Bullet "lube", Is it needed and if so -- when?

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John Alexander posted this 06 October 2018

As recently stated in the recent lube purging thread. i only use lube in for my competition bullets in the tiny gap ahead of the gas check. I sometimes do well against shooters who lube their bullets from stem to stern and sometimes not so well, but it seems this vanishing amount of lube is best for my loads.

Looking at one of these bullets it is hard not to ponder that if such a tiny amount is lube does the job, does the bullet need any at all, especially at the low velocities I shoot in competition. I decided to find out. Since I didn't want to be pulling bullets out of the remaining unfired rounds after leading up the bore, I only loaded ten cases. These were from the same batch of 85 grain bullets I fired in the recent CBA nationals and loaded to duplicate the muzzle velocity of 1,430 fps although with TiteGroup instead of 4756. Otherwise the load was the same.

I shot the lubless bullets this morning. Starting from a clean bore, and not cleaning between groups, one 5 shot group was slightly under 1 MOA and one slightly over for an average of 1.12 MOA.  This is almost exactly the same as the average accuracy of these loads with lubed bullet and this load.

When cleaning the bore the first patch went through smoothly with no hitches indicating leading or hard fouling. The patch showed no signs of lead particles.

Of course two groups is far too small a sample to draw any conclusions but I plan to shoot more.

John

 

 

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JeffinNZ posted this 06 October 2018

Intriguing.

Cheers from New Zealand

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 06 October 2018

I have always been skeptical about this. Since we get copper fouling, what would lead us to believe that leading would not occur. That withstanding I do welcome this testing and will wait with great interest to the outcome.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 06 October 2018

johna ... please notice any difference in that mysterious " fouling shots " thing ... without lube ...

more/fewer needed ??  any at all needed ? 

*************

hey even in my plinking life, my tikka 308 seems to shoot better than my other 30 cals ... maybe real smooth barrels don't need much/any " lube" ....in our match 22rf, some winners were over 50,000 rounds never cleaned ... some winners ( had to? ) clean every 50 shots.

****************

oh, and maybe we are cleaning powder carbon, not lead dust ...  might still need to clean but not lube bullets ... if you have a tikka barrel ...

******

if your lube is lubing, shouldn't it be in the front ring ?? ... if not, maybe it is doing something else, like supporting the base .

ken

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 06 October 2018

I would be interested in a comparison of "no-lube" loads comparing low to high tin content of the alloy.  I assume that antimony would also be significant factor.

 

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OU812 posted this 06 October 2018

Have you ever tried smearing white lithium grease on the seated bullet before firing?

Greased vs. ungreased

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OU812 posted this 06 October 2018

The mysterious 85 grain bullet. What does it look like? How many lube grooves does it have?

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John Alexander posted this 06 October 2018

A lot of good comments and questions.

I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising, lead alloys have been used for bearing material for a long time. Also we already know that bare air guns pellets and low velocity bare pistol bullets don't lead the bore.

Don't know about fouling shots yet Ken.  The ten shots before were plain base bullets using the same charge.  Will see next time. If these work, I don't think there will be any trouble with the phantom lube purging.

My Tikka's hammer forged barrel is smooth but not ultra smooth Recent hammer forged barrels from Remington and Ruger were smoother when examined with a bore scope. But don't shoot as well.

The bullets were 25:1.

i spent years lubing the bore riding noses of the NEI 72 grain I shot in competition. It seemed logical at the time when I still thought bullet lubes were to lubricate.  Then I tried it against no lube on the nose and found no difference.

The 85 grain bullet isn't too mysterious.  It is my first design after I got my hands on a 22 CF factory rifle with a 9" twist (Savage) It is sort of like the 311299 but with only one lube groove and a pointed nose. The forerunner to NOE 80 grain which which is even more pointed.  David Mos made the mold. In its present lapped and beagled condition it fits the Tikka (with 10,500 shots through it) better than the NOE 80s I have.

John

 

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JeffinNZ posted this 06 October 2018

Fast, quick impulse of a small charge not enough to cause bullet erosion?

 

Cheers from New Zealand

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OU812 posted this 07 October 2018

It seems you would want to use a powder that leaves no hard fouling. There are lots of quick burning powders to try. Would Bullseye work a little better maybe? I am sure you have tried most all powders, but when using lube.

What powder is used to load factory 22 Rimfire. Is there an equivalent we can buy off the shelf.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 07 October 2018

A lot of good comments and questions.

I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising, lead alloys have been used for bearing material for a long time. Also we already know that bare air guns pellets and low velocity bare pistol bullets don't lead the bore.

The air gun pellets were for the most part fairly low velocity, but the newer large caliber air rifles (.30 - .45) have bullets specifically designed for them that have lube groves. Since I don't and have never owned one, I am only going by what I have seen. Is this true that they have to use lube?

Don't know about fouling shots yet Ken.  The ten shots before were plain base bullets using the same charge.  Will see next time. If these work, I don't think there will be any trouble with the phantom lube purging.

My Tikka's hammer forged barrel is smooth but not ultra smooth Recent hammer forged barrels from Remington and Ruger were smoother when examined with a bore scope. But don't shoot as well.

The bullets were 25:1.

i spent years lubing the bore riding noses of the NEI 72 grain I shot in competition. It seemed logical at the time when I still thought bullet lubes were to lubricate.  Then I tried it against no lube on the nose and found no difference.

The 85 grain bullet isn't too mysterious.  It is my first design after I got my hands on a 22 CF factory rifle with a 9" twist (Savage) It is sort of like the 311299 but with only one lube groove and a pointed nose. The forerunner to NOE 80 grain which which is even more pointed.  David Mos made the mold. In its present lapped and beagled condition it fits the Tikka (with 10,500 shots through it) better than the NOE 80s I have.

John

 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Hornet posted this 07 October 2018

   I read an article in one of the gun rags a few years ago on the writer taking a tour of the CCI rimfire manufacturing area. He claimer that they powders they used were a non-commercial powder just a little faster than Green Dot for .22 LR and a powder just a little faster than Blue Dot for .22 Magnum. This was several years ago and things may have changed.

   When ELEY was revising their .22 Match ammo, they found that the priming was very critical to ensure consistent ignition. They now licence the priming technology that they invented.  IIRC, they did a design matrix with over 100 possible factors  to determine which ones actually mattered. Lots of investment and they aren't big on sharing the results.

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John Alexander posted this 07 October 2018

David's comment on air rifles reminds us that we should be keeping an eye of what's happening with air rifles since there are similarities to cast bullets. Some of the regular 177 air guns advertise velocities of 1,200 frp with the lighter pellets -- not much slower than my loads so far. I don't know what the big bore air gun claim to have for MV.

I agree with OU812 that a powder that minimizes hard fouling should help. The best I have found is 4756 but of course that is no longer available.  Any suggestions?

If the 22rf powders mentioned by Hornet are chemically like Red or Green Dot not just "burn faster" that may be a valuable clue. Does anybody know?

John

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frnkeore posted this 07 October 2018

Regarding 22 RF ammo, all that I've seen, use lube. Some a very thin coating and some, pretty thick. Most use some method of retaining it in the bore, such as knurling.

I've been shooting smooth sided, breech seated bullets, in 22 RF since about 1988. I have never leaded a barrel and shot 48 gr bullets to 1470 fps (no match accuracy).

I've tried many fast burning powders, including Tite Group, Unique, Herco, AA#2 and many more but, B'eye has always produced the best accuracy.

I do lube the outside of the bullets, my smearing a light coat of lube in my hands and rolling the bullets, between my hands.

I finally built a dedicated rifle for BSing bullets, two years ago and have done fairly well with it, against the best 22RF match rifles and ammo in ISSA & ASSRA competition.

Frank

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shake posted this 07 October 2018

 Vihtavuori 3n37 is specified as a .22 rimfire powder.

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Eutectic posted this 07 October 2018

I did some experiments with smooth sided bullets, nothing would make them shoot. Smearing lube on the exposed nose did nothing,

The same style bullet with grooves but no lube could be shot with a very light 900 - 1000 fps load with red dot and accuracy was OK. Best accuracy was fully lubed, and then the velocity could be increased. 

I think with cast bullets the grooves give the metal displaced by the rifling a place to go so the bullet does not distort. Just a theory but some jacketed bullets now have grooves, so there might be something to it. 

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John Alexander posted this 08 October 2018

Eutectic,

The results of your experiments match the results of an excellent report by Dan Lynch in TFS within the last couple of years. 

His work compared grooved to none-grooved bullets in a rifle.  The results were similar to yours on pistol bullets -- the bullets wouldn't shoot well without grooves for some reason and it wasn't for lack of lube.  As I remember, like you, the only reason he could come up with was a place for displaced lead was needed.

The bare bullets I used in the test starting this thread had one normal sized lube groove in addition to the space in front of the gas check, neither with lube in them.

John

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joeb33050 posted this 08 October 2018

The latest FS has an article and picture of quite accurate bullets sans grease grooves. As I read it. 

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M3 Mitch posted this 08 October 2018

Regarding 22 RF ammo, all that I've seen, use lube. Some a very thin coating and some, pretty thick. Most use some method of retaining it in the bore, such as knurling.

I've been shooting smooth sided, breech seated bullets, in 22 RF since about 1988. I have never leaded a barrel and shot 48 gr bullets to 1470 fps (no match accuracy).

I've tried many fast burning powders, including Tite Group, Unique, Herco, AA#2 and many more but, B'eye has always produced the best accuracy.

I do lube the outside of the bullets, my smearing a light coat of lube in my hands and rolling the bullets, between my hands.

I finally built a dedicated rifle for BSing bullets, two years ago and have done fairly well with it, against the best 22RF match rifles and ammo in ISSA & ASSRA competition.

Frank

 

Are you pulling the bullets (and powder?) from factory .22 RF ammo, then breech seating your own cast bullet?  Or what?

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John Alexander posted this 08 October 2018

Joe,

You are right about the report by Phinney. That's the way I read it as well.

If I remember correctly you experimented with no lube groove bullet and loaned your molds to Bill McGraw and others.  What was the overall conclusion of those experiments?

John

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frnkeore posted this 09 October 2018

Are you pulling the bullets (and powder?) from factory .22 RF ammo, then breech seating your own cast bullet?  Or what?

Mitch,

yes, I made a hand held, shell holder. I hold the case with it and one twist of the bullet, with a pair of pliers and it's out.

The cases are then just used as primers.

Frank

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