Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

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Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by bdas on 12/9/2016, 11:58 am

I recently purchased some hard cast lead bullets (200gr LSWC, if it matters), and they often have little bits of lube stuck to them in places other than the lube ring.  Sometimes on the top/meplat, sometimes on the base, but usually in the "corner" formed by the cone and the shoulder.  The bullets shoot great (I shot 95-4x and then a 93-4x with them in slow fire at 25yds just last night), but cleaning them off with my fingernail is a bit tiresome.  What's the best / recommended way to clean them off (before or after reloading them)?

Any suggestions are welcome.  
Thanks,
Dave

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by desben on 12/9/2016, 12:44 pm

Remove all the lube by repeated dissolution in gasoline or acetone. Then relube them with liquid alox. Smile

Or try tumbling your loaded rounds...
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by dronning on 12/9/2016, 1:06 pm

I've tumbled loaded rounds to get the excess wax off, there is no issue with this, live rounds are tumbled at the factory.

The best method I've found is to put the loaded rounds in a towel add a little Hoppe's 9, then grab the 4 corners of the towel (2 in each hand) and make like you are polishing a bowling ball.

- Dave
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by Wobbley on 12/9/2016, 1:08 pm

De-odorized mineral spirits is cheaper than Hoppe's.

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by Aprilian on 12/9/2016, 1:32 pm

Is the excess lube removed to avoid gumming up a magazine?
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by dronning on 12/9/2016, 1:48 pm

Wobbley wrote:De-odorized mineral spirits is cheaper than Hoppe's.

But you miss the point - the smell!

- Dave
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by dronning on 12/9/2016, 1:50 pm

Aprilian wrote:Is the excess lube removed to avoid gumming up a magazine?
If it is too excessive you can have a feed issue or won't go into battery.

- Dave
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by bdas on 12/9/2016, 1:53 pm

desben wrote:Or try tumbling your loaded rounds...

Do you tumble them in a vibratory tumbler, in the same corncob / walnut media that you use to clean your brass?  Or is this a different process with different media/cleaning agents?

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by dronning on 12/9/2016, 2:05 pm

bdas wrote:
desben wrote:Or try tumbling your loaded rounds...

Do you tumble them in a vibratory tumbler, in the same corncob / walnut media that you use to clean your brass?  Or is this a different process with different media/cleaning agents?

When I was vibratory tumbling them, I used my old corn cob media, verses my fresh stuff, and added a little Hoppe's to it, I guess you could use mineral spirits too Smile!

- Dave
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by bdas on 12/9/2016, 2:40 pm

dronning wrote:
Aprilian wrote:Is the excess lube removed to avoid gumming up a magazine?
If it is too excessive you can have a feed issue or won't go into battery.

- Dave

Initially I've been removing the extra bits of lube before reloading, to prevent them from accumulating in the bullet seating die.  But gumming up the magazine is a good reason, also (I have had that problem with certain 22 ammo in the past).  Just hypothesizing, but I can't imagine a lump of lube on the shoulder helps the accuracy in flight, either.

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by Gary Wells on 12/9/2016, 2:58 pm

Excess lube or not is one of the main criteria I use in determining whether to buy from a particular vendor/manufacturer a second time. Some casters seem to be able to control excessive lube more than others. I have vibratory tumbled loaded rounds before but would rather not for whatever old age insignificant reason. When I did, I used whatever reptile cage stuff that I had in the tumbler + some Nu-Finish.
I generally prefer to wipe them down with a rag & Nu-Finish or Hoppe's just prior to  inspection of the completed rounds. Not recommended for those younguns in a hurry or for those that like to shoot more than reload.

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by dronning on 12/9/2016, 4:11 pm

If you really want to do it right I like Jerry Keefer's preparation plan. 

See this thread:
http://www.bullseyeforum.net/t5791-canton-perry-prep

- Dave
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by JKR on 12/9/2016, 4:39 pm

I very much agree with Gary Wells. If there is enough excess lube to cause problems, try another manufacturer.

I cast my own and use a 40-60 mix of alox and liquid wax. This is very similar to the 45-45-10 solution but easier to make. I also use this on Zero swaged bullets when I buy them. I no longer use stick lubes.

Jim

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by jglenn21 on 12/9/2016, 6:14 pm

JKR   are you using Johnson liquid wax with your Alox...


I started using Luxmark liquid wax after my supply of Johnson dried up... works just as well.
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by jglenn21 on 12/9/2016, 6:17 pm

Some bullet makers use a fairly soft bullet lube that will streak  past the lub ring(s). the harder lubes seem not to have the problem
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by john bickar on 12/9/2016, 7:13 pm

jglenn21 wrote:I started using Luxmark liquid wax after my supply of Johnson dried up...

Oh, I see what you did there.
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by Dave C. on 12/11/2016, 10:10 am

Just shoot them!  If they cause feed problems clean your gun. 
If you still don't like them try an other brand.  Did you learn
not to buy a large quantity before you try them?

Dave C.
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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by Gary Wells on 12/11/2016, 11:41 am

I suppose it would be out of line to query what particular brand of bullet. I currently shoot the Dardas 185 gr H&G # 130 & they are pretty free of excess lube. Although I generally don't like to "band-aid" issues opening up the bell dia generally lessens or fixes this issue if you are having problems with lube when seating the bullet.

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by bdas on 12/12/2016, 12:04 am

Gary Wells wrote:I suppose it would be out of line to query what particular brand of bullet. I currently shoot the Dardas 185 gr H&G # 130 & they are pretty free of excess lube. Although I generally don't like to "band-aid" issues opening up the bell dia generally lessens or fixes this issue if you are having problems with lube when seating the bullet.

I'm not having any mechanical problems with seating, feeding, or accuracy.  But I made about 60 of them right before I cleaned my bullet seating die, and it had some of the lube jammed up in there.  So then I started cleaning the bullets off with my fingernail before seating, which mostly works ok, but I figured there's probably a better solution, so I thought I'd ask what others do.  

Since someone suggested that lube at the case mouth can be an issue, I looked at some of the reloads I made, and most are fine, but a few did have some excess lube there. So I guess opening the bell and/or wiping them off might be prudent.  I'm one of those guys who likes to shoot more than reload, though, so wiping each finished round feels like work.  Smile

I'm reluctant to name the brand, because (a) I'm trying to solve the problem, (b) I don't want to ruffle feathers or start a bullet-brand-war, (c) the 185gr lead bullets I got in the same order don't seem to have this problem, so maybe it's just an issue with this lot and not indicative of most bullets from this brand, and (d) they shoot great, so I don't want to bad-mouth them.  I'm still pretty new to reloading, so this is only the second brand of 45 LSWC I've tried.  I bought 500 of them, and I've already loaded about half of them, so it's not like this is a long-term problem.  As others suggested, I'll probably try a different brand next time.

Thanks,
Dave

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by Virgil Kane on 12/12/2016, 6:46 am

Try coated bullets, perhaps the manufacturer that your getting yours from now offers them. No lube no mess, no cleaning lube= more shooting time.


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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

Post by JKR on 12/12/2016, 7:42 am

Lube build up in the seating die is just a fact of life with lead bullets. I like Dillon's dies for this reason. They're super easy to take apart to clean.

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Re: Cleaning / Removing excess lube from lead bullets before or after reloading

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