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Thread: Novel Lee Liquid Alox Application Method?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub curioushooter's Avatar
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    Novel Lee Liquid Alox Application Method?

    I have cast for about a decade, mostly tumble-lube style bullets from Lee, mostly in handguns going typical handgun velocities, doing it the way Lee prescribes.

    Since there are very few tumble-lube style bullets for rifles (30 and 358 caliber), and I have no Lubriziser type device, I've been doing this:

    I take a small metal dish and fill it with LLA and heat it up considerably on an electric range or wood stove. Then I dip the room temp bullet, holding it on the ogive or bore riding section, into the hot LLA. I then place it on wax paper to dry, much of it runs down. Then I size it with a Lee-style push-through sizer to a thousandth over groove diameter (.309 in this case).

    I've found that this manages to fill out standard lube grooves. It also keeps the nose part of the bullet clean if I choose. I've found that LLA has acceptable performance in my 32-20 Contender 10" running at full power, or just under 40,000 CUP. I have yet to try it in a 30-30 rifle.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, or admonitions?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
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    There are more than a few here that "dip" their boolits in lube, keeping the noses free of lube. Mostly as I understand it, to keep from "gumming" or clogging their seating die with lube & changing the seating depth of the boolits as the lube builds up in the seating die..

    Hopefully some of them will chime in here & add to/answer your question(s).
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  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    Iíve been tumble lubing the standard way and powder coating. Iím going to have to try this. Especially on my 30-30 cast bullets.


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    Boolit Bub Cheeto303's Avatar
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    I bought a small electric potpouri pot at goodwill (looks like a mini crock pot) for a couple of bucks to which I add LLA cut with some odorless mineral spirits and dip away. When done I cover the pot until the next use. I also got one of those little electric cup wamers that I took apart and reconfigured it as a heater for my Lyman 450 lubrisizer. It works well.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quoted from an old thread.
    dipping Alox Ranch Dog Method

    Wondering if anyone else is doing this method.

    http://www.ranchdogoutdoors.com/Tips/Alox/

    Looks pretty efficient and he claims to get good accuracy and velocity without leading.

    A lot more lube than you would get by tumbling.

    I like that you only need to run through the sizer once and without any Alox buildup.
    end quote

  6. #6
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    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    I've dipped the ones that I cast from a RD mold. Can't say if it was any better or not.
    Tom
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    With normal lube groove bullet the lee alox can be "cooked down" as your doing. Also most stick lubes melt and can be dipped in the same manner then the cutter used to finish. Basically the same way your doing now. Another option with regular lubes is pan lubing the bullets.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    When I did a bunch of dip lubing, I used the Tapered Needle nose Pliers that have a bend in the jaws. You can buy them bent at different angles, also with Spring loaded jaws to make the job even easier.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by randyrat View Post
    When I did a bunch of dip lubing, I used the Tapered Needle nose Pliers that have a bend in the jaws. You can buy them bent at different angles, also with Spring loaded jaws to make the job even easier.
    Randy, which of your lubes do you "dip" with?

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub curioushooter's Avatar
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    So many good thoughts here. The Needlenose pliers sound like a good idea which makes me think that there are these things called "college forceps" that are sold at Harbor Freight. They are for medical use, disposable, and very cheap like a couple of bucks. They can be bent easily to hold a bullet nose, and there are ones that are spring loaded on the open not the close so, which would make it work well with bullets I think. Ranch Dog has some good ideas, too. Wow! Thanks!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I've been dipping 45-70 for years using pan lube recipes. For tumble lubing pistol boolits,I tumble with Alox and a small gob of paste wax. This keeps them from getting too sticky and they dry good overnight. Easy to wipe off the nose before loading.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyrat View Post
    When I did a bunch of dip lubing, I used the Tapered Needle nose Pliers that have a bend in the jaws. You can buy them bent at different angles, also with Spring loaded jaws to make the job even easier.
    I use straight version of these for powder coating because HF had them with really thin pointed jaws. Yes the spring loaded jaws do make it much easier.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    For low volume the process described will work, but it is too labor-intensive for quantity production if you shoot alot.

    My observation is that most people use far too much of the Lee Liquid Alox. Doing so isn't necessary for .38 Special or .45 ACP wadcutters or for plainbased rifle gallery loads under 1300 fps in calibers like the .30-06.

    Nor is it necessary to have special "tumble-lube" bullets with the tiny grooves. Standard cast bullets work fine. There is NO NEED to "fill" conventional lubricating grooves with LLA. The lube works best by using a THIN coating over THE ENTIRE bullet.

    This is how I do it. As they say, YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.

    Dilute the liquid Alox with equal parts by liquid volume of Stoddard Solvent or aliphatic mineral spirits, aka "Varsol."

    Fill a USGI .30 cal. ammo can flush to the top with your .30 cal. gallery bullets, .38 or .45 wadcutter bullets, using the .30 cal. can as a "bulk bullet measure"

    Pour the .30 cal. ammo can of bulk bullets into a .50 cal. can, so that there is "tumbling room" to agitate the can.

    Pour 2 fluid ounces of DILUTED 50-50 LLA-Mineral spirits into the .50 cal. can, then snap down the lid.

    Gently agitate the ammo can. Grasp it by the handle and turn the can first end to end ten times, then side to side ten times, then repeat end to end ten times.

    Unsnap the lid, leaving the can open, supporting a ten-inch box fan over the top of the open can. Let the fan blow on its highest setting to evaporate off excess solvent for 8 hours while you so something else in the shop.

    After 8 hours, repeat the agitation sequence and again leave can open with the fan over top blowing overnight.

    The next morning snap the lid closed, agitate again, then the pour lubed bullets out onto plastic film and spread them out to finish drying, if needed. When dry to the touch bullets can be stored bulk in ammo cans until needed.

    After you have repeatedly used your lube can, such that its insides are now thoroughly coated with dried lube, you can skip the LLA for every 5th bullet load, using clear mineral spirits only to dissolve and redistribute the accumulated lube inside the can.

    If not lubricated excessively your seating dies should not accumulate bullet lube, but on progressive machines for large quantities I have 1/16" bleed hole EDM'ed in the seater die so that lube deposits will not affect seating depth. I save the extruded "lube worms" coming out the bleed hold to flux my casting pot or to lubricate the sprue plate hinges on my gang molds.

    If you have a LARGE rotating tumbler which will hold a HEAVY 5-gallon bucket you can use 4 fluid ounces of diluted 50-50 to 100 pounds of bullets. This process works great with 45-45-10 as well.

    If any commercial reloaders in the trade do it differently I would like to hear. I am no longer "in the business" but have lubed several tons of bullets this way over the years... I assisted in the development and testing of the product which is now sold commercially as Lee Liquid Alox, but did so long before it came on the retail market, but instead it was (and may be still) used by a US ammunition manufacturer whose name you would recognize.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 02-05-2018 at 02:21 PM.
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  14. #14
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyrat View Post
    When I did a bunch of dip lubing, I used the Tapered Needle nose Pliers that have a bend in the jaws. You can buy them bent at different angles, also with Spring loaded jaws to make the job even easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by jaysouth View Post
    Randy, which of your lubes do you "dip" with?
    I have dip lubed using a Lube recipe that is nearly identical to the Tac1.

    I had a 44spl Rossi revolver with WAY oversized throats, luckily I had a mold that dropped 'em large enough. I would dip lube those unsized for that gun, then just cut off the excess with a katekutter.
    I heated the Lube to "warm" in a tunafish can on the wood stove and I also preheated the boolits...Dip and set on wax paper. It's not as slow as you'd think.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    I use gallon or 1/2 gallon zip lock baggies to tumble more modest quantities than outpost75 describes but the rule of thumb (which is not to be confused with be all end all or holy gospel) is if you can see the tumble lube on the bullet in one coat you're probably putting it on too heavy. Easy to forget, especially if the lube gets stiff and has to be heated to flow so it is inconsistent. Just trying for a thin line across the pile of bullets. Sometimes that means heating for long enough that the whole squirt bottle is in a consistent liquid state. Maybe even letting the heat dissipate into the lube, then heating some more (if using a microwave). On can hit the bullets with a blow dryer to both help the tumble lube spread or to "thin" it a bit if it is on the bullet too heavy. Heat and tumble again will dissipate some lube in the container.

    You can just roll the bullets and lube from corner to corner to corner in a larger zip lock baggie. Almost like a flowing slinky. For me the limiting factor is a place or space to dry them on tray(s) but for plinking ammo it is less time and effort invested than powder coating. PC is able to handle higher velocities, so I don't tumble lube rifle as a rule, but am planning to. Be good to know what options I have if I don't want to shake and bake.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by jaysouth View Post
    Randy, which of your lubes do you "dip" with?
    I've dip lubed with every kind of lube you can imagine, then ran them through a Lee sizer die way before I had a lube sizer. I was a Dip lube expert..That is how i figured that less lube stuck on a heated lead bullet.

    I started with Alox, thinned Alox, Alox and beeswax, Alox and Carnauba wax, stinky oil and beeswax, more stinky oil beeswax and carnuba wax. What ever I could find for wax,oils, soaps, Sterine, Strearic acid. You name it, I tried it.. I even bought different lubes to try.
    I settled on two basic lubes TAC 1 and TAC X
    Last edited by randyrat; 02-09-2018 at 07:27 AM.

  17. #17
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    I started dip lubing several years ago, mostly for looks, then decided I liked the performance too. My "method" was confirmed when I read about how Ranch Dog lubed his RNFP bullets. I have some large, 8", tweezers that work perfectly, mostly 'cause my fat fingers don't hold needle nosed piers well enough...
    Last edited by mdi; 02-11-2018 at 12:11 PM.
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