Graf & SonsMidSouth Shooters SupplyRotoMetals2Ballisti-Cast
Lee PrecisionStainLess Steel MediaTitan ReloadingInline Fabrication
Page 1 of 38 1234567891011 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 760

Thread: Tumble Lubing--Made Easy & Mess-Free

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


    Recluse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    The United States of Texas
    Posts
    5,057

    Tumble Lubing--Made Easy & Mess-Free

    I've received a number of PMs asking about how I tumble lube from folks new to the addiction. Figured I'd take the camera with me to the shop during the next tumble-lube run, so here's how I do it. . . for what it's worth.

    The formula or mix that I've settled on is a 45/45/10 mixture of Johnson's Paste Wax (JPW), Lee Liquid Alox (LLA) and odorless mineral spirits (MS). All three ingredients are readily available and inexpensive.

    For even less what it's worth, this method has served me very well. I've yet to get leading with any micro-band boolits I tumble-lube and load appropriately, and I've pushed some of the boolits to velocities coming close to 1500fps in the magnum calibers. Little to no smoke at the range when firing, no tackiness on the boolits, no buildup in the seater die, no leading, and an easy to clean barrel.

    So here we go.

    Mixing the 45/45/10



    Here are the ingredients I use: Johnson's Paste Wax, Lee Liquid Alox (LLA) and any brand of odorless mineral spirits. I mix the concoction on a hot plate/griddle in a cheap pot I found at the Dollar Store.




    I melt the JPW, then "cook off" the solvents for approximately 15 - 20 minutes until I get a very viscal, thin liquid. I would not advise cooking the JPW over an open flame.



    Add the proper amount of LLA and stir/blend into the liquified JPW. Again, I use a 45% JPW/45% LLA/10% MS (mineral spirits) ratio, but I make small amounts and pour into existing (empty) LLA bottles. When tumble-lubing, a little lube goes a long way.

    For the record and per many repeated questions, I measure by volume AFTER the JPW is cooked. Be very careful not to add MORE than 10% mineral spirits or your viscosity will be too thin. Ten percent is the max and works well for cold weather/cold-weather climates and conditions.

    Most novices' mistake is in using too much--especially the straight mule snot LLA. Result is tacky boolits, gummed up seating die, smoke at the firing line. . . and a bad attitude towards tumble-lubing.

    As soon as the LLA is mixed in, I turn the heat completely off the hot plate/griddle and continue to lightly stir the mix, letting it cool naturally as the griddle itself cools. This gives me time to get my funnels and empty LLA bottles ready.

    As soon as the concoction has cooled enough that it won't warp or melt the LLA bottle, I add the 10% odorless mineral spirits into the mix and stir well.



    I like using the empty LLA bottles. I have a lot of them from the Lee sizing kits I've bought over time, and they last really well. A cheap funnel, again from the Dollar Store, helps keep the initial mess down.

    Once the concoction is poured in, I usually leave the spout up and open until the concoction cools to room temperature. Once cooled, it goes on the shelf--ready to use.

    Tumble-Lubing the boolits

    The boolits I'm showing down below come from my Lee TL158SWC in a .358 diameter. This is my numero uno boolit, and it's also the boolit that helped me really refine how I (tumble) lube. I've pushed this boolit well into the (.357) magnum velocity ranges with no leading whatsoever, and regularly load it to +P velocities for .38 Special.

    Alloy is basic Lyman #2 with a pinch extra of tin added to the pot. That extra tin seems to give me perfect fillout with the micro bands, which helps with the lube process. Might just be in my head, but it works for me so I'm sticking to it.



    I use a regular Cool Whip (or "La Creme") tub. I don't eat much of the stuff, but my neighbor's kids love it, so I get their occasional empty tubs. For the lubed boolits, I use wax paper I buy on sale, and cookie sheets from the Dollar Store.

    I use a heat gun I got at Harbor Freight to heat up the LLA bottle, but a blow dryer will work just as well. So will a microwave or a boiling pot of water or even setting it out in the direct sunlight on a hot Texas day. I heat the lube enough so that when I shake the bottle and it is mixed up well, the bottle still feels just barely warm.

    I also prefer to heat the boolits a little bit as well. Warm enough that they are warm to the touch. This is so the warm lube doesn't "freeze" when it comes into contact with cold alloy. For the second lubing (after the sizing), temperature of the boolits doesn't matter.



    I never do a big batch of boolits at any one lubing. I think this is also where some folks get into trouble. As you can see in the picture above, I cover the bottom of the Cool Whip tub with some overlapping of boolits--but not very much.

    This allows me to apply--everytime--my consistent "pattern" of lube on the boolits. This, I think, is extremely important for consistency of results.

    If I have a lot of boolits to lube, I'll do one "tub" at a time, pour them onto the wax paper cookie sheet, and then put more in the tub, lube 'em and lay 'em and repeat the process. I much prefer that as opposed to trying to fill up the tub halfway (or more) and then get the lube applied evenly.



    It's hard to get a good picture of how the lube looks when it is applied on the boolits in the Cool Whip tub. So I took a shop paper towel and put it in the bottom of the tub, then squirted my "pattern." This shows approximately how much and how large the "pattern" is I use to apply the lube.

    When you've heated up the lube as described above, you only need to barely squeeze the bottle to get the lube to come out. I usually make a "Z" type pattern, close up the bottle and then begin swirling the boolits.



    You can see on a few of the boolits the lube that was applied. Next step is to now swirl the boolits in the tub. I swirl clockwise, counter clockwise and then will gentle "tumble" them four or five times then swirl again until all boolits have a nice, thin, even coating of lube.

    When you've finished swirling and tumbling your lubed boolits, you almost have to look to see it (the lube). If you can see it with ease, then you used too much.



    I pour directly onto the wax paper covered cookie sheet, place them under the ceiling fan in my shop and let them dry. When dry, there is no tackiness or stickiness.

    I size every single boolit I cast. Always and without fail. The Lee sizing kits are inexpensive and incredibly simple, easy and fast to use. This is another area where I can absolutely control the consistency (size of the boolit), so why not do it?

    After I've sized the boolits, I dump them back in the Cool Whip tub, reheat the bottle of LLA/JPW/MS concoction and repeat the lubing process. After the boolits have dried, I either load them or store them.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    Last edited by Recluse; 12-23-2011 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Eliminated temperature/setting reference
    Above Reproach A deadly series of mass-shootings coordinated by anti-American officials inside the U.S. government threatens not only the Second Amendment, but the entire Bill of Rights until one armed citizen finds himself with his back against the wall and fights back.

  2. #2
    Anti-Socialist Texan


    geargnasher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    29˚6827N, 99˚2207W
    Posts
    14,001
    Recluse, that is quite possibly the best tumble-lube instruction ever published.

    I was going to suggest we make a sticky out of Kelbro's thread, as the Mule Snot question gets asked a lot, but THIS is EXACTLY what we all needed as reference. Mod's agree?

    I use exactly the same formula (except I use blue painter's masking tape for relabeling the bottle!) for my high-volume pistol needs, shoots very well and functions flawlessly with my equipment. This non-sticky formula even works in a progressive press with boolit feeding tube.

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    427
    Thank you, Recluse. Very informative.

    Now call the manufacturers and tell them that we want you writing their instructions!

    Once again, many thanks!

  4. #4
    Moderator Emeritus








    Ajax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    Posts
    1,222
    Thank you recluse. I just ordered my lee sizer and i was dreading the learning curve on the LLA. But thanks to you my friend and your incredible write up with pictures i feel confident i will be able to complete this with no issue. I would like to thank you again for this informative write up.

    Andy
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    I think the tree is thirsty.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    728
    I have been using this exact process for a few weeks (only difference is that I used Trewax with carnauba) Lubed, sized, and fired close to a thousand bullets with it. Works great! Excellent write-up.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master peter nap's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    646
    That's a great Tutorial, thanks!

    I only have one question.
    Is that what you consider a mall batch of Bullets?

  7. #7
    Moderator Emeritus








    Ajax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    Posts
    1,222
    i just thought of a question if i use carnuba and bees wax for 45% could this be used as a pan lube? thanks in advance for you answer.

    Andy
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    -- Thomas Jefferson

    I think the tree is thirsty.

  8. #8
    Moderator

    dromia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    UK. Sutherland & Co Durham
    Posts
    4,544
    Nice tutorial there Recluse, pretty much how I do it too.

    All I would add is save yourself some money by using White Labels Xlox, its the same Alox as lee flog at a lot less cost.

    Buckshot does most excellent push through type sizing dies as well to any diameter you want, so you aren't limited to lee's basic range. His prices are very friendly too.


    Visit my Web Site by clicking the link below:

    Pukka Bundhooks

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Eutectic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Rocky Mountains
    Posts
    437
    Quote Originally Posted by dromia View Post
    Buckshot does most excellent push through type sizing dies as well to any diameter you want, so you aren't limited to lee's basic range. His prices are very friendly too.
    dromia,

    This is an interesting fact I didn't know as I look at all the threads. Is there a contact or website you could share for Buckshot? Thanks.

    GOOD JOB Recluse! I do believe those here will have Lee changing their formula soon!

    Eutectic

  10. #10
    Moderator

    dromia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    UK. Sutherland & Co Durham
    Posts
    4,544
    Quote Originally Posted by Eutectic View Post
    dromia,

    This is an interesting fact I didn't know as I look at all the threads. Is there a contact or website you could share for Buckshot? Thanks.

    Eutectic

    Buckshot is a moderator here and is one of the sites Aldermen. Just look him up in the members list and send him a PM.


    Visit my Web Site by clicking the link below:

    Pukka Bundhooks

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Rocky Raab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    2,012
    Yup, an excellent tutorial - except for all the typos and stuff. (The editor in me made me say that, LOL!)

    If you mentioned it, I missed it, but you DO perform that melting and mixing outdoors, right? Because no spouse living would allow you to do a second batch if you did that in the kitchen!
    Please visit my shooting articles at www.reloadingroom.com and my Vietnam novels at www.rockyraab.com (Do use Firefox, NOT Internet Exploder)

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


    Recluse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    The United States of Texas
    Posts
    5,057
    Quote Originally Posted by dromia View Post
    Nice tutorial there Recluse, pretty much how I do it too.

    All I would add is save yourself some money by using White Labels Xlox, its the same Alox as lee flog at a lot less cost.

    Buckshot does most excellent push through type sizing dies as well to any diameter you want, so you aren't limited to lee's basic range. His prices are very friendly too.
    Agree 100%!

    The only reason I don't use the White Label xlox is that I have so stinkin' much of the LLA that I may never use it all up. Bear in mind that a little goes a looooonnnngggg way. When you cut it, the way I do, it lasts even longer. Plus, you get a bottle with every Lee sizer kit.

    HOWEVER, anyone either new to casting or who is looking to experiment with tumble-lube boolits would be well-advised to pick up some xlox from Glenn (White Label Lubes) along with having Buckshot make them some push-through sizers.

    i just thought of a question if i use carnuba and bees wax for 45% could this be used as a pan lube? thanks in advance for you answer.

    Andy
    Andy,

    Ask just about anyone here my thoughts on pan-lubing. . . In essence, I'd rather rub meat-tenderizer on my butt and then wave it in front of ten hungry bears than mess with pan-lubing. It has always ended up as an exercise in sheer frustration.

    But that's just me. Many others here have it down to an art, and they could probably answer that question far more objectively than I could. However, I am working on a stick-lube formula using beeswax as a base and the JPW/LLA as the primary lubricants. It would be a variant on the old established, tried and true NRA formula.

    I really enjoy playing around with lubes and lube formulas, and if the stick-lube variant I'm working on does well, probably no reason why it couldn't be used as a pan lube.

    Above Reproach A deadly series of mass-shootings coordinated by anti-American officials inside the U.S. government threatens not only the Second Amendment, but the entire Bill of Rights until one armed citizen finds himself with his back against the wall and fights back.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master burch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Cocoa,Fl.
    Posts
    157
    Nicely done Recluse. Just wondering how you get your 45/45/10 mix. If I used a bottle of LLA how do ya measure out how much JPW and MS to use ?

    Burch
    buzzard`s gotta eat, same as the worms
    Josey Wales

  14. #14
    Boolit Master OutHuntn84's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Shawnee, Oklahoma
    Posts
    423
    Have you tried this with non TL boolits? If so how did it work.

  15. #15
    Moderator

    dromia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    UK. Sutherland & Co Durham
    Posts
    4,544
    Xlox/liquid Alox works fine with non TL boolits.


    Visit my Web Site by clicking the link below:

    Pukka Bundhooks

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    728
    Quote Originally Posted by burch View Post
    Nicely done Recluse. Just wondering how you get your 45/45/10 mix. If I used a bottle of LLA how do ya measure out how much JPW and MS to use ?

    Burch
    One full bottle of LLA + one full bottle of JPW gets you to 50/50. Say that's 9oz. Add one oz. of mineral spirits.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


    Recluse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    The United States of Texas
    Posts
    5,057
    Quote Originally Posted by OutHuntn84 View Post
    Have you tried this with non TL boolits? If so how did it work.
    Yes, and it works equally well with traditional lube grooves as it does with the micro band grooves. I have several boolits with the traditional lube grooves that I prefer to tumble lube rather than run through the lubesizer.

    Above Reproach A deadly series of mass-shootings coordinated by anti-American officials inside the U.S. government threatens not only the Second Amendment, but the entire Bill of Rights until one armed citizen finds himself with his back against the wall and fights back.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Topper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    363
    Excellent article.
    Curious if lubing bullets this way will hold up to faster velocities, say 1700 to 1800 fps.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    lylejb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    canby, or
    Posts
    874
    THANK YOU RECLUSE

    I know you answered a post of mine a few months ago on this very topic, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is for me, at least.

    I noticed you just pour out the lubed boolits. I take it that it's NOT nessassary to stand the boolits up on their bases while drying? I have been, and it's a real pain.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    NRA life member

    LB

  20. #20
    Moderator


    runfiverun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    soda springs Id.
    Posts
    19,624
    your gonna size them and lube them again why bother standing them up.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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