For some reason I don't remember, I became motivated to
try the Lee bullet molds. They were available from Midway
USA for the unbelievable price of $17 and were getting
rave reviews on most web sites. I thought these were
disposable bullet molds. If I didn't like them, I would have no
qualms about just throwing them in the trash.
I will say that I considered the "Shoot as cast" claim
completely bogus and in my opinion that turned out to be
The experiment however required testing out the sizing
dies and the Liquid Alox lube.
For over 50 years, I used nothing but Lyman or Javelina
50/50 beeswax / Alox and found it completely satisfactory
and adequate for all my uses including .30 caliber rifle
bullets at 2200 fps.
I tried the Lee provided instructions to apply the
lube. To put it mildly, I found that to be a very
unpleasant and unproductive exercise in futility. It
reminded me somewhat of cleaning excess grease off a
windmill pump when I was a kid.
Applied as instructed, it is so thick it takes 48 hours
to dry enough to load the bullets. I am not that patient.
I immediately started looking for a better method. Even
Richard Lee states that only a very thin film of lube is
After abut a dozen unsatisfactory trials this is the
method I have adopted as my standard.
I thin the LLA very thin, about like cooking oil. I
mix the Lee Liquid Alox 50/50 with mineral spirits ( paint
thinner ). I tried 91% alcohol but it doesn't mix as well,
it takes longer to dry, and the result is still slightly
tacky to the touch.
I place about 250 158 gr .357 bullets or about
350 120 gr 9mm bullets in a one quart zip lock bag. I pour
about one tablespoon of the thinned lube on top, zip up
the bag and tumble them in the bag back and forth from one
hand to the other for about 90 seconds.
The wet lube never touches anything but the bullets and
the waxed paper in the pan.
I put a
sheet of waxed paper into a retired cookie sheet my kind,
generous, wife decided she did not want
anymore. It is about 12 x 18 inches and it will hold a gob
of bullets. It is made of fairly heavy steel and has about
a quarter inch rim so I can pick it up and move it around
without spilling them.
I dump the lubed bullets out on the waxed paper
sheet and put a fan on
them for about two to four hours. When they dry, you can
barely see the lube and you can't feel it at all the next
day. The waxed paper seems unnecessary and indeed it is
not strictly needed but a little bit of waxed paper saves
a lot of cleaning on the cookie sheet. After about three
batches of bullets the cookie sheet it is getting pretty
nasty. My original idea was spray it with some mineral
spirits, let it set about a minute or two and scrape it
off and re-thin it and reuse it. That didn't work out at
all. Way too much work for the savings.
It takes less than two minutes to tumble lube 250
.357s. I get zero lube on my hands or tools. This takes no
more than a teaspoon of lube. Very efficient use of lube.
I have never tried this method with
rifle bullets and do not exceed 1200/1300 fps in my
I have now begun testing in rifles and
you can see extensive results here:
Extensive Test of Lee