No Lube Bullets

  • Last Post 26 October 2023
Idahocaster posted this 25 October 2023

I read the thread on plain base bullets which included a discussion on reducing bullet lube. John Alexander recommended trying no lube at all. That got me thinking, if you could shoot a cast lead bullet with no lube could it be a smooth sided bullet with no grooves? Or would some kind of groove still be useful to give the lead displaced by the rifling some where to go? A smooth sided bullet would be more aerodynamic and probably easier to cast since it would have fewer sharp corners in the mold.

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John Alexander posted this 25 October 2023

No groove bullets have been around for a while. Joe Brennan and the late Bill McGraw tried these a long time ago.  Don't know what they found, but I don't think they continued to use them.

Much more recently Dan Lynch who used to run Mountain Molds did a study with similar bullets but grooved and unproved. (Lubed with LLA I think) and found that the bullet with grooves shot much better than its almost twin without grooves. I believe this was published in the Fouling Shot maybe 5 years ago.


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linoww posted this 25 October 2023

I have a smooth side bullet for my 270 ren maybe I'll give it a whirl. I have shot groove bullets in rifles with no lube with some success at times. I shot a number of grooved bullets without lube in a 10 mm revolver 8 or so years ago posted the results in the fouling shot. And I got fantastic accuracy.I was using a rather slow powder so I think that may have buffered the heat from the bullet base.

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

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pat i. posted this 25 October 2023

I had Veral cut me a gas check mold years ago with one cavity a conventional design and the other smooth sided. Both carried lube just in the space over the check. The grooved bullet shot alright but the smooth sided bullet was pretty bad. I then tried impacting moly on it which was the rage with jacketed br shooters back then with worse results and leading. I passed the mold on to Dick Reese and he had the same results. No more grooveless bullets for me. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the first or will be the last to give this a try and if it hasn't caught on by now I doubt if going grooveless or lubeless is the answer to the accuracy game.

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stevebarrett posted this 26 October 2023

I tried comparing with/without lube recently in cannelured bullets in some black powder cartridge military rifles.

In terms of group sizes, the lubricated bullets gave somewhat tighter groups, which just reached statistical significance. The striking thing however was the number of split cases I got when there was no lubricant. The results were:

11mm Werndl rifle: with lube 2/30 split; no lube 10/17 split

11mm Spanish rolling block; with lube 1/30 split; no lube 14/30 split

11mm Egyptian rolling block; with lube 0/70 split; no lube 0/70 split

The same cast bullet was used in the Werndl and in the Egyptian cartridges.

Obviously, there are all sorts of questions about this and I'm still trying to figure it out. Why there were any splits at all is mysterious, as it's something I've encountered very rarely in the past in shooting hundreds of rounds through these rifles. However, the message seems to be an absence of lubricant somehow puts an extra stress on the case, and given the cost of these brass cases, I’m not inclined to pursue the investigations any further.

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Lee Wiggins posted this 26 October 2023


   I have switched to tumble lubing . I use White Lable 2500 plus stick lube. Take a small piece and roll it into a ball 30 cal. size.

Drop it in metal tumbling tub and add 8 io 10  lb. bullets as cast. Set tub in skillet of boiling water and heat till bullets are real warm ,tubing as necessary to get all bullets hot. Now the lube is melted , continue tumbling to get all bullets with very thin coating of lube.

Now i put an alum GC on and seat it and put a 1 degree taper on the driving bands by a trip thru a bumping die. They are now ready to load , no further anything to the bullets

   Now this is darn little lube on the bullet but NO LEADING and they are more accurate than filling rear lube groove 

   Rifle is Rem. 700 with 1.25 in diam. hart barrel , 12 twist , 308x1.625 chamber with 1 degree throat , Lyman 311284 bullet , alloy 7/3 Lino/ww air cooled , 20.6 gr Rx7 

   I shot our gun club BR match all summer ( once a week ) 30 rounds / target , 5 warm up sighters and 25 for score ( 5 each score target without cleaning . I cleaned at end of last match for the summer , NO LEAD after hundreds of rounds..

   Target is typical not a hand picked best . My take on this subject is LESS IS MORE!

I have not tried none!

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