Saturday, January 21, 2006
Casting bullet lube hollow core sticks . . .
While lube/sizing bullets for black powder use is pretty easy with the lube hopper filled in a Lyman type lubesizer, refilling the hopper can be a tedious operation. Of course, one can just melt the lube, pour it in, and wait forcver for it to cool for use. However, most would want to refill the hopper and continue lube/sizing bullets.
The lube sticks are commercially available, but I chose to use Dick Dastardly's "Pear Lube"TM that is made up of equal parts by weight of inexpensive shortening, beeswax like toilet rings, and soya candle wax. Some recommend filling quarter wrappers as a mold for the lube. Works OK with lots of fiddling, but there won't be a hole in the center for the Lyman.
From recommendations by other black powder shooters, I purchased the 1" copper pipe (2' for $13) and cut it into appropriate lengths. For the end caps, I purchased PVC to fit the copper pipe. For the center hole, I drafted several of my tent stakes that use a piling spike (nail) about 5/16 inch diameter and 10 inches long. Fashioned a washer to fit over the nail and inside the copper pipe. The washer centers the bottom of the nail in the mold. For the top, I cut the tent rope plastic (green in the picture) to fit the pipe and center the nail in the top.
Make a stand to hold the molds upright. They will be not, but not dangerous to handle. Of course, hot wax is dangerous and melting it should be done with adequate caution and safety considerations. Some make up the Pearl Lube in a double boiler and melting it for use in the mold by the same means would be wise. I use a pyrex measuring cup to pour the wax melt into the mold.
Fortunately, when the lube cools to room or refrigeration temperature, the lube shrinks away from the copper pipe and can easily be pushed out of the pipe. The end cap removes easily too. Only takes mild pressure to get the nail to slip and be removed from the center of the lube stick. Leaves a perfect hole for the Lyman lubesizer.
I cut the lube into appropriate lengths and roll the stick in bond paper for storage. See lube stick examples in the picture - one with protective wrap and the other left in the raw. Note the center hole.
The picture says the thousand words needed . . .
Many means to accomplish the same, but this works OK for me. Just remember to THINK and account for all safety issues handling flammable wax and possible skin burns.