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Old December 26, 2007, 12:20 PM   #1
Savage_The_Barbarian
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Confused about the use of lube over balls?

I am new to BP and have not shot anything yet. I think that I have all the stuff that I need but I am a bit confused about the use of a lube over the balls (crisco, natural lube, ect). I have read several primers about BP pistols but none of them seem to answer what I need to know.

I intend to load my revolvers this way. Load the BP (FFFg), put a pre-lubed wad on top of the powder, load and seat the ball (.451 round). Now here is where I am confused. Some say to put grease or crisco or natural lube over the ball, others say not to because of the pre-lubed wad. After that, put the percussion caps on only AFTER I am ready to fire the revolver, at the range, as the very last step.

I have some T17 ( don't know if this is what to use), don't even know if its considered bore butter or not.

What is the purpose of the lube over the balls if you use a pre-lubed wad? (other than to stop chain fires - but isn't that what the wad is for?)
What should I use if I do need to cover the balls with a lube and how much? I've seen some pictures that show the cylinder FILLED with grease/crisco or other stuff, while other pictures show nothing.

Thanks for your help.

This isssue has me totally confused and I want to be safe and not destroy my revolver.
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Old December 26, 2007, 12:25 PM   #2
The Tourist
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Let me be the first TFL member here to say I was startled by your question.

I am not a blackpowder shooter, but I have always seen Crisco at the range. I believe it is the cheaper cost that is a factor.
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Old December 26, 2007, 12:49 PM   #3
Hawg
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If you use the lubed wad you don't need lube over the balls. Crisco works but it's messy. Lube over the balls serves two functions. It prevents chainfires and lubes the bore which the lubed wad also does. Wads cost more. Or you could make your own lubed wads. Colt said not to use either but they weren't as safety conscious back then. I have forgotten to use lube a couple of times with my newer repros with no chainfires but I do have an old 58 Remmy that will chainfire everytime if you don't use one or the other. If it was me I'd bump those balls up to .454 to make sure I got a good seal. If it doesn't shave lead it's not sealed. Just because it does shave lead doesn't mean it is sealed either tho.
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Old December 26, 2007, 01:03 PM   #4
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A few years back, I contacted Ruger about this subject and did not get a straight answer. Manufacturers adopt a CYA phylosophy. When I got my certification from the NMLRA, they applied the crisco as well as corn meal. Since then, I do not lube over the ball but do use wonder wads. All else is pretty much as stated by Hawg Haggen. I have never had a chain fire but have seen one at the range. Also make sure your caps fit properly. Be safe !!
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Old December 28, 2007, 02:27 PM   #5
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Old advice was to cover the projectiles with Crisco to prevent chain fires. I now think that is bunk. I used to do that, but shooting a BP revolver coated with Crisco is like firing a grease grenade. I ended up with Crisco all over my hands, face, glasses, and the pistol was covered with the stuff. If I were a Holiday Turkey, I would be considered self basted. On a hot day, that gunk just dripped into the cylinders and caused a misfire on a reload.

It did keep the fouling moist.

Now I use OxYoke wads under the bullet. I am truly impressed on how clean the bore is, even after 50 rounds. And I am very happy that I am not covered in grease.

As for the chain fire issue, I am of the opinion that the dominant chain fire mechanism is through the breech. Just look at slow motion pictures of a BP revolver being fired. Sparks and fireworks all over the place. Sam Colt discussed at a London conference the features he found necessary to reduce sparks from one cylinder from going down the nipple of the next.
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Old December 28, 2007, 03:51 PM   #6
straight-shooter
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Not trying to hijack here but this thread brings a question to my mind. I use paper cartridges consisting of FFF powder and cream of wheat for filler. Is it still advisable to use bore butter for maybe say the first three shots to lube the bore and then not use any for the remainder of the session ? ( 40 or so shots)
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Old December 28, 2007, 04:59 PM   #7
llriffel
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good basic info sites (help us rookies please)

it's that time of year and us rookies are just starting out how about a list of good sites where we can find some good basic info on our new hobbie
I am not interested in the modern bp weapons but I am sure you guys can help all of us rookies out thanks
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Old December 28, 2007, 08:17 PM   #8
Hawg
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Quote:
As for the chain fire issue, I am of the opinion that the dominant chain fire mechanism is through the breech. Just look at slow motion pictures of a BP revolver being fired. Sparks and fireworks all over the place. Sam Colt discussed at a London conference the features he found necessary to reduce sparks from one cylinder from going down the nipple of the next.
I've got an old 58 Remmy that will chainfire every time unless the balls are lubed or wads are used. You can load all six and just cap one chamber at a time and it won't chainfire with lube or wads and that's using 40 grs. of powder. I know, I tried it to see if it would.
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Old December 28, 2007, 09:47 PM   #9
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robhof

The lube question was pretty well addressed, but a question was also posed about the percussion caps. Because they are exposed and are made to fire with a blunt striker, they are much more dangerous than primers that require a sharp high pressure strike and are protected by being recessed in the case. A primed cylinder is a gun, cocked with the safety off; a drop could result in a discharge, that is why you place the caps at the range, just before firing. Some revolvers(ruger Old Army) have the nipples recessed and somewhat protected and are made with half stops for the hammer to rest between the nipples for carry, even so I have seen a Ruger cylinder dropped at the range, resulting in a discharge(thank God with no injury). The individual had extra cylinders that he kept in pouches loaded and primed like speedloaders; in a hurry, with greasy hands from lube; he dropped one on the concrete slab and a hole appeared in the tin roof above him.
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Old December 29, 2007, 12:17 PM   #10
logeorge
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cyllinder lube

My experience is somewhat limited,but here's my opinion. I've tried crisco over the balls and after two shots there was almost none left in the four unfired chambers. Blast had blown it away. The barrel was fouled end to end to the point that no rifling was visible after six shots, and the cylinder was starting to bind.(1858 Remington copy) I made my own grease wads per advice in Keith's book "Sixguns", by cutting up an old felt hat, soaking the pieces in melted beef fat, and cutting out wads with an arch punch. Using them under the balls left the barrel clean in the rear half and the fouling in the front half was easily wiped out with one pass of a patch. The cylinder showed no binding for 18 shots. Cylinder was filled with powder leaving just enough room to seat the wad and ball. This was years ago when Ox-Yoke wads were not on the market, and old felt hats were easily found at Good Will. Now I buy the ready-made wads.
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Old December 29, 2007, 12:26 PM   #11
4V50 Gary
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What slamfire says. Even Elmer Keith believed that chainfires happened from the caps sliding moving on the nipple with sufficient energy to ignite them. However, as others have stated, putting lube over the balls does reduce fouling.

A good fitting ball leaves a slight ring on the mouth of the cylinder. This means the ball was slightly oversized and by leaving a ring, actually seals the cylinder when compressed.

Finally, the messy Crisco is wonderful and I used it a lot when I was a kid. When the range was packed and my buddies and I wanted to shoot, we waited for the first opening and I went in with my Ruger Old Army. After a cylinderful of smoke and grease, everyone to the left and right of me packed up and left. Then my buddies could shoot too.
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Old December 29, 2007, 07:25 PM   #12
sundance44s
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I watched a friend have 3 chain fires in 30 mins of shooting his 1858 Remmie ..I watched close each time he fired ..he was useing crisco over every ball ...BUT had ill fitting caps ...while watching the chain fires happen I noticed it always happened on the chamber to the left of the one being fired and when he fired the cap was on that nipple too...it was just ill fit ... I figured the sparks had gotten under the loose fitting cap and ignited that champer ..I watched the cap blow off as it fired that chamber . Seeing one of these guns fired at night will show just how much spark we have at the rear not just the front ....... He changed to better fitting caps and hasn`t had a chain fire since , I`ve never had any of mine chain fire ...BUT I`ve always been real picky about the caps I use...if I have to pinch them ..they don`t fit right ...of course thats just me being picky I`m sure .
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Old December 29, 2007, 10:00 PM   #13
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Hey 4v50 I was at the range today and it was crowded until I pulled out my ROA and my spare cylinders, after the 2nd round and no breeze I had half the range to myself and I thought it was my deoderant..
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Old December 30, 2007, 11:20 AM   #14
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Ok, I went with making a recipe of 1 part parrafin - 1 part crisco & 1/2 part beeswax. I melted this all together and poured it into a canning jar then let cool. While cooling I punched out some disks made from 100% wool. I then melted 3 tablespoons worth of the mixture into a tuna can and put about 100 wool disks into it and kept stirring till all the disks absored all the liquid. Here is what I finished for pennys on the dollar compared to purchasing Wonder Wads.







Since the lube is the same color of the wool disks it's hard to see the lube on the disks but it is there.
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Old December 30, 2007, 11:52 AM   #15
Savage_The_Barbarian
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So what is the better material to use for wads? Felt (non-synthetic type) or Wool (non-synthetic type)?

I've seen punches on line for punching out your own wads. What is the best thickness for a 44 caliber revolver? 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16?

Thanks
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Old December 30, 2007, 12:03 PM   #16
straight-shooter
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I purchased the punch set at Harbor Freight for $5.00

On the package of Wonder Wads it says they are made from 100% wool so that is what I purchased at the Fabric shop. They also measure 1/8" thick so that's what I went with.
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Old December 30, 2007, 12:52 PM   #17
4V50 Gary
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What size punch set straight-shooter?

robhof - crisco works wonders, doesn't it?
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Old December 30, 2007, 12:55 PM   #18
straight-shooter
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Just get the set that includes the 7/16" punch. The 1/2" punch that is in the set seems just a little too large.

NOTE: I wasn't able to find 1/8" thick wool so I purchased 1 yard of wool that is 1/16" thick and just spread white glue over half of the wool and folded it over and then set some heavy boxes on top of it for one hour. Presto! 1/8" 100% wool.

Last edited by straight-shooter; December 30, 2007 at 01:30 PM. Reason: Added information
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Old January 1, 2008, 10:00 PM   #19
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Did you try just using two 1/16" wads instead of gluing them together?
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Old January 2, 2008, 03:12 PM   #20
Mk VII
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I've had perfectly good results using no wads at all and automotive grease from a horse doctor's syringe on top of the balls. If you feel like the extra effort/expense of wads then, fine, but it's not absolutely necessary.
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Old January 2, 2008, 03:18 PM   #21
straight-shooter
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The little extra expense to me is well worth alot less mess. Shoots alot cleaner and easy to clean when I get home. Besides, with this method of making the wads it cost little to nothing compared to buying wonder wads.

I figured I can make 5,290 wads from only 1 yard of material. Since I only shoot about 400 rounds a year from this gun then this should last a while.
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Old January 2, 2008, 06:50 PM   #22
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I can understand the confusion over such things. Watched G&A TV the other night where Mr. Knucklehead put his Wonder Wads over the ball. He talked a big game but looked like a monkey on a football trying to load the thing.
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