Alox/beeswax bullet lube – what is it ?

Posted by on November 1, 2011

50/50 Alox/beeswax has been the standard bullet lube since the nineteen sixties.    Except, that is, for the increasing use by commercial casters in the last few years of hard wax because it is cleaner and less messy in packaging.

It was developed by Col E H Harrison and his team at the NRA.    Before that, all sorts of concoctions had been used, some more effective than others.   Col Harrison decided that it was high time that something better was developed, that would work well even with cast rifle bullets.    It was a long and thorough search, well documented in his book “Cast Bullets” published by the NRA in 1979.

Success did not come easily.   It was not difficult to find products which prevented or minimised leading, but there was wide variance in accuracy.   It may seem strange that the type of lube should affect accuracy, but it does.   So the quest was for a lube that would prevent leading and also permit fine accuracy with rifle bullets.   Eventually, a particular type of grease made by Alox Corporation showed promise.   But the NRA, not satified with “almost good enough” pressed for further development.   The result was Alox 2138F, which is a thick grease.   

It was found to work best, across the board, when mixed 50/50 with commercial yellow beeswax.   The beeswax is the carrier, and the alox the lubricant.    It quickly became the standard, and is still the best lube for individual use, in my opinion.    But a few years ago, I forget exactly when, Alox Corp was bought out by Lubrizol Corp, and 2138F was discontinued.

It can be duplicated.   97% Alox 350 mixed with 3% Petrolite C-700 microcrystalline wax = Alox 2138F.    Alox 350 is still made, and Petrolite C-700 is made by Baker Hughes Corp.   It is not mixed by simply adding 3% C-700 to 97% Alox.   First mix 7% Alox with the 3% C-700, ie mix 10% of the total as a 70/30 mix.    Then mix that with the other 90% Alox.

There is some difference  of opinion about the exact mix.    One formula recommends 5% C-700.    It is not critical. 

Presumably that is how Lee and others mix their lube.   If not, I don’t what it is that they market as Alox/beeswax. 

When I bought 2138F, the smallest quantity was a 16kg drum.   That’s over one million bullets, so it’s a lot for one man to buy.   But it’s a very practical proposition for four or five guys to share.   A lifetime supply, and very cheap lubing.


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