View Full Version : Lube everywhere!!

08-18-2005, 08:38 PM
Hi all,

I'm a green-horn at casting boolits. I'm not new to guns, shooting or reloading but I just started Cowboy Action Shooting and I discovered I have a need for a S**T load of lead boolits. So what better way to get-um cheap, then to turn some free WW into shinny wads of lead to send down range to encounter some steel.

Well I did some reading here and else where and then I got all the equipment, a Lee 4-20 bottom pour pot, some Lee molds, an RCBS Lube-A-Matic 2, lube, mold release, flux,and of course a cheap four quart cast iron dutch oven to melt all those WW and turn them into shinny one pound ingots. Then I got brave and put ten of those ingots into the Lee pot along with 3 oz of 95/5 tin solder (Works out to a BNH of about 11.5) placed the mold underneath the spout and lifted the handle. The lead came faster than I though but those first two boolits were perfect! This is way too cool!!! A couple hours later I had 500 boolits that look as good if not better then any I ever bought. So on to the sizer/luber, read to limited instructions (Nothing about waht to do or expect) put a brand new stick of lube in the machine and turned the handle. Tried a boolit, nothing. Turned some more and more and more finally some lube made its' way to the die and into the boolit groove. Found out I needed to give the handle a 1/8 to 1/4 turn for each boolit to get some lube into the groove. Well the groove got filled but so did the base the sides, I had lube just about everywhere. I loaded up some cases with these boolits but I had to hand wipe each case and boolit to remove all the greesy kids stuff left all over the place. What am I doing wrong? I can't believe this is correct way to lube boolits, it is WAY TOO MUCH WORK! I need some help. How does a person lube boolits with an RCBS Lub-A-Matic 2?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions,

The Scoutmaster

08-18-2005, 09:03 PM
Scoutmaster---The RcBS luber does hold pressure and you can usually get more than one bullet lubed between applying more lube pressure. You'll soon know how often to apply lube pressure. Also when you do apply the lube pressure---be holding down on the operating handle---a firm pressure there or else lube under base. When you apply lube pressure---just an ever so slight touch---don't go cranking on it. I find I can control this better with the old style or like Lyman has--ratchet feed. I did convert mine to ratchet feed vs that toggle handle and like it much better. The conversion is not just switch parts--takes a little machining.

David R
08-18-2005, 09:17 PM
Welcome! You will find there is a "feel" to the luber sizer, but you are on your way to becoming addicted like me. If you set the depth of the boolit in the sizer it might help. If you are getting lube under the base of the boolit, you have too much pressure. Lube boolits until there isn't enough lube on the boolit. Put it back in, turn add a little more pressure. You didn't mention what you are shooting (caliber), but 45 colt takes a lotta lube, 22s only take a little.

YOu will get it, and again WELCOME

08-18-2005, 09:41 PM
Scoutmaster Now that you have the lube in the proper place, unscrew the filler cap. Let some air in the top above the lube, then begin to run the cap down again, this air space will act like a spring and feed the lube at a much lower pressure. On some bullets I get up to 10 sizings and lubing between tightening. How much pressue will vary depending on brand, hardness of lube, and temputure of the lube. Also when you are done sizing , back the pressue off the cap, or the next time you look at the lub-sizer there might be a 3 foot ribbon of lube hanging off your sizer. When I start with a new bullet I haven' tried before, I lay ( or hold) the bullet next to the sizer die (with the die out of sizer) and note how far I need to go into the die to get grease into all the holes I want lubed, without the bullet stoping with the base being lined up with another hole. If you stop the bullet with the base lined up with a hole, with some designs, where the base is not square to the sides it is possible to pump alot of lube under the bullet. D.Mack

08-18-2005, 09:51 PM
One more thing I also do, is I keep one of those green sratchy things my wife uses to srub pots and dishes. I screw a 2 inch square to my bench, and any bullet with grease on the base gets slid across this to remove the lube from the base as i am reloading. this keeps most of it away from the powder and prevents contamination. D.mack.

08-18-2005, 10:44 PM
ALL true! hang in there youll get the feel for it. What lube are you useing? differnt lubes nedd a differnt pressure /temp to flow corectly. ..Buck

08-19-2005, 10:25 AM
I'm loading 38 specials and I'm using the RCBS lube that came with the sizer. I do get lube under the base.

Now some more questions:

Should lube be oozing from around the bottom of the sizing die? Would it help to heat the press by blowing warm air from a hair drier onto the press? If so how do you know if it's at the right temp? If some lube is left under the base when loading will it effect the powder and change the performance of the loaded cartridge?

I really appreciate all of your help and do not want to seem like a pest. But from all my looking for answers on the web, this group seems to be the most knowledgable. Thanks again to everybody.

The Scoutmaster

08-19-2005, 11:13 AM
Welcome aboard.
I don't have an RCBS sizer, so can't answer much about it. I can tell you it is generally a good idea to keep the lube off of the bullet base. If there is much there, there is a posibility of some of the oils added to the lube to contaminate the powder charge. With a harder type lube, I don't know if this is as big of factor.
A hair drier will work to warm the lube, as will a light bulb, or one of the plug in magnetic block heater units for a vehicle.

08-19-2005, 11:34 AM
Welcome, Scoutmaster!

My lubers have been Lymans, but since both makers use the same dies, I'm assuming they seal the same way at the bottom--with a beveled edge against another beveled edge, or through the die rod. The Lymans leak a little, which I scrape onto waxed paper and use to lube Lee molds or re-install in the lube reservoir when I re-fill it with a new stick.

I think most of your problem has to do with over-pressure on the lube, and a contributing factor to that condition can be lube stiffness. The RCBS lubes don't necessarily "need" heat--but if you're sizing at temps under 75 degrees F, a lot of lubes get harder to run through the lube galleries. I use one of the many played-out blow-dryers that accumulate here (currently 3 of 6 daughters and wife reside within) to keep the housing warm (not hot) enough to let the Javelina flow without undue pressure being required.

Someone else already covered depth adjustment--just make sure to maintain some downward pressure on the boolit with the operating handle while squeezing lube into the grooves. It doesn't take much of a turn on the crank to fill the grooves on a 38 caliber boolit--1/32 turn AT MOST.

One other question--are your boolit bases nice and flat? If you have ragged bases, lube under pressure can get between the top of the die rod and bottom of the boolit base. This can happen a little even under the best of circumstances, so I keep something near the sizer to wipe bases off with as a matter of routine.

I had a mentor--Leo Reyes, God rest his soul--who "tuned me up" on boolit casting when I first got started. His words are pretty good advice for all novice casters and processors of boolits--I'll distill and paraphrase a LOT of his hints herewith--

Casting, sizing, and lubing boolits is an art form, not a science. The tools are not and never will be "perfected". They leak. They form imperfect castings at times. They need to maintain a narrow temp range to do their best work, and at the same time do their best to fight constant temperature control due to the many variables associated with the process. The attributes that contribute to success--observation, patience, perseverance, and affection for both the process and the outcome--stand someone in good stead in life. Leo said that someone who could cast boolits well could likely learn to run a steam locomotive competently, and would likely do well with horses, too. Leo said that the departure of bullet casting, horsemanship, and steam locomotives almost simultaneously was more than coincidental, and said volumes about the degradation of society's quality as its technology advanced. I am only now beginning to appreciate the depth of Leo's feelings 25 years later.

08-19-2005, 11:35 AM
Scoutmaster---When you finish a session--back off on the lube feed--the toggle handle a few turns. This releases pressure,otherwise it will ooze out. My first post I did forget to mention you need to adjust how far down you are pushing the bullet--someone else did mention that. Too deep and too much lube. I think RCBS makes both a lube that requires heating and one that doesnt---I know for sure one does. I have never used a lube that requires heating so I'm not familar. I would get some Javalina or some such that doesn't require heat. Better yet,make your own batch of FELIX WORLD FAMOUS BULLET LUBE(FWFBL). The recipe for this can be found www.castpics.net basically all ingredients except beeswax and anhydrous lanolin are readily obtainable. The lanolin you can have most pharmacies order for you. The beeswax,give a shout if you don't have a source and it can be bought right here on this board. Felix posts right here so you have access to the master himself and it has reputation of being the best around.

08-19-2005, 12:52 PM
Deputy Al
Wish I knew Leo. Darned good observation. Maybe I should get a horse! Nah a mule might be better.Be would be more alike.

08-19-2005, 09:48 PM
Shooter 575--

Leo was one hell of a fine man, for sure. He taught both my sister and I how to run a revolver and autopistol before we got into law enforcement, and I wish I could shoot NRA Bullseye half as well as he could. His work with home-built 1911A1's and Lyman #452460 and #452374 was superb. I don't think he ever shot a jacketed bullet from any of his 45's or his 38's, either. He saw some of my duty load duplicators (38 Special +P 110 JHP's) and liked how well-assembled they appeared to be, but considered the load itself to be "Super Vel Stupidity".

08-19-2005, 09:59 PM
Thank you all for the promt replies. I've got another 500 boolits cast so I will heed all the advice and measure and measure again, lay off the urge to crank on the lube handle, wipe off the bases and give it another shot. I will not give up untill I get the feel or should I say the nack of it. Although I probable will be back for some more advice in the near future.

Deputy All, Leo sounds like the kind of person who I would like to have met. It sounds like he had great insight. My grandfather was also named Leo and he too had a lot to share about life and I wish I had spent more time with him.

Thanks again to all of you, you have been a great help.

The Scoutmaster

08-20-2005, 03:25 AM
Allen, Youe mentor, Leo Reyes, in some ways reminds me of my late friend and father-in-law, Gordon Blaylock, who taught me to cast. I am still using his Lyman 452374 and 311291 moulds. They are a constant reminder of a good man who also knew what he was talking about.

Ken O
08-21-2005, 09:41 PM
If you are still having problems with lube on the base, take a chunk of a styrofoam meat tray and run the die through it. Leave the piece it cut out on the bottom, this will give a seal.
I was given this advise here when I had trouble with beveled base bullets (Ill never buy a BB mold again) and it works. I have had no problem with the flat base bullets.

08-22-2005, 07:58 AM
.............Scoutmaster, If you're running this finished ammo through revolters with customery SASS type loads, you might also consider the Lee Tumble Lube for lubing.

With the current 6 cavity moulds (or even 2-4 cavities) a real bottle neck in ammo production is the 'one at a freaking time' lube-sizing. Using low-moderate intensity type loads the Tumble Lube will provide all the lube you need. Something to think about.

I mentioned wheelguns as the Lee T-L does coat the nose. In tube mag leverguns there might be an eventual buildup issue. Maybe not, but I know you guys run a bunch through the things.


08-22-2005, 10:36 AM
Ken O--

That's one hell of an idea, sir. I have some Lee 9mm and 40 S&W castings with bevel bases, and I think you just provided a fine fix for the nettlesome problem. Thank you!--I hadn't seen that bit of info previously.

Ken O
08-22-2005, 10:02 PM
Yep Deputy, it works, but keep the meat tray handy, after about 20 boolits or so, it compresses and starts to leak, then its time for another.