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Thread: Can lube be chemically disolved?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master bbogue1's Avatar
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    Can lube be chemically disolved?

    I was thinking of powdercoating some of the bullets I have that are lubed with wax to do a shoting test. I was thinking about solvents and did a bit of research to find that tolene and xylene are very close to carnuba wax which would make them the ideal choice to disolve the lube. Mineral spirits is close in chemical make up but not as good, however, I have paint thinner, which is mineral spirits. Laquer thinner is a hotter solvent, but, not like toulene or xylene or mineral spirits. So I thought I'd try that, too. I put a sampling of bullets in a can and covered the bullets with paint thinner. In another can I put more bullets and covered with laquer thinner. All the bulles are lubed the same. I left both for 48 hours. The first thing that happened was the color was leached out of the wax in both thinners. The Laquer thinner became brittle while the Paint thinner became soft. At 24 hours the paint thinner was etching through and some of the bullets were loosing their lube in small sections. Noting new had occured in the Laquer thinner. At 48 hours the lube in the paint thinner had disolved completely while the laquer thinner lube had not changed. The bullets felt clean and once the solvent dried neither was stickey. There is no sign of residue in the bottom of the cans or on the bulets. I plan to wash them with soap and hot water, let dry, then PC.

    Attachment 207453

    I left the Lacquer thinner to disolve for another 24 hours. At that point the lube is a very very soft paste. Easily wiped or washed off, but, not completely disolved. Here is what they look like after 72 hours.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It appears, given enough time either method will work to disolve the lube while super cleaning the bullet.
    Last edited by bbogue1; 11-10-2017 at 05:59 PM. Reason: move image out of text, added 72 hr info

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    Better/cheaper/faster solution:

    Get a old 2 quart pot.
    Throw in the bullets, cover with water, add 2 tablespoon of laundry detergent.
    add a tablespoon of lemishine/citric acid if you have it (it will etch the bullets nicely for PC adhesion).
    bring to boil.

    lube will melt and come to the surface. then you can either
    1) wait until cool and lube will be a cake on the surface and pick off easily.
    2) just pour off the water+lube in the weeds
    3) use a paper towel to soak up and remove the melted lube (may need several)

    drain and strain bullets (an old colander helps), dry bullets on an old towel with fan blowing over them.

    No cost, no toxicity, done in an hour

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    When I started powder coating I had a bunch of boolits lubed with Lee A-Lox.

    I happened to have a old coffee can that I converted to a parts cleaning basket and a gallon of Xylol Xylene.

    I used an old cooking pot. Put about one pint of the Xylol Xylene (just enough to cover the boolits). I let them soak for only a few minutes then gave the basket a little movement that would cause some fluid motion.

    The bullets were in the Xylol Xylene no more than 5 minutes and came out completely free of lube.

    I then washed them in hot water and dishwashing detergent fallowed by 2 hot water rinses.

    I saved the used Xylol Xylene and have used it a few more times. Each time has been as successful as the first.

    Xylol Xylene is nasty stuff. Never use it in your house. The plastic bucket I used for the hot water and dishwashing detergent mix still smell heavily of it 2 years later but if you fallow the safe use and handling instructions you'll be fine. And like I said it works in minutes not hours.

    Motor

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I have tried acetone, xylene,and mineral spirits, and dawn and various combiniations and they do clean lanolin but. They seem to have a bad effect of killing most of the charge needed in shake and bake method. It takes A LOT more shaking to get it to stick. When baked all past the hammer test. Probably would not effect is electrostatically sprayed but really difficult for shake and bake.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    I’ve boiled many in dawn and pc’d them just fine.
    It usually takes at least two boils. The first will get rid of the lube but they’re still a touch greasy to the touch. Second go around usually does it.
    Did for me.

    Dawn works great.

    A lot of it has to do with the lube composition. Commercial crayon lube is really easy. Cleaning off some Bens Red was a SOB! and barely worth the effort in the end
    When dealing with islam one should always ask themselves: "What would Leonidas do?"

  6. #6
    Boolit Master bdicki's Avatar
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    I've used brake clean with good results.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Another option is to heat in the oven at about 200 and the lube melts off. I wipe then give an Acetone bath , then PC.

    Boiling works good too but I had a hard time getting my pot clean again.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyFlatline View Post
    Another option is to heat in the oven at about 200 and the lube melts off. I wipe then give an Acetone bath , then PC.

    Boiling works good too but I had a hard time getting my pot clean again.
    You can find a suitable pot at the goodwill for dollar or so. Use and put it away for the next time or chunk it in the scrap pile.
    You’re right though, you’ll have a heck of a time getting the residue out of the pot so don’t use one of mommas good cookin’ pots.
    When dealing with islam one should always ask themselves: "What would Leonidas do?"

  9. #9
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    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    pot is probably low in saturated fats though
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have cleaned thousands of grease/wax lubed boolits with liquer thinner. Just soak overnight, dump, dry, wash in 50/50 VERY HOT water and Simple green, dump rinse in HOT water and end up with perfectly CLEAN non-greasy boolits that PC perfectly, both ESPC and BBDT.

    Don't ovethink the "chemistry"! Just something that dissolves grease well. Xylene is waaaay too dangerous to your health!!!!!!! And hard to find. Lowe's and Home Despot sell lacquer thinner in gallons. It's main ingredient is acetone.

    Bangerjim

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    softpoint's Avatar
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    I powder coat most of my bullets now, and have tried cleaning up a few lubed bullets to powder coat, but for the most part, I found just shooting up the already lubed and sized bullets and casting new bullets was easier.
    Cast Boolits, Where lead balloons go over....

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyFlatline View Post
    Another option is to heat in the oven at about 200 and the lube melts off. I wipe then give an Acetone bath , then PC.

    Boiling works good too but I had a hard time getting my pot clean again.
    Do it in your smelting pot, any residue will be flux

  13. #13
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grmps View Post
    Do it in your smelting pot, any residue will be flux
    Good point, Thanks.

  14. #14
    Boolit Man
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    Wonder if TSP would dissolve bullet lube and rinse clean enough to pc?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Bring them to a rolling boil with a little Dawn in there. Let cool. Lift off the old lube and pour off the water. When the boolits have dried, give em a tumble/rinse in a can with some acetone in there to remove any grease residue. Coat away when that is dry (only takes a few minutes for acetone to dry). I've done many that way.
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  16. #16
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    I've tried several methods as well, a long book with a cup of oxy clean seems to be the fastest s no oder method, a xylene soak works but to get the greasy stickies off I still had to boil and let dry on a shop towel so now just use a long boil with oxy clean

  17. #17
    Boolit Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    cant you just cast a few new ones to pc? Seems that that might be less work
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    cant you just cast a few new ones to pc? Seems that that might be less work
    I simply throw them back in the pot and make new bullets.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I simply throw them back in the pot and make new bullets.
    I only clean them when it is a batch that somebody gave me, or if I have already sold that mold and still want to use up those boolits. I agree that re-casting is the simplest way and guarantees clean boolits.
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    bboque1 I have tried those solvents and a number of others to remove lanolin lube before PC. The all removed the lanolin but I had a difficult time getting PC to stick using shake and bake method. When it did stick after shaking for 10+ minutes it was still thin and splotchy looking although it passed smash test just fine. I intend to try a water soluble lube to see if it will work with out killing the charge. Keep everyone posted on your progress, will let you know what I find trying the wire pulling lube.

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