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Thread: Emmert's Lube question

  1. #1

    Emmert's Lube question

    So I tried my first go at making up a batch of Emmert's Lube for lubing cast .38 special bullets for black powder cartridges. It came out way too soft. I pan lubed 50 boolits and when I pushed them out of the (somewhat) hardened lube they still had the lube all over the boolit, not just the grooves. It basically had a consistency a bit more firm than crisco alone. I did load them anyway, though I made sure to wipe the base clean before seating, and wiped the finished rounds all clean afterwards (they buffed up very nice and shiny).

    My question is this, are the ratios given in weight or volume? The recipe calls for 50% beeswax, 40% Crisco, and 10% cooking oil (lots of variations given here, and some split the last 10% 50-50 with lanolin). I used olive oil because it was what I had on hand. I went by volume and made up the ratio with 1 1/4 cup beeswax pellets, 1 cup crisco, and 1/4 cup olive oil.

    Given the lower density of the beeswax it must have been heavy on the crisco and oil if the recipe was meaning weight. This seems right as the final product felt only a bit firmer than crisco alone. This morning I melted it again and added a couple more tablespoons of beeswax pellets. I also added a couple of tablespoons of flaked carnauba wax, which cools quite a bit harder than beeswax, and will still be petroleum free for black powder. Once cooled I found it to be considerably more firm. I can dent it by pushing my finger against the surface, where equal pressure on the first batch would have allowed me to bury my finger into it.

    So am I correct in concluding that Emmert's recipe should be taken as weight ratios? It makes sense in retrospect given the variation in density I'll find in the various forms beeswax comes in.

  2. #2
    I make mine measuring by weight, not sure how it was meant to be done originally, but I am happy with my results.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    I too measure by weight. I find it easier with the beeswax and crisco. Actually I make a batch so 1 container of crisco is used measuring beeswax and other ingredients to match it. I am one who uses 5% oil and 5% lanolin canola and anhydrous ( the paste type) I also add 1-2 drops of murphys oil soap as i think it helps to blend the ingredients better.
    You can adjust hardness of already made by adding a little more beeswax. Or on a new batch cut back on the crisco a little. I make mine in a double boiler and cook it for about 10-15 mins after melted and blended.

    I use the 50 40 5 5 recipe and its about the same hardness as spg.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Canada, Ontario, Durham region
    I weigh all the ingredients for repeatable accuracy and ease of adjustment.
    Here a cut and paste from my lube recipe file.

    Bullet Casting & Sizing Notes

    Bullet Lube Recipes

    Emmert's Improved Lube (first batch made in Feb 2017)

    This is an organic non petroleum lube for use with Black Powder or smokeless.

    This recipe is from a post on the Castboolits forum, posted by Hip's Ax:
    “I've had better luck with my Emmert's with lanolin than I have with SPG.
    The original Buck Emmert's lube is modified with the addition of anhydrous lanolin, it is still simple and easy to make”.
    Formula by % & Ingredients measured by weight:

    Beeswax - 50% 567.50 grams weighed on a kitchen digital scale
    Crisco shortening - 40% 454.00 grams (unsalted variety a 1 lb. brick)
    Olive oil - 5% 56.75 grams (Next time use Jojoba oil or no oil & increase
    Anhydrous lanolin - + 5% +56.75 grams the lanolin)
    100% 1135.00 grams total weight of lube made (1.135 kg).

    The gram quantities verified by mathematics:
    50% of 1135g = 567.5g 40% of 1135g = 454g 5% of 1135g = 56.75g

    Use a digital thermometer, immerse the probe to monitor melting temperatures.
    High temp will scorch the lube ingredients which will ruin the lube for its intended purpose.
    Use as little heat as you can to melt the ingredients.
    Stir continuously until ingredients are well blended.
    - Heat the Olive oil to 145 F
    - Add the Crisco in small pieces.
    - Add the beeswax last, it melts about 144 F to 147 F (it scorches and discolours at 185F)
    Turn off the heat and let the mix cool down. Lanolin melts at ~100 F and scorches at 150 F.
    - Add the lanolin when the temp has dropped below 145 F

    Pour hot liquid lube into the 1”x4” stick molds I’ve made. This quantity of lube made ~24 sticks.

    Lanolin is a high temp, high pressure lube, it's very sticky which helps the lube to stick to the bullet and keeps the fouling softer than the SPG.
    This Lanolin improved version also makes it better for pan lubing. This lube looks, feels, smells like SPG. (It is rumoured that SPG may contain mutton fat, a mealy fat that is probably the cheapest to buy).

    Try substitute a tbsp. of pure carnauba wax and Castor Oil for lube slickness.
    I have bought some pure carnauba wax and Castor Oil
    Next time try Jojoba oil or Castor Oil.
    Last edited by greenjoytj; 07-26-2021 at 02:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master quail4jake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    The North Woods of Pennsylvania
    Volume or weight ratios are about the same since all of these components have about the same density. I measure solid components melted in a mason jar and pour the liquids in the same. One issue is the fact that you're making Emmerts lube, not modified Emmerts lube. And then there's my modified Emmert's lube...after great pain and trial here's what I like best: 60% Beeswax, 30% Jojoba oil, 10% Lanolin. My reasoning is that none of these components go rancid easily and Jojoba oil is the only oil currently available that approximates the properties of sperm oil. Sperm oil is no longer available and was the only lubricant, combined with beeswax, recommended by the Sharps rifle company. I only add the lanolin when I'm using it for lubri sizer lubing since its function is to make the lube stick in the grooves, otherwise it's 65% Beeswax and 35% Jojoba oil for PRB and general black powder lube. Give it a try...your mileage may vary!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master omgb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    My understanding and experience is that lanolin absorbs moisture keeping fouling soft.
    R J Talley
    Teacher/James Madison Fellow

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    I do not pretend to know all that lanolin does in lube but these teo I know: (1) lanolin is a very high-film-strength lube and (2) adding lanolin to lube helps keep the lube in grooves.
    My BPCR and smokeless schuetzen lube is a modified Emmerts. It is about the 50/40/5/5 formula, consisting of beeswax, sheep tallow, peanut oil and lanolin. I use peanut oil as it has a much higher smoke point (temperature) than olive or soybean oil. The tallow makes a bit stiffer lube than crisco.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Try fabricating a cake cutter and cut the boolits out next time . Might work better than just pushing them out especially if you like the lube mix.
    A member by the name of Buckshot used to make and sell them ... I haven't seen a post from him ...lately . But cutting them out is simpler than coming up with a push-out lube formula .
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  9. #9

    Minerat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Jefferson County, CO
    Here's a link on making the cake cutters I made. Now if I can find a case wii work for .54.maxi ball

    Life Member NRA
    Member: Clear Creek County Sportsman Association

    Kilo Charlie zero Golf Papa Tango

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Southampton PA
    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    Try fabricating a cake cutter and cut the boolits out next time . Might work better than just pushing them out especially if you like the lube mix.
    A member by the name of Buckshot used to make and sell them ... I haven't seen a post from him ...lately . But cutting them out is simpler than coming up with a push-out lube formula .
    A fender washer, a slightly flared case and a bit of solder... You're on your way.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    I think the OPs problem is not that a cake cutter is needed but rather that his lube is way too soft. He said it is only a little stiffer than crisco alone.
    However cast bullets are lubed they are going to have at least a film of lube on most of the bullet. IMO, you want a pan lube to set stiff enough to easily stay in the grooves except for the fim you will have anyway.
    If that batch of lube were mine I would either add enough beeswax to harden it sufficiently or toss it and start over.
    My way around needing a cutter is to watch as the lube sets and when set but still just a bit warm take it from the pan and push the bullets out. Unless using a really hard lube they have come out easily using this method. A plu to this method is that hands stay in pretty good shape too.

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