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Old August 31, 2012, 02:26 PM   #1
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Grease cookie & powder -Problem?

Question! I'm reloading BP cartridges right now and under the bullet I put a wad to protect the bullet base and to prevent the grease cookie from sticking on the bullet (just in case it doesn't evaporate before it reaches the end of the barrel)

Do I have to worry about the grease cookie melting into my powder on a hot day? My cookies consist of 65% beeswax and 35% tallow, its a bit softer than candle wax on a 70F day.

Is long time storage gonna be a problem?
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Old August 31, 2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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Grease cookie

most guys who use a grease cookie will insulate it from the powder, to prevent migration of moisture into the powder.
Many folks use a thin disc of wax paper. There are several posts that indicate a thick fiber or cardboard overpowder card will scrape away any lube from the grease cookie. I have not done any empirical test to support or disclaim this, although I know that Paul Matthews writes extensively about the use of a grease cookie for LRBPCR.
I have seen evidence of grease cookies sticking to the bullet. I found a portion of a grease cookie in the bullet hole on the target at 25 yds (.45 Colt rounds, not 45-70).
I am just about to start working up new loads for my 45-70 Sharps, and am pondering the use/or not of a grease cookie as we speak. I am considering getting rid of the grease cookie and using either a blow tube or wiping between shots, and relying on the lube on the bullet.
For my .45 Colt, I have switched to the PRS Big Lube bullets, which are showing promise of not needing a grease cookie.
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Old August 31, 2012, 09:38 PM   #3
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Before I started using big lube bullets I used grease cookies. I used to place a wad of medium brood core bees wax over the powder charge to seal it from the lube. Then the lube wafer, then a milk carton card, then the bullet.

I loaded like that for five or six years. The most important thing is to use a compression die on the powder before inserting the grease cookie and seating the bullet. If you don't do that, seating the bullet will just extrude your lube into the powder charge. The result is a very weak fizzler when you fire.
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Old August 31, 2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Would a grease cookie really cause a 500 gr bullet to go off course?
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Old September 4, 2012, 11:04 AM   #5
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I use grease cookies in cap&ball revolvers,cartridge revolver blackpowder reloads,and rifle cartridges with blackpowder.
In hot weather I use the same recipie as usual with some extra parafin added. Paraffin stays well in hot weather so adding more to the recipie makes for more solid lube pills(grease cookies). I use 3/4ths cup of bees wax,1-1/4 cup tallow(crisco,olive oil,canola oil,corn oil,vegetable oil(got the picture? Tallow is good but not imperative) and one slab of paraffin wax from the box of paraffin as it comes from the grocery store. That recipie seems to work well in hot weather.
In cold weather use less paraffin wax. You have to experiment a little to see how your lube pills are coming out. Test to see how solid for hot weather and how soft for cold weather.
You can use wax paper or regular paper under the bullet if you suspect accuracy is off because of a pill sticking to the bullet or ball. I usually don't but have tried it using a punch that works in my loading press. It's for punching wool wads but does paper real well. I got the punches from Buffalo Arms co.
You can stiffin the lube pill recipie so it doesn't bleed out lube into the powder or do that and add wax paper to the top of the powder under the lube pill.
I've compressed (with the bullet) poder with a lube pill on the powder.....tore the cartridge down and examined the powder for lube pill "extruded" into the powder. It does some but with my recipie it doesn't go far into the powder at all.The pills aren't overly soft. The amount of pill pushed into the powder wouldn't stop that amount of powder from burning anyway but may melt more lube to get washed on the barrel walls and cylinder walls ahead of the lube.
An example of a tuned cap&baller shooting 3/4 inch groups off the bench at 20 yards will have one or two balls go an inch or so out of the smaller part of the group making for ,say, a group of 1-3/4ths inch. Maybe that is from the lube pill sticking to the ball. Maybe not. I can experiment with paper wads to see if that is the case with a pill sticking to the ball. The groups don't always spread when shooting so......the tuned cap&ballers shoot well enough fer me. I've shot 2 inch groups from 40 paces at times......other times the groups are wider of course.
One thing I can cap&baller revolvers are always more accurate using the lube pills right on the powder under the ball with no paper or wads. Barrels stay clean enough to keep shooting as many as 200 balls without cleaning the barrel and the cylinders stay clean ahead of the lube pill position and......the cylinder keeps turning just about all day without drag from the fouling bad enough to impede the workings. Now and then in certain weather I may need to put a coupla drops of solvent at the beginning of the cylinders center hole and the arbor and spin the cylinder to get it turning as if there were no fouling.
Cartridges for blackpowder revolvers? No paper or wads. The pills the right consistancy don't bleed enough into the powder for me to notice any difference in the powder charges ignition or feeling when firing. I can have cartridges sit for months and load them up and shoot all day without cleaning and without enough fouling in the barrel to have to stop and clean.
My pills can bleed a little in really hot weather when the paraffin is a little to low in the recipie but not enough to hurt any powder. I suspect the powder that does get some lube bleed on it still burns. I don't get enough lube bleed to hurt anything.
That's just recipie and from the god of blackpowder.
Rifle carts? 45/70? I use pills sometimes but not always. I clean the barrel after every shot when going for a good group testing a load. Once I see the load is good I shoot more loads between cleanings. Sometimes use a blow tube for the hellof it. Some times I can go 15 shots between cleaning without undo lose of accuracy sometimes less. I clean after each shot(run a damp patch thru the bore)when going for groups when testing though.
I guess an Hombre just has to do his own thing and work with it to see what he likes the best.
Personally I'd say for cartridges the bullets with the wide lube grooves would be optimum with the right type lube.......if the bullets are right fer yer gun and are accurate enough for what yer doing. Sizing bullets with lube is less hassle than making lube pills. Making lube pills can be fun though. Depends.
You can't size round balls for cap&ballers though. Lube pills are the best thing going for the cap&baller revolvers. They function well with the lube pills right on the powder under the ball. No paper,wads, witches brew or spider web silk sheets or anything. Just a lube pill made right and put right on the powder under the ball.
Use more wax in the recipie in the hot weather and less wax in the recipie in cold weather. Keep yer reloads in a cool place and out of the hot sun if you test the pills and they bleed too much lube. If they do make them the right way with enough wax in them and you don't have to worry about the heat or the sun or whatever.
Naturally the pills(grease cookies) are made of lube and wax. Youn just nhave to work it out. Naturally overly soft lube pills will get extruded in the powder. Overly hard lube pills will lube the barrels less. Just gotta work it out.
OxYoke Originals sells lube pills by the jar of 100 thru Cabelas and others. The aren't sticky or overly soft. I won't say any more about someone elses product.
I just know....when I helped my wife sell lube pills in boxes they were cheap and the best around. ha ha ha ha ha Everyone liked them in their cap&baller revolvers. They worked well in cartridges for revolvers using black too. They had to be marked "hot weather" or "cool weather" I realized. Had to be solid enough in whatever weather prevailed. Makes sense to me. It's the same making lube for wide lube grooved bullets too if your going to mix up yer own lube. A person could always get commercial ready made lube though it would cost more. A person would naturally want to know if the lube was soft for lube "grooves in bullets only" since the softer it is the better it works. That's logical. There's that "Pearl Lube" someone makes out there somewhere used for wide lube grooved bullets. It leaves a lube star on a muzzle I've read.
Anywhooooo.......hope this helps someone somewhere.
I forgot to add my two cents about lube sticking to bullets. I'd say a lube pill partially stuck and out of balance would affect a bullet stabilizing on it's axis. Same would hold for lube getting unbalanced in lube grooves of bullets. I'd say either the whole lube pill should stick or the whole pill come off. Either all the lube stick in grooves of bullets or all of it come off. Being unbalanced is not good fer bullets or balls and I figure unbalanced would affect accuracy.
It depends what yer or plinking. Cap&ball shootin at cans 15-20 paces away it probably wouldn't hurt much fer the ball to have an unbalanced amount of lube pill stuck to the back of it. Shootin cap&ballers at something 80 yards away it would make a big difference I'd guess. Same would hold fer bullets too I'd say.
The whole pills or all lube in grooves doesn't melt away. They ain't in the heat long enough......and lube in bullet grooves is protected from the actual blast of heat unless there's gas blow-by. The lube gets pressed onto the barrels walls by the action of centrifical force I'd guess.
I like the lube pills right on the powder because more gets melted onto the barrel walls ahead of the powder fouling. Even with the lube pills right on the powder the lube pill stays relatively whole with only partial melt from the heat. The powder burns from the back I'd guess. What say ye? All the powder doesn't always burn? A pill on the powder my not have the powder right next to it burn? I guess it would depend on several variables with the bullets and loads and the barrel length and the powder size and ect.ect.ect.ect.

Last edited by enyaw; September 4, 2012 at 11:33 AM.
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Old September 8, 2012, 01:48 PM   #6
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Rage test today without grease cookie

I tried a new load today for my Pedersoli Sharps 45-70, without a grease cookie and results are promising.
Lyman 457125 hand cast at about 516 gr, SPG lube.
61gr by weight Goex 2F, and a cardboard over powder card.
I was working out sight settings more than going for groups, but found that the fouling buildup was not bad at all.
I shot about 12 shots and only wiped the bore after about the 5th and 10th shot.
I plan to go out again in a week or so and check the grouping at 50 yds with the same load.
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:27 PM   #7
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Hmm. A slightly different take on grease cookies. I don't use grease, only beeswax - a disk about 1/8" thick between two fiber or cardboards wads. The wax is cut from sheets using the same punch that cuts the wads.
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:38 PM   #8
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I don't have any experience in regards to the cartridges but I do in regards to the use of minnie balls with greased bases inserted into pre-measured powder tubes. I have used re-usable cardboard tubes as well as plastic tubs that are commonly sold for use in NSSA (North-South Skirmish Assoc.) competition. I've utilized Crisco and a Crisco/Beeswax mixture for the lube smeared into the hollow base of the minie balls. When I start shooting NSSA years ago, I would of course pre-load my cartridges for the competition and to begin with, I inserted the minie ball base down into the tube which would naturally expose the crisco or crisco/beeswax to the powder, even though it was not seated tightly against the powder. (minie is pulled first from the tube, powder then introduced into the bore followed by the mini).

At any rate, in warm weather it did create a problem of sorts. The lube would soften enough that if there was any jostling of the tubes, the powder would clump up. I did a little experimenting once and laid a couple of old sheets ont he ground in front of the muzzle. After firing some of the powder charges that had clumped up, I found some remnants of them on the white sheets tht were unburned. From then on, I loaded the nose of the mini into the tube with the greased hollow end exposed. It wasn't a problem as I kept the loaded tumbes in wooden blocks drilled for them and it wasn't a problem when loaded in my cartridge box. I would imagine that the majority of NSSA shooters probably load their tubes in this manner.

Now to the cartridges . . . I would think if your grease plug was loaded next to the powder charge, the same thing could occur. In spite of the best efforts to keep the loaded metallic cartridges in a cool place or out of the sun, we all know how that goes and I would think that the plug could easily soften. When shot out of a shorter barreled pistol, if there was a clump of greasy powder there would be even less time to ignite than in a rifle. I'm no expert, but I would think that if it was a problem, it would thereby cut down on your powder charge and throw your ballistics all out of whack?

BTW . . . I'm enjoying reading all the information on here that's being posted and the questions asked on loading BP cartridges. It's all very informative and good info to "file away". I kind of wished that there could be a "sticky" created (I know it's a lot of work to do that) on basic BP cartridge loading - basic principles, tricks to use, etc.. It seems like more folks are getting an interest in it and witht the price of commercially loaded BP ammo, it makes sense to get in to it to save $.
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