Why liquid lubes?


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Please be kind to an old man, but I don't understand the interest in liquid lubes. I can pick up a casting, gas check it, size it, lube it and put it in the storage box in less than ten seconds. I'm done. I cast in the winter when it is cold outside in the shop then lube and size in the house under the air conditioner in the summer.

I've tried LLA diluted to tumble lube, but (!) it has to be done in the shop because of the flammable vapors and takes 3 days to dry in the winter. Plus you have to clean up all the mess of wax paper, etc. In the summer it fowls the air that I can't work in the shop until dry. Then you have to gas check and size each bullet at ten seconds each.

Now I admit than I am only interested in accuracy and precision shooting. If it will not shoot 1 1/2 MOA at 200 yards, I have little interest in making them or shooting them, other than theory and following along with the young guys.

So why are you doing this long process? I'm not being snide, I really want to know. Why?
b 12Oct Target Bench gun.JPG


Well-Known Member
None of us are interested in laboring through the process you describe, either. That's why clever people have made better liquid lubes. Ben's Liquid Lube is the best Ive used so far, it dries in five minutes (ten on a humid day), doesn't stink terribly, and one can lube 500 bullets in a few minutes. A full sheet pan inside a trash bag, set it in front of a window with a fan blowing on it, or put it outside for a few minutes in any weather other than rain, and done.

So, basically it's an expedient, mostly used for plain-based bullets. A few people use a liquid lube to seal in traditionally-lubed, gas-checked bullets, and report fewer problems with cold-bore flyers. A little lube on the nose seems to help things sometimes.


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Ian, please describe how you "lube 500 bullets in a few minutes"? I can't pick up and place 500 bullets on a pan in an hour! Please, I need a better description of what you are doing. Ric


Well-Known Member
For us, it's mostly plain base. In the 3030 for example. We have roughly 2k+ mixed brass. Wife, guest, & myself burn 300 @ 50m in one trip. The process is much less than you describe though.

Cast, tumble lube, load. No check no sizing, none of that. It's perfectly adequate for the purpose of bug holes @50m, but it took 10 seconds to lube 1000. Sometimes it's more about how little you can do to get the desired outcome.

In the x39 we really enjoy a higher volume. For blanket fire operations typically done about 20-40yd we run the Lee 155 w/ no check no sizing @14-1500. Not spray & pray, but lots of rounds in short order. Have to pull the bolt when done, but we can burn a 75rnd drum for less than 22lr price, just for fun. Might burn 6-700 when the ak starts barking.

If I did all those on our star....it wouldn't get done. About an hour per 1k best I do on that. So, for us, it's a means to an end for the required volume, distance, & needed accuracy.


Well-Known Member
I can't speak for Ian, but we put several hundred in a square tub, squirt in the lube, roll around, pour out, done just a few seconds.


Springfield, Oregon
I just put 100 or so in my Cool Whip tub, squirt in a small amount of BLL, swirl around for a few seconds, dump onto wax paper in front of a fan to dry. Easy enough.


St Lawrence river valley, NY
In my case it's a matter of easing things up a little. I have stubby blunt finger tips and I've lost sensation to a degree in a couple fingers (my trigger finger of all things!) and I have arthritis. 30 cal bullets and checks are bad enough. 25's are a royal pain. 22's almost require tweezers. Putting the bullet and check in the sizer can get, well, not difficult, but something approaching it. I've been using push through sizers quite happily for 15 or so years for a lot of stuff. When one of my PB designs every works out in a gun it's all the better. That's why I like to use it in appropriate cartridges. But I also have 3 lubrisizers that aren't going anywhere. Looking around at those type lubes, I see stuff that likely better than the last of the 50/50 alox I'm still using.


Active Member
Ric, I do it because it's relatively fast*, convenient, and doesn't degrade accuracy. Even in the humid Hudson Valley, the TL'd CB's dry in 1 day and the waxed paper (on an old baking tray) is reused several times. That said, I rarely TL gas checked CB's or most CB's used in my rifles.

*compared to using a lube-sizer.


Active Member
I'm with Ric! Maybe it's just the smell of Alox 606-55 (LLA) It's an irritant to my 'air' system to say the least. Ian's on the right track lowering the % of it! I have really tried to incorporate liquid lube in my light grouse loads for convenience.... But extremely accurate (sub moa) loads always have the same results...... 80% to 90% are fine but there are fliers. Not off a lot; maybe you wouldn't see it in most loads...... But 'minute of grouse eye' on demand???




High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Okay, thank you ,guys. I'm seeing a pattern here that I didn't realize. It is "fast" as in you are not physically doing from beginning to end, but spend some time making it, a couple of minutes to apply and then storing them and cleaning up. But this may take place over a couple of days. The result, I think, are what were called "high quality plinkers" thirty years ago. Culling the obvious wrinkled ones out and shooting the rest.

And you shot a lot more than I do! For me fifty rifle rounds and fifty handgun rounds at the weekly range session is a big day. Then maybe fifty rounds for varmint and vermin control during the year. During the two weekend matches in a year, shooting two rifles, that will be 400 rounds in three days each match.

Thank you very much for your responses and insights!


Well-Known Member
Not days, minutes. 2-gallon plastic bucket does the trick. Haven't done that many at once in a while, though.

Process goes like this: Grab bucket, bullets, bottle of lube, and sheet pan. Put on nitrile gloves. Unfold used trash bag and slip over pan, put pan on flat surface outside
Pour bullets into bucket, squirt a few drops of lube, swish for about 30 seconds, stir by hand in figure-eights a few times, pour out bullets onto sheet and spread out to one bullet deep with same hand as used to stir. Put lid on bucket, discard gloves, put away bucket and lube bottle. Go do something else for a while. When dry, pull the sheet pan out of the trash bag, draw the corners of the bag to roll the bullets free, then pour them i to a container of some sort. Fold up the bag, store the bullets, a d tray, done.
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Active Member
A C.O.R.E story........ I have a RCBS mold for the 25-85-FN cowboy. I reamed the lube grooves out in the past for paper patching this bullet...

I had a stubborn Marlin Model 1894CL .25-20 that didn't shoot all that great.... On a whim I sized some of the above bullets and tumble lubed them with 45-45-10 I had. I think the load was 9grs of 1680.... I buffered them with granulated buffer...... VERY ACCURATE!!!!! Best load in that Marlin period!

It was the second time granulated buffer had settled C.O.R.E. down like a purring cat........

I intentionally did NOT read the other replies this time just to assure objectivity. Someone else may burst one of my little bubbles and I am not prepared to face it just this moment if what I'm doing isn't right.

Why I do it:
The liquid lubes work for my shooting and work very well - no compromises;
I'm actually shooting better groups with less effort;
My bores stay cleaner longer; (have never HAD to clean one, but I have out of curiosity)
Liquid lubes don't get too hard in the winter or too soft in the summer (on a bullet or in the sizer);
I never have gooey bullets;
The entire surface of my bullets are protected from the adverse effects of the adverse climate where I store them;
They suit the batch processing methods that I have to use because of many other household/work obligations and very little free time;
It's incredibly cheap;
It's incredibly easy;
It's incredibly time efficient;
I can store bulk bullets all jumbled in a can;
The equipment required consists of a quart zip-lock freezer bag;
The materials are easy to source, cheap and uncomplicated;
My revolvers are cleaner when I finish shooting, which is not a huge deal, but worthy of note;
I don't have to worry about lube sticks melting/deforming while in storage;
The materials/"equipment" requires very little storage space;
I like the smell - sort of like crayons;
I HATE using my antique Lyman lubricator/sizer and the monotony and tedium involved drives me buggy. I don't get in a hurry but I have to be extremely time-efficient in everything I do or I'll be behind for a month.

There's probably more, but in all the years I've cast, I've never considered it to be too much a bother to lube/size conventionally for any shooting BUT the 45 ACP. I shot enough of that that I bought commercially cast bullets in order to keep up. Eventually, I figured out what to do with that "free" bottle of "ick" that came with LEE sizer dies - coat the commercial cast bullets with it - fistfuls of them at a time, and they didn't lead any more. I used straight LLA and that had its many disadvantages. Once I got my head out of my butt and learned to thin LLA, I started trying it on other stuff and it worked so well that I have almost completely given up on my old Lyman sizer.

I don't shoot competitively and I have adapted to numerous conditions some would consider a compromise or limitation. When I need to keep varmints and predators at bay, I have everything I need. If I were to need to subsistence-hunt, I have all I could ask for. For personal protection, whatever "coyote load" I have chambered will do just fine. 99% of my limited shooting these days is goofing off, and this lube method suits that just as well as anything. I'm not giving up much as far as I can see, but I haven't gotten to run my new battery through its paces at 100 and 200 yards and I'm not yet pushing anything over 2k fps.

Liquid lubes have become a panacea to me personally, but I realize they won't suit all of everyone's applications and I do still drag out the Lyman 45 once in a while just to see if the old "NRA Formula" in it will do something my liquid lubes won't. So far - not - at least not for what I am doing. I will still probably eventually mix up some Ben's Red though. Have to keep an open mind and keep options open - as long as they're cheap and easy options.

Really, what I'm doing is simply creating a challenging situation for myself, and that's what we all do if we care to admit it. Otherwise, we'd shoot nothing but match grade ammo in $3,000 custom rifles under the best of conditions. Even then, we'd be still challenging ourselves - our physical and mental ability to "keep up" with the "perfect" materials and equipment.

Wha.... waaaait a minute. How'd I get up here on this soap-box?:)
Thank you Jeff. We may all loving shooting, but our lives are certainly different from each other.
I get that and that's why the long disclaimer.

I don't want anyone to think I'm sloppy in my casting, loading and shooting either though. I never just shoot to make noise and kick up dirt. "Cheap and easy" is only OK if I can reliably hit what I'm shooting at.

35 shooter

Well-Known Member
Ben’s Liquid Lube gives me the same tight groups as His Ben’s Red, and with the same loads, plus I get the hard dry finish with the liquid lube.
Quick and easy to make and apply...i’m hooked on it.
No problems pushing for speed with it either.


Well-Known Member
i found it odd to use a wax coating at first also, but then it become a convenience of not having to size some stuff.
now it is kind of a slow-down for a few things like my 45-70 where I lube size and check in the star and then touch up the lube again.
but so is putting on powder coat and cooking them and then running them through a star lube size machine.

sometimes we just do stuff because it works, is fast and easy, or it's what is necessary to make things work in our guns.
tumble lubing is actually very quick in both the application and the dry time once you figure things out.
As far as what Fiver says; "what is necessary to make things work in our guns," this is fully as important to me as "fast and easy."

Only for the sake of putting what I share into context:

I've also limited myself to a small but versatile selection of powders, have consolidated die and mould options and shoot small, lightweight, highly portable guns with relatively low magnification or "iron" sights. These guns are hard to shoot well, so I've surrounded myself with numerous challenges. I don't "plink" or "blast." These are my serious subsistence or "survival" arms which just also happen to be fun to shoot, but they have to shoot well.

My guns may or may not be capable of shooting ten ten-shot groups all day nearly as well as they shoot three to five-shot groups on demand, but I know that I am not capable of that. My neck starts to hurt, my eyes get fatigued and my brain gets bored and gives up micro-seconds before the sear releases. I can't tell someone that liquid lubes will win matches but I can tell them that I can shoot several ho-hum groups which indicate the potential of the gun and load and then hunker down and get really serious and shoot one impressive group - not by chance, and not one in the middle of a string of groups, but when I make up my mind to and really focus on it.

That information may be useless to competitors, but even that makes it useful in deciding what to disregard if it doesn't fit their uses.

I like the overall diversity here and appreciate that I haven't been drummed out for not doing everything the way everyone else does. Ric made a good point about our lives being very different. There are a lo of things we do in common, but the nuances make things interesting and keep us on the watch for new ideas.


Well-Known Member
and appreciate that I haven't been drummed out for not doing everything the way everyone else does.
Yeah.....we don't do that here. Most of us have our own ways and are extremely passionate about them, but also recognize that we're all different and what works for one person (or one gun) doesn't necessarily work for another. We support diversity because with open minds, we can all benefit from it.