of lube.

    A Lube Star was mentioned earlier. This is a lube star. It shows lube that was still on the bullet when it exited the muzzle. The star shaped pattern is a result of more lube exiting the muzzle where the rifling grooves are. A Lube Star is a good indication that you used enough soft lube on your bullets, and the entire bore has been coated with lube the entire length. Years ago, before I discovered Big Lube bullets, I was pan lubing regular hard cast bullets with a mixture of Bees Wax/Crisco. The single small lube groove on these bullets did not have enough soft lube on them to keep the barrel of a rifle lubed the entire length, the bore would get starved for lube about 6 inches from the muzzle. I regularly had to swab out the barrel of my rifle with a wet patch to keep the BP fouling from building up near the muzzle. I was loading 45 Colt and 44-40 with my pan lubed bullets in those days. Shooting the 45 Colt cartridges in a revolver, there was enough lube to keep the bore lubed the entire length. But my 44-40 rifle rounds left the bore of a rifle staved for lube near the muzzle. There are tricks for adding more lube to a cartridge loaded with bullets with skimpy lube grooves, but once I discovered Big Lube bullets I never looked back and have been using them ever since, probably close to 20 years now.

    pmtoSKQhj.jpg




    On the left in this photo is a 44-40 cartridge, on the right is a 45 Colt. Next to each cartridge is their respective Big Lube bullets, with and without lube. This demonstrates the huge amount of soft BP compatible bullet lube these bullets carry.

    pmHpBNt7j.jpg




    Here is a photo of the Big Lube bullets I use. Left to right: 38-40, 44 caliber for both 44-40 and 44 Russian, 45 caliber for 45 Schofield, and finally 45 Colt. The big bullet is not a Big Lube bullet, it is the bullet I use for 45-70. It has multiple grooves for soft bullet lube. All the way on the right is one of my old hard cast, pan lubed bullets I used to load in Black Powder cartridges. Notice how small the lube groove is, the reason this bullet did not carry enough soft lube to keep a rifle barrel lubed its entire length.

    poT2ujYMj.jpg




    OK, back to the original questions.

    Accuracy? I have no idea. I have never done much long range shooting with 44-40 or 38-40 in a rifle. And I have never used a bullet like the one you have pictured from Lee. All my BP cartridge shooting has been close up in CAS, long range accuracy is not needed. I have used that 45/70 bullet for some shooting at about 50 yards with my Trap Door rifle and I was hitting the target with every shot, but they were pretty big targets. I have not tried that bullet in my Sharps with its fancy sights for a long time, so I really do not know how well it would do at 100 yards or more, but I suspect it would do quite well.

    Bottom line: You are shooting a revolver, not a rifle. I doubt super accuracy is really needed. So I really doubt it would make much difference which bullet you used. As long as you are sure to lube them with soft, Black Powder compatible bullet lube. I do suspect the Big Lube bullet might be easier to seat in a revolver chamber, because of the reduced diameters at the rear of the bullet. I have no idea how easy it is to seat that Lee bullet in a C&B chamber.

    Lube wad? Absolutely unnecessary with a Big Lube bullet. The bullet caries plenty of lube, no need for more lube behind the bullet. The two wads your UK friend is talking about is one of the reasons I have been using Big Lube bullets for many years, and have never added any extra lube, lube cookies, dry wads, or anything else in all those years.
     
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  6. Onty

    Onty Member

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    Looking at this bullet, time 0:15, fired from Ruger Old Army:



    Seems to me same as Lee R.E.A.L. from first post. I doesn't look as "version for revolvers".
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
  7. Onty

    Onty Member

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    @Driftwood Johnson

    Thank you Sir for detailed post, very educating. You are right, revolver I want to use is Ruger Old Army. However, I would like to have more effective bullet than round ball. I was watching Mike Beliveau and his testings "Ruger Old Army powder projectile test part 5 (with Goex FFFG) & 6 (with TRIPLE 7 FFFG)", using Kaido Ojamaa 255 grains LBT style bullet:



    I was quite impressed with test part 5, when Kaido Ojamaa bullet, in front of 30 grains of Goex FFFG, penetrated 10 jugs with water.

    So, I came to conclusion that this bullet will be way more effective on wild boar than round ball or one of those round nose conicals (BTW, in my area we are not allowed handgun hunting, but we can carry handgun for coupe de grace). The problem is that, as far as I know, mold for Kaido Ojamaa bullet is not available. Good thing is that MP-Molds https://www.mp-molds.com is just an hour and a half from my place, and they are top quality mold maker. So I started thinking about my own design, that will have basically same characteristics as Kaido Ojamaa bullet, and could be also loaded on revolver, without removing cylinder and using special stand with press. When I posted my first design, other shooters warned me that short rebated dia is not enough, and for easier loading bullet should be more in cylinder. I was concerned about long rebated dia, and to make long story short, I came to conclusion that the best way would be long rebated dia, but with hollow base, same as on bullet .455-265 for Webley ( https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sh...-4-cavity-brass-Cramer-mould&highlight=Webley ). The point is that this particular bullet in Mk I round was initially loaded with black powder. So, if hollow base worked very well on .455 Webley, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work on Ruger Old Army. For those who would like to see discussions:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sh...er-45-BP-revolvers/page2&highlight=ruger+army
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...solid-260-grain-hollow-base-225-grain.873246/ . For more about hollow base, note post #7.
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...let-for-roa-and-italian-clones-44-cal.910915/

    And everything looked fine with my latest design until I contacted some C&B shooters in my area. They told me that supply of black powder is quite limited. The only available are Czech Explosia VESUVIT LC and Slovenian KIK. Apparently, the are not high quality powders like Swiss BP, and fouling is considerable. I started scratching my head what to do, and remembering some discussions about Big Lube how good is this design when fouling is the issue, I started searching internet and came to this thread https://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=54292.0 . Not about C&B revolvers, but interesting enough about Accurate Molds 43-215C http://www.accuratemolds.com/catalog.php?page=16#catalog-anchor .

    I am aware that large lube capacity is beneficial for rifles, helping to reduce considerably powder fouling. But, if such bullet is fine in rifles, it should be also in revolvers, like original Big Lube. Anyhow, after some thought, I came with this one, about 255 grains:

    wjRQnCn.jpg

    As you could see, it has considerably long lube ring, so I would expect that lubricating effect will be close to Big Lube bullet, and Accurate 43-215C and 45-251C.

    Any comment or opinion will be appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
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  8. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    A hollow base is not necessary.

    All the Big Lube bullets that I use have flat bases.

    Perhaps you are thinking you need a hollow base to expand and fill up the rifling, like a Minié ball. Not necessary as long as you use a soft enough alloy for your bullets. When I was casting my own Big Lube bullets, I was using pure lead for some, and added a tiny amount of tin for some others. My bullets, which all have flat bases, all expand fine to fill up the rifling. Besides, mold for a hollow base bullet will be more complicated and will need a removable core to form the hollow base.

    Not quire sure why you have two different diameters either. I do not recall the specifics about what diameter is needed for Ruger Old Army, perhaps .457. Reducing the rear of the front driving band to .452 is counterproductive and will make the mold that much more expensive to make. If anything, I would keep the bullet diameter at .457 everywhere (or whatever diameter is required for a good fit in a Ruger Old Army chamber, and perhaps just rebate the diameter at the very rear of the rear driving band to .452 or so so you can start the bullet in the chamber. No more than the last .030 or so.

    Of course, if you get rid of the hollow base you will have to recalculate how heavy the bullet will wind up being. I designed the J/P 45-200 Big Lube bullet many years ago on 3D cad. I kept messing with the shape to achieve the 200 grain weight that I wanted.

    By the way, regarding bullet diameter, you do know that different alloys shrink at different rates as they cool? Pure lead shrinks the most, add a little bit of tin and it does not shrink as much. That is why I was using a little bit of tin in some of my bullets, and casting others with pure lead.

    Are you planning on sizing the bullets after you cast them? You really need to size them to finished diameter, you cannot rely on the bullets to shrink to the exact diameter you want as they pop out of the mold and cool. If so, you will want your bullets to drop out of the mold a hair larger in diameter than the finished, sized diameter.
     
  9. Reeferman

    Reeferman Member

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    I bought a big lube mold in 45 Colt a couple of years ago. It won’t cast anything below .458 plus no matter what temperature or alloy I try.
     
  10. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    I run mine through a Lyman Lube sizer for cartridge loading.
     
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    When I was casting Big Lube bullets myself, I was only casting the PRS 250 grain 45 Colt bullet and the Mav-Dutchman 200 grain 44 caliber bullet. Using an alloy of about 30/1 lead/tin my 45 Colt bullets were dropping out of the mold at .454. The Mav-Dutchman mold was a bit oversized, I used pure lead with it to maximize the amount of shrinkage as the bullets cooled. With pure lead my Mav-Dutchmans were dropping out of the mold and cooling to .432-.430. Big Lube molds were being made by Lee Precision at the time. I'm pretty sure they are not made by Lee anymore, I think Dick Dastardly has gone to another supplier.

    po9X1rDyj.jpg




    After casting I used my Star lube-sizer to lube and size the 45s from .454 to .452, and the 44s from 432-.430 to .427. You never want to resize a bullet by more than a few thousandths. Some details, such as crimp grooves, can be reduced in size or even shaved completely off if you resize to much.

    pn8EaWFYj.jpg
     
  12. Reeferman

    Reeferman Member

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    Mine was made by Lee. That mold was a very expensive mistake I made. I tried everything I could think of from pure lead and various temperatures. Tried sizing warm, cold, lots of lube and still get lead smear 1/4” past base of bullet with a .452 size die as that is all I have. The only way I can make them work is to squeeze them into a case as cast, crimp using a FCD and then take scotch pad and take off enough lead of bullet to fit into the cylinder.
    Needless to say I don’t much use it anymore.
     
  13. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    DSC07634.JPG
    I know we are talking .45 caliber here, but here's a bullet designed and cast by the Outlaw Kid you all may remember. Kind of a wad-cutter, kind of a REAL, but not either. Carries a lot of lube, and is the most accurate bullet I have for either of my .36" pistols. It is 3-diameter and loads really nice. However, with the big-lube and Kaido bullets, and other excellent designs, I'm not sure it would be worth it to duplicate this in .45". But again, I have five different bullets for my .36's, and this is the champ. It even out-shoots the .36 Kaido bullet. The Remington and Colt style bullets are not even close.

    Onty, for sure all a hollow base will do is make the bullet longer, and reduce powder capacity. You mentioned effectiveness, which tells me you want more than something to punch holes in paper or make a steel plate go "ding".

    On wads or double wads, (yes a lubed wad will contaminate the charge) those again will just reduce powder capacity. I'd say fine for paper punching but in my pistols, both .45 and .36, wads give me a little less accuracy. ? A lose-lose situation! Other's results may vary!

    Okay good luck.
     
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  14. Onty

    Onty Member

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    You are not the only one expressing the same view. And some even posted paper to prove that solid base bullets in C&B revolvers could be quite accurate. However, to be fair, there are also many opinions from bulls eye handgun shooters that hollow base bullets (of course, at moderate velocities and pressures as we have in C&B revolvers) are more accurate than solid base ones. Is bullseye level accuracy required on Ruger Old Army for intentions I would like to use? No, but it would be nice to have powerful and accurate load.

    As for cost, you are right, hollow base mold costs more, about 50% than solid base one from MP-Molds. However, this is well established technology, MP-Molds made hundreds of those, and I have to find somebody who didn't have excellent results using them. For right or wrong, if MP-Molds agrees to make it, this should be an interesting project. In that respect, I would appreciate opinion or suggestion how to make HB, big lube, design better.

    On the end, if I get a mold, we will have a nice topic for discussion ;).
     
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  15. Onty

    Onty Member

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    For the same bullet weight, I think HB wouldn't reduce powder capacity. Once powder is loaded and bullet partially rammed, tipping revolver muzzle down should allow powder to fill HB cavity. Further bullet ramming in same revolver position will allow air to escape through primer nipples.

    I would like to have Ruger Old Army as a backup for wild boar hunt. Otherwise, I will just use .457 dia lead ball.

    As for plinking and target shooting, I purchased recently cal. 44 Uberti 1858 Target. It took me at least 9 months, because Italian C&B revolver manufactures are well behind demand. I can tell you that I am pleasantly surprised with fit and finish. It is on a par with Ruger Old Army, if not tad not better. However, I found that Pietta plans for spring next year production of cal. 36 Remington 1858 Target model, stainless, with 6.5" barrel. I already contacted local dealer to put me on the list. If I get it, 44 Uberti will be for sale, and I already have a list of potential buyers, so, I will leave 44 Uberti unfired until I find more about 36 Pietta. If I manage to purchase later one, I would like to get a mold you mentioned as "wad-cutter, kind of a REAL, but not either". Any idea who made noted mold?
     
  16. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    I sure don't, and the Outlaw Kid is long gone, and not communicating with anyone as far as I know. Here is my Uberti New Model Army in Navy caliber with the shorter barrel. This is an older pistol, it was a sample gun that Uberti's daughter (or one of them) carried around the U.S. when she was a sales-rep. It's a ringer, talk about fit, finish, and tune!
    remnvyotft.jpg
    Now on the hollow base...that's an interesting theory, and possible technique, but...I don't know, sounds like a lot of doo-ranga-doo to load the pistol and get those last few grains into the base. !!!!! But, can't say it would not work! I'd call it the "hokey-pokey" technique. Yeah. "You tip the pistol up, you tip the pistol down, you tip the pistol up and you shake it all around". :rofl: But just kidding, just joking. Well if you do go with a hollow base, I hope you shoot them side by side with some flat bases, and see if they actually produce any greater accuracy. Again, good luck!
     
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  17. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Yeah, the Lee molds were not the greatest. My Mav-Dutchman 44 caliber mold was dropping bullets so big I had to go to pure lead to get them to shrink enough so I could size them down to .427. My PRS 45 caliber mold was better, it dropped bullets I could use with just a little bit of tin.

    I suspect that is why Dick Dastardly no longer uses molds made by Lee.
     
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  18. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    That interests me for my Uberti 1858.
     
  19. Navy Six 2

    Navy Six 2 Member

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    Onty, the bullet mold you were asking about was made by Accurate Molds. There were a couple of similar designs in that size. When the Outlaw Kid was here, I had some correspondence with him and actually ordered that mold. Accurate Molds allows you to specify the diameter of each driving band. Because of the length of that bullet design it ate up a lot of space in the chamber of your typical 36 Navy and powder charge could be an issue. I didn't have a 36 Remington to compare but I believe that cylinder would have more capacity. Regardless with that bullet I had no problem hammering a knock down target at Cowboy matches.
     
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  20. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I shot blackpowder muskets. You can't have enough grease on a black powder bullet. The guns ought to come with a grease injector in the barrel.
     
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  21. Onty

    Onty Member

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  22. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    I think your observation on powder capacity is correct. In my Remington New Model Army of Navy caliber, the longer bullets work fine as it does have a generous powder capacity. I can get around 23 grains, or a bit more under the Kaido, which I think is the longest bullet I have. In my 1862, I can only get 15 grains under that REAL type bullet, and 20 grains behind a ball will penetrate further than the bullet. As you know, a bullet will usually (always?) out penetrate a ball, so in that case there just is not enough powder to drive that bullet fast enough. So, it can be an "issue". I'm not sure how much more powder a '51 holds compared to a '62.
     
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  23. hawg

    hawg Member

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    They should be the same as the only difference is the barrel assembly. I don't have a 62 so I can't say for sure. I use a 25 grain load behind a round ball in 51.
     
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  24. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Yeah, that could be, I know I can get 23 under a ball, but 20 seems to be the Little Brat's sweet spot.
     
  25. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    Here is my '51/'61 sheriff, had to fit both barrels to the arbor. DSCN5649.JPG
     
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