Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Black Powder and Primitive Weapons

Wheel weight lead in trasitional muzzle loader


Jim H:
Does anyone here have any experience firing round balls cast from melted wheel weight lead? I have many, many pounds of this in my garage (cowboy shooting + I used to be an auto tech) and pure lead is expensive. The used rifle I bought has been cleared for shooting by a blackpowder friendly gunsmith and ready to take it to the range.

Also, how about bacon fat for lube?

I'm new at this, but it looks like fun.

I don't cast for my Muzzle loaders, but I have always read that you want pure or nearly pure lead for muzzleloaders. It makes no sense to me, at least with patched round balls. The patch is what engages the rifling. I have pulled balls and can't remember ever seeing a rifleing mark. The loading may be harder, but once the patched ball is started in the bore, I don't see where the lead mix would matter.

I wouldn't think twice about trying the ww alloy. If it seems a little hard, go get some roofing lead from a scrap yard to add to the mix.

While pure lead is best, lead alloys are usable.

I have fired many thousands of round ball loads using wheel weights with no ill effects to the firearms.  If the alloy is really hard the rifling will have a difficult time engraving the bore through the patch.  Keep the casting temp as low as possible and do not drop the wheel weight balls into water straight out of the mold blocks.

As for the parch lube;

Just about anything can be used for patch lube.  Bacon grease would work, so will bear grease,  lard, beef tallow or plain old spit.

I know target shooters that stand on the firing line chewing the next patch they will use to load their rifle.

I also know target shooters that use obscure formulas of lubricant combinations they apparently obtained from some Swahili witch doctor.  The names are legend; moose snot, lizard slobber,  mouse milk.

I never really noticed them shooting any better than another concoction. 

I have always considered Crisco or some other shortening as a reliable and cheap back up lube.  I even grabbed the can of Pam cooking spray off the kitchen stove, soaked my patches with it and had good results.

Jim H:
Thanks for the info, one more quick question:

Is there any materials that I should avoid for patches? I'm guessing I should avoid anything 100% synthetic, anything else?

Wheel weights are OK but may not be as accurate.

Don't use bacon grease as the salt really speeds up the rusting problems.

Cotton or linen work best.  Absolutely no synthetics.  The thickness of the cloth is important to make good contact with rifling.


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