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PRS Black Powder Bullet Lube

Lube recipes, especially personal ones are subject to change without notice – or with the maker’s whim. Some folks swear by all natural food grade ingredients and shun petrol chemicals. The old timers had things we can not get (or are not supposed to get) just as we enjoy access to things beyond their imaginations. Some good folks state their satisfaction using lubes designed for smokeless powder loads, even lubes containing allox such as the NRA formula commercial bullet lubes. Others have contrary reports to offer with such modern lubes in loadings with real black powder. I am not certain that any of this topic has application for those good folks who choose or must use substitute black powders. I am also not going to lend my support to any argument that only natural products or non-petroleum based products are acceptable for black powder. I have not personally used petrolatum (Vaseline brand petroleum jelly) or paraffin wax, nor various silicones in my BP lubes, but I have no doubt that some folks have done so with success. I have tried many of the "natural" ingredients, but certainly not all. This lube’s development was and is an act of evolution; an ongoing process, and not of an act of Divine intervention.

I shall share with you one of my renditions of a lube of mostly natural things, at least natural in so far as commercially processed goods can be. I currently use this product in my bullet sizer/lubricator to fill the grooves of home cast lead alloy bullets. The finished lube should be just stiff enough to handle without mess, but soft enough to perform admirably with black powder. This product should be melt resistant enough to allow exposure to normal human tolerable heat without seeping out of the groove(s) and into the powder charge.

To keep things as simple as possible, lets make a batch size of 100 fluid ounces. Don’t worry about weight. Ingredients that are not readily liquefied will be specified in common volume measurements. A four quart stainless steel sauce pan is a wonderful "caldron" for our sorcery. An adjustable heat source such as an electric or gas range is very nice. Baking mitts or pot holders are recommended. Cautious use of a microwave oven can be an advantage, but great care must be taken to avoid fire with flammable ingredients such as beeswax. A double boiler is a great safety enhancer!

My basic formula, PRS Lube, is adapted from one I learned as Emmert’s Formula. With Emmert’s, one takes a ratio of 50:40:10 where the first numeral represents beeswax, the second shortening, the latter oil. I was taught to reverse the portions of beeswax to shortening for cold season shooting, if desired. This is an excellent lube when made with pure beeswax, Crisco, and peanut oil. It tends to separate over time. It can go rancid. Emmert’s may leave something to be desired in fouling softening when it comes to prolonged rapid fire use with black powder cartridge arms. Some folks report an objectionable slime deposit in their guns which they associate with the Crisco type shortening. PRS lube is based upon the ratio of 35:35:10:10:10 plus three "adjuncts" to finish. Since we are shooting for a 100 fl oz batch, consider the ratio proportions to be fluid ounces. The proportions, in order stated are beeswax, Crisco, glycerin soap base, anhydrous lanolin and vegetable oil mix. The adjuncts are 25 drops of oil of peppermint, two tablespoons of stearic acid granules, and 0 to ?5 soap making dye chips. The soap dye is a non-functional addition and color of dye is up to the maker; I use bright yellow. I do not know what the carrier ingredient of those die chips is; hopefully nothing which will detract from our lube’s performance. I have noticed no derogatory effects.

I hear your gasp! "Keep it simple?", you question as you ponder that onerous list of ingredients in the long "ratio" listing. Such is life. Beeswax is the carrier and binding agent. I believe it has some lubricant quality in its own right; although I have noticed some folks disputing that. Beeswax certainly helps soften black powder fouling when consumed in the combustion. The best bulk beeswax is sold by beekeepers as "cappings grade" wax. The Crisco blends with and softens the wax. Its a good lubricant, but more than that it gives additional moisture to the mix when exposed to or consumed by the closed combustion of our black powder. As mentioned above some folks report Crisco to have left a scum fouling in their barrels, but I have not noticed such. The lanolin is an extraordinary lube. It has abundant moisture to offer when combusted in our irons. Its cost may far exceed that of Crisco or otherwise we might do well to substitute even more lanolin in place of the Crisco. Glycerin bar soap base is a product available to those adventurous souls who wish to easily make their own specialty bath soaps. It is a very pure and pretty product; amber, translucent, and quite hard. Its a rather harsh soap when pure and has enough active potential to convert some added oils and fats into soap. The soap base gives our concoction body and keeps our ingredients in emulsion; perhaps even converting the mix partially into a soap as we stir the caldron. Perhaps the use of soap in my lube explains why I have not noticed the reported sludge some folks have attributed to the Crisco. "Now", you ask, "what is this vegetable oil mix?" My oil mix is equal portions of olive oil, peanut oil, and castor oil. Olive oil has been with me all along, maybe I could drop it, but I have not. Peanut oil hopefully lends its great heat tolerance to our brew. Castor oil has that mysterious odor and may help stiffen or modify the final product through the soap making process.

Now for the adjuncts. The stearic acid granules are not so much intended to make our mix "acid" in an attempt to counter the alkaline nature of the fouling of black powder; although any such help is appreciated. This common soap making and candle making ingredient should help further bind our ingredients into a stable more firm soap-like blend and help with preservation also. The peppermint oil? I initially used it for its great smell and clean feel in the lube, but then noticed that it gave the lube a sticky nature that I liked. This peppermint oil may also lend some preservation qualities to our product. The soap dye chips are pretty much self explanatory. They make the product pretty, but are unnecessary in a functional sense. I go sparingly with bright yellow chips. If you have a local candle supply and soap making store, they will have all of this except the cooking oils, shortening, castor oil, and peppermint oil which you can get at the grocery or drug store. Get the beeswax from your local beekeepers, the honey they have should be quite a treat too.

Lets stir off a batch:

In the SS 4 quart pot heat the 10 fl ounces of blended vegetable oils to the point of "just beginning to smoke".

Add the 10 fl ounces bar soap base ( I liquefy mine in a Pyrex cup in the microwave first - at your own risk there).

Add 2 level tablespoons of the steric acid granules, stir until dissolved.

Add 35 fl oz Crisco (again, I pre-liquefy in microwave). Cook for 20 minutes at a moderate heat level. Stir occasionally.

Reduce heat to "low" because the remaining ingredients are more fragile. Add 35 fl oz beeswax and 10 fl ozlanolin (I pre liquefy in microwave with great care – beeswax is highly flammable!) Cook at low heat for 5 minutes, stirring gently and constantly.

Cut heat and add soap color dye chips, if desired. Stir until dissolved/

Let cool until a skim of hardened lube just begins to form. Add 25 drops peppermint oil and stir to blend.

Pour into your desired molds, containers, or straight into the lube sizer. Hollow sticks are EZ to cast too. 8 ounce jelly jars are handy to use because the microwave oven can be used (at your risk) to liquidate just enough to refill your lube-sizer with this liquid gold. Keep in mind, liquefying of solid ingredients in microwave oven may be a fire hazard. If in doubt, go by dry volume measure and cast into hollow sticks for your sizer.

This has been an excellent lube for me. Its clean to handle, it stays put in the lube grooves of bullets. Its fairly soft, yet does not melt easily. When used with appropriate bullets for black powder, the fouling stays soft and cleaning is easy with plain soapy water or other traditional black powder cleaning agents Enjoy your shooting of real black powder and be safe!

Pigeonroost Slim[/size]
 

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PRS Outstanding entry !!!!!!!!!!! King
 

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Hay Pigeonroost, ya fergot ta mention Glorybee.com as a great source fer yer secret ingredients! I musta gone to a dozen uncomfortable candlemaking shops and such. Emeril could cook up and serve yer lube, it's so wholesome. Works great fer pan lubin'.

Goatlips
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Goatlips! You are RIGHT ON about Gloribee. I do not frequent candle making shops either and if any of you folks do go there; well, uhhhh; errrrrrr; don't bend over to pick up any soap that may be on the floor. :)

prs
 
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