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View Full Version : Does/Can lube affect accuracy?



Recluse
03-17-2009, 09:35 PM
You better rootin' tootin' grade-A believe it can.

Several days ago, I posted my adventures on trying to melt Mobil 1 synthetic bearing grease to use as a base in boolit lube. I'd done my research on how various ingredients should work together, blending, blah blah blah. So I mixed up a batch, poured it in the moulds, put it in the lubesizer and then proceeded to size and load some boolits. Then, today, I went and shot those boolits.

Accuracy was non-existent.

I mean, completely, totally non-existent. First load I tested was some 9mm rounds, 105SWC. Shot them side by side, same gun, same powder, brass, primers, etc. ONLY difference was the lube. The tumble lube mix I use gave its usual outstanding accuracy with no leading, little smoke and no gunking or gumming.

The Mobil 1 based lube smoked like hell, gummed the gun up beyond belief, and the shots--even at a measly 25'--flew all over the place with better than half missing the 5" target area completely.

Next I shot my favorite 148 grain wadcutters out of my beloved S&W Mod 686. I set up three 5" targets at my usual 50 feet. On any given day, even a bad one, I can keep the groups within 2" easily (standard 2.7 Bullseye load) shooting handheld with no rest. So today, I planned to load six rounds of my tumble lube mix, six rounds of my Rebel Red I've used for a long time, and six rounds of the Mobil 1 black lube, and then repeat until all 150 rounds were gone.

The tumble lube mix performed as always, with the group averaging about 1.5". The red lube gave me a group of right at an inch. The Mobil 1 black lube couldn't even stay within FIVE inches, with almost half of the rounds not even hitting in the white area OUTSIDE the black bullseye area. Worse yet, I was getting keyholes. The black lube gummed and gunked up my 686 so bad after just six rounds that it looked like a 586. Only good thing that can be said is there was no leading.

Tried my .45 loads (200SWC in front of 4.6 Bullseye). Shot my red lube boolits first and had an outstanding group. Shot the black lube boolits and after just fifteen shots, I gave up. I'll be pulling the boolits this evening and throwing them in the smelting pile.

Don't believe I'll be trying the Mobil 1 formula again. It was a huge PITA to mix, stinks worse than an Obama campaign promise, and the groups look uglier than than an empty glass of buttermilk

:coffee:

Dennis Eugene
03-17-2009, 09:45 PM
Sir, you certanly have a way with words. Dennis

docone31
03-17-2009, 09:46 PM
I tried melting in some Auto Wax into my lube.
I tossed the clump of green stuff as it did not mix at all.
I bet, if I could have made it work, I would have gotten your results also.
I use 55% Beeswax, 45% Vaseline, a tad of Marvel Mystery oil, Some Synthetic stick wax, and a bit of Crisco.
I made about 20lbs of it so I hope it has good shelf life. It goes further than I had at first thought.

ljshooter
03-19-2009, 02:22 AM
I tried melting in some Auto Wax into my lube.
I tossed the clump of green stuff as it did not mix at all.
I bet, if I could have made it work, I would have gotten your results also.
I use 55% Beeswax, 45% Vaseline, a tad of Marvel Mystery oil, Some Synthetic stick wax, and a bit of Crisco.
I made about 20lbs of it so I hope it has good shelf life. It goes further than I had at first thought.

How does it shoot (accuracy, gum and smoke)? I mixed up 16oz Paraffin, 13oz Vaseline and 2 TBSP of STP oil treatment and still have to test it.

Bret4207
03-19-2009, 07:00 AM
I don't think lube is just "lube". By that I mean I think it has a variety of functions that change in application and in different platforms. In a low pressure 700 fps load , in a 32 S+W for instance, I think it's more a seal than a lube. In a mid range load, say a Fat 30 boolit in a 7.65 Argie just loafing along at 1400 fps, it's both a seal and lube. In a hotter load, say an RCBS 180-fn pushed to 2200 in a 30WCF, it's more a lube than a seal. And I think sometimes it can be too much of a seal, possibly preventing the lead from fulling engraving by filling that space itself. Maybe...that one I'm still working on wrapping my head around.

Just my theory and worth just what you paid for it.

44man
03-19-2009, 08:29 AM
Lube has to be tested for accuracy just like powder, etc. Lube can also be too slippery, build up in the bore or even burn leaving ash in the bore.
Test lube should be made in tiny batches so you don't waste ingredients. There is no magic lube so it makes no sense to try odd ingredients.

dubber123
03-19-2009, 08:55 AM
My only thoght is the very high cook temps you mentioned, 400+ if I remember right. I wonder if you may have burned some of the ingredients? I use Mobil1 oil, not grease in my lube.

I haven't done any rifle testing with it to speak of, but have fired maybe 5,000 rounds through various pistols with complete satisfaction.

felix
03-19-2009, 10:13 AM
Dubber, if you can find some Mobil 1 from when if first became public, your lube will be happier by a long shot, literally. The first production run was found to be too low in viscosity in practice, and they have modified the formula by quite a bit during during that period. I am sure it has been modified continually, but not as drastically as it was the first few years. ARCO had a competing product at the time that used graphite, but it still was not synthetic. It fell by the wayside fairly quickly because of the lack of sales. Who wants to put dirty oil in the car? ... felix

docone31
03-19-2009, 10:27 AM
The lube I made is what I use now.
It does leave carbon, along with useing Blue Dot. However, it is very easy to clean.
I have not found any leading in either my rifles, or pistols. I do not use it on paper patches however.
I have made many batches of lubeings. I have not noticed any diminished results. It does keep pretty well.

Recluse
03-19-2009, 10:30 AM
I wondered about the high temps as well, but the Mobil 1 is supposedly rated up to 575F for extended periods of time. A call to a Mobil chemist (who is an acquaintance from a long time ago) asking to define "extended periods of time" netted me "six to ten hours at high temp with high friction."

Told him what had happened and he offered that A) their synthetic axle/bearing grease is grossly overrated (even said that he himself does not use it--he uses Lucas or plain white lithium grease), and B) that "extended periods of time" is more in reference to their Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil, which is a superb product. (I've used Mobil 1 ever since it first came out. Also use Penzoil Synthetic, which is also superb.)

So, as far as the high temps go, the grease was the only thing that got hot, and it wasn't even for close to an hour and was still 25% under Mobil's own "limits." Everything else that was added was added and blended after I let the mix cool down to around 250F.

Only thing I'm wondering is if the silicone I added made the stuff TOO slick, ie, too high a viscosity that inhibited the boolit from getting a good grab with the rifling.

The 148 wadcutters were the lowest velocity rounds fired, and this is where the lube fared the absolute worst. The .45 200 SWC were high in velocity, but still fared poorly. The 9mms were fairly hot and fared a bit better--although the range was half that of the .45 and .38 special rounds.

Obviously this is a big disappointment, but lubes and the brewing of them are just part of the black magic of boolit casting. I didn't bother to sacrifice the Kroger roaster chicken while brewing up this mess, although I did have numerous candles lit and was muttering a lot of (often profane) incantations while trying to get the stuff to melt and blend.

I gave some thought to trying the mix again and deleting the carnauba and silicone, but I'm not sure it will be worth it--not for the trouble it takes to melt and blend the stuff in.

Oh well. I still enjoy the journey more than the destination, and for my serious "gotta be right every time" loads, there is still Lars White Label lubes. But at this stage in my life, I live to tinker and experiment.

:coffee:

buck1
03-19-2009, 10:44 AM
Im my testing, I have found lube to be very critical!!!! Temps are a big factor.
I tested for a few years. If it could melt I tryed it.
With slow low pressure loads in warm weather, almost any wax/oil mix will work ok.
But put on the pressure and drop the air temp and things change.
In the end with the help of this board, I found a lube that will beat most anything I used.
It handles heat , high/low pressure,and cold well. 3pts bees wax/1pt Lithium grease, and carnuba to harden to taste. Be carefull of the flash points and mix mix mix. Blend in the grease not melting it so much. It will mix in after a wile and not seperate.
If I could offer only one pice of advice it would be stay away from Paraffin. Use bees wax instead. Thats a biggie for me...............Cheers Buck

felix
03-19-2009, 10:48 AM
Heat rating is very low on the totem pole for a boolit lube. The boolit is not in the barrel long enough to matter. Viscosity is everything and must be appropriate for the application. ... felix

buck1
03-19-2009, 11:11 AM
THATS IT RIGHT THERE! FELIX IS SHOOTING YA STRAIGHT!
Keeping that Viscosity at high and low air temps has kept me busy lots of nights.
Cold weather renders lots of lubes near usless. IMHO...............Buck

dubber123
03-19-2009, 11:16 AM
I believe it's something like 0W-30 Mobil1 I used, pretty thin stuff. My lube also has Lanolin and Carnauba, with a beeswax base. As weather is improving, I will get to try it in rifle applications more.

Recluse
03-19-2009, 11:53 AM
Heat rating is very low on the totem pole for a boolit lube. The boolit is not in the barrel long enough to matter. Viscosity is everything and must be appropriate for the application. ... felix

Felix, you also wrote in another discussion:


High viscosity is an accuracy killer. Be careful in match-merging the lube with the barrel and boolit style. At its best, the lube eliminates just enough friction to do its job and no more. Otherwise you get stripping and/or purging. ... felix

So I'm now wondering if the extremely high viscosity of the synthetic axle grease is what threw the big monkey wrench into this mix? While there really isn't a "viscosity" rating per se on bearing grease as compared with oils/fluids that typically flow, it seems that the two lubricants (bearing grease versus motor oil/transmission fluid) have two separate applications. Their only common purpose is to lubricate.

The mix I use that utilizes transmission fluid and MMO works extremely well. Of course, both have very low viscosities. I'd almost be tempted to do a bit of experimenting to see where the viscosity max is reached before accuracy goes out the window. . . but cleaning out lubsizers is a pain in the obama.

So what is up with high viscosity lubricants used in boolit lube? Too thick to work with the boolit/rifling in the macro-nano second it is in the barrel?

:coffee:

runfiverun
03-19-2009, 03:20 PM
it hink the thick isn't able to flow under the pressure and seal the little areas in between the land and groove junction as well.
but having a hard time getting lanolin locally i have been tempted to try glycerin.
however now, i think that 5-8% lithium grease will be my next step.

MT Gianni
03-19-2009, 07:06 PM
Overlubing wadcutters will cost you in the accuracy dept. I use no more than 1 lube groove unless the lube tells me to go to 2 grooves due to leading.

Recluse
03-20-2009, 02:31 AM
Overlubing wadcutters will cost you in the accuracy dept. I use no more than 1 lube groove unless the lube tells me to go to 2 grooves due to leading.

Now THAT I didn't know. I lubed all three grooves with the black lube. Only lubed two with the red on ten rounds, and only one groove for the remaining forty. Tumble lube, of course, is sparingly light all over the entire boolit.

Much appreciated for that helpful bit of information!

:coffee: