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Lubing Bullets with LLA



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 true.

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 required. 

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.

 

Caveat: 

I have never tried this method with rifle bullets and do not exceed 1200/1300 fps in my handgun loads.

 

I have now begun testing in rifles and you can see extensive results here:  Extensive Test of Lee Liquid Alox


 

 

 
 

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