View Full Version : El Cheapo meets the gunk ball

06-18-2007, 09:23 AM
I just thought I'd share this with you as it is mildly amusing (to me) and shows my progression in casting and lubes.

I started casting for .440 round balls when I was 14, which is 14 years ago now. Pure lead. No issues of lube. I did buy a stick of RCBS bullet lube to use to lube the mold, as per Lee's instructions. A little went a long way and I never even really touched it- just a sliver was needed every time.

When I was 20 I got a .58 muzzleloader, using Minie balls. So the question of lube first reared its head. I read somewhere that 50/50 beeswax and alox worked well (not knowing that that was more for smokeless than blackpowder) and read on the box of RCBS lube that it was alox; so I mixed those two. I then pan lubed the .58 minie balls after heating the goop to melting- each time it got a little darker and stinkier as I was slowly burning it.

This worked ok, but every time I'd seat the ball, lube would scrape off on the muzzle. So I got the idea to soften it to make this easier, and to reduce pull out of lube from the grooves as I seated the minie ball- just picture the skirt of pan lube grabbing on the muzzle and lifting it right out of the lube grooves. As I generally used either Crisco or mineral oil on patches for my round balls, well....what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and a generous dollup of Crisco went in the mix. The resulting consistency was about that of hard butter. I may have also dumped mineral oil and/or vaseline in at some point, I don't remember.

Well, sometime later I kinda got away from muzzleloading, and haven't cast round balls or minie balls now for some years. I have done a lot more with smokeless rounds. So the can of goop sat on the shelf, largely unused, though occasionally I'd melt it down and pan lube some bullets for the 11mm Mauser in it (which while it never leaded, also didn't work well- the lube just is a mess, that's all). Every day more sawdust from the workshop would settle in the open can, the cat peed in it once, etc.

Now at this point, any sane person would dump the mess in the garbage.

But oh no, not me. One day my lubrisizer was nearing empty (felix lube) and even though I have plenty of felix lube on hand, plus some others, where does my gaze fall?

Yup, you guessed it. The can of gunk.

I melted it down, and poured it in, thinking, "you are an idiot, Jon, leave well enough alone. This **** didn't work well with blackpowder, it sure isn't going to do well with smokeless. You don't even remember 100% what is in it!"

Such self pleas fell on deaf ears, and in it went.

The sludge worked well enough on .38 special, moving at 800 fps, but that isn't exactly demanding on a lube. Experiment two was to use it on some fat 8mm gas checked bullets, cast at .325" and run through that diameter sizer. Test rifle was a Turk K. Kale 8mm, with powder being the surplus SR 4759 clone now more or less available. Alloy was a 20:1 mix of wheelweights and linotype. Air cooled (this time).

Results? Better than I had hoped. I started with 16 grains, definitely on the light side for this powder and a 175 gr bullet. 4 shots touching at 50 yards, 1 flyer. About the same for 17 and 18 grains of powder. At 19 however, the group started to open up and at 21 I was getting definite leading. By 23 grains the bullets were all over the target and I was getting severe leading. I didn't have a chronograph with me but I'd suspect the low end loads were moving about 1400 fps and the high end ones about 2000 fps. Still, despite visible leading, the gun cleaned up pretty quickly.

So the gunk will get its last hurrah, used in low velocity cases- now I just have to use it all up before casting bullets for Camp Perry this summer! :-D

06-18-2007, 11:07 AM
Was it a Siamese Mauser? That would require urine from a Siamese cat.

06-18-2007, 11:42 AM
I feel your pain! Casters and reloaders are pretty much a "cheep" bunch [Cheep is such a harsh sounding word] So jonk dont feel too bad as 90% of us here can share the same type of story

06-18-2007, 11:49 AM
Shooter, try 'frugal'...

06-18-2007, 12:21 PM
Was told that cat pee glowed in the dark under black light! Now I guess you have found a use for it, and maybe can use black light to seperate the different lubed blts.

06-18-2007, 12:53 PM
Sundog, my sister recently told her boyfriend as gently as possible that he was, well, "frugal". He says yeah, and I'm cheap too! I guess her point wasn't lost on him!

06-18-2007, 02:40 PM
"Value Conscious" is the term I prefer, "cheap" sounds so harsh!

06-19-2007, 12:57 AM
Was it a Siamese Mauser? That would require urine from a Siamese cat.

No,No, NO! That's Siamese cat LARD!

06-19-2007, 09:08 AM
Well as I said it was a turkish Mauser. And while we had a Turkish Van (type of longhair cat) at the time, it was a nondescript little tortiseshell who peed in it.

Still, am surprised and glad to see that my cheapn...er frugality didn't go totally to waste, and that the gunk ball is in fact useable lube, albeit for lower velocity loads.

06-19-2007, 09:25 AM
How about "Broke" not cheap!