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Thread: Idea for Pritchett minie lube

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    231

    Default Idea for Pritchett minie lube

    I know some professional shooters may think this is a joke but I was thinking about using STP for the bore lube for English Metford-Pritchett bullets since they have no lubrication grooves. One can of STP would last a long time and is much cheaper than Alox or Rooster Jacket and not as messy as a beeswax/lard mixture or similar homemade bullet lubes. Has this been done before?

    I realize that STP may be a petroelum base product ( I do not yet know the composition of STP ) and a petroleum base lube is a no-no, but that stuff really clings to anything it touches and wouild be ideal for the smooth sided Pritchett minies. I could put 50 gr. 3F gunpowder in the nylon quick charge tube (or Andy Smith's 58 cal. paper tubes), insert the Pritchett bullet nose first in the tube and then dip the base of the minie bullet in jar lid filled with 1/2" of STP (or just brush it on) then set the cartridges aside and let the excess drain away. Finally wrap a 3/4" strip of cigarette paper around the minie bullet, and stuff 1/4" of the cigarette paper patch in the base cavity of the bullet to keep the bullet clean. After the powder is down, seat the minie bullet and the cigarette paper patch. The small amount of STP that clings to the Pritchett minie would be perfect for bore lube, if STP did not cause other problems with the chemicals in gunpowder.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    New Madrid Missouri
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    I'm certainly no expert on live firing muskets but if the STP will cling to anything like you say, would it not cling to the bore and leave residue for powder, dust etc to stick to? Seems like that would make cleaning a real chore or perhaps shooting over time a real danger.
    Michael Comer

  3. #3
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    Bath, Maine
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    Comrade,

    Out of sheer curiosity, why not make proper English-pattern cartridges to begin with? If you are taking the trouble to produce or acquire the correct English projectile, does it not make sense to go whole hog and produce the proper cartridge?

    BTW, do you really plan on putting that bullet dipped into a chemical lubricant into your mouth while pouring the charge from the plastic tube?

    Respects,
    Tim Kindred
    Medical Mess

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Wheaton, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntdaw
    I'm certainly no expert on live firing muskets but if the STP will cling to anything like you say, would it not cling to the bore and leave residue for powder, dust etc to stick to? Seems like that would make cleaning a real chore or perhaps shooting over time a real danger.
    S T P! Is the Ra-cer's Edge!

    Andy Granatelli is rolling his eye's.....using his special Indy Turbine Engine oil additives in a flame producing rifle bore?

    Ouch. Are you guys nuts?

    Why not just use WD-40 in the bright yellow and blue spray can with the red nozzle? Convenient, a great lubricant.....nothing like propane for a clean burn.

    And NEVER use WD-40 around electrical currents.....red fire ball baby.....
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  5. #5

    Exclamation

    Hallo!

    Dr.Phil's Life Law #3: People do what works.




    Seriously, I would have to echo the question... why bother with creating a Period Correct "Enfield" round and then look to a modernism like STP?
    (A rhetorical question requiring no answer as we all have our differing Mental Pictures.)

    IMHO, and experiences in live-firing CW weaponry from revolvers to 3 Inch Ordnance Rifles...
    You may find that STP "sticking" may not be the problem. Some petroleum-based products combine highy unfavorably with the components of black powder and black powder residue. Some creating an indestructable tar like substance lads report is next to impossible to clean away.

    IMHO, since the "history" of the thing does not matter here, try STP and see if it works and you like it.

    Others' mileage, and need for other-than-period lubricants, will vary...

    Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Go ahead and try it. The four sweetest words in the English language are, "I told you so." This may be an opportunity to give someone a little pleasure in their life.

    In all seriousness: I believe you'll end up with a tough black coating in the bore that will need to be stripped out with harsh chemicals and bore paste.
    Yours, &c.,

    Guy N. 'Frenchie' LaFrance
    National Congress of Old West Shootists, Grand Army of the Frontier
    Vous pouvez voir par mes vÍtements que je ne suis pas un cowboy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    The "tar" like coating caused by a petroleum based lube when mixed black powder residue is my main concern. The usual water based black powder solvents such as DGW Black Solve concentrate will not likely remove it. Then you would have to use some sort of solvent such as Berryman's ChemTool that will damage the finish of the stock.

    I suppose that is why water based solvents and lubes have been used since spit was invented so they will not react with potsassium nitrate and sulfur and damage the wood finish. The old spray can of WD-40 gives a shooter a false sense of security because it looks real nice and is easy to apply but after a few days it evaporates and rust takes it's place. I learned that when trying to preserve fresh automobile crankshafts.

    Casting your own minies is not cost effective, dangerous to your health and is troublesome. Since I can purchase 50 swaged Pritchett bullets for $20.50, I would not even consider going to all the trouble and buying the equipment, finding the correct lead, breathing lead fumes, and making my wife hate me by casting the bullets myself.

    I reason want to use the Metford-Pritchett minie bullet is not necessarily because it is a authentic British "Confederate Enfield" minie bullet but because it has better ballistics than the other minies. That is mainly because the thin skirt at the bottom of the Springfield type 3-groove minies can blow off when it leaves the muzzle and destroys the trajectory, especially if you use more than a 55 gr. load of 3F or more than a 60 gr. load of 2F powder. The lower groove on the Springfield type minie gives the skirt a place to break. Lyman 577611 (.577" dia. / 611 gr.) minie bullets for a .58 cal. rifle solved that problem for the shooter that uses heavy gunpowder loads for hunting. You must use heavier loads with the Lyman 577611 minie bullet because it is heavier. Lyman made their 577611 minie bullet with a smaller cavity thus a thicker skirt with relatively shallow grooves. However, the .577" minie compared to the .575" minie is a tighter fit in the bore and is slower to load. Speed of loading is of no cerncern for hunting with a muzzle loading rifle because you will not usually get a second shot anyway. The smooth sides of the .575" Pritchett minie bullet with marginal lubrication is the cause of my concern. I heard one experienced shooter at the range say..."live fire shooters over-lubricate" because of concern of lead fouling their expensive rifle bores. (More's Law: If some is good - More is better)

    Historically, in 1852, the British arms makers experimented with Pritchett minies with looser fits for faster loading and used wooden or steel plugs in the cavity to help expand the skirt into the rifling. The British armorers found that the plugs were unnecessary and swaged the Pritchett bullets to .575" diameter for the .58 cal. Enfield rifles and the Pritchett minie bullets became known as "Enfield bullets" and were shipped to Southern ports with the rifles. Lube was still necessary so the English Pritchett minie was lubed by wrapping the base with a saturated paper patch and installed the minie bullet point first in the paper cartridge tube. To load the minie, the cartridge tube is bitten off in the usual manner, powder poured in the muzzle, the cartridge tube is inverted, the bullet is thumbed in the muzzle, the empty paper tube ripped off and minie bullet ramed home with the lubed paper patch.

    After shooting a few rounds, I used a saturated cotton swab to apply liquid Alox bullet lube to the skirt of the Pritchett minie bullet after it is loaded point down in a .58 cal. nylon quick-load tube (or Andy Smith Savannah Arsenal paper cartridge roll). I used Alox because that lube clings to the smooth Pritchett minie bullet similar to STP. That product requires 24 hours to dry to a light varnish like coating and it is water soluable.

    Thanks for the input and I agree with the conclusions. I will ignore "More's Law" and not take a chance on a petroleum based product like STP.
    Last edited by 1stTexas; 07-15-2007 at 10:17 AM.

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