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Bullet Lube
by Roy Seifert

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Disclaimer:  This article is for entertainment only and is not to be used in lieu of a qualified gunsmith.  Please defer all firearms work to a qualified gunsmith.  Any loads mentioned in this article are my loads for my guns and have been carefully worked up using established guidelines and special tools.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for use of these loads, or use or misuse of this article.  Please note that I am not a professional gunsmith, just a shooting enthusiast and hobbyist, as well as a tinkerer.  This article explains work that I performed to my guns without the assistance of a qualified gunsmith.  Some procedures described in this article require special tools and cannot/should not be performed without them.

Warning:  Disassembling and tinkering with your firearm may void the warranty.  I claim no responsibility for use or misuse of this article.  Again, this article is for entertainment purposes only!

Tools and firearms are the trademark/service mark or registered trademark of their respective manufacturers.   Click on any blue text to go to a product/seller web site.

If you are a reloader like me, you may be casting your own bullets.  Lead bullets, even hard-lead bullets, need to be lubricated to help reduce leading in the barrel.  In an effort to save money, and due to the many shortages during the Covid pandemic, I wanted to make my own bullet lube.  I could make it in bulk, and because a little goes a long way, it should last me quite a while.  I researched various types of bullet lube on the Internet and have included my favorite recipes in this article.  Try them for yourself; you may be surprised at the performance and savings.

Smokeless Powder Bullet Lube


For years I used alox sticks that would fit in my Lyman 450 lubricator/sizer.  This is a soft lube that would flow through the sizing dies with no additional heat.  I noticed this lube was not very efficient when used with magnum loads.  I tried using Lee Liquid Alox, but it was too messy; I would have to clean off the bullet noses otherwise the chamber or cylinder would get buildup. 


While searching for a harder bullet lube I could use with magnum loads, I found Jakes Purple Ceresin on eBay, and stocked-up.  It’s a good thing I did because I can’t find it anymore on eBay, and his web site is down.  This lube must be heated to flow through my Lyman 450, so I purchased the heater base.  Once heated, the lube flows smoothly through the Lyman 450.

Since I can no longer purchase Jakes bullet lube, I decided to make my own.  I found a YouTube video posted by TATV Canada  His recipe is:

  • 1 part petroleum jelly – 13oz
  • 2 parts beeswax – 26oz
  • 1 capful STP oil treatment
  • 1 or 2 crayons for color
  • Cook for 30 minutes.

The beeswax is the base, but it is too hard to be used alone.  The petroleum jelly acts as a softener.  By adjusting the amount of petroleum jelly, you can adjust the hardness/softness of the resulting lube.  Hard bullet lube requires the heater attachment for the Lyman 450 for the lube to flow.  The STP Oil Treatment is used to help reduce smoking.  His recipe is based on a 13-ounce jar of petroleum jelly which I purchased from my local grocery store, but I cut the recipe in half.  I used beeswax pellets I purchased from eBay, and I already had the STP oil treatment. 


I put water into a small crock pot I purchased from Goodwill, set the open jar of petroleum jelly in the water, and set the crock pot on high.  As the water heated up it melted the jelly so I could pour it out of the jar.  While the jelly was melting, I placed 15-ounces of the beeswax pellets and the STP in a pie pan and set it over the open crockpot.  After the jelly melted to a liquid, I poured it over the beeswax and allowed everything to melt.  After everything was melted, I used a craft stick to stir everything together.  I did not add any crayons to the mix, I like the natural golden color.


My wife and I eat a lot of Chinese food and I keep the plastic containers.  They work great for holding small parts when I’m disassembling a firearm, or for storage because they come with non-leaking lids.  I poured the melted lube into a plastic Chinese soup container and allowed it to solidify, then covered it with a lid to prevent it from becoming contaminated.  When I run out of Jakes lube, I’ll melt my homemade lube in the microwave and pour it directly into the Lyman 450.

Black Powder Bullet Lube
Black powder bullet lube should NOT be made with petroleum products.  The petroleum interacts with the black powder residue and creates a heavy crud that will eventually bind up the revolver.  I found a recipe on the Internet posted by Lloyd  His recipe is:

  • Crisco – this is made from natural vegetable oils
  • Beeswax


The beeswax is the base, but again, it is too hard to be used alone.  The Crisco acts as the softener in this recipe.  Lloyd did not provide an exact mixture, but by adjusting the amount of Crisco, I can adjust the hardness/softness of the resulting lube depending on the use.  I wanted my lube to be hard enough to use in the summertime and not melt off the wads, but soft enough to press into a chamber.  I purchased a 16-ounce tub of Crisco from Wal-Mart and used the beeswax pellets I purchased from eBay.  The pellets were easier to melt than a block.

(Same photo, same process, same look!)

I again poured water into the crockpot, turned it on high, and set a pie tin on top.  I started with a 50/50 mixture:  1/2-cup of Crisco and 1/2-cup of beeswax.  After everything was melted, I again used a craft stick to stir the mix together.  I could have added some wax crayons to add color, but again, I really liked the golden color of the lube.  I tried adjusting the mixture, but the 50/50 mix seemed to work best.

I poured the melted lube into a plastic Chinese soup container and allowed it to solidify, then covered it with a lid to prevent it from becoming contaminated.  I labeled it BP so I wouldn’t get it confused with the smokeless lube.

Making Lubricated Wads


I purchased some 100% wool felt from  It measures from 1/8 – 3/16 thick; perfect for making lubricated wads.  You can also find felt at  I used a 7/16” punch to punch out the felt wads.  I punched on top of a piece of leather so I wouldn’t damage the mouth of the punch.


I held a wad with small forceps, dipped it into the melted lube, then set it on wax paper to dry.  After drying I placed the lubed wads into a plastic container.  These lubed wads go on top of the powder before loading a round ball in the revolver chamber and help to prevent a chain fire.

Bore Butter


Many years ago, I purchased a tube of Thompson/Center bore butter to use as a lubricant on top of the round balls in my Ruger Old Army.  I have since learned that bore butter can be used to lubricate bullet patches, black powder rifle and revolver bores, and other moving parts.  When applied to the arbor or cylinder pin of a black powder revolver it can prevent the cylinder from binding up due to fouling.

I found a recipe for bore butter online:

  • 1-part beeswax
  • 4-parts olive oil
  • Cinnamon or mint oil for fragrance


So again, I used my crock pot as a double boiler, melted the beeswax, added the olive oil, mixed it all together, then poured it into a Chinese soup container.  While it was still liquid, I sucked it up into a 60ml syringe.  The syringe has a cap which prevents the bore butter from leaking out.  At the range, I can use the syringe to put the bore butter on top of the lead balls in a revolver chamber, lubricate the moving parts, or apply it to a round ball patch. 

il, I can even condition leather with it.  I put a small dab on a cloth and worked it into the leather.  It will make the leather darker, but the olive oil will help prevent the leather from drying out, and the beeswax will help protect it from water.  After it dried, I buffed the leather with a soft cloth to give it a soft sheen.


These are the bullet lubes that work for me.  I encourage you to do your own research and experimentation to find what works best for you.  But in this time of shortages, it's best to have a backup plan.

Addendum 12/4/2021


I decided I wanted to add color so I wouldn’t get the different lubes confused.  I purchased large, single-color crayons from  I chose green for my smokeless bullet lube, and red for my black-powder lube.  I left the bore butter the natural beeswax color.


I melted the black powder lube in the microwave and added a red crayon, then let the mix cool and solidify.  The smokeless bullet lube wouldn’t melt in the microwave, so I put the container back in my crock pot until it melted, then added a green crayon.  I mixed it with a craft stick, then removed it from the crock pot and allowed it to solidify.  The different colors make it easy to distinguish between the different lubes.

Addendum 12/14/2021
I found a video on You Tube by Walter Bunning on how to make lube stick molds.

If I was to pour the liquid bullet lube directly into my 450 sizer it would probably flow right out of the bottom.


Following his method, I cut 4 pieces of 1-inch inner diameter PCV into 4.75” lengths.  The lube sticks are 4-inches long, but I needed the extra .75-inch to accommodate the Delrin washers.


I had some 3/4” Delrin from which I made 1-inch diameter washers with a 5/16” hole in the center.  I used my CNC table-top mill to fabricate the washers.  The washers make the lube sticks easy to remove from the tubes.


I drilled a 5/16” hole in the top of 4 1-inch PVC pipe caps, and cut 7” lengths of 5/16” dowel rod to fit in the center of the washer and cap.  This makes the hole for the threaded shaft in the center of the 450 sizer.

I used an 11” length of 1”x4” pine and milled 5 holes.  Four holes to fit the PVC tubes, and a fifth hole to glue a 5 1/2” length of 3/4” dowel rod.  The dowel rod is used to push the lube stick out of the PVC tube.  I cut a short piece of PVC pipe to act as a collar.  I place the Delrin washer on the wooden dowel, place the collar on top of the mold, then strike the collar with a leather or nylon mallet get the lube to start moving out of the mold.


The process of making lube sticks is as follows:

  1. I melted the lube in a double boiler.  As before, I used water in an old crock pot.
  2. I assembled the tubes, washers, and rods in the base.  I did not cap the tubes because I needed to add the lube.
  3. I drew the melted liquid lube into a 60ml syringe, then injected the liquid lube into one of the tubes.
  4. When the tube was full, I capped it.  The caps don’t have to be put on tight; they should be just setting on the tube to keep the 5/16” dowel centered.
  5. When the lube solidified, I removed the cap and dowel rod and removed the tube from the base.
  6. I set the tube on top of the 3/4” dowel with the Delrin washer down and placed the collar on top of the tube.
  7. I used a mallet to strike the collar get the lube stick started out of the tube.
  8. I removed the collar, then pushed the lube stick out of the PVC tube.
  9. I removed the washer, then wrapped each lube stick in wax paper for future use.


I stored the wrapped sticks in a plastic Chinese food container.  Now I have enough bullet lube to last a long time.

NOTE:  Yes, my wife and I eat Chinese food at least once a week.  I’ve been eating at our local Chinese restaurant since the day they opened.  I’m sure I helped put their kids through college!


   © Copyright 2021 Roy Seifert.