Tumble Lube vs. the Lubrisizer

  • 1.4K Views
  • Last Post 16 October 2019
John Alexander posted this 20 July 2019

Various kinds of tumble lube have been around for a long time -- maybe forever. oMany shooters use nothing else and claim excellent results. For large batches of bullets it saves a lot of time.

Yet, CBA tech data sheets give little hint that our competition shooters use it at all. That seems to apply to both military rifle shooters and our traditional benchrest shooters. 

It's not because our competitive shooters don't try different lubes.  At our national tournaments there are usually 15 to 20 different lubes used -- but none of them applied as tumble lube as far as you can tell.

What does this mean?  Many have tried it and tumble lube doesn't give the accuracy needed for match shooting? Competitive shooters are so conservative that they never try anything new?  The match winners have found that tumble lube gives them the winning advantage and they are keeping it a secret by lying on their tech sheets? We are such a bunch of cabbage heads that we haven't tested the two approaches head to head and really don't have a clue which is better?  Or. we just don't like sticky bullets?

At one time I could ask the same questions about powder coating but at least a few shooters are trying PC in competition. Why is tumble lube ignored?

John

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
45 2.1 posted this 20 July 2019

Considering that there have been several threads here that have determined that lube makes little difference, I wonder why you ask. Not to mention that several high level shooters make there own lube would seem to nix the previous discussions. Lube does make a difference, but not one you'll probably notice until you're  under 1/2 MOA or substantially less. You will probably find that the lubes viscosity has an affect on potential accuracy.

Attached Files

longhunter posted this 20 July 2019

John,

I do both.

I Lube and size my bullets. And Then tumble lube them with Ben's Liquid Lube.

I size seat my Gas check  and Lube one lube grove.  I then coat with Ben's.

For me at  the lower Velocities I shoot it Works.

I am shooting mostly Military matches.  I do have one competitive Cast bullet gun.  A 308 x 1.75 I call it my 308 Kurtz. I still use the same procedure.

So I have never been to our National Matches.  I would like to some day.  I have not been to the Military matches either.

I do shoot a lot of postal matches.  I enjoy the heck out of them.

Jon

 

 

Jon Welda CW5 USA Ret. 608 797 0056

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
muley posted this 21 July 2019

I use water pump high temp grease on my 25-20, 85 grain bullets. I smear it on with my fingers and breech seat, shoots well and no leading with a 1-25 mix.

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 21 July 2019

When I started this thread by asking if tumble lube was as good as lube applied in the grooves i assumed one -- that in spite of a lot of opinions expressed that all normal lubes work I had not see and test results to confirm and two -- I had always read it as no difference between lube applied in the grooves.  Maybe a bad assumption but tumble lube seem to be a completely different approach that I made the assumption.

The other question I asked -- If the two types of lubes produce equal accuracy then why out of 300 CBA competitors do none use tumble lube exclusively? 

Since no test results were reported in the replies so far, i decided to generate some of my own.  This morning I fired five 5-shot groups with tumble lube and four with MTL in about one half of the gas check groove. (couldn't get the lubrisizer working right.) The bullet was the NOE 22780 of 25:1, WW SR, 5.0 gr. TiteGroup from my Tikka T3 Lite.

The five groups with tumble lube averaged .79 MOA.

The four groups with MTL averaged .78 MOA

The doesn't prove there is no difference but it is a pretty good hint that there isn't much difference for low velocity CB loads.

The question remains if tumble lube is just as good and much quicker, why isn't it being used exclusively by at least some CBA competors.  I'm afraid I don't want to know the answer.

John

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Wineman posted this 21 July 2019

My thought is that it goes contrary to the careful prep match shooters do to win. Frank Marshal said he made up for equipment and fancy tools with time and care. Putting a few hundred bullets in a bowl and sloshing them around kind of goes against that philosophy. I have used straight LLA and 45:45:10 from White label lube along with a conventional BW lubes, such as speed green and LBT Blue. My seat of the pants feeling is that for a hunting load or plinking load even an CMP/NRA highpower shooting load, tumble lube is fine (sorry Gary... RIP). For CBA competition, a hard bullet and hard lube seem to be the right way to go.

Dave

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
RicinYakima posted this 22 July 2019

Tumble lubing is hard, messy and takes a lot of time. Pick one bullet up, put a gas check on the butt, one down stroke and one up stroke. DONE! Put them in the box. No mess, no fuss, no greasy seating dies, no wiping off excess lube, etc., etc.. FWIW

Attached Files

Paul Pollard posted this 22 July 2019

“Yet, CBA tech data sheets give little hint that our competition shooters use it at all.”

 

Maybe our tech sheets need some revision. How do you know if it’s lubesizer lube or tumble lube? Where does it indicate if it’s powder coated? How do we know that John A. only fills the gas check groove?

Is anyone aware of those rifles which mysteriously gain a pound from month to month, or the barrels which get longer or shorter throughout the year?

Attached Files

Brodie posted this 22 July 2019

Paul,

The short answer is: "We Don't know."., But, we don't know what anybody is "really " using.  How are you REALLY going to know?  Must we require an inspection of their reloading area?  Are the winners of postal matches actually using cast bullets?  Maybe they are shooting jacketed just to insure a win? 

See what I am getting at?  At some point we just have to trust to the other guy's honesty.  If we don't why bother with publishing the data at all.

B.E.Brickey

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • BudHyett
John Alexander posted this 22 July 2019

Dave,

i think you have a good point for many of our shooters. Like Frank Marshall many shooters seem to hope that diddling around weighing, sorting and cleaning everything in sight will improve accuracy.  Some simple shooting tests might tell them things they really don't want to hear about the validity of that approach, but serious testing seems a rare approach.

Ric,

Good point. In spite of my no-frills approach to reloading I do first size in a Lee nose first so still have to do it again to lube with the lubrisizer which bias my view.

Although your description of tumble lubing matches my early tries. The way I now do it to get one thin coat involves "No mess, no fuss, no greasy seating dies, no wiping off excess lube, etc., etc." -- well, maybe a little mess. And for large batches of bullet it saves time. My view of things may be further biased by small hard to handle bullets and getting the lube to go into the tiny gap ahead of the gas check.

Paul,

Although I doubt we can do anything about rifles putting on weight or having their barrels shrink, it may be time to consider a revision of the tech sheets.  Unless you object, I will forward your post to Ed Krasny our Director of Registered Competition as a suggestion.

John

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Paul Pollard posted this 22 July 2019

John,

Although the tech sheet has lots of room, the match report has a limited amount of space for lube data. Maybe a simple “LS”, “TL” or “PC” notation with lube name would suffice.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
  • David Reiss CBA Membership Director
max503 posted this 22 July 2019

Last night I sized/lubes some 380 bullets on the lubrisizer because 1) I didn't want to have to wait for them to dry and 2) I didn't want lube on the noses. Normally I tumble lube pistol bullets. It's nice to have different options. That's what reloading is all about.

Attached Files

mashburn posted this 23 July 2019

Hello John Alexander,

For those who doubt the stuff that Frank Marshall did in his reloading have some things to learn. Like I've said before, I'm new to cast bullet loading for rifles, but have been loading jacketed bullets in rifles for over 50 years. A lot of the things that Frank Marshall suggested with cast bullets are things that I learned through trial and error while loading jacketed ammo.  I can't attest my success with jacketed compared to cast but I do know that case prep has a lot to do with accuracy. I'm not trying to start an argument but please be aware of a lot of the things that Frank Marshall brought out. I could write a couple of pages about things that I have experimented with and TESTED related to strict procedures, but like I said I'm not trying to start a argument. Of the  people that I know who reload can be classed into two groups: cartridges stuffers and cartridge craftsmen.

Mashburn

 

David a. Cogburn

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
John Alexander posted this 23 July 2019

Hi Mashburn,

I was a fan of Frank Marshall. I have been reading his stuff since he started writing for the Fouling Shot in the 1970s. He told great stories and was a wealth of information about a lot of old rifles and arcane practices that most of us will never even see or do.  He could also shoot cast bullets, and unlike many writers, showed up at the early CBA matches, and sometimes won and set records.

He also made major contributions to the early success of the Cast Bullet Association. I'm sure that his writing was a major factor in the early growth of the association.  We are in his debt and I have great respect for him.  

However, like most cast bullet shooters then and now, he was a believer in the conventional wisdom of his time about cast bullets some of which can't be shown to be necessary even for accuracy much better than Mr. Marshall ever achieved. Some of the things he advocated in crafting CB ammo simply cannot be shown to be needed for accuracy -- at least down to about the .75 moa level which few of us reach.

It is nice to have heroes and gurus, and Frank Marshall is one of mine, but it seems to me that when we start to deify them and think they were infallible it holds us back from learning new stuff by experimentation and testing.

John

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
John Alexander posted this 23 July 2019

Paul Pollard wrote -- "Although the tech sheet has lots of room, the match report has a limited amount of space for lube data. Maybe a simple “LS”, “TL” or “PC” notation with lube name would suffice."

Hi Paul,

Good suggestion. There may be other improvements we could make.  Anybody think of another you would like to see?

John

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Tom G posted this 24 July 2019

One of the advantages of a lube sizer that I can think of is that you have the option to fill as many lube grooves or leave empty as you deem best.  I used to shoot a loverin style bullet with several smaller lube grooves. With that style, I conducted some tests with my lube formula and determined that .4 grs. of lube applied to the bullet gave the most consistent groups. Too much would cause a lube purging flier in a 10 round string and too little would cause some streak leading which did cause a slight loss of accuracy.  

I think that how well the bullets seals when it starts to move determines how much lube you need to apply to the bullet to have enough to make it to the end of the barrel. I used a .0003" interference fit at the back of the bullet to seal off as the bullet was seated. This, in my mind kept the initial gas (young gas?)  from blowing by the bullet before it obturated completely and sealed off. Any leakage by the bullet could blow the lube out of the grooves before it sealed up. 

I went to a match up in Minn, one time and Ron KlerK De Rues was shooting my lube and stated that all he had on the bullet was what was in the gap in front of the gas check. He had none in the lube grooves,  He shot pretty well with that load and didn't get any leading.  

With Tumble lube, i guess you could control the amount of lube by using different numbers of coatings or by diluting the lube mix.  But for me, I felt more confident lubing two or three grooves on a multi lube groove bullet. 

I've tried tumble lubing pistol bullets and didn't like the mess and the junk that built up in the gun.  

 

Tom Gray

Attached Files

JeffinNZ posted this 24 July 2019

I agree with Tom.  Also, as the lubesizer has a 'stop' you can size only part of the bullet.  EG: nose first bullet into the die to size only the top band.  I do this with my .303 bullets.  .304 on the nose, .312 first band, .316 balance of bullet.

Cheers from New Zealand

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 24 July 2019

As those who hang around here know I have been lubing only the tiny gap ahead of the gas check for all my match loads for several years.  The vanishing amount needed is what got me thinking about no lube at all which I have had some promising results but that is still a work in progress.

My personal interest in tumble lube is to explore the possibility that I can get better results that way. Either better match accuracy or longer periods before bore cleaning is needed to reduce groups back to size.  My limited testing above seems to show that accuracy may be equal.  More uniform bore condition -  maybe.  Shot ten more groups this morning with encouraging results but more testing is needed before trying tumble lubing for a match.  Like everybody else I have always used conventional lube -in- the-groove only, but would change in a minute if I think it will give me an improvement -- any mess be damned. As far as I know nobody else is even considering the idea.

John

Attached Files

Tom G posted this 25 July 2019

Guys,  I should have mentioned that my adventures with tumble lubing were with pistol bullets only.  I shoot around 3 to 4 thousand a year so I'm always looking for ways to make more good bullets faster.  My comments about the junk in the gun was in a 1911 45 auto and it was mostly in the magazine and chamber area.  It was definetly a lot messier after I shot a hundred or two through it than with conventionally lubed bullets.  I didn't get leading in the 45 auto but got lots of it in a 9mm Para. 

I'm currently working on finding a good standard load for a very nice FN Browning Hi-power.  That 9mm is the most finicky cartridge I ever ran into. Very high pressure and very small case capacity. Not very forgiving and bore diameters on those guns run all over the place. I finally had good success when I slugged the barrel and found that it wants 38 caliber bullets. 

Today, I shot sample groups in the Hi-Power with three different alloy hardnesses. Linotype, half lino and half wheel weights and lastly bullets made of straight wheel weights with 2 % tin added.  They all shot well so far with just a few flakes of lead that was not stuck to the barrel. Initial impression is that ww's will be fine at 1000 fps. as long as they are .001" larger than groove dia.  If anyone has any good advice on good cb loads, I'm all ears.  

 

Tom 

Attached Files

Paul Pollard posted this 25 July 2019

John,

During 2016, I used a tumble lube for the entire year. It was a very light coat of Planet Waves carnauba, which Fred Sinclair showed me. He said to use it sparingly. His bullets looked like there was nothing on them. Throughout the year, I fiddled with it and became confident enough to shoot it at the 2016 National Match. The velocity with the 6PPC was 2300 - 2400 fps. It did tend to lead a bit, but I brushed and swabbed after each target. It shot competitively. The bullets were not messy at all.

Most of my testing is long term, usually throughout a year with the latest hair-brained idea. This tends to eliminate fascination with a “wallet group.” The above lube example tends to show that lube may be done to excess.

Attached Files

Lee Wiggins posted this 25 July 2019

It was mentioned in this thread How do we know that John A only lubed the space ahead of the gas check? I know for a fact that he lubed the rear lube groove and space ahead of the gas check.

 Lee Wiggins

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 25 July 2019

Lee Wiggins wrote:  "It was mentioned in this thread How do we know that John A only lubed the space ahead of the gas check? I know for a fact that he lubed the rear lube groove and space ahead of the gas check."

==============

Hi Lee,

I don't know how you "know for a fact" that I also lubed the rear lube groove as well as the space ahead of the gas check. Please let us know.

However, you are right I have done it that way. I even wrote a TFS article where I compared lubing 1, 2, or 3  grooves filled. I have also rubbed elixirs on the nose of the bullet in vain attempts at improvements and tried tumble lube. I would whisper magic incantations before shooting each shot if I thought it would improve accuracy.

However, for the last several years I estimate that at least 95%, and maybe all, of the cast bullets I have shot in competition had lube only in the gap ahead of the gas check. The same for practice and most bullets used in experiments. Others lube all the grooves available and sometimes beat me. It ain't an exact science, or if it is we don't understand it yet.

John

Attached Files

Lee Wiggins posted this 26 July 2019

Sorry for the confusion John Alexander. Did not have my thinking cap on , I was talking about John Ardito.

               Lee

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 27 July 2019

Lee,

I feel honored to be confused with John Ardito who taught us a lot and set offhand records that I believe still stand while barefooted which he claimed helped.

John

Attached Files

OU812 posted this 27 July 2019

I have shot lot of John's 80 grain bullets by just smearing Lee alox onto bullet after seating. I noticed that the longer alox was allowed to dry on the bullet accuracy got worse. Smearing alox on bullet the night before shooting worked best (alox was not as hard). And yes it shot well in a 1/12 twist Remington barrel. I need to get back to the range after being off for a while.

Attached Files

longhunter posted this 27 July 2019

When I was an Single shot shooter a good friend of mine,Charlie Dell did extensive testing with lubes.  He had hundreds of formulas.  We shot tapered bullets and breach seated our bullets.  Accuracy was pretty amazing.  200 yards was the normal range.  Testing is the key to accuracy in all things cast.

Jon

Jon Welda CW5 USA Ret. 608 797 0056

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • TRKakaCatWhisperer
John Alexander posted this 28 July 2019

"Testing is the key to accuracy in all things cast."

==============

Jon,

So true.  Also true for all other fields of knowledge as well.  If medical researchers had used the same approach as most cast bullet shooters to advance their field, we would still be being bled with leaches but each leach would weigh the same to the .1 grain and be completely cleaned inside and out. The devil isn't always in the details.

I don't know,  but the pity is that there is probably some good cast bullet research being done but it takes work to report it so most of it dies with the researcher.  I can sympathize with that since good research published in TFS is ignored and we cling to the old wive's tales we love.

I just got back from a cb match in Roseberg, OR and one of the experienced shooters was blaming his woes on the difference in neck tension from shot to shot.  Gerry Bottiger destroyed that theory several years ago in reports to TFS but facts don't seem to dent blind belief.

John

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
OU812 posted this 28 July 2019

"Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them."

Albert Einstein

Attached Files

Brodie posted this 28 July 2019

John,

There are a large number of medical researchers who do just that.  They have no concept on how to do research, nor how to manage it.  I know I worked for one, and saw a quite a few others who had no business in that field.  They were excellent Physicians, but approached research from a "clinical" perspective. 

B.E.Brickey

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 28 July 2019

 

Brodie,

I don't doubt it a bit there are plenty in engineering as well. Have to get those papers out no matter what's in 'em. But we do muddle along and make some progress by those who have their heads screwed on better.  Although I hear that leaches may make a comeback -- hopefully not sorted by weight.

John

Attached Files

shootcast posted this 29 July 2019

Liquid lube was all I used for several years. Didn’t have money to buy a lube/sizer. I don’t shoot well enough to say one is better than the other. Occasionally I still try both ways just to see what if !  I shoot bore riders often and like to dip my loaded round into liquid lube and pull it and invert it to dry. It will run down the bullet and hopefully stop at the grease grooves. This way the bore section is being lubed. Sometimes I swore this helped. But like most things just when you think you got it you don’t.

Attached Files

kjohn posted this 16 October 2019

Great thread.  Many years ago, when I was getting into shooting my first center-fire revolver, I asked an older shooter what was involved in casting.  His description kept me away from casting until I read a good article by Dean Grennell (sp?) about Lee TL bullets.  That caught my attention, and I got involved.

I can't see the big deal about tumble lubing bullets.  I've only ever used LLA.  I TL rifle and handgun bullets, 90% LEE molds, and both types, TL and regular.  The only time I had leading trouble was in a big old 44 mag S&W revolver, and I take the blame for that.  I shoot almost exclusively cast in my rifles.

 

I cast a batch, TL with a very light coating, gas check through a LEE sizer die, then give them another light LLA coating.  Bear in mind that I most certainly wouldn't qualify as a precision shooter, by any stretch. 

Two things you never want to run low on.....

Attached Files

RicinYakima posted this 16 October 2019

kjohn, It doesn't matter if you are a precision shooter. Are you having fun? Do they shoot good enough for your needs? That is the criteria that you need to work with.Ric

Attached Files

Rich/WIS posted this 16 October 2019

My only experience with LLA was in 9mm and was not a success.  Built up in the seating die and needed cleaning every 100 rounds, what a pain.  Did this while Germany and my lube sizer was in storage.  Went back to my faithful Lyman 450 when I got back to the states.  This was pre internet days and when I got on various forums and saw pics of other people's use of LLA figured out what I was doing wrong.  The pics showed barely a hint of lube, mine looked like chocolate covered peanuts.  Never did go back to LLA but suspect it would work if I did it right.  My thought in not going back is if I lube with LLA still need to size, and maybe lube again.  For me just as easy to size and lube in one step.  

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
Close