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 Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore

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Male Number of posts : 16313
Age : 35
Location : Boncarbo,Colorado
Registration date : 2008-05-19

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PostSubject: Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore   Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore EmptyMarch 17th 2016, 12:02 am

Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore 31428010
I just wanted to copy and paste it because it may be gone one day. This is something good to always keep on hand for those that ever come by asking about it.

I have worked for several years on lubricants for muzzle loading rifles
and just recieved this from a good friend of mine and he asked me to
comment on it and provide my input---he has used my lubricant for
competative shooting and will not use anything else to shoot and to clean
with--i thought it would be a good subject to start a good discussion
about---and the pro's and con's of the different type of lubricants and
what is the majority of the peoples preference in a lubricant.

 I know we
have had some discussion in the past so this may add to the base of
knowledge---it was real interesting to me and brought out some
interesting points---my personal feeling is there is a difference in
patch lubricants depending on hunting and target shooting---yet you must
have one you can do both with and not have to rezero your gun for eather
type of shooting---have tried everything including the web terry teflon
ticking and each has its place in different types of shooting and

please feel free to provide me your input even offline if you wish--again
thanks for your future input--no flame wars only positative discussion
and what you feel is a good and proper patch lubricant and why---note i
am not hammering on the products mentioned only trying to establish a
good base line for proper patch lubricants--

Subject: Re: lube

I tried the Wonder 1000 theory, and I'd love to see someone
actually do that. I've watched 5 different guys try it, and the record
is 8
shots, same as I got. Of course, another way to look at it is: on any
given day that I am hunting deer with it and I get off 10 shots and
don't have a deer to show for it, I probably ought to go home and give
some serious consideration to what I am doing wrong.


You have no idea how much humor has come out of Ox-Yoke's claims on the
1000 Shot Plus lube. To the point where some of us now call them
Ox-Joke. With any of my three BP rifles "an historic feat" is getting the
4th ball down the bore without resorting to a bigger hammer.
I'll run you through the full story since the snow has started to fall.
Lets go back to the early 1980's.

A shooter/buckskinner by the name of Young, living in California, went
to the range one day and forgot his patch lube. In utter desperation he
whips out a tube of Chap-Stick and smears it on a few patches. Lo &
Behold it worked better than the lube he had been using. Several of his
buddies tried his idea and reported it worked well.

So Young then tracked down the source of Chap- Stick which is a common lip balm
formulation that has been floating around since the late 19th century.
Chap-Stick is petrolatum (petroleum jelly) with 5% cetyl alcohol and
water. The cetyl alcohol acting as the emulsifyer. With the cetyl
alcohol the water forms minute beads within the petrolatum. Without the
cetyl alcohol you can't get the water to mix in any way with the
petrolatum. Huge quantities of cetyl alcohol are used in the production
of PVC emulsion resins used in kitchen flooring. (My old job was as an

Tech. on these resins.) The petrolatum is the moisture barrier and
carrier for a topical agent used to soothe chapped lips. The water
emulsified into the petrolatum reduces the drag of the "stick" when you
apply it to your lips and acts as the moisturizing agent. Young then
finds a place to buy Chap-Stick in bulk and packages it as Young Country
Arms 103 Lube.

That his lube and Chap->Stick are identical in every
respect, right down to the color, suggested he simply bought from the
makers of Chap-Stick in bulk quantities. Now Ted Bottomly had started
Ox-Yoke and made pre-cut patches and packs of patch cloth. He wanted a
patch lube to round out his line. He bought the first Ox-Yoke lube from
Young. When I first saw them I was at the late C.P. Wood's house in West
Virginia. Woody was looking at a 4 ounce container of Young Country 103
and a 3 ounce container of Ox-Yoke's patch lube.

Both were identical in every respect, including color. You paid the same
price for 3 ounces of Ox-Yoke's lube as you paid for 4 ounces of Young's
lube. The logical conclusion would be that Ox-Yoke was buying from Young
and the missing ounce was Ox-Yoke's profit on the deal.

Both were advertising their respective lubes in the magazines. Young
advertised that you could fire a hundred rounds without wiping the bore
with his lube. Three months later, Ox-Yoke would advertise that when you
used their lube you could fire 200 rounds without wiping the bore. The 3
month lag time in the mags being the lag time in getting adds scheduled.
This went on, each one upping the ante, so to speak.
Those of us connected with the Buckskin Report discussed this in letters
and thought it a great joke.

The others in the field at that time were Hodgdon with their "Spit-Patch"
which was nothing more than beeswax emulsified in water with a soap.
Then there was T/C Maxi-Lube which was nothing more than the same
petroleum grease they used to grease the bearings in their machines.
Blue and Grey products was selling an automotive wheel bearing grease
that had been pigmented, not dyed, blue. I receieved several letters from
Doc Carlson. He was seeing BP muzzleloaders come into his shop with
balls or slugs stuck in the bore just ahead of the powder charge. You
could not pull these projectiles by any normal method.

He would have to remove the breech plugs, pull the charge and beat them
out of the bore, toward the muzzle with a heavy rod and a hammer. He
described the presence of a black tar-like film in the bore where the
projectiles had been frozen in place. The common thread in this being
that the shooter had used one of the "petroleum-based" lubes. I had to
explain to Doc that the petroleum greases were nothing more than
petroleum lubricating oils that had been "bodied" by the addition of
metallic soaps such as calcium or cadmium stearate. With a petroleum
lubricating oil, or grease, anytime you heat them to a high temperature
in the presence of sulfur you get asphalt. The way asphalts were
produced was to take crude oil and sulfur in an autoclave.

Heat the
mixture to 600 degrees for about 8 hours
and you had road tar. Which is about what was happening in the gun.
Since the repackaged Chap-Stick was a petroleum wax it did not form
asphalt with sulfur and high temperatures. I then wrote an article for
the Backwoodsman magazine and compared the behavior of the two Chap-Stick
lubes to the behavior of sperm whale oil when it had been used in black
powder guns.

Well, Old Ted Bottomly jumped right onto that one. three months later
he starts advertising that his lube is "all-natural, non-petroleum" and
authentic, using what our ancesters had used. At that point I figured
his parents were to Christian to call him asshole so they settled for
Bottomly. By about 1984, Bottomly and Young had a falling out over
pricing. The one ounce shy thing with Ox-Yoke pushed most of the
customers to Young's lube. Same thing, same price but more of it with
Young Country 103. And by this time we were up to 800 rounds between
swabbings. Technology marches on. Bottomy came out with his first Wonder
Lube. Years of research went into this lube, or so he claimed. Now at
this time Ox-Yoke was located in West Suffield, CT.

 A short time later I
was searching the drugstore shelves looking for petrolatum-based skin
care products or salves that I coulde repackage and become a millionaire
. I spotted this tube of something
called "Mineral Ice". Menthol in petrolatum. Made by a Dermatone
Laboratories located in Suffield, CT. Out comes the map. just by a
mere coincidence both companies were located just across the river from
each other.

This of course raised doubts as to the "years of research"
comments out of Bottomly. The new Wonder Lube went into the lab. Proved
to be mineral oil, paraffin wax, a yellow dye and oil of wintergreen. A
book at work on fats, waxes and oils nailed this one down to a common
chest rub preparation for those with head colds who could not tolerate
camphorated oil. Again it was billed as "all-natural and non-petroleum".
Never mind that paraffin wax comes from paraffinic crude oils and mineral
oil comes from napthenic crude oils, the yellow dye and the oil of
wintergreen should convince anybody that it is all-natural and
non-petroleum. Given the wax and oil, I simply refer to this type of lube
as a remanufactured vaseline. With the yellow dye the rubes will swear
it is beeswax.

One thing about con artists is that they are never content to leave a
con artest for any length of time. In 1990, Bottomly comes out with a
new version called 1000 Shot Plus lube. High-technology now made
possible a lube that eliminated fouling, eliminated the need to clean and
would totally stop bore corrosion. Bottomly searched the world for this
modern technology and found it in Germany after years of searching.

advance in this lube was made possible by this
secret micronizing agent. It gave the lube a micron particle size that
made all of this advancement possible. At that point his chest thumping
ego trip gave away the formula. This secret micronizing agent is no real
secret and has been around for over 100 years. It is nothing more than a
fossil wax mined in Germany. The same time of wax used to be mined in
Utah as Utah Wax but the mine closed for lack of business.

Paraffin wax is a hard brittle wax that forms huge crystals. When you
look at a block of paraffin wax sold for food canning you see lines on
the surface of the blocks of wax. Those are the lines denoting crystal
size. It had been found that if you added this fossil wax to paraffin
wax it would reduce the size of these crystals, though nowhere near a
micron in size. Paraffin wax was limited in which skin care and salve
formulations it could be used in because of the macro-crystallinty of it.
This made it unsuited to preparations where hardness and brittleness
were objectionable. By using the fossiol wax addition the paraffin wax
could replace more expensive waxes in these products. But when you lay
this type of Techno-Nonsense on a bunch of ignorant rube BP shooters they
will beat a path to your door, wallet in hand.

Now, to get back to an historic feat of 3 shots without swabbing the
bore. The problem with this type of lube is that as long as the surface
temperature of the bore is above the melting point of the wax, about 40
to 45 C, the fouling deposited by the combustion of the powder will slide
off the metal when pressure is applied to it. When the surface
temperature of the bore is below the melting point of the wax it will act
as an adhesive and hold the fouling to the surface. The unburned
charcaol in the powder fouling will adsorb most of the mineral oil
present in the lube. This turns it into an oily sludge that simply
builds up in the breech with repeated loading of the gun. After a few
rounds are fired in a flinter you have the oily sludge being blown out of
the vent which then coats the flint and frizzen. Lubricated flints
strike no sparks.

Now for the real punch line. With the addition of the micronizing agent
they doubled the amount of dye used so the new lube was more orange in
color, compared to the lemon yellow of the previous version, and they
doubled the amount of oil of wintergreen. Convince the rubes that it is
now even more natural. During the past few years there has been much
bitching about the quality of Ox-Joke's pre-lubed patches. I have seen
packs in the store where the lube had turned hard and brown. The mineral
oil migrates out of the paraffin wax into the low density polyethlene
used in the bags. This makes the lube hard and brittle. It goes back to
paraffin wax properties. With these an historic feat is getting the
second ball down the barrel without wiping. Ox-Joke supplies T/C with
Bore Butter which is only a slight modification
of Ox-Joke's standard formula.

Remember the dbate about blowing down the barrel on the message boards.
My off line joke was that as long as you use the repackaged Chap-Stick as
a patch lube you would not get chapped lips from blowing down a cold

Then their was Uncle Mike's Apple Green patch lube. Another paraffin
wax/mineral oil lube with methylsalicin in it. Nothing more than a
repackaged arthritis salve. I can tell you that is was very effective on
a knee suffereing degenerative joint disease. So if you are going to go
out in those North Woods in winter weather to hunt the elusive whitetail
you ought to take all three lubes along. Prevent chapped lips, take care
of chest colds and arthritic joints from all of the hoofing through the
snow. No reason for you to return home in anything less than the best of
health in spite ot the weather. Might be a good idea to take along one of
the ascorbic acid-based powders since that is vitamin C. Then Goex's
sugar-based powder might make an emergency trail food.

I joke with Dixon that it is bad enough we have to deal with the ATF,
what next with these products, the Food and Drug Administration too???
Well, time to go sit out on the deck for a smoke and listen to the snow
flakes fall.

Last edited by FrontierGander on July 29th 2018, 10:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Number of posts : 3
Age : 64
Location : Oregon
Registration date : 2017-01-17

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PostSubject: Re: Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore   Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore EmptyApril 18th 2017, 4:44 pm

So - what do lube do you recommend for hunting? Target? Got a good simple home recipe? Thanks.
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Number of posts : 143
Age : 72
Location : Ohio
Registration date : 2017-07-17

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PostSubject: Re: Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore   Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore EmptyJuly 31st 2017, 5:48 am

@earlbz wrote:
So - what do lube do you recommend for hunting? Target? Got a good simple home recipe? Thanks.

Olive oil.

Put a bit of paper from a hornets nest twixt the patch
and powder.

That isn't a joke either.
Olive oil is what was called sweet oil back in the day.

I advise to use hornet nest material AFTER the hornets
are done with it.

Just a suggestion. If you don't understand why you have
no business owning a firearm.
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Number of posts : 143
Age : 72
Location : Ohio
Registration date : 2017-07-17

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PostSubject: Re: Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore   Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore EmptyJuly 31st 2017, 5:54 am

Just remembered an ol' recipe for universal black powder patch lube.

2 ounces mares sweat.
4 eyes of newt
1 large frog tongue
1 ounce bear fat rendered
1 ounce bees wax
10 ounces 105 proof vodka'
find all ingredients, drink vodka, then try and recall what you were going to do.

By they way.
I have 10 one pound blocks of bees wax but can't recall why.
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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

Male Number of posts : 3443
Age : 79
Location : UT
Registration date : 2015-10-20

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PostSubject: Re: Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore   Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore EmptyJuly 31st 2017, 6:54 am

@jeager106 wrote:
By they way.
I have 10 one pound blocks of bees wax but can't recall why.

Try 50 lbs. of bees wax. Cool  One of the gunsmith's from GRRW raises bees and sells the honey in several of the larger food chains in Utah, so wax is never an issue.

I use approximately 50-60 lbs. a year for a bees wax-buffalo tallow (lard). A mixture sold in small period tins used to seal pans on flintlocks, also used to seal barrels to stocks and inletting around the lock to wood area, used in bad weather like our forefathers did. I will put together 250-300 tins later this fall once it cools down. Have a few traders that move the bees wax-buffalo product for me every year at rendezvous and sold off their trade blankets at gun shows.

Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore Camp

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Male Number of posts : 16313
Age : 35
Location : Boncarbo,Colorado
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PostSubject: Re: Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore   Bore Butter & Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore EmptyJuly 29th 2018, 10:11 pm

Why We Don't Season Barrels Anymore

Paul H. Vallandigham

Periodically, some new shooter comes on the forum claiming that he needs to "SEASON" his barrel.

Today's modern barrels are made of STEEL, an alloy of iron and other metals, which produces a much harder metal. Muzzleloading barrels are made either of a soft alloy with lead in it to make it easy on the cutters (12L14), or harder steels, like 440 alloy steel, which withstands high pressures, but is harder on tool bits. They are not made of the iron that was used in the 18th century.

We don't season Steel, because its next to impossible to do (those pores in steel are filled with trace elements, so there is no room to allow oils or other substances to be burned into the pores), and its Not necessary for good accuracy, or to prevent rust. Simply running an oiled, or greased cleaning patch down the barrel AFTER seating a PRB on the powder charge, will protect the front portion of the bore from rusting.

Today, the most common IRON product to be found in a home is the Frying pan, or "Skillet" used to cook. Even those are becoming more rare- often only seen in camping equipment, rather than used in the home kitchen. Skillets are made of CAST IRON, which, unlike Wrought iron, have large PORES in the surface.

We SEASON cast iron skillets (but not steel, aluminum, or Teflon coated skillets) to fill the pores of the steel to prevent rusting (RUST adds a terrible taste to food), and to make a very smooth slick surface to use to cook certain foods, like Eggs.

To Season a Frying pan, or skillet, you first rub the surfaces of the skillet with shortening, or lard, or fat. Coat it liberally, so that you don't miss a spot. The place the greased skillet in an oven heated to 500 degrees!

Leave the skillet in the oven at that high temperature for at least an hour. Then turn off the oven. When the oven and the skillet cool to room temperature, inspect the skillet. If there are spots of plain steel showing, or if the entire surface of the skillet is Not Black and Smooth, and slick to the touch, repeat the process, until it becomes that smooth, black Greasy feeling surface (a dry grease- not gooey). With a properly seasoned frying pan/skillet, you can fry eggs on them, and the eggs won't stick to the pan.

In the 18th century, when barrels were forged from soft iron, the barrels were seasoned, often by the gunmaker. He would coat the rifling with a thick layer of fat, then heat the barrel up in his forge, and burn out the fat. What was left in the open pores of the iron bore was the "Seasoning", that prevented rusting inside the barrel.

I am sure that somewhere, in this country, someone is forging IRON barrels. The Possibility exists then, that a shooter could run into a modern made gun, made with a true Iron barrel. I can't imagine the cost of such a gun, considering the labor involved in making such a barrel using the old forging methods, and I would not fire such a gun, since there are cheaper, safer barreled guns available for shooting and hunting.

With Steel Barrels, any attempt at "seasoning" the barrel will only result in frustration, and in a clogged bore, that eventually looks like a smoothbore. The Grooves of the rifling fill up with charred residue, to the point that there appear to be NO more grooves.

This very thing has been observed these past 30 years, in Thompson/Center rifles, because that company's early loading manual spoke about just adding more "Wonderlube" to the barrel if a ball or bullet began to stick in the barrel because the barrel was not cleaned, or swabbed between shots. A lot of people, including members of this forum have made (and probably will continue to make) a lot of money buying up OLD T/C rifles, with the barrels "Shot out", for bottom prices. (The current T/C manual no longer carries that advice, I am told).

The gun barrels are taken out of the stocks, given a good soak for several days with soap and water, then scrubbed well with a bore brush to remove all the crud accumulated in the grooves of those barrels. It comes out in CHUNKS! Typically, when the barrels are CLEANED, they look as good as new, and shoot PRBs just fine. The guns are then sold for a nice profit.

[Plunge a piece of soft wire coat hanger, heated red hot, into a container of oil - any oil. The wire will come out with a smooth, Shiny Black coat on the surface, that is quite durable. It's the closest you can come with modern metals to see what a seasoned barrel WOULD look like].

Years ago, now, I offered to try to help a small local gunsmith, who had just opened up a New shop, get more business into his store, by getting the members of my local gun club to come out, on an Advertised Saturday, to offer to inspect and CLEAN and oil the guns of hunters intending to hunt in the up-coming seasons, for a nominal charge. He looked at me IN HORROR! He told me that if people actually cleaned, inspected, and oiled their guns, he would be OUT of BUSINESS!

He told me that a substantial part of his pre-hunting season business profit came from customers who brought their guns to him to be cleaned and oiled for the next season, having done nothing to them since the last one!

I was raised by a father who Insisted that our guns be cleaned as soon as we got home, and before we did anything else. He inspected our work, initially, and was as hard as any drill sergeant ever heard in Boot Camp.

I can't even imagine taking a dirty gun to a gunsmith, unless it was jammed, and I could not get the gun apart to clean it first. (That's not going to happen with any MLer I have). I would be embarrassed to take a dirty gun to my gunsmith. I obviously was raised in a different world.

If I had to give a truly SHORT answer to WHY we don't Season MLing barrels, It would be, that "we clean our steel barrels, so seasoning is never necessary (nor possible)". Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so goes the old Proverb. The context was different, but the wisdom is still sound.
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