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Thread: Canning wax bullets?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    I have a real old Lyman manual that has an article on doing this and had a recipe for making the bullets using wax and water pump grease (is that even still a thing?).
    I actually still have a can marked "water pump grease" that I acquired from my stepfather when he was alive. I never figured out what kind of water pump it was for. It looked automotive, like maybe it was used on the old car engine water pumps that you could rebuild.

    I never had any success with it as a lube, but I can't throw it away.
    Wayne
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    I first learned about shooting wax boolits as an 18 year old from reading gun magazines, in 1967. I got a new Super Blackhawk the following year and snitched a bar of mom's canning paraffin, took a couple of 44 mag cases and drilled the flashholes then proceeded to have a literal blast plinking at paper targets in the basement.

    Today I have an airsoft pistol, a Dasiy BB pistol and a Crossman CO2 pistol. But wax bullets remain my favorite for basement or garage plinking.

    A Lyman wax boolit set from 1960, all the tools needed, a bar of wax and clearly written, illustrated instructions.

    Plink On,
    Ken


    Attachment 247986

    Attachment 247987

    Attachment 247988
    The decapping punch I get. What is the function of the 2 items just above it?
    So many guns, so little time
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  3. #23
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    On the right is the base for decapping. On the left is the primer tool, it works like a Lee but uses Lyman J shellholders.
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    On the right is the base for decapping. On the left is the primer tool, it works like a Lee but uses Lyman J shellholders.

    Ok, thanks Pressman. You go back a little farther than I do. I've never seen or heard of that kit before.
    So many guns, so little time
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  5. #25
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Started with wax loads in 1970 and still practice once a week with them. I have an old cake pan with 1/3 beeswax and 2/3 paraffin 1/2" deep. I use pistol primers in special cases with the primer hole drilled out to 7/64th to keep the primer from setting back in the revolver. I used fired cases from the gun I am using as they are fire formed. Do NOT shoot anything you don't intend to kill with these as they pack quite a wallop and will kill cats and such with a head shot and will break bones. If done right at 50 feet groups of around 1 inch are not unusual. I clean the cases every other loading or so and wipe the excess wax off the outside when loaded.

    In our shop we use to have once a week indoor cowboy shoots in the storage rooms. I don't like shotgun primers as they tend to distort the bullets on firing and are too powerful for indoor use IMHO.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    And you won't get any leading......
    Tom
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    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom W. View Post
    And you won't get any leading......
    Tom W. : You are indeed correct with your astute observation -- and, from it, I coged a bit re whether to add a tidbit of a comment. While lead bullets can and do "lead" -- believe it or not, wax bullets likewise do leave a layer of wax in the barrel. If you check some of the Cowboy Action sites, they have pretty firm recommendations to brush and clean the wax: this in continual wax bullet practice and shooting.
    What's a genuine safety concern imho -- the reason for this post -- is while I so enjoy shooting the wax in my Ruger New Vaquero .45 Colt -- I do an extra OCD cleaning/all wax removal before I return to sending lead bullets down the barrel. In my years as a Hunter Safety: Firearms instructor, the stressing of clean, in no way obstructed barrels was never skimmed over. Most of us do not need think too long re the required removal of, say, oil from a barrel before shooting, and WAX REMOVAL is every bit as important.
    The Cowboy Fast Draw Association people even purvey a solvent. ( http://www.cowboyfastdraw.com/genera...cessories.html )
    geo

  8. #28
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    Indeed. I know about the build up. I am a certified firearms safety instructor and Hunter Education instructor for the state of Alabama.
    I haven't been too active since my heart attacks and the Colon cancer though....
    Tom
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    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

  9. #29
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    don't want to kill them? Just maim and wound them?? Get a pellet rifle and do it cleanly. Getting hit by a wax bullet at 500 fps is about like you getting hit by a pail of water at 600 fps. good chance there going to run off and die a painful death. Fine if you realize it and your goal is to keep it happening out of your wifes eye sight but if it were me it would be a pellet gun and a closed mouth
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom W. View Post
    And you won't get any leading......
    And water will bead up and roll right off leaving a "new car" finish behind in your bore.

  11. #31
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    WD40 and a wire brush ev ery 50 rounds or so. About the best use of WD40.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    WD40 and a wire brush ev ery 50 rounds or so. About the best use of WD40.
    KCSO-- thank you for this suggestion. I laud WD40's ability to dry the distributor cap on vehicles still having these -- with not much "good" about the product for me to add. However -- I had fired exactly fifty wax bullets through my New Vaquero in .45LC, and had on my "do-it" list the barrel cleaning before my planned range trip on Tuesday coming. I dampened a patch with WD40, ran it down the barrel a couple of times, following with a WD40-wetted Dewey .45 bronze brush. I was/am impressed with the marvelous wax-removal and cleaning which occurred! (I had been using a home-concocted "witches brew" of mineral spirits base, and your suggestion IS so much easier!)
    Thanks again for posting!
    geo

  13. #33
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    I have shot wax bullets in several handguns for fun and practice. did some experimenting with them also. Length, wax mix, primers. Just to see how well they could be made to do. They are a short range option for practice.

    In 38 spl I drilled flash holes to .105 dia and opened up the primer pocket to large size ( simply so the cases couldn't get mixed in with regular loads). also a medium to heavy chamfer helps here. That's about it for case prep.

    For the bullets I also settled on the 50-50 paraffin beeswax mix with just a little oil added. I made several aluminum trays a little bigger than a cartridge tray from a ammo box ( 50 rds). This was 3/4" to 1" deep. I melted the wax into these and settled on 5/8" thickness ( best of velocity and accuracy) I tried 3/8", 1/2" and 3/4") not super critical but it does make a difference.
    I prepped all the cases and put them in a ammo tray from a box that was shortened to just the solid upper portion. Set the block on the wax tray mouths down a board or flat stock and press thru the wax seating the bullets flush with the case mouth wadcutter style. In this way I could seat 50 rds in one pass I did use a small arbor press here.

    Seat the primer of choice after bullets are seated other wise you'll be reseating bullets all day since the airlock will push them back out.

    I only had to size cases every 4-5 firings, when the case mouths were distorted from push thru wax. Cases lasted for ever. Report was negligible and velocity seemed to run around 550-600 fps with good accuracy. Care still need to be taken and basic safety followed as these can seriously injure up close. I used an old beach towel and box as a bullet trap, like lead the wax can be cleaned and reused for ever just re add the few drops of oil every 3-4 melting.

    I got accuracy as good as most wadcutter loads and used these with old salvaged primers to practice. I loaded them in several revolvers a titanium scandium 340 ( the only comfortable load Ive shot in it) a 36 both are 2", A ruger security six, colt python, ruger red hawk, 25-2 smith and a 1917 in 45 colt. In reality the snubbies and shorter barrels do better with these loads for me.

    Again be safe these will break glass damage or perforate wall board and cause injuries
    Also like dry firing no " live ( full power ammo) where they are being used at the same time.
    Bill Jordan and a lot of the old shooters used these for a training tool years ago. Exhibition shooters used them and very light loads also. Outdoors the bullets are light and slow wind really affects them.
    I have considered trying them in my 45-70 40-65 and 38-55 rifles just to see how they would do.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master swamp's Avatar
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    I plan on trying some 44 lads in my Ruger 1.
    swamp
    There is no problem so great, that it cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I've shot the commercial 357wax bullets in Rem 141 35rem cal. It definitely keeps varmits out of yard. I shot a starling with one at about 20' and it tore it apart. Feathers came down for 5 minutes.

  16. #36
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    OP here. I appreciate the very interesting responses. My intention was to "educate" the squirrels that my wifes suet had a little bite to it but would not have guessed 500+ fps from a primer fueled wax bullet. A head shot with CB's or CCI "quiet 22" will humanely dispatch a squirrel without alarming the neighborhood. And, as Lloyd pointed out, I don't want injured critters suffering either.

    But...this winter when life slows down a little bit I will be experimenting with wax bullets for basement target shooting.

  17. #37
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    doghawg -- You indeed started quite the (enjoyable, educational, fun) thread! And, it is germane as bullets are cast of wax, too! Thank you!
    What I'm adding is I have read MANY warnings re shooting wax bullets indoors. Claims are the fumes from primers are super-high in toxic lead in air. Also, from detonating primers in, say, a basement, lead will end up on walls, floor, ceiling -- all surfaces -- which, too, is a hazard from their lead styphnate base. (To children, pets, future buyers of your house...._
    I've been intrigued with getting lead-free primers, which I've read about, but have yet to find a source, for my wax bullet shooting. A great "read" on lead-free primers is https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1410/1410.6390.pdf , and they even have a table listing pressures generated in our lead styphnate based ones (to choose the ones with highest pressures?).
    I have gotten quite a bit of enjoyment with my fairly recent entry into shooting wax; again, thanks for the thread -- when I read your desire to shoot in your basement, it prompted this reply. Good luck!
    geo

  18. #38
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    georgerkahn...Thanks for the heads up and yes, I guess I should have thought of that. An even greater hazard came up with my wife's reaction to basement shooting....

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by WRideout View Post
    I actually still have a can marked "water pump grease" that I acquired from my stepfather when he was alive. I never figured out what kind of water pump it was for. It looked automotive, like maybe it was used on the old car engine water pumps that you could rebuild.
    It's still around. Lucas is one company that makes it.

    Old cars had a grease fitting on the water pump, and that was what you were supposed to use.
    Some Fire Depts still use it on some of their pump bearings.
    It also is used in older generation, non-shifting lower units of outboard motors, and is a good choice for the grease fitting on boats.

    Its basically a Lithium base grease with adhesion properties, is a high pressure lube., and has good corrosion resistance.
    It would be a good choice to thin out hard wax for making wax boolits.

    I wouldn't buy it if I didn't have to have it for something, but--
    If ya got some, I'd keep it and use it up.
    Its good stuff, and way more expensive than common wheel bearing grease.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 09-18-2019 at 12:11 AM.
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  20. #40
    Boolit Master swamp's Avatar
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    I used wheel bearing grease in my batch. It seems to work. Takes awhile to melt.
    swamp
    There is no problem so great, that it cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check