I am thinking of making a black powder bullet lube. Soy wax is used by candle makers . I know that bees wax is very good and I have a little but I'm curious to see if anyone has had luck with this stuff as it is affordable .
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- Last Post 10 November 2019
Folks, Eutectic was good to his word and sent me enough technical info on lubes to keep me busy reading for days. The fellow is a gentleman and a scholar. I appreciate it. Squid Boy
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I see from your reply that you really know what you are talking about. I would be very happy to have the information you have. I'll PM you. Thanks, Squid
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No, I have tried sodium stearate, calcium stearate and lithium stearate. I ran extensive tests with sodium stearate. While the first group on a clean bore was excellent, bore deposits built up and groups enlarged. By the third 12 round group accuracy was nil.. The hard bore deposits were water soluble, probably the metal carbonate. Small percentages of sodium stearate worked moderately well but were not water soluble. The sought after water soluble bullet lubricant for easy application was not successful.
Calcium compounds behave similarly. The calcium deposits are not water soluble, must be scrubbed out. Calcium is only useable at small (~5%) percentage, but provides excellent temperature stability. Lee Liquid Alox is partly a calcium salt. The metal content is small so it works.
I would expect zinc stearate (and aluminum stearate which is also available) to behave similarly. Aluminum complex greases are commonly used in wet environments.
The lithium compounds are successful. Lithium hydroxy-stearate is the matrix in lithium greases. It can be used by itself, but is very soft. Lithium grease / beeswax is an excellent bullet lube.
The "problem" with adding metal stearates is you do not get the matrix which forms when the stearate is generated in-situ. Stirring lithium stearate into petroleum oils does not get you lithium grease. You get a suspension, not a matrix dispersion, the properties are entirely different. Doing this correctly requires special equipment and involves high temperatures.
If you are interested I can send you information on industrial lubricant manufacture, it is too long to post.
Eutectic, I am glad for your feedback on this. I did not see that soy wax was a triglyceride of steric acid and that makes quite a difference. Have you ever used zinc stearate as an additive in bullet lube? Squid
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I as told by a candle maker that beeswax left a black soot that would eventually coat your house ceiling and that soy wax would not do that. Maybe that was here method of getting you to buy her soy wax candles.
It may mean with soy wax that there is less stuff left in the bore to clean when shooting black powder or maybe makes it easier to clean the bore.
You will want to read my post on soy wax in lubricants.
Beef tallow is mostly a triglyceride of steric acid. Soy wax is a pure triglyceride of steric acid. Therefore, soy wax should be a direct replacement for tallow in a bullet lube formulation. Soy wax is consistent, so repeated formulations can have the same properties. It does not have any unsaturated fat so it is stable and does not become rancid. Pure soy wax has a melting temperature of 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Those so called "soy wax" with higher melting points have a hard wax added. This can be anything, but noncrystalline wax is cheap and this stuff is used in candles.
The soy wax I used in the lubricants in the post is Artminds from a local craft store. You can also buy it on line.
First of all, I never tried it but I went looking for spec's on it when you asked just out of curiosity for myself. The only issue that I can really see is that it seems to have a wide range of melting temperatures compared to bees wax. Depending on who makes it I found melting temps from 120 to 180 degrees F whereas the bees keep their wax between 144 and 147 degrees F. That could greatly effect how your lube works and maybe even vary from batch to batch. The density of soy wax is less than bees wax as well. I use a blend of refined bees wax, Lanolin and castor oil. I have heard people say that castor oil builds up a deposit in the throat but I have never seen it in my BP cartridge rifles. I was hoping to see some other comments. Squid Boy
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