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Old July 20, 2011, 04:25 PM   #1
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Liquid Alox cleanup

Howdy all,

I'm about to try casting my own bullets for the first time and I just received what should be the last batch of supplies I'll need, other than the lead itself. I decided to use Lee Liquid Alox to lube the bullets because it requires less ancillary equipment.

Unfortunately, the cap of one of the bottles of Liquid Alox wasn't screwed on all the way, and it came open inside the box during shipment. I've got a sticky, brown, foul-smelling mess all over my new casting thermometer and a bunch of plastic flip-top ammo boxes I ordered. I'm not worried about using solvents on the metal thermometer, but I AM worried about hitting the plastic ammo boxes with anything too harsh.

What's the best way to remove this stuff without using any really nasty chemicals?

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Old July 20, 2011, 04:46 PM   #2
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I clean it off my hands with Dawn Dishwashing liquid. Soap and water.

I bet that is a mess. Sorry about that. I can empathize.
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Old July 20, 2011, 05:20 PM   #3
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Mineral spirits.

Not sure it's what they use to thin it out but sure smells like it.

It shouldn't hurt the plastic boxes if they're hard plastic. Use enough to get the LLA off then dry them off.

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Old July 20, 2011, 05:34 PM   #4
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Dump the Alox and get some Johnson's Paste Wax in the yellow can. Melt some down in a bottle, mix in about 10% mineral spirits. No more sticky mess on your bullets and you can still tumble lube. Hot water run over the bottle will melt the mixture again.
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Old July 20, 2011, 08:51 PM   #5
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Mineral spirits is the proper solvent for Liquid Alox. It is also what you use to thin it.
FWIW, I've hit upon an excellent way to lube bullets with it. I use a 1.5" x 3" scrap of denim on a plastic base and drip the Alox onto the denim until it's nearly saturated. Then roll the bullets on the denim. Add a few drops as needed. That way the lube only gets on the bearing surfaces of the bullet and not the base or nose. It also allows you to control how thick of a coating you apply. Works great for handgun bullets.

Last edited by Hammerhead; July 20, 2011 at 08:59 PM.
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Old July 21, 2011, 08:20 AM   #6
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I think you've reinvented the RCBS lube pad. .

Mineral spirits is the key. They won't attack the plastic boxes. Even the soft plastic boxes are unaffected below, I think it is, 84°F. Above that the polyethylene gradually is permeated and further softened by it, but I believe it evaporates back out with no problem.
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Old July 21, 2011, 11:18 AM   #7
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Mineral spirits will cut alox with out damaging ammo boxes. I haven't tried Dawn, but when I wash any alox off my hands I use a dishwashing soap. BTW; when you start using alox, or xlox, cut it about 25% to 30% with mineral spirits. It'll go on easier and will dry quicker. Most new alox users will use too much alox on their bullets ("that couldn't be enough, I'll just add a bit more"), and get a sticky goo on their bullets.
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Old July 21, 2011, 04:11 PM   #8
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Simplest solution: Call the merchant that failed to pack the merchandise correctly, and ask for replacements.

A few years ago, Midway failed to check the caps on (and failed to bag) 8 ounces of Hoppes #9 that I added to an order. Everything in that shipping box was completely soaked with solvent. Since the order was primarily for paper, cloth, and leather products; nearly everything was ruined, or required substantial effort to remove the solvent. I didn't let the issue rest, until they sent me replacements for every product in the box. Saving three seconds of their time, and a solvent-safe bag that cost less than a penny (which they were supposed to be using) ended up costing them more than $500 in product.

Sometimes, it's more worthwhile to spend your time on the phone, rather than trying to fix some one else's negligence.
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Old July 21, 2011, 05:07 PM   #9
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Mineral spirits is the key. They won't attack the plastic boxes.
It really depends on what plastic the boxes are made of.

Most of the manufactures appear to have selected plastics with at least some solvent resistance.
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Old July 21, 2011, 05:31 PM   #10
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I don't think I've seen any that weren't polypropylene or polyethylene for ammo, but FrankenMauser's comments about them being supposed to bag liquids to prevent this happening is correct. If you can't clean it easily, you ought to be on the phone with them.
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