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Old April 6, 2011, 03:53 PM   #1
hornetguy
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Tumble lube

For those of you that tumble lube...

How many of you have tried the 45-45-10 mixture of thinning the lube with Johnson's Paste Wax and mineral spirits?

It is supposed to be thinner (of course) than the regular Lee Liquid Alox (LLA) and is supposed to dry "less tacky" than the LLA. The usual process is to tumble once, let that thin coat dry, size/check, then tumble again with another thin coat. This is supposed to be adequate for shooting in rifles.

I've always wondered about the process of lubing... swirl them around in a plastic tub, then just dump them out on wax paper and let them dry. I always visualized all the lube puddling against the wax paper, leaving an uneven coating in that area. It seems I was correct, as the pics show on some .22 Bator boolits I did a couple of nights ago. Any time I've done the tumble lube with LLA, I've taken the time to stand the boolits up on their bases, which usually gives a pretty even coat of lube.
Any opinions or experience as to whether this will affect the accuracy potential of these (or any other) boolits?


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Old April 6, 2011, 09:07 PM   #2
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I started out standing them up--then realized that once they scoot down the barrel it's not going to make a bit of difference having a minor puddle-glob from leaving them lay to dry. AND---I was right. It doesn't make squat-bit of difference other than standing them up is an OCD waste of time.

To answer the other question---45-45-10 doesn't dry tacky. It's very nice in that respect, and works very well. Also, yes, that thin layer is enough for rifle boolits. The big mistake most make tumble lubing is using WAY too much. It smokes, smell, gums up dies, and causes everything within 10' to stick to them, including you. It makes a mess out of magazines and feed ramps... and so on. Then it gets determined that tumble lubing sucks! Nope--it works great if you use enough--not too much.
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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All I do to thin it out for my bullets is put the bottle in a glass of hot water for a few minutes. I use way less that way without having to worry about cutting it. It works just fine for me. Oh and I do not use wax paper. I use a paper plate. It works for me well enough I am not gonna fool with channging things up.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:41 PM   #4
Mauser Rat
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Candy anyone?

Thanks for the 45-45-10 "recipe." Because I am definitely not happy with the first couple of attempts at tumble lubing using the Lee liquid alox alone. I don't mind a mess if it is functional and I sure don't care about looks until that projectile is down range and has done what I wanted it to do.

BUT....

I worry a little bit what I am going to be sending down the barrel and it seems with that sticky mess that it COULD be a lot of abrasive stuff sticking to the lube. Maybe other folks manage to live in a super clean environment where there is no sand or small particulate stuff in the range bag that I use to take my ammo out to the field in. It just seems that firing ammo that has even a microscopic coating of "dust" on each round fired might be like lapping the barrel round after round after round......

So, thanks for the recipe and I can't wait to make some up and see if I can
load some rounds that do not look like some kid drooled caramel all over my ammo......

Question: Is Johnson's the magic paste wax? Or could it be another brand of paste wax? Is there some magic ingredient in Johnson's that makes it better than, say, McGuires? (sp?)

Last edited by Mauser Rat; April 6, 2011 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Added Johnson's question
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Old April 6, 2011, 11:19 PM   #5
hornetguy
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I really don't know if it "has" to be Johnson's... that's just what the "big boys" over at Cast Boolits say to use.

The way they recommend blending is to melt the paste wax in something over very mild heat, like a double boiler... I just used a hot plate turned down low... melt the wax, and let it "cook" for a few minutes. Don't get it hot enough to really smoke, just almost smoke, if you can do that. Once it cooks off whatever solvents it's cooking off, you add an equal part of LLA, and stir them up together. Then add your calculated 10% mineral spirits to thin it a little more. Stir it all up, then let it cool off.
To be honest, I wasn't very anal about the quantities. I got pretty close on the 45-45 part, but didn't really calculate exactly how much of the mineral spirits to add... just put some in.
I'm gonna load some of these up and give em a whirl, hopefully this weekend. I'll post the results, if I do.... just don't laugh at my groups. I'm still working out a good load for cast boolits in my K-Hornet. And I'm trying three different boolits.
Keeps me off the streets, though...
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Old April 6, 2011, 11:27 PM   #6
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I learned a long time ago the HARD way not to laugh at anybody's groups!

If ya talk too big ya get cut down real little next time you can't find any holes in your own target!

Thanks for the info. I sort of do the "creative" cooking myself.....except when what I measure goes bang if I do it wrong.
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Old April 6, 2011, 11:47 PM   #7
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Mauser Rat>> I'm a little OCD with the dust part sticking, too. A tee-shirt by my bench takes care of it--I wipe all the noses if I use straight LLA.
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Old April 7, 2011, 12:20 AM   #8
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I always tumble my bullets in mica 24 hours after the lube is placed and has a chance to dry so that things don't stick to the liquid alox. Makes them much easier to handle. A can of motor mica will last you entire career.
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Old April 7, 2011, 02:13 AM   #9
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Aldadentist?

I may be way off center here but if any of the mica sticks in the lube on the bullet - aren't you sort of making a sandpaper covered bullet?
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Old April 7, 2011, 06:03 AM   #10
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I use 50/50 alox and mineral spirits in a cool whip bowl. I use less than a teaspoon dribbled over about half a bowl of bullets at a time. No puddling; only slightly tacky; low level of leading in Glock 23 stock barrel; it's all good for me. I shoot a lot of bullets lubed the other way, and many of these swc have picked up excess lube on the nose so that I do not have any more or less clean-up with either. No real issues with dirt collected on the nose of my tumble lubed bullets. I have great performance from the Glock as well as some 1911's.
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Old April 7, 2011, 08:02 AM   #11
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I haven't done any TL with pistolas... Just the K-Hornet, and the .45-70.. sort of opposite ends of the spectrum, there.
I am thinking of trying it with the wife's snub .38, but I just recently got a nice mold for a 158gr plain base swc that fits it really well, but it's got a rather large lube groove, so I pan lube it.
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Old April 7, 2011, 09:45 AM   #12
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I just use Lee Liquid lube on my pistol bullets anymore. Cast with wheel weights and tumbled with LLL, I don't have a problem with leading, but I clean my bores after each shooting session.

My revolvers don't care, but on my semis I wipe the lube off the exposed bullets after loading. This eliminated my failure to feeds. I didn't when I first got my 92FS, I wanted to see how it shot, got a couple fail to feeds, then last week I cleaned the tips and fired 300 just as fast as I could change mags (testing the reliability of the Beretta), not a single hiccup with the cleaned bullets. (this was the RCBS 125 grn cone shaped bullets).

My 45 ACPs don't seem to care either, I only clean the tips of the bullets I shoot in Bullseye matches more for accuracy, neither of my 1911s (Gold Cup and 1911a1) care whether the exposed bullets are cleaned or not as far as reliability.
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Old April 8, 2011, 03:27 AM   #13
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Lube mixture?

Is that 45-45-10 mixture your speaking of : 45=(LLA???)-45 Wax paste-10 mineral spirits ?? I agree the LLA is thick, Ive noticed it causes some funky smelling smoke. But I use it any way because it's quick,easy,cheap!!
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Old April 8, 2011, 09:56 AM   #14
hornetguy
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Quote:
Is that 45-45-10 mixture your speaking of : 45=(LLA???)-45 Wax paste-10 mineral spirits ?? I agree the LLA is thick, Ive noticed it causes some funky smelling smoke. But I use it any way because it's quick,easy,cheap!!
Yes, that is the mixture. I tried a small amount, just mixing it as I warmed it up, but it didn't seem to blend very well at all.
Melt the paste wax first, then add the LLA, then the mineral spirits. Makes a very smooth, much thinner mixture. I think that when you melt the wax, and let it "cook" for a little while, you are actually burning off some of the solvents in it.... whatever they are? It is apparently important to do this before you add in the LLA.
It also just LOOKS like it's not enough lube, even with two coats... see my pics. But, I've been told it works very well, so I'm going ahead with the "trial by fire" so to speak.
I get to baby-sit the granddaughter this Saturday for a few hours (woo-hooo! ), but I might get out to the range after that.
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Old April 8, 2011, 10:07 AM   #15
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If my vaguely remembered math is working correctly, if you wanted to thin a whole bottle of LLA (4oz), the formula should be 4 oz of melted Johnson's Paste Wax, 4 oz of LLA, and .89 oz of mineral spirits.

As an aside, I've read that a really inexpensive substitute for LLA is available online (I know Ebay has it listed) It's made by White's lubes (IIRC) and is called XLOX. It's supposed to be the same stuff, maybe slightly lighter in color, but is available in quart sized containers, pretty cheap.
I'm not trying to undermine Lee, just putting the info out there. I'm a pretty faithful consumer of Lee products.. I like the way he does things. But, if you are lubing a LOT of boolits, this might be an option.
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Old April 8, 2011, 12:36 PM   #16
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I've been using alox for a while now on both T/L design and "standard lube groove" bullets. I used 45-45-10 for a while and yes, it does dry untacky (word?). I also use White Lable Lubes xlox, White Lable has some excellent products at very good prices (I use their Carnuba Red lube on my cast .44 Magnums), and they are very good folks to deal with. http://www.lsstuff.com/lube/

Now I just pour a 4 oz. bottle of xlox into a larger container, fill the 4 oz. bottle about 3/4 full with mineral spirits, dump that in and shake. Works on my Ranchdog 265 gr. .44 bullets...
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Old April 8, 2011, 12:53 PM   #17
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I use 50/50 alox/jpw

I size them and put them into a closed container and shake them.

I dump them onto a paper plate and let them dry.
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