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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an early BP 44-40 SAA that I want to start loading for. To start I plan on using a somewhat reduced BP loading with a filler to fill the case. I know that BP loads call for a different bullet lube to keep fouling under control, but I happen to have a pretty large supply of Speer 240 gr. swaged SWC that don't really have a lube groove, but use a coated lube. Would there be any significant issue using these bullets with a BP loading on a limited basis? I'm not really keen on spending $60.00 - $80.00 for "proper" .44 cal BP bullets if these would work until I determine if, or how much, I want to continue shooting this fine old SAA.

Best regards,
 

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YOU should be calling Speer to ask if that bullet lube will work worth a hoot with black powder residue. It did not do so in days past but I just read where the Speer lead bullet have a new lubrication. MAYBE the new lube will work....but do not bet the North 182,000 acres of the ranch on it. In most cases the lube for BP is always a gooey goup that keeps the BP residue soft. SPG lube can be wiped upon bullets though.
So called "reduced loads" with BP are NOT a good idea by'n'large using fillers as there is NO need to reduce the loads per se'. Sitting the LFN bullet upon the BP with a touch of force will work just fine and save you a 'ellofalotta foolin' around with 'fillers'.
 

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Use grease cookies. You need a lot of lube to keep blackpowder soft, especially in a revolver with moving parts. If you don't, fouling may get too thick and hard at the barrel to cylinder gap to cock it. Your bullets if the right diameter should work. Here's what I would do (and have done). Make a lube wad out of SPG lube. Here's how.

Make a bunch of card wads out of the waxed cardboard boxes that butter sticks come in. You can try to use a cut off cartridge case, but a punch is better. Calculate how much powder (volume/depth) you'll need to fill the case, leaving room for the bullet, two card wads, and a plug of lube. Use the end of a Caliper and mock up a case to measure. Load the powder, press a card wad over the powder snugly. Make up all your cases as so.

Step 2. Gently melt the SPG (or other semisoft black powder lube) into a metal bread pan or small tin so that the depth, when melted, is 1/16 to 1/8" deep (I'd use 1/16 in a pistol case, more in rifle). Set it aside to reharden. I place the pan in the fridge for a half hour.

Step 3. Press the mouth of each loaded case into the hard lube pan. It will act as a cookie cutter and make a plug. Use another card wad if you wish, over the top. Place the lead bullet in the mouth and seat.

You end up with a sandwich over the powder of card/lube/card under the bullet. When fired, the lube is pressed out perfectly along the barrel, by pressure, but is contained by the speeding bullet in front of it. If you calculated the amount right, just a tad will begin to spray out at the muzzle after a few shots. If you see a little pattern of wet fouling at the muzzel, that's great. This method keeps the fouling very soft and easy for the bullets to keep in the rifling. Helps accuracy and cleaning later.
 

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That's good advice on making grease cookies, but it would never work in the summer here in TX, as the temps go over 100. The lube would be sure to melt and screw up the powder and you would probably get misfires or worse bullets stuck in the barrel. That can lead to bulged barrels or blow ups. of course it would be fine now, high temp today is only 26, wish I could go home to CA, but I'm stuck here.
 

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It would always work in TX, or anywhere else hot. I used grease cookies for years, as did hundreds of other competitors, in Blackpowder Cartridge Rifle competitions in NM and AZ. Pretty hot here too. Some of the best shooters in the world load this way.

Guessing "the lube would be sure to melt..." and saying "probably..." this and that is being alarmist. None the things you mention happen. The lube isn't that soft.
Internet misinformation lives forever and this is how urban/range legends start.
 

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have been very pleased with the Lube Wafers I make, and, they are very easy to do.

They allow me to shoot endlessly with no 'fouling' and no 'drag' and no issues of any sort.

I merely melt Bees Wax with a little dab of Olive Oil, in a small Tin Can, in a Pan of Water on a Hot Plate.

I dip in long strips of regular old white Paper Towel, having torn the strips to be about an inch or so wide.

I dip them ( sort of 'rolling' them as a "U" ) into the molten Wax, and, let them cool.


Once cool, I cut our 'discs' using an appropriate diameter of Gasket Punch, over end grain Pine.

The little 'discs' then are maybe .030 of an inch thick, and, have enough Lube to answer perfectly...the little 'disc' merely Vaporizes when the charge is fired.

The disc then goes between Powder and Bullet, whether for Cap & Ball or Metallic Cartridge.

Petroleum based 'Waxes' will not work well with Black Powder.

Bees Wax and Plant Waxes do work well.

if in a hot clime, one would omit the Olive Oil and just use plain straight Bees Wax or even add a little Carnauba to it to raise the ambient melting Point, if one wants.

The Gun stays clean, one's hands and face stay clean, no Leading, no fouling, no cylinder Drag.

Very satisfying!
 

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The Speer won't work worth a damn and will probably lead the Hell out of the bore. You can buy 250 .44 cal. BP bullets here for $28.00:


Big Lube


Be sure to slug & mike so as to know that diameter you need.
 
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Thanks for the tip, Oyeboten. I have done a limited amount of loading blackpowder cartridges for a 1st Gen Frontier Six Shooter, but I do an even more limited amount of shooting, as it's such a hassle. I usually have to remove the cylinder and thoroughly clean the gun every eighteen rounds, or the cylinder will stop turning. I'll try your wax cookies.
 

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Last couple years I have been just constantly slammed with chores and work and obliges, so it has been very hard for me to get out to the Range, but, when I was going and experimenting with the above-described 'Lube Wafer' I got into making for my Black Powder Revolver Shooting, I did about five sessions spaced weeks or months apart, totalling about 300 odd rounds, with no cleaning of any kind, with no Cylinder Drag or Fouling whatever, in my Uberti 'WALKER' who's Forcing Cone to Cylinder Gap is right about .003-.004 of an inch.

I had no fouling, binding or Cylinder 'drag' issues whatever in shooting Black Powder rounds in older Colt or S & W .38 Specials either.

This with 'Goex'...

"Swiss" would be even cleaner far as I have gathered but I have not tried the Swiss yet to see for myself.

So, long story long, the little Lube Wafers made as described above, appear to answer all the needs one may have for Black Powder Revolver Shooting ( or other BP Arms ) with no fouling, no build-ups of crud, no drag or binding of the Cylinder.

Cleaning is probably five times easier also, than without them, mild hot Soapy Water and some Nylon Brushes is all, dry with Warmth from a Hair Drier.

Revolvers I fired with no Lube Wafers, left uncleaned for a few months, would show subtle 'blooms' of Orange rust in the Barrel and Cylinder Bores.

Revolvers fired with the Lube Wafers, left uncleaned for months, showed absolutely no oxidation whatever anywhere.

I am in the Southern Mojave Desert, so ambient Humidity is fairly low typically...but, none the less, this shows how the vaporized Bees Wax very slightly 'coats' everything, preventing both chemical interactions, and, any build ups of combustion by-products.

I got my Blocks of Bees Wax on ebay, and likewise my Carnuba 'flakes'.

Have fun!!
 

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The Flat-Face Wadcutters in .45 Colt, seen in my Avitar, are some I loaded up where, I did one batch in Black Powder, and, one in 'Unique'.

These of course worked wonderfully in either propellent, but, Black Powder is just a much nicer recoil and report and everything compared to Smokeless.

And, generally, gives about the same FPS anyway, so...Black Powder is my favorite for all the old Revolver Cartridges which used it originally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Oyeboten,

I like your "lube Waffer" idea, and I'm going to give it a try once I get my 44-40 dies and other BP loading supplies in. Fortunately, I have a client who's a bee keeper so I shouldn't have any problems getting all the bees wax I need.

Best regards,
 

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Let us know how this goes!


I just use regular old white Paper Towls, torn into one inch or so wide strips, and ( hard to explain this part in words, but ) holding the strip by the ends, it makes a 'U' shape, and, elevate one side high, dip the bottom of the 'U' in to the molten Bees Wax, and, run the entire 'U' then, through, by lowering one hand and raising the other, so the whole length but for the very ends, gets impregnated with the Wax.

Wax should be liquid but not super hot of course...

Once cool, use the smooth end Grain of a Board with the appropriately sized Gasket or Leather Hole Punch, so that the diameter of the Wafer is just a little larger than the inside diameter of the particular Cartridge Case you are Loading for.

Wafers should end up being around .030 of an inch thick or so.

The Wafer then just pushes in to the Cartridge Case mouth perfectly with a finger tip, and concaves itself for the moment, till being compressed along with the Powder underneath it, when seating the Bullet.

Compress all Black Powder charges well...of course.

This of course lessens the Powder Charge a tiny bit, but, it is so tiny as to be of no concern.
 

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I have never tried this but I have heard of using Irish Butter as a lube. The butter is used in Europe and contains no milk additives and is pure butterfat. I understand that it never becomes soft and can sit out in the heat with no effects. I know some BP shooters try to 'cure' their bores with organic lubes instead of using petro based stuff. I know that both types of lube are used and some swear by the use of tallow. At any rate - the butter method seems rather simple since it is melted and allowed to harden then a case is charged with powder and a over powder wad inserted then use the case like a cookie cutter to cut a plug of butter then load in the normal manner.
 
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