View Full Version : Ever hear of 'soap loads'?

07-27-2006, 04:30 PM
On this forum and others, threads about 'squib loads' and 'gallery loads' and loads for eliminating vermin in tight quarters...and using BPCR guns to do it with... keep popping up.
I don't have time to experiment, right now, but maybe someone with time on his hands would have an interest in this idea.

I spent most of my Vietnam tour on top of Nui Ba Den mountain...over near Tay Ninh. Because it was a 'permanent installation', the rats had moved in and multipiled.

Shooting them seemed like a pleasant distraction which might reduce the population some, but the entire peak was littered with rocks...Volkswagen-sized and larger.
That made shooting military ball, in and around our living/work area, from our issued .38 Specials seemed a little 'unsound'.

Enter 'soap loads'.

Pull the bullet from a loaded round, without spilling any powder...then press a half-used-up bar of soap down on the case mouth to cookie-cut a 'plug' that resembled an Ivory wadcutter.
They would 'gunk up' our Smith & Wessons pretty bad, but hot water followed by LSA worked OK to clean 'em up.

I never put this load on paper, but we did kill rats with it. Fired at a slab of three quarter plywood from forty feet, the slug would dig a sizeable 'gouge' into the first two or three plies.

Wonder what you would get if you poured your favorite (or perhaps not so favorite) 500 grain bullet mould full of straight beeswax - and thumb seated the 'all-lube bullet' in an unsized fireformed case, over an 'adjusted' charge, with card wads seperating the BP, oat meal, and bullet...?

It should smell like Honey Toasted Oats...cooked over charcoal...with a subtle-but-invigorating nuance of sulphur.

Old Ironsights
07-27-2006, 05:40 PM
I've done this with softened Gulf Wax (canning parafin) but never from molten into a mold. IMO it wouldn't work because of how wax shrinks on cooling. I say stick to pressing the wax into the cartridges

07-27-2006, 07:35 PM
Well, I had a load for varmints, some years ago. My buddy made me an insert, about a foot long, from an old .22 barrel, that slid into the breech of my Sharps. A rubber O- ring helped keep things centered. It used a shotgun primer, and a single buckshot, forget what size.
Anyway, it made for a good grouse and packrat shooter.
One day, I had been up on the mountain hunting grouse with it, and when I returned home, placed it in it's usual resting place, above the door of the cabin. A few hours later, I heard a noise under the cabin, and figured correctly, it was a packrat.
I took down the Sharps, and and crawled under the cabin, through the access door. Shining my light at the packrat, I eared back the hammer, took a fine bead, and touched it off.
What I had failed to remember, was when the rifle was put above the door, I had put it's usual load of a 500 gr. bullet, with a goodly load of black powder behind it.
I never did figure out if I got that particular packrat. Between the flash, the boom, and the smoke, I kind of lost track of what was going on. Couldn't hear a darned thing for several days. And this could be part of the reason, I say "Huh?", quite a bit.
Anyhow, they are a neat toy, if you have a rifle that will accomadate one of these inserts. Sounds like a Buckshot project!

07-28-2006, 04:12 AM
...............I shot some wax slugs out of my 22 when I was a kid but never soap. Pull the slug and press the casemouth into the block of parrafin.

My dad was a 2nd class dental tech in the Navy during the Korean war. This bit of info may seem a bit O/T but I'm getting there. He finished up at the Naval hospital on San Diego. Which BTW is where he and my mom met, just to tie up all the loose ends.

So anyway I had this idea (from where I have no idea) in the opening sentence. My dad had a nice shop out in the back yard and right in front of it was the clothes line. Hanging on the clothes line was a (I know now) very nice couple of US Navy wool hospital blankets. One behind the other.

These were the cream colored blankets with a blue stripe across both ends about a foot up from the end. At the head end woven in blue thread it said, US Navy MC San Diego. I didn't see dad's name on'em anywhere, but I'm sure they issued these 10 pound blankets to him upon his honorable discharge, heh, heh.

I had no idea what these wax slugs would do but figured the blanket would surely stop a wax bullet from a feeble 22RF. I'd pinned a target up and got back across the yard and shot quite a few rounds. What discouraged me was the dispersion I saw, but what REALLY caused me to quit was when I found out the wax pellet was going through BOTH sides of the blanket and sometime one side of the one behind it.

No one was ever the wiser, and for that I am gratefull to this day.


07-28-2006, 09:50 AM
Wax bullet loads were popular for indoor target work before the advent of plastic. Bill Jordan shot thousands of these and this is what he used for his demonstrations. A magnum primer alone is all you need for power and for wax use 75% parifin and 25% beeswax. For pistols use cases with the flash hole reamed out and that will prevent the primer from backing. The indoor Cowboy shoot in Nevada this year will use all wax loads. In a shotgun just use a primer and turn an empty wad over. When I had the shop we sponsored wax bullet shoots ever wednesday night and I sold a little loading kit and wax pan. We got good enough to occasionally shoot bats out of the air with wax loads.

07-30-2006, 11:08 PM
I have an OLD box of .44 - .45 caliber CCI "Red Jet" wax bullets.

Bought 'em in the late 70's and never used 'em.

07-31-2006, 01:00 AM
I did the .22 rimfire deal hundreds of times as Buckshot describes, and used my teeth to pull the lead bullet. I don't know how I lived this long........

07-31-2006, 01:13 AM
Wax bullets are no toy that's for sure. I killed a rabbit with one and I can't remember how many squirrels and pigeons. A wax bullet will penetrate a tin roof from 10 feet and under too. I still shoot them from my model 19. I drill out the primer hole to about twice the normal size, use a mag primer, a mag case and press it into a block of canning parafine. Works like a charm out to 25 feet or so.

Old Ironsights
07-31-2006, 08:09 AM
Stink to high heaven in a basement tho, and too loud there too. I gave 'em up for .22 Colibris.

07-31-2006, 09:57 AM
Heard of a guy that shot wax out of a 30-30, at 15 ft. at a white 4x8 sheet of plywood, that he occaisionaly painted on a wash of sugar water. This was to draw flys, and he would bench shoot them. Reportedly there were periodic globs of wax with a fly wing or leg sticking out. Can't varify but seems like it would work with a beeswax comb and parafine. The Speer plastics work well for me in my colt, and I can use the things many times over. But the fly wings and legs sounded like fun. 1Shirt

12-02-2006, 06:01 AM
related story. I hung out at gunshops when I was still wet behind the ears. I heard this story at a liars convention one saturday afternoon. Seems one of the gents had a real love of indoor target practice with his 38spl. he had him a backstop made of old sears catalogs and such piled up next to the fireplace in his living room and he'd sit in his recliner and shoot the old speer plastic bullets into it. I guess his wife didn't care for the practice, especially at 3 in the morning. One night she came down to voice her displeasure at this behavior and he, without thinking did the dumbest thing I've ever heard a married man do. He waited for her to turn and go back upstairs, then, he "hit her in the sitter" as she went up the stairs. The results were catastrophic to say the least. Who would have guessed that one primer powered plastic bullet from a 2" 38spl could cost a man half of everything he owned?

12-02-2006, 06:19 AM
Dan walker---Did the guy get a cat in the divorce?

12-02-2006, 06:38 AM
I bought a house in 1970 in Altus,Oklahoma that had been owned by a widder woman. She had been feeding all stray cats for several years apparently. Now with that many cats,she had not spent enough time training them. So me being the cat lover that I am decided to train them. I figured she had some fine racing stock and if cat racing ever became popular,I'd have some fine prospects ready to enter. They use starter pistols at races that are fired into the air. I wanted the sound to have some meaning,so I adjusted the procedure a might. I poured parafin bullets into my mold and sometimes enhanced that with a spent primer or two. With just a primer and no powder,it would penetrate a beer can. I wanted to use as much Unique as possible,but keep the noise level down. Whenever I was ready to start a race,I'd point the starter pistol right at the cat---give it some meaning that the cat could learn--help train it. I never dropped a cat. This was with a .357 magnum. Got to thinking that with my 30-06 I could use more powder and keep the noise down and if I used an ice bullet there would be no evidence. (evidence that I was teaching the cats to race---wouldnt want other cat racers to know my secrets). I never did try it,it just remained a thought.

12-02-2006, 12:08 PM
Goin back to the years between 79 and 84 I was living in a cabin up the Skelkaho pass near the divide. This was on a homestead that was within the boundries of the Bitterroot national forest.
I had a bad mouse situation for awhile before I went to town and picked up a big ol yellow tom cat that was easily the most obnoxious animal I ever did see, when he was hungry.
Before P-cat came I took to trapping and baiting. Had me a gal visiter one evening and we was sitting by the lantern playing cards and she didnt know it but I had some baits out. My baits were canning jar lids with penut butter. I had my K-22 next to me and she asked what for, so I told her it was for mice and she just laughed like she thought it was a joke.
Just when she was tryin to cyfer a new hand I seen some action at a bait station. She didnt notice me raise the gun but when it went off she did. Can ya believe she spread rumers all over town that I was crazy cuz I didnt like mice?
Thought if I were gonna have any feminine visiters I better mod the systam. 22 LR was kinda terin up the cabin anyways. Started pauring b-wax in a pan about 3/4" thick and cutting a plug with a primed 44 mag case. That was some potent mice medicin.
Had one hard case that lived in a drawer and kept building a nest in my iron pans. Somethin about the aroma of mice pee when you start cookin that kinda just takes away the appetite ya know. Well this guy was trap wise and just defied all efforts so I set a bait station in the drawer. About every hour or when the thought popped into my head I would jerk the drawer open with a nice old pinned recessed Smith 29 with a wax load in one hand. I'm tellin you he was no easy target. Soon as the drawer opend he was all over the place. Musta been shot at before! I finaly connected and blew mouse guts all over the drawer. No slouch load that at close range.
Tried for more range by adding powder but found it would just shatter the wax and make a close range shot load.
I imadgin gettin stung on the hinder parts would rais quite a welt. Poor fella, but for a stupid moment!

12-02-2006, 12:26 PM

Ya just gotta find the right type of feminine company, when it comes to the dispatch of vermin species. A couple years ago, I saw Marie on the living room couch with SIG-Sauer P-228 in hand, staring intently out the back sliding glass door.

"Is everything all right?" I asked.

"Those crows won't land. Just a minute."

She gets a little protective of the tomatoes. I suggested the air rifle (25 caliber RWS) over the pistol, and she continued her sentinel duty so equipped until the baseball game on TV was over, then started dinner. No shots in anger that day.

12-02-2006, 02:13 PM
Years ago a buddy sent me a photo from another BBS board where the author had used a Lyman 359495 Wadcutter mold and a hot glue gun to make plastic bullets. They seems pretty filled out and rather well shaped. The load, its performance, and any other details have been lost to time in my mind.

It seemed a worthwhile idea. Those hot glue guns are just tubes of plastic that gets liquefied by a heat source, and set up pretty fast. Granted, I wouldn't dare use a irreplaceable mold, but I happen to have a Lyman 2 cavity 35895 mold somewhere waiting to try this.

I still frequently do the Bill Jordan thing with .38 specials. I have about 200 .38's with the primer hole drilled out and notched on the rim as my way to identify these wax shells. I use a round pie pan and a bar of Gulf Wax. Melt the wax over a double boiler until liquid and the wax is about 1/2" thick in the pan. Remove from heat and place it it the fridge until it gets "just right". Just right is when the wax is hard enough to set inside for a nice clean cut, but not too liquid where you get smears. I use a pencil eraser the next day to push the pills against the primer. Prime and shoot. Very accurate from 0 to 20 Feet.

Lightning Ross
12-05-2006, 11:34 PM
Try a !/2 45lc case of 2f goex a thin wad take a tube of rubber silacone calking fill the case the rest of the way full.You have a rubber bouncy bullet that is just right for the neighbors dog doo dooing in you yard . Not recomended for incide city limmits. Kind of like the cat racing story. The 45 case was a starline blank case with the larger primer holes.

01-14-2007, 11:34 PM
I still do alot of this. Here is my setup for fun in the garage!



01-15-2007, 12:28 AM
I seem to recall an article in the early 60’s, I think it was in GunWorld, about lightweight wood, possibly balsa boolits in the .45 auto.

Anyone else remember those?

01-15-2007, 01:13 AM

I THINK that must have been a reference to the Danish Schouboe entered in the early Army trials that led to the selection of the 1911 Colt. As I recall, they got extramely high velocity (but short range) using wooden bullets with an aluminum jacket. The idea didn't pan out.


01-15-2007, 07:31 AM
Sure shot out a lot of windows, in log cabins ( essentially bulletproof), and blew holes through the walls of old mobile homes, in the " Cow Camp" days.
with those " candle wax" loads
Shootin' flies was just,............well, something that you DID.:-D
Young cowhands and pistols......
GREAT cvombination, albeit hard on "facilities"


01-15-2007, 10:54 AM
40mmHEDP, details please. Shotgun primers,wax,gun? Thanks

01-15-2007, 02:00 PM

I just use some regular 45 Colt brass. Chuck it up in the lathe and drill out the primer pocket to fit a shotgun primer and the counter sink it with a 5/16 end mill for the flange on the primer to fit into.

I buy the wax bullets from C&R up in Oregon. They are about $20 a thousand so I don't bother making them myself.

Use fired brass and don't resize it. That way you can just shove the wax in and drop in a primer. You don't need any powder and they go like hell. I'd be lying if I said I never dumped a little powder in there from time to time but it's absolutely not necessary.

with just a primer it will shoot clean through a paint can so watch out for your drywall!

Oh yeah,

The revolver is a replica 1851 in 44cal. and a 5.5" barrel. Not exactly original but a ton of fun. I added a R&D conversion cylinder intended for a 1860 style revolver but they use the same frame so it works perfectly.

01-15-2007, 02:27 PM
Speer used to sell "Target 38s" and Target 44s" that were plastic cases and bullets on this principle, primer powered. They also made "Target 45" bullets to use in brass cases.

The problem with shooting primer powered ammo indoors is that the smoke is loaded with lead in a nice finely divided state that will get down to the alveoli of your lungs, to be readily absorbed. Better have really good ventilation to think about that.

I knew a guy in college who loaded up a cap and ball revolver with a wax wad on top of black powder as a blank to pull a joke on his roommate. When the roomie came in, he started screaming at him, pulled out the hogleg and shot him from across the room. The wax hit him hard enough that he thought he'd really been shot and was dying. Fortunately it didn't really hurt him. Bad idea to pull something like that for "play."

01-17-2007, 12:09 AM
Thanks for the info 40mm, I like the looks of those shells and will give it a try.

01-17-2007, 01:43 AM
related story. I hung out at gunshops when I was still wet behind the ears. I heard this story at a liars convention one saturday afternoon. Seems one of the gents had a real love of indoor target practice with his 38spl. he had him a backstop made of old sears catalogs and such piled up next to the fireplace in his living room and he'd sit in his recliner and shoot the old speer plastic bullets into it. I guess his wife didn't care for the practice, especially at 3 in the morning. One night she came down to voice her displeasure at this behavior and he, without thinking did the dumbest thing I've ever heard a married man do. He waited for her to turn and go back upstairs, then, he "hit her in the sitter" as she went up the stairs. The results were catastrophic to say the least. Who would have guessed that one primer powered plastic bullet from a 2" 38spl could cost a man half of everything he owned?

Hrmmm, sounds like my wife. I shot her once with the .40 blowgun in the ***. I didn't blow very hard, but those thin piano wires sure do slide in easily! She still b*tches bout it after 20+years.... Dem wimmin just got no sense a humor.....:Fire: :Fire: :Fire: :Fire: :Fire: :drinks:

01-17-2007, 01:49 AM
Used to use a Daisy side cocking spring piston air pistol. It had good adjustable sights, and it could go in an aluminum pop can, & stay there. I'd shoot mice from across the garage with it. Killed mice dead. Gave me an excuse to not listen to the stepdad too. I sold it to my recruiter on entering the Corps.

01-18-2007, 02:42 AM
I've got these old Popular Mechanics do it yourself encyclopedia books set that show you how to make wax bullets for blasting indoors.

Trailrider SASS #896
01-19-2007, 06:10 PM
Howdy, Pards,

I'm new on this forum, so bear with me...

Awhile back I was working with loads for a .56-56 Spencer Central Fire conversion. I wanted some "demonstration" loads that would feed from the magazine and would not require a real hefty target backstop.

I happened to come up with some balsa wood Estes Industries model rocket nose cones, which have a "heel" base and are about 5/8" diameter just ahead of the heel. These fit snug in shortened .50-70 brass. I loaded 25 gr FFFg and pointed the muzzle at some corrigated cardboard from a box, just 2 feet from the muzzle! I did NOT open the primer flash holes up, just loaded up the brass with the balsa bullets and fired away.

Would you believe... the cardboard was full of pock-marks on the front side, but not a single particle penetrated the cardboard! The rounds fed just fine from the magazine, too. I would still not point this at anyone or anything! But they make great demo loads. The only problem is the price of each nose cone is probably about $4.00 plus! (Haven't bought any in years!)

Ride easy, but stay alert for bushwhackers! Godspeed to those still in harm's way in the defense of Freedom everywhere! God Bless America!

Your Pard,