Which allows the smallest groups "tumble lubing" or conventional "lubing"?

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John Alexander posted this 21 February 2023

Tumble lubing with Lee Liquid Alox, or similar liquids, is popular. But lots of shooters would rather "lube" only in the grooves, usually with a lubrisizer.  

Many of posters to this and other forums have said that one or the other produces results satisfactory to them. But which is better?

I suspect that with a good pistol and otherwise good ammo, either method produces groups smaller than 99% of shooters can shoot.  But what about a high quality rifle shooting from a bench? Is one method better?  That seems like a question that serious shooters should be trying to answer, especially shooters who enjoy competition. These obsessed guys do the most far fetched nit picking in hopes it will give them a tiny edge.  Are they missing out by not using tumble lube?  

A few years ago I polled competitors at our national match about their equipment and ammo.  On lubes --  79% used a lubrisizer, 7% of those also applied a tumble lube. It wasn't clear what the other 21% were doing. None admitted to using only tumble lube or no lube. Does this mean that tumble lube alone doesn't produce competitive CB ammo.  I doubt it. 

Do we know which is best.  What do we know?  Who has run some tests to find out?

John

 

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Mal in au posted this 16 March 2023

Yes more than likely, one thing I might try is up the charge a few tenths @ a time ,could tighten up the vert.I thought I was very careful with the shoulder pressures,but that can be very subjective. Tough to measure.The 62 stock is not really ideal for free recoil.

                       All good back to the drawing board. Cheers Mal.

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John Alexander posted this 16 March 2023

Mal,

Thanks for the additional information. The funny thing is that if you shot another 20 shots of each, the results might go back the other way.  Old lady probability is hard to please.

John

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Mal in au posted this 15 March 2023

Hi John and fellow travelers, as I said my approach wasn’t very scientific, averages of the 20 shots group sizes produces a different result, Tumble H 22.5 X V 35.5 mm….  Lubed H22.5X V 28 mm. So lubed is now the winner. My bad for being lazy.   Cheers Mal in au.

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John Alexander posted this 15 March 2023

The amount of tumble lube I use doesn't result in tacky bullets. Powder won't stick to them.  Maybe try thinner coat.

John

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OU812 posted this 15 March 2023

I am concerned with powder sticking to the base of lubed bullet inside case. Especially using 2400 and seeing big vertical stringing. Allways wipe lube off base of bullet before seating.

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Premod70 posted this 15 March 2023

I would think a ungrooved bullet tumble coated may be a good method especially on one with a taper to match the barrel’s throat angle. Thin the lube until it is a wash and pour the solution through a strainer containing the bullets might be a thought as well. Too many ways to skin the cat for there to be certain better way.

Forrest Gump is my smarter brother.

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OU812 posted this 15 March 2023

I would first seat the bare cast bullet in case using just enough neck tension without deformity. Then I would apply Lee liquid alox using q-tip. Letting the alox harden overnight. This works pretty good for me.

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John Alexander posted this 14 March 2023

Thank you for the clarification.

John

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Mal in au posted this 14 March 2023

Hi John just the targets shown, from memory ( rusty) the tumble group I shot a total of about 20 shots ,the one shown being the best on the day,same with yesterday. My humble conclusion is not much different results using either method, The testing, I will be the first to concede was not very scientific .I will stick to tumble just because it’s so much easier, With my .303. Cast loads I shoot the pills unsized and put the gas check on with a seperate die,no sizing takes place so tumble is the only method to use.I do the same with my 6.5 x 55.  Just nice to get out for a shot on such a beautiful day.

                           Cheers Mal.

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John Alexander posted this 14 March 2023

Thanks for running your test. Excellent groups.

We usually see the distance between the two widest shots reported for a group, but reporting vertical and horizontal gives you a bit more information.  I sometimes do that as well.  The very first CBA national match was reported as vertical +horizontal if I remember correctly.

Just to be sure I am understanding, did you shoot 20 shots with each lube or 10 with each?  Are the numbers averages of two or four groups or just for the targets shown?

Weather is not as nice here as it sounds there so my similar tests will wait awhile.

What little results we have so far don't show an advantage for either lube method.

Thanks again for your report.

John

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Mal in au posted this 14 March 2023

Thanks Jeff for the pic,s Shot 20 rounds in total,a mixed bag, had 3 in one hole with the 2 nd to last group but  two outliers one high the other low put paid to that and went 1.5”. The Schultz is a delight to shoot,big heavy thing with amazing set trigger, in fact it came with 3 trigger groups. They don’t have much free bore and prefer a tapered projectile,most others finish too far back in the case, Beautiful Fall weather here ATM great for shooting.   Cheers Mal in Au.

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Mal in au posted this 14 March 2023

Results are in, on the range this morning,perfect conditions no wind @ 8 am,  tumble lube albeit shot on another day but similar conditions. 22mmx15mm centre to centre. Lube in grouves 22mmx17mm centre to centre. Cheers Mal in au.

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shootcast posted this 06 March 2023

I don’t know if I qualify as a serious shooter or whether I have a tack driver rifle. I consider myself more a plinker than a Benchrest shooter. I have used both methods of lubing bullets. Lube/Sizers & liquid lubes. Our first match of the year just passed. I used a load combination that Ed Harris suggested many years ago. I chambered a used barrel on a table top lath with a solid standard reamer in 7.62x39. I then used Ed’s suggestion of Alliant 2400/ 15.5 grains of powder. The Lee 160 grain tumble Lube Bullet. My alloy is mostly old wheel weights sweetened with Lino, tin. A combination said to be near Lyman #2. I quench from mold and allow bullets to age harden. Then tumble Lube and allow to dry. Then they get home made aluminum gas’s checks and sized / lubed .311. White label Lube called 2500 +. My score for this match was 375-3x. That’s about as good as I can do.

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lkydvl posted this 06 March 2023

Any bullet I wanted better than plinking accuracy out of, I would never tumble lube.  No sense risking damage to the base of the bullet no matter how you tumble lube.

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Qc Pistolero posted this 27 February 2023

Qc, You just said it took 4 days!

yes.I cast them by batches of 6 to 700 at once and come up with a few less after inspection(aprox 4 to 6% rejects when all is right).After 2 days,they feel a little tacky and ready for the second coating.I try to always have at least 1 to 200 bullets ready for loading.

After reading what Ken does,I might try a single light coating though!

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John Alexander posted this 27 February 2023

Ken,

Have tried washing your hands and just shooting them bare.  I faithfully did what you are doing on the nose of a bore riding bullet for a couple of years for a load going 1,500. Finally wondered why it worked so tried some without the grease and they shot the same.

 

Mal in au,

We will look forward for your results.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 27 February 2023

Qc, You just said it took 4 days!

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Mal in au posted this 27 February 2023

I have a Schultz & Larsen Mod.62 300 mt Free rifle that goes on and sometimes under 1” @ 100 ,I use tumbled alox thinned with pure mineral turps,next time I have it on the bench I will use filled grouves  alox. The projectile is Lyman 311644bv  tapered.Load is 30 gns Varget(2208) Win primers . Will report back.

Cheers Mal in au.

   

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 26 February 2023

for you 2nd class accuracy * plinkers * out there ...

i shoot my 1300 fps plain base bullets lubricated only when i pick them up with greasy fingers as I seat them ... they are really only greasy on 2 sides where my fingers touch them ...  i am counting on the randomness of chambering the bullets to condition the barrel ...

if that is what lube does ...  i have only had lube do funny things when i use too much of it ... that might be a strike against tumble lubing ...

and yes I feel the shame and guilt of not working harder at shooting cast bullets ...  ken

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Qc Pistolero posted this 26 February 2023

I shoot in a ligue where the only calibers and rifle types date from before 1900.45-70s are the most often seen but an odd 38-55 pops up here and there.

Some use lubrisized bullets ans some use tumble lubed.Shots are taken at 100 and 200yds;the 10 ring at 100 is 1'' while the one at 200 is aprox 3 1/2(sorry,too cold outside for me to run in my shop get a target.).A winning score runs around 235/250 give or take a couple of points depending on the kind of day we are having.Now,the interesting part is that both type of lubing can shoot these scores.Note that in all cases the velocity is around 1200 to 1300fps.So I'm tempted to say that it depends on the gun.For example,my 45-70 Pedersoli Sharps prefers tumble lubed while my High Wall Pedersoli in 38-55 hates them.

Liquid Alox 50/50 with mineral spirits;I simply pour a little(emphasis on ''little'')on aprox 75-100 bullets in a plastic can and transfer them to another plastic can 5 or 6 times then let them dry on a pan.It takes aprox 2 days and I repeat the process.After another 2 days,I put some in another plastic can and spray them with baby powder or corn starch (here again a little is enough.just so the bullet takes a whitish color)so that the lube won't stick inside the seating plug of the die.Without hurrying,I can lube twice and coat them with powder in an aprox total of time of less than 30 minutes for 500 bullets.

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