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Thread: Storing bullet lube and the aging process

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Storing bullet lube and the aging process

    Talked to two friends of mine (both on this forum) and asked them a pretty simple yet interesting question about storage and aging of bullet lube.

    “If I make a big batch of lube, how can I store it to keep it from turning into some unwanted properties?”

    “If I store this bullet lube and something happens to it like oxidizing or getting a little crusty from age, can I just remelt it back down, filter it through a shirt, and pour it into new lube sticks?”



    What’s your all’s experience on your old lube sticks and aging? What did you do for storage and what did you do when you found your yesteryear lube turned crusty?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    When I made lube, I wrapped sticks in plastic wrap, placed in zip lock bags and put in cool dark place. No basement, then the fridge was the choice.

    No problems with old lube so unable to make suggestions.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I made lube a few years back like 10 or more years and made bricks like beez wax comes in and wrapped in wax paper and make sticks in batches of about 30 at a time and rap them in wax paper and store in large plastic bag and it looks exactly the same as day i made it. Bricks and sticks both.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Toymaker's Avatar
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    I figure oxidation is the enemy so I put my lube sticks in zip lock bags and store them in the freezer. I have some Darr's lube that has to be 10+ years old; some Pete's lube and some Ben's Red that aren't that old. Everything looks as good as the day it was made. I just loaded the lubrisizer with a stick of Ben's Red, it worked fine.

    I had taken some of the first Ben's Red I made and rolled it out into a thin sheet between two pieces of wax paper. Then I chilled it and cut lube cookies out of it. I wrapped up the remaining part in some aluminum foil and put it on a shelf next to the loading bench. That was a couple of years ago. I went to look at it and it had turned black, well maybe very dark brown.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I made about thirty 1” x 4” sticks two years ago. Wrapped the sticks up in 11” square sheets of plastic cut from the the front and back of grocery store bags. Wrapped the sticks in the same fashion that I found my sticks of SPG were wrapped. The bulk of the sticks were put in a large freezer grade zip-loc baggie then sealed in a large metal cookie tin.
    5 plastic wrapped sticks for immediate usage are stored in a screw lid peanut butter jar.

    I did not refrigerate or freeze any of my lube sticks or beeswax or lanolin supply, l just packaged all of it as airtight as I could. The EVOO may go rancid in time but I’ll test for that when the time comes. I hope the beeswax will help to preserve the lube.
    Last edited by greenjoytj; 05-11-2019 at 09:02 AM. Reason: Spelling

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Land Owner's Avatar
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    I think the big issue is volatile organic compounds off-gassing from the petroleum components. This will tend to make the wax consistency harder over time. Whether it affects the lubricity of the mix is questionable. Probably not, but it will take a higher heat to generate the lubricity and in that it might be detrimental to the bore over time.

    How long you keep it stored has a lot to do with VOC off-gassing too. Wax paper or plastic bag wrapped and then inserted into zip lock bags would go well to concentrate the VOC's and eventually stop or significantly slow the off-gassing as the internal micro-atmosphere becomes saturated.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Would nitrogen purging and wax paper wrap and storing in ziplock bags in a freezer environment help

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    I have hollow sticks of Lithium-Beeswax lube purchased in 1978 , each stick is wrapped in a red tin foil wrapper (reminds me of foil Christmas wrapping paper) the ends are folded over . The box has sat on a closet shelf for 41 years and the lube hasn't dried out cracked or separated . I just unwrapped one , looks just like the day I bought it and put the stick in my Lyman 450 .
    The stuff is made up of : 3 parts beeswax and 1 part Lithium grease . It has stayed usable for 41 years just sitting on a closet shelf .

    I believe the ingredients used in a lube will determine if they weep , dry out or harden over time . Lithi-Bee seems to stand the test of time quite well.... two simple ingredients that stay homogenized and don't harden . Nothing special done in storage , closet is inside the house but that's it . I have always liked this easy to make soft lube ...never any leading problems with it .
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 05-11-2019 at 07:22 PM.
    Certified Cajun
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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Land Owner's Avatar
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    I think, the common observation is wax-based lubes tend to stay "waxy" and hold their lubricity for a very long time if stored in zip lock bags in a cool dry place. Consider that paraffin wax, as candles (birthday candles for instance), do get brittle over a very long time. Adding bees wax, a natural wax, when stored cool (neither cold nor hot), and for some lubes, adding Crisco and/or petroleum products like petroleum jelly, automotive grease, etc., adds lubricity at high temperature, but the petroleum products contain the bulk of the VOC's and need to be contained (encapsulated to preclude off-gassing) and kept cool to extend their longevity.


    bottom line, nitrogen purge is a Bridge Too Far.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Just find a way to capsulate (vac pack, zip lock bag) and keep cool should prevent most degregation?

  11. #11
    This is one of the reasons I went to coating boolits! long term lube storage/reliability issues, different lubes needed for different temperatures and the mess.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Trying something different.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    After 41 years storage , with no special precautions and the lube is still good... I'll just continue using the good old fashioned Lithium-Beeswax lube . 1 part lithium grease (Lucas Red-N-Tacky) - 3 parts beeswax .
    No sense fixing something if it ain't broke !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    I have hollow sticks of Lithium-Beeswax lube purchased in 1978 , each stick is wrapped in a red tin foil wrapper (reminds me of foil Christmas wrapping paper) the ends are folded over . The box has sat on a closet shelf for 41 years and the lube hasn't dried out cracked or separated . I just unwrapped one , looks just like the day I bought it and put the stick in my Lyman 450 .
    The stuff is made up of : 3 parts beeswax and 1 part Lithium grease . It has stayed usable for 41 years just sitting on a closet shelf .

    I believe the ingredients used in a lube will determine if they weep , dry out or harden over time . Lithi-Bee seems to stand the test of time quite well.... two simple ingredients that stay homogenized and don't harden . Nothing special done in storage , closet is inside the house but that's it . I have always liked this easy to make soft lube ...never any leading problems with it .
    Gary
    I think I have some of the same lube. Some are red-foil-covered lithium lube colored red, and others are silver-foil-covered lithium lube colored off white/natural, I am not sure. All from the same seller in the 1970's. All are soft to the finger squeeze. I believe they are all beeswax/lithium mixes.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Well I just made my second batch of lube. I went ahead and vac packed the lube after I cut them into squares. I put two squares in each vac pack and bagged them in gallon sized zip lock bags. That got rid of oxygen which oxidizes and stored in freezer to prevent most off gassing of the voc

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The only lube that I can remember aging badly was some of that old black Lyman Ideal lube. I just keep mine sealed up and in a controlled environment.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Someone I talked to the other day said his black Lyman lube got hard, prob not bad but maybe just good for pan lubing.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


    Walks's Avatar
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    I bought 5 sticks of Tac-X lube 15yrs ago, wrapped in wax paper and put in a zip lock baggie, it's seems to be as fresh as the day I got it.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy

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    I got a Tac-1 Kit from Randy so many years ago I can't remember. I made up a 2# batch and kept the leavings in an old double boiler with the cover on it. There is a bit less than
    a 1/2# after making solid lube sticks. The sticks are put in the small snack zip top snack bags and put in a drawer in my reloading room. If I need some for my RCBS sizer I melt the
    stuff in the double boiler and pour it full. As for storage, it is all indoors and climate controlled. Never has been a problem.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Toymaker's Avatar
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    Today I shot in a muzzleloader silhouette match that I haven't been able to attend since June 2017. Cleaned to cobwebs off the sights and mud dabbers out of the bore, picked up the ever ready range box for the proper rifle and went off to have fun. Got to the range and found the bullet lube had "changed". The outside was crusty and flaked. In the lube grooves it was soft, but not as soft as when the bullets were originally lubed.
    The lube = 8 ounces Bees wax (by weight), 6 ounces Neats Foot Oil (by volume), 1 regular size bar of regular Neutrogena Soap.
    The formula was given me as a BPCR lube and I had decided to experiment with it as a bullet lube for a muzzleloader slug gun. Just never got around to it in 2017.
    Well, it worked pretty good. I took Second Place. The rifle cleaned up nicely at the end of the day with no unexpected issues.

    Just thought it was interesting for the thread that a crusty, old, dried up lube still worked pretty durn good..

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