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Thread: Homemade Felt Wonder Wads for .457 Ruger Old Army Cap and Ball

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub Liberty1776's Avatar
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    Homemade Felt Wonder Wads for .457 Ruger Old Army Cap and Ball

    My method for making lubed felt wads to put over the powder and under the ball on my Ruger Old Army:

    Buy some 1/8" felt from http://durofelt.com/image_26.html. I bought part number FM1812OWH for $24. The piece that arrived was actually 7" x 62". I got 117 wads from a 4-3/8" x 7" piece. This felt is enough to make around 1560 wads.

    I cut off a 4-3/8" x 7" piece from the larger piece so that it fit into a Weber aluminum pan that catches drippings under a BBQ. The pan is 6" x 8-3/4" x 1-1/2" deep. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Weber-10-Pa...ip-Pan/3047760.

    The pan fits perfectly into my $15 garage toaster oven from Walmart. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays...k-Pan/54514797

    I bought 8 oz of Lamb Tallow from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

    You can also get tallow at Duro-Felt, but they are out of stock currently. http://www.durofelt.com/image_73.html

    I bought 1 pound of Beeswax pellets at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...e?ie=UTF8&th=1

    Turn the oven on to about 200 deg F. (around water boiling, not too hot).

    First melt 2 ounces by weight of the tallow in the Weber pan, then add 1 oz by weight of the beeswax pellets. Stir until mixed.

    Pull the pan out of the oven and immerse the felt pad you cut into the liquid until it absorbs as much as it can take. Pull the pad out, drain briefly, and place on a piece of aluminum foil to cool and solidify. Store the pan, extra felt, beeswax and tallow in a bin for later. The cooled excess wax/tallow mixture will pop right off the Weber pan and can be reused, of course.

    Buy a $7.20 (with 20% discount) Harbor Freight Hollow punch kit -- either the hammer-hit version ( https://www.harborfreight.com/9-piec...-set-3838.html ) or the drill press version ( https://www.harborfreight.com/6-piec...set-67030.html ). I used the drill press version because I have a drill press.

    Open up the 7/16" punch by 1/64" to .453". I used a 29/64" drill, but I probably ruined the bit on the hard punch. Better to grind it open a bit with a Dremel tool.

    You can also buy commercial punches at Dixie Gun Works. https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index/...6%22+Wad+Punch

    Now punch out the wads from the piece you just soaked in the wax/tallow mixture. Mine fit snugly in the Old Army cylinder.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Idz's Avatar
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    I made my own press mounted felt punch at a 0.470 diameter to get a nice tight fitting wad. I would think 0.453 would be a bit loose. I punch the wads out of duro-felt, then dip them in the lube, and then wrap the bunch in foil and put them in the oven to distribute the lube throughout the wad. Lots of different ways to make wads.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    Nueces's Avatar
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    Nice writeup, all the details included, good on ya.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    This is a Great idea, wanna do it myself. I've only punched out dry wads before.

    I like this better.
    I HATE auto-correct


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  5. #5
    Boolit Bub Liberty1776's Avatar
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    I was going to open the punch up more, but was going to up the diameter by 1/64" per pass instead of trying to do it all at once.

    I made a few wads with the 7/16" original diameter and they were definitely loose. After opening the punch just that 1/64" the wads press fit into the cylinder over the powder acceptably snugly.

    I could go a bit larger, but see no need. Perhaps it's how the drill press spins out the wads, too. They push up into the punch. I've learned to remove the collection in the punch's throat after about four are cut so they don't compress into each other.

    So, in summary, while the punch is technically .453, in practice the wads come out a bit larger.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a question, and I don't mean to hijack, but does using a lubed felt wad eliminate the need to use a BP lube on the bullet, in a cartridge BP revolver?

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub Liberty1776's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GBertolet View Post
    I have a question, and I don't mean to hijack, but does using a lubed felt wad eliminate the need to use a BP lube on the bullet, in a cartridge BP revolver?
    My only BP gun is my Ruger Old Army. I have no idea what the rules are for bullets other than .457 round, pure lead, ball. I've read the lubed wad is more to prevent chain ignition/firing in a cap and ball, as the wad protects the powder under the ball. The lube also is intended to help the gun foul less, I believe. The wad also helps compress the BP or Pyrodex into the cylinder.

    The alternative to the lubed wad is to slather Bore Butter or lard over the ball to seal each ball.

    Cartridge BP loads are self contained. I would assume lubing the boolit (if it has lube grooves) is still necessary. After all, the lubed wad is behind the bullet going down the barrel and not doing much to help the bullet slip into the lands and grooves of the barrel.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub Liberty1776's Avatar
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    By the way, before you purchase a toaster oven, look around at Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul or other used goods stores.

    While a new oven at Walmart is only $15, they are available used for much less. Not very pretty, but these are for cooking bullets for powder coating or making wax wads, after all, not for food.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy

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    I basically do the same thing, except I use Crisco and the microwave. I bought a big microwave cooking container from the the Dollar store. I also bought some cake pans to use this to pan lube my BP bullets.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master lead chucker's Avatar
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    I made a punch that punches them out when dry then drop them in melted olive oil and beeswax mixture. Let them get saturated then fish them out with a fork and lay them out on wax paper. Works for me. Not sure what the exact diameter is but they fit snug. Made another one that works for 50 and 54 cal.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master lead chucker's Avatar
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    Its like a big leather punch. I have a piece of thick nylon cutting board material I use to cut them on.
    Dont pee down my back and tell me its raining.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master lead chucker's Avatar
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    O1 tool steel works good to make them out of once the punch is made you can harden the tip. I have made at least a 1000 so far and havent had to sharpen it yet. Fun Stuff.
    Dont pee down my back and tell me its raining.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I just bought a .45 cal punch from Buffalo Bore. Lube the wads with beeswax and whatever type of cooking oil (usually olive) that gives me the stiffness I want and have at it. I DO NOT put grease over the ball after using a wad beneath it.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

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  14. #14
    Boolit Bub Beeks's Avatar
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    Made my first batch, modified Gatofeo #1, 2 pounds mutton tallow, 1 pound beeswax pearls.

    Ordered a 36"x24" piece of felt from Durofelt. Received a piece 60"x14.5", which is the right amount.

    Used a 10"x15" metal cookie pan, which has the raised sides. I had cut the felt into pieces that were roughly 9" x14.5". That made me nervous, having the felt fit the pan pretty snug, so I cut each piece in half again, ending up with a bunch of felt roughly 9"x7". I was glad I did, as they were much easier to flip and maneuver in general. Yeah, may lose a few pieces of felt wads over the cuts, but there ya go.

    Microwaved the tallow, then added the beeswax. I poured the mix into the pan, filling it fairly full. After the second piece of felt soaked and made it onto the sheet of aluminum foil, the lube mix started to cool and thicken. Uh oh!

    Since I was working next to my stove, under the watchful eye of Mrs. Beek, I slid the cookie pan onto the stove, covering 2 burners. Low low flame! Kept the lube heated and flowing nicely.

    All gear used (glass bowl, cookie pan, tongs, stirring spoon) are dedicated for lube only and were salvaged from Goodwill or the 99 cent store.

    I'll have some tallow to offer for sale once my newbie probationary period is over. Bought an order from US Wellness Meats.

    Bought a wad punch for .36 caliber from Track of the Wolf. Also bought a small bamboo cutting board for $1.99 at the 99 cent store. May touch up the edges of the punch with a round file. Harbor Freight 24 ounce ball peen hammer for $5.99. Having fun, so far!

    I'm set!
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  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liberty1776 View Post
    My method for making lubed felt wads to put over the powder and under the ball on my Ruger Old Army:

    Buy some 1/8" felt from http://durofelt.com/image_26.html. I bought part number FM1812OWH for $24. The piece that arrived was actually 7" x 62". I got 117 wads from a 4-3/8" x 7" piece. This felt is enough to make around 1560 wads.

    I cut off a 4-3/8" x 7" piece from the larger piece so that it fit into a Weber aluminum pan that catches drippings under a BBQ. The pan is 6" x 8-3/4" x 1-1/2" deep. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Weber-10-Pa...ip-Pan/3047760.

    The pan fits perfectly into my $15 garage toaster oven from Walmart. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays...k-Pan/54514797

    I bought 8 oz of Lamb Tallow from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

    You can also get tallow at Duro-Felt, but they are out of stock currently. http://www.durofelt.com/image_73.html

    I bought 1 pound of Beeswax pellets at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...e?ie=UTF8&th=1

    Turn the oven on to about 200 deg F. (around water boiling, not too hot).

    First melt 2 ounces by weight of the tallow in the Weber pan, then add 1 oz by weight of the beeswax pellets. Stir until mixed.

    Pull the pan out of the oven and immerse the felt pad you cut into the liquid until it absorbs as much as it can take. Pull the pad out, drain briefly, and place on a piece of aluminum foil to cool and solidify. Store the pan, extra felt, beeswax and tallow in a bin for later. The cooled excess wax/tallow mixture will pop right off the Weber pan and can be reused, of course.

    Buy a $7.20 (with 20% discount) Harbor Freight Hollow punch kit -- either the hammer-hit version ( https://www.harborfreight.com/9-piec...-set-3838.html ) or the drill press version ( https://www.harborfreight.com/6-piec...set-67030.html ). I used the drill press version because I have a drill press.

    Open up the 7/16" punch by 1/64" to .453". I used a 29/64" drill, but I probably ruined the bit on the hard punch. Better to grind it open a bit with a Dremel tool.

    You can also buy commercial punches at Dixie Gun Works. https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index/...6%22+Wad+Punch

    Now punch out the wads from the piece you just soaked in the wax/tallow mixture. Mine fit snugly in the Old Army cylinder.
    Nice writeup thanks.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub Liberty1776's Avatar
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    To load my Old Army, I got tired of using its built-in ramrod. Too slow.

    So I bought a Traditions Black Powder Loading stand from Amazon.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Remove cylinder, load all six chamber, replace cylinder. Experience fire and brimstone. Smile. Repeat.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub Liberty1776's Avatar
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    This is a very interesting leather punch kit that might work at a reasonable cost. $12.98

    https://www.amazon.com/Hestya-Pieces...=leather+punch

    This kit has 12 hollow punches: 1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, 9 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm, 15 mm

    Click image for larger version. 

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    12mm = .472"

    Might make a nice wad for not much $.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Several years ago I ordered a piece of Durofelt. I don't know if they still do this, but I ordered a "roll end" piece and got a nice sized piece for very little money, probably because it wasn't a standard size. May have to order more soon.
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