Care, Cleaning & Sportsmanship
Help a Junior Shooter - Please make a generous Donation to the Camp Perry Retired Marines!
The first half of this book was written over a year ago. It was supposed to be ready for Camp Perry in Aug. 1997; I'm so glad it wasn't. In the past month and a half, I've learned so much that makes the old methods of care and cleaning obsolete*.
*Special note; during the editing process, Charlie took exception to a few of my comments and thought they needed expanding upon. Charlie says, "Doesn't make other methods obsolete - not everyone is using or will use moly. Use of moly will determine cleaning method needed, much the same as the different barrels and loads will affect cleaning methods and materials. These other methods aren't old and are needed to correctly care for equipment which is being used with industry standard match projectiles and conventional bore surfaces."
My Learning Process
I think the best way to approach this is to give it to you in a sort of chronological order as I have learned it.
Over the past year or so I kept hearing these words, like whispers on the wind; Moly, Moly Coating, Molyed Bullets, Moly, Moly, Moly, Moly.
I saw my first Moly coated bullet at Camp Perry. Thomas Whittaker had just won the National Championships. The next day, I was two targets down from him during the team match. The bullets were a purplish color and very shiny. So then I knew what they looked like, but that was all.
At Camp Perry I was introduced to Dave Emary, Chief Ballistics Scientist at Hornady Bullets® . Dave told me some interesting things about Moly coated bullets and what they can do for you. I will be referring back to our conversation because as you learn the wonderful properties of Moly coating from other credible sources, Dave's experiences gain a great deal of credibility, but more importantly, become additional confirmation.
At Camp Perry I interviewed 6 National Champions, asking them how they cleaned their barrels. Naturally, I got six different answers. The first half of David Tubbs answer opened my eyes (The full answer will be given later). "You know I Moly? I do not have to clean my barrel for 150 to 200 rounds" (Without a loss of accuracy).
That was almost identical to what Dave Emary had told me a few days before. "You can go through a match like Camp Perry without cleaning the bore or with just a very light cleaning." (Over-cleaning has a negative effect).
Walt Berger from BERGER BULLETS® told me: "Bench rest shooters normally clean the bore after every seven or eight rounds. With the Moly coated rounds, I'm cleaning after every eighty or one hundred rounds with no loss of accuracy, and you know how important accuracy is to us."
Dave does not recommend this for everyone, but he has tested up to 250 rounds without cleaning the bore, with no loss of accuracy. There is an unconfirmed story of one shooter firing up to 1,000 rounds of Moly coated bullets without cleaning the bore and with no loss of accuracy. Later I will show you WHY this can occur.
In the past I've learned that the advocates of Moly coating are claiming five wonderful things: 1) Longer barrel life, 2) Improved accuracy, 3) First shot accuracy, no fouling shots, 4) Longer times between cleaning with no loss of accuracy and 5) Cleaning of the bore is by far faster and easier.
Anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. NOW, I'M INTERESTED and I want to learn and find out, ARE THESE CLAIMS TRUE? I have heard people say "Don't say that (1-2-3-4 or 5). That hasn't been proven yet!"
As far as I'm concerned ALL FIVE CLAIMS ARE TRUE. I will attempt to share the best proof I have. I think we covered number four already. I'm not about to argue with David Tubb, Walt Berger and Hornady Ballistics Lab.
Let's take the remaining four claims: 1) Longer Barrel Life. Dave Emary from Hornady says he does not believe the claims of 2 to 3 times longer barrel life. He thinks it's maybe 25 - 30%. In my book 25% is a significant amount, and well worth the effort to moly.
Now let's look at the other end of that stick. Uncle Bob works for a large gun manufacturer and he says in their test with molyed bullets they are getting (with some barrels) 2 - 3 times less throat erosion. He says this is caliber dependent. The .223 caliber is by far the best, the .30 caliber barrels have a significant increase and the belted magnums have a slight increase in barrel life. The test showed the best results came from cryo treated, high quality barrels.
Locally, Dave Hickey is our resident expert on the AR-15 and he keeps excellent records. He says that during the 1992 shooting season, before he molyed his bullets, he was firing 52 gr. bullets at 200 yards, 69 gr. at 300 yards and 80 gr. at 600 yards. Over a period of 3357 rounds he was getting about 61 rounds per one thousandth of an inch throat erosion.
In 1997, using molyed bullets, he started with a new barrel; same type, same caliber, same chamber, same barrel maker, same gunsmith and same powder (ww 748). He used only 69 gr. bullets for 2 & 3 hundred yards and 80 gr. for 600 yards. In 1,031 rounds, he was getting about 208 rounds per one thousandth of an inch throat erosion. 208 divided by 61 is 3.4. OK, you decide: 25% on the small end or 3.4 times less throat erosion on the high side. In either case, I think it is worth the time and effort.
Now let's talk about claim number 2): Improved Accuracy. Back to the conversation with Dave Emary in the pits at Camp Perry. He said, "You will notice your groups will be more round, with fewer fliers and possibly tighter." (Note, you have to do your job for the molyed bullets to do their job. Throwing your shoulder into the rifle, mis-aligning the sights or jerking the trigger will not help).
Boots Obermeyer has a 6.5 mm barrel with about 4,500 rounds on it. He started to shoot molyed bullets, and won a 4-gun 600 match at Eau Claire, Wisconsin this summer with a score of 798 out of the possible 800. Big Deal, he'd done that plenty of times. BUT, his X count this time was 63 X's. He says his groups are rounder and smaller.
I just started shooting the Hornady 75 gr. A-Max® bullets, molyed. I shot a 4-gun 600 match. The first two strings were with Iron Sights and I had a lot of elevation problems. The third string was with the scope and I had a 200-9X. Big Deal, BUT, I noticed in my data book, all the shots outside the X ring were JUST out. If the X ring had been another inch to an inch and a half, I would have had a 200 with 17 X's. I know, if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his butt everytime he jumped.
A couple of our Expert-class shooters have found their accuracy is better with the molyed bullets. They are getting 200's at 600 yards and 100 with 5 X's at 300 rapid. They are happy.
Point 3): First shot accuracy, no fouling shots. Grant Ubl is on the Wisconsin Eagle Team (They won the Civilian Combat Infantry Trophy Match at Camp Perry in 1995 and 1996, missed 1997 by a few points and won again in 1998). He is also high in the running for the 1998 U.S. Palma Team. In other words, a damn good long range shooter.
Grant has been shooting Molyed bullets for over a year now and he wanted to see how his first shot accuracy was at long range. He just finished a Palma Match and had about sixty rounds down the bore. He used his cleaning method (covered later) and the next day fired a Thousand Yard Match. His first shot was right where he finished the day before, just above the X-ring. His second shot was right through the spotter and the next three shots were in the same spot.
Police (SWAT Teams) MUST have the first shot right on the money; they don't get sighting or fouling shots. They call it their "Cold Bore Zero." I believe that eventually the Police will be using the Molyed bullets for this point alone.
George Lainhart is a SWAT/Sniper Instructor on the City of College Park Police Department in College Park, Ga. He says with the Molyed bullets his "Cold Bore Zero" is on each and every time. He says that Bert Medina, the Chief Firearms Instructor for the U.S. Customs Agency, is using Moly coated bullets. George says that Norma and Blackhills Ammunition Companies are producing Moly bullets for the Police. If you are a Police officer and would like a fellow officer's views, give George a call at 770-964-7028.
We have already covered point 4): Longer times between cleaning with no loss of accuracy. So let's move on to point 5): Cleaning of the bore is far faster and easier. That is the point of this book and it will be covered as we go along, and after learning some fundamentals.
The next large step in my education came in the fall of 1997 when I saw an ad in Shooting Sports USA for a product called Ms. Moly® , Ballistic Conditioner, an aerosol spray Moly (1-800-264-4140, for technical support or questions call 414-763-8687). I noticed the company was in Burlington, Wisconsin about a forty-five minute drive from me, so I called and talked to Dave Brown, the man in charge. Dave invited me down and gave me a complete run through on both Moly in general and his product in particular.
I didn't know Dave Brown, so I was skeptical. He had two things in his favor. The first and most important thing he had going was a booklet from Dow Corning® called "Illustrated Mechanism of Molybdenum Disulfide Lubrication." This is a series of pictures taken under an electron microscope. The second thing he had going for him was the fact that he demonstrated his product and it did what he said it would. Both convinced me that molying both the bullet and the bore is absolutely the way to go. His product has a better way to do this (in some respects) than powered moly.
Before we get started lets get a few things straight. We are talking about Molybdenum Disulfide. I'm not typing THAT 18,000 times, so I will only say "Moly." The same goes for MoS2, the abbreviation for Molybdenum Disulfide, again because of the trouble I would have to go through each time with the small 2, I will just call it "Moly."
Keep in mind Dow Corning will be mentioning lubricants, pastes, oils, greases, and bonded coatings. Moly has been adapted for shooting without the need of other elements.
Space prevents me from running their entire book and the second half is so technical most of us wouldn't understand it. Dow Corning sent me a photocopy since the original book is out of print. I reduced the pictures to fit here. They will give you an understanding of how "Moly" works. After the pictures, I talk about how this applies to a barrel and bullets.
The opening page states in part:
"The problems of friction and lubrication are mainly surface problems and the scanning electron microscope is an excellent tool for studying the surfaces of solids. 'Moly,' a solid and a lubricant, is an ideal subject for study. The features of scanning electron microscope that make it so ideal studying the mechanism of lubrication of 'Moly' are:
1. Magnification up to 20,000X.
2. Direct examination of the surface without pre treatment, which might ruin important information.
3. Depth of focus that gives three dimensional information in single pictures.
These advantages are particularly useful in studying the mechanism of 'Moly.' The following sequence of pictures tells its own story with the help of only a few words of explanation."
"These rough surfaces become very smooth after application of a solid lubricant. A 'Moly'-film starts to cover the asperities (roughness) of the metallic surface. (Magnification 1300X)"
"THE FOLLOWING SERIES OF 8 PICTURES SHOWS THE LUBRICATION PROCESS OF MOLYBDENUM DISULFIDE FROM A LOOSE POWDER TO A STRONGLY ADHERING SMOOTH FILM ON A METAL SURFACE;
'Moly' powder consists of conglomerates (clusters) of many small flakes which give the grains the appearance of a round shape. (My comments: Notice the two in the center standing on end, they look like a couple of almonds. If you look close they are in layers, much like a sheet of plywood.)"
"If 'Moly'- powder is sprinkled on a metal plate, not all of the powder grains are orientated parallel to the metal surface because they are not flat in shape."
"However, when a steel ball slides over 'Moly' - powder sprinkled on a steel plate, the single aggregates are flattened and adhere very strongly to the metal surface."
"A higher magnification shows that the mechanical stress induced by the ball has produced flat planes from the round grains."
"At still higher magnification, it is seen that the lamella (thin plate) layers of 'Moly' single crystals are pushed apart by the mechanical stress of the steel ball. Easy sliding of layers and adhesion provide 'Moly' with excellent film forming properties. (My comments: The 'Moly' shingles out in this process. It's much like taking a deck of cards on a table and applying pressure with your hand. If you push the cards to the far side of the table, the cards will shingle, one overlapping the other. Look closely at the flattened particle in the center (shaped like an arrow head), and you can see this shingling effect.)"
"The result of the sliding action of the ball after several passes over the same area is to cause the 'Moly' platelets to spread out and cover more of the steel surface. When a smooth 'Moly' - film is formed on the metal surface, no more sliding of 'Moly' - layers is observed. This thin coating protects the metal surfaces from wear and provides them with a smooth solid lubricant film."
"A cross - section of the 'Moly' - coated metal surface is shown next. A thin, solid 'Moly' film (a) of 2 microns thickness adheres to the surface and prevents metal to metal contact, thus reducing friction and wear." (My comments: Notice the shingled "Moly" has formed a bridge from one high point to the next, not filling in the low spots).
"A single asperity of a sandblasted metal surface was plastically deformed underneath the 'Moly' - film. As the surface roughness is reduced, the area of contact beneath the 'Moly' film is increased. Therefore, the load is distributed over a larger area . . . No Seizure . . . No abrasive wear."
"THE FOLLOWING THREE PICTURES DEMONSTRATE THE APPLICATION OF MOLYDENUM DISULFIDE IN METAL FORMING."
"A metal surface after deep drawing is shown. The lubricant is mineral oil. Many cracks have damaged the surface as the photomicrograph indicates."
"Application of a 'Moly'- containing lubricant creates a solid lubricant film covering the surface."
"After deep drawing, the 'Moly' was removed. There are no cracks and no damage. The small slip bands demonstrate free metal flow during operation. No metal to metal contact occurred." (My comments: That no man's land called the throat can be covered and conditioned so there is no metal to metal contact.)
There is one section in the rest of the book that shows and explains that the "Moly" film makes a hardened zone three times harder than the metal itself.
The excellent lubricating properties of 'Moly' are due:
(My comments: In other parts of the book that I could not get to because of space limits, they showed that the "Moly film only builds to a certain thickness and does not grow any thicker. Dave Brown said "Moly either burnishes into the metal or it goes out the bore, it does not accumulate and it does not foul.")
My Comments: If you "Moly" coat your barrel and bullets, you will no longer have metal to metal contact. There will be no high spots to tear copper jackets from the bullets. The copper fouling is greatly reduced and cleaning the barrel is extremely easy.
After Dave Brown showed me the Dow Corning book and the pictures under the electron microscope, he said a few things that made sense. "When people moly coat their bullets with powder, then they have to transfer that moly to the bore by firing twenty rounds or so (after completely cleaning out all of the old copper and carbon fouling)."
Dave continued "As you fire the first of those twenty rounds, moly is deposited on the bore just ahead of the throat by an inch or so, then the next round deposits another inch or so down the barrel. The heat and pressure shingles the moly and forms the bridge across the high points of the metal." Photo in fig. 21.
He asked, "What happens in front of the area that has been molyed as the bullet travels down the bore?" I replied, "You are depositing copper and carbon fouling ahead of each molyed section." "Right," he said, "and you are molying right over it."
"Spray moly is about one twentieth the size of powdered moly. It is suspended in a distillate that evaporates off quickly, if the barrel or bullets are warmed to about 150 degrees or warm to the touch; by the sun, a hair dryer, a heat gun or in the oven."
Dave said, "The small particles of the spray moly make them ideal for conditioning the bore. Picture a gravel road up close. The roughness is much like the picture in fig. 13. When it starts to snow, the low spots are filled in first and the snow builds up until the high spots are covered. Now when a car drives over the road, it packs down the snow. Then several cars drive over the area. Pretty soon, the road is smooth as glass."
"You don't have to worry about excess, because the moly will burnish into the metal or go out the bore."
"The reason you moly your bullets is to keep the moly from wearing out in the barrel. If you shot non-molyed bullets down a molyed barrel, you would transfer the moly from the barrel to the bullets and eventually wear down to the high spots and re-deposit copper fouling."
My Comments: I talked to a lot of people and got comments both for and against conditioning the bore. Jack Krieger, Charlie Milazzo* and Dow Corning all said, "Conditioning the bore is a better way to go."
*Charlie says "If you're going to use moly it is the logical way to start. But not everyone is going to be able to use and stick with moly right now. Eventually it will probably become the standard. For those who do not have access to moly coated bullets or approved factory loaded ammo, moly coating of the bore proves to be nothing more than the introduction of a variable into the accuracy equation. Consider carefully before firing any moly coated bullets through a barrel which will primarily be used with standard uncoated projectiles, or before coating the bore with moly. For some folks that introduced random unknown could eat you alive. Consistency is the key to dependable accuracy. Changing bore conditions compromises, at the very least, any consistency."
"There is going to be a transition period with molyed bullets. Where everything will be in flux. This is it! There's going to be a lot of wild claims and most likely some problems. We can only try to recognize the possibilities before they occur to help reduce or eliminate the stumbling. How do I feel about moly? I think it has tremendous potential."
During my talks to all these different people, I coined a phrase, "Moly Snob." People who are already using powdered moly did not even want to hear of spray moly. They didn't want to put anything in their bore (Sorry Bubba, you ARE putting moly in your bore when you shoot the powdered bullets). "I don't want to condition my bore." Again, you ARE conditioning your bore with the powdered molyed bullets, you are just doing it inefficiently.
Moly Snobs remind me of the people who say: "My Chevy truck is better than your Ford truck and I'll put on the decal of the little boy peeing on your logo to prove it."
People have their own cleaning techniques and ideas of molying to the point of dogma and/or religion. They will (verbally) fight to the death to prove "My Moly is better than your moly."
Back to Dave Brown's demonstration. He then showed me how to use his product "Ms. Moly" on a barrel. You need to warm the object, barrel or bullets, first. Warming them evaporates the distillants quickly and the moly dries instantly.
He has as part of the kit a couple pieces of polyethylene with a series of holes punched in rows. He calls them the "wholly organizer." You simply set the organizer on a flat surface like a pane of glass and drop the warmed bullets into the holes. When the organizer is full, lift it up and off.
What remains is row on row of bullets standing at attention like a platoon of soldiers ready for inspection. You then shake the can of "Ms. Moly" and spray; front, back, right and left. You may want to give a second coat from the four corners.
I immediately picked up one of the bullets and it was dry; no moly came off on my hand. Powdered moly is messy, but washes up with soap and water. Dave said, "Try to scrape it off with your finger nail." I tried and could not.
A friend was at a match and a Sgt. on the Marine Corps Team asked to look at his molyed bullets. He scraped some off with his fingernail and told Andy, "You have to tumble them longer. The moly should not scrape off."
How do you Moly the bore?
Dave Brown suggests you first try it on a shotgun barrel because it is so much bigger and you can see what's going on. He recommends you place a patch or cotton ball in one end. If you are dumb enough to do this over your wife's carpet, you are a candidate for natural selection.
Again, heat the barrel until it is warm to the touch. Hold the barrel so the bead is up or at the 12 o'clock position. Shake the can of moly and give a two second spray down the barrel. Turn the sight down to the 6 o'clock position and give another two second spray. Do this again at the 3 & 9 o'clock positions.
Remove the patch or cotton ball and place it in the end you just sprayed. Repeat the procedure from the other end, 12-6-3 and 9 o'clock positions. Now look down the bore and you will see the moly start to weep or run. Now brush the bore to burnish the moly into the barrel. This is the first application; you need to give it three applications.
I looked down the bore of the shotgun barrel and it was very bright. Dave Brown said, "Turn it around and look down the other end." When I did my head snapped back. The bore was sooo bright, it was like being hit with a spotlight in a dark room.
I also noticed some little black beads in the bore (the barrel had been previously fired). It seems the carbon fouling beads up much like rain drops on a polished and waxed car. They are hard, black beads and you would have to be blind not to see them. After a rifle match, I took the lower receiver off to reduce the weight. I placed a clean, white patch near the chamber and held it up to the shop light. The reflected light down the bore showed the black beads of carbon fouling. After cleaning, I could see the two beads I had missed.
Defending the Lady's Honor
I was told by one of our regular shooters "Ms. Moly spray has graphite in it and should not be used." As proof he FAXed me a Material Safety Data Sheet from Dow Corning for Dow Corning 321 Dry Film Lubricant (Aerosol)® . Yes, it has 3% graphite.
I called David Brown and asked if he re-labeled Dow Corning 321 Dry Film Lubricant (Aerosol) as his own "Ms. Moly." He told me no, that his spray is made for shooting, with no graphite. He then FAXed me his Material Safety Data Sheet on "Ms. Moly" showing there is no graphite.
The next assault on the Lady's honor came when several people decided there had to be some "Binders" in the spray to make the moly stick to the bullets. Again, the Material Safety Data Sheet rode to the rescue; no binders.
This did alert us to the fact that some spray molys have graphite in them. You don't want graphite in your bore, because it's an abrasive.
I part company with one thing Dave Brown said, "It's OK to moly the chamber." A lot of people say NO and some say yes. Boots said it probably would be all right, but Charlie says, "Boots knows what he is doing when it comes to loading. There are a lot of people who may not recognize the fact that they could get into some serious trouble. Reduced friction between the brass and chamber wall equals increased thrust on the bolt face and locking lugs."
If you are going to spray the moly into the breech end, use the rod guide with the "O" ring to keep the moly away from the chamber. You can spray a patch or mop, then apply it to the bore and burnish it in with the bronze brush.
NECO MOLY-SLIDE® is a paste and comes in a one ounce plastic tube. It contains no graphite. It contains approximately 60% laboratory-grade, extremely small, micron-sized Moly in paste form. It takes a VERY small amount to go a long way. Some people are using the NECO MOLY-SLIDE® to condision the bore and to touch up after cleaning to elimiate the need for fouling shots after over-cleaning. You can order the NECO MOLY-SLIDE® direct from NECO, 800-451-3550 or from O.K. Weber.
Someone told me you can not remove the moly once it is placed in the bore. When I told Dave Brown that, he showed me a new product he will soon have available. He sprayed it on a molyed bullet and it instantly removed all the moly. I have since learned MEK, methyl ethyl ketone, will do the same thing and you can get it at the hardware store.
My Conclusions on Spray Moly
Spray moly will not replace powdered moly! It simply cannot compete economically. I have been told the 4 oz. of industrial (1 micron) powdered moly will do 20,000 to 40,000 rounds. The 10 oz. bottle of regular (5 micron) moly will do 50,000 to 100,000 rounds for under $35.00.
For conditioning the bore, the spray moly or NECO Molyslide® paste is "The better way to go." It is faster and cleaner than powdered moly. If a person lives in an area without a workshop, basement, etc., like an apartment, the spray is ideal.
When we go shopping for our food, if we want something fast and easy to prepare, we are willing to pay more. If we want economy, we buy things that will take time and effort to prepare. It's all a trade off.
Spray and powder each have their place and can co-exist. I believe the spray is best for conditioning the bore and quick and easy for molying bullets when you are in a hurry or small quantities of bullets or fixed ammo which do not merit all the trouble of tumbling. Powder is best for the long haul economics.
"Guns and Ammo" magazine ran an article called 21st - Century Accuracy by Tom Gresham. It said, in part:
Bullet break - throughs
A bullet - coating process developed by (NECO) Nostalgia Enterprises Company (510/450-0420) involves tumbling bullets to "impact plate" them with Molybdenum Disulfide, then following up with a coat of carnauba wax. The result: greater accuracy, reduced friction, reduced bore - fouling and, in some cases, reduced bullet - drop - - with the same velocity. Walt Berger, president of Berger Bullets (602/842-4001), said his bench rest rifle now has more than 800 Moly-coated rounds through it without having seen a brush - - he cleans with only a wet patch and a dry patch. NECO offers kits for do-it-yourselfers; Berger will Moly-coat any of his bullets for an additional charge of only $2 to $4 per 100 bullets. "Within two years," he says, "every ammunition company will have to offer Moly-coated bullets."
This article was taken off the Internet and was mailed to me by the gentleman at Dow Corning. The phone numbers in the article opened new doors in my quest for information. I called NECO and talked to Roger Johnson, the man in charge. After introducing myself and telling him about this book, I had some questions and some "feed-back" for him.
I asked "How much does your kit cost?" He replied: "$137.35." (I have seen them advertised for $148.00 from other distributors). I then asked "What does the kit include?" He said "1) 4 oz. jar of one micron Moly powder, 2) 13 1/2 lbs. of 5/32 Dia. ground steel balls, heat treated to Rockwell C50, 3) 3 oz. of carnauba wax, 4) a sample bullet and 5) a complete instruction manual."
I told him, I had some feed-back from shooters who are using powdered Moly, some with his kits and they are not using the wax. In fact, some are warning against using the wax because it is causing problems. He said, "We have not heard of any problems and the people who are giving up on the wax don't know what they are losing. Norma says that they get 10 - 35% better ballistics depending on the barrel."
He has a product called Moly-Slide (I picked up a tube from O.K. Weber at Camp Perry in 1997). Roger said that he will condition a new bore with the Moly Slide by putting some on a patch and running it down the bore. It is also good if you get over aggressive in your cleaning and take the Moly out of the bore. A touch up will re-Moly the bore and you don't need the extra bullets to do the job.
Roger told me something else that I found interesting. With products that have ammonia in them like Sweets, he neutralizes them with water. He then dry patches the bore and protects it with oil. The oil must be cleaned out before you shoot the next time.
One thing Roger told me of which I was not aware. Moly DOES NOT protect the bore from moisture and humidity. He uses a light coat of oil while storing the rifle, again cleaning out the bore before shooting the next time.
Midwayâ (800)-243-3220 has a Deluxe Pack (8 oz. Moly & 2 #1292 hard plastic bowls) #610-434 for $34.99. They also have their Ultimate Pack, a #1292 Tumbler with an extra bowl and 8 oz. of Moly, #480-460 for $69.99.
When I called to ask them about their kit, they told me they don't use the steel balls, as the bullets themselves do the impacting. OK, I need to know, "Does this work?" I called a Friend because I knew he just bought a tumbler, Moly and some steel balls and was going to run his first batch that evening. He said he would try them without the steel balls. The next day he called and told me he ran 1,000 of the 69 gr. bullets and they came out perfect. The following day he called back saying he ran 1,600 of the 69 gr. bullets and again they came out perfect.
OK, How did he do it? He simply put the bullets in the tumbler and added 4 oz. of Moly and ran them for two hours. After shutting the tumbler off he used a slotted serving spoon to pick up the bullets and sift out the Moly. He then placed them in an old sock to rub off the excess Moly (a towel or paper towel works fine). Then he put the bullets in a ZipLoc® bag or back in their original boxes. You can add a little Moly to each new batch or run the Moly that's in the tumbler until its gone. (OOOPS, I just talked to Midway and asked them how they did it. I liked their answer better; they use 1/8 teaspoon of Moly for each five pounds of bullets). Fast, Simple, Easy, and Inexpensive. Powdered Moly is messy, but it cleans up with soap and water.
Sources of Moly
Here is a list of places I know of to get Moly that will do the job. 1) NECO, (510) 450- 0420 has a 4 oz. container of ultra fine (1 micron) Moly #MC-12 for $42.75. 2) Dow Corning has a 10 oz. bottle of 5 micron Moly called "Z-Powder." They do not sell directly to the public but if you call them at (517) 496-6000 they will give you the name of a company in your area that caries the Z-Powder. In Milwaukee it was Wisconsin Bearing and they sold the 10 oz. bottle for $32.86. 3) Midway (800) 243-3220 buys the Z-Powder in large quantities and sells an 8 oz. jar #677-866 for $19.99. Now you need a rotary tumbler or a vibrator tumbler; either will work fine.
Joe Blow Schmuckatelly
Joe asked me not to mention his real name (in fact, Joe is a composite of 4 or 5 different people). Joe said that he found with the NECO kit's instructions they have a ratio of bullet weight to steel ball weight. He simply used a 12 oz. coffee mug to weigh the bullets. A few 180 grs., or a lot of 69 gr. bullets come out to the proper ratio. He says the coffee mug works great. So, fill your coffee mug with bullets and level off the top. Pour the bullets into the steel balls , add a squirt of Moly (about 1/8th teaspoon) and let it run for a couple of hours. Joe says he uses a plastic pail with holes drilled in the bottom to separate the bullets from the steel balls; a Dillon media separator works also. Now put the bullets on a terry cloth towel (paper towels work) and rub off the excess Moly. You should not be able to scratch off the Moly with your finger nail.
Andy Ladron called and said, "It doesn't work. I ran them for two hours, added more Moly then ran them another two hours, then added more Moly again and again." He has a tumbler with a rubber liner. The Moly was soaking into the rubber. You need a tumbler made of hard plastic.
Do you have to clean the bullets before molying?
If you are using Hornady bullets (not seconds), just dump them right in the bowl. DO NOT touch them first, the oils on your hands will prevent the Moly adhering to the bullets. Some people have acidic sweat and the Moly will not stick. If you have to handle the bullets first, use cotton gloves. Some of the other bullet makers have a film on the bullets that must be removed before you can Moly them. Running the bullets in a corn cob media will clean them or you could try MEK or acetone. (Again, OOOPS, I just talked to Midway and they said you can run the bullets in Dawn dish washing soap and water to remove the grease, then air dry them).
How do I clean the bore and break in the barrel?
Two very important questions, with the usual thousand answers. The one I like best came from Berger Bullets (Questions & Answers) @ http://www. bergerbullets.com/faq.htm Reprint follows:
1. How do I clean my rifle using Moly Coated bullets?
The best procedure for cleaning when using Moly coated bullets is as follows:
This procedure is suggested after approximately 80 to 100 rounds, depending on the class of rifle being fired.
2. How do I break in a barrel with Moly Coated bullets?
The procedure that Walt has found to be the best is as follows:
Your barrel will now be broken in.
What is Kroil and where do you get it?
When I asked that question, I was told, "It's a penetrating oil you can get anywhere." "OK, the next time you're at McDonalds, pick up a can," I said. "You can get it at any auto parts or hardware store." Oh yeah, three auto parts stores and two hardware stores later, I got tired of hearing "We never heard of it." Sinclair (219) 493-1858 has it in their catalog. The first time I heard of Kroil was when Mid Tomkins told me he uses 50% Kroil and 50% Shooters Choice as his bore cleaner (other shooters have said they use 2 parts Hoppes to 1 part Kroil).
Another Cleaning Method
Another cleaning method came from Grant Ubl. He runs a couple of wet patches soaked in Shooters Choice down the bore. Then with a plastic or nylon brush wet with Shooters Choice, he scrubs the bore. He will then dry patch the bore. Here is the interesting part, he says you will never stop getting black from the Moly, but he will run an EXTREMELY tight patch down the bore until he gets minimal amounts of black on the patch.
The above method is used when he has to shoot the next day (remember, over aggressive cleaning removes the moly). When he has unlimited sighters, (to remoly the bore) and wants to get a little more aggressive, he uses the following method: He runs several wet patches with regular Shooters Choice, followed by Shooters Choice Copper Remover. Dry patch, then he uses JB Bore Cleaner to scrub the bore, followed by wet patches of Shooters Choice to flush the JB, then dry patches. He says he'll need 6-8 rounds to re-moly and all is right with the world.
A Word of Caution
Dave Emary from Hornady called and told me some of the 50 cal. shooters are reporting that some of the moly has sulfur in it and the bore cleaners with ammonia is forming a chemical reaction that is etching the bore. I was offered some moly and I checked the Material Safety Data Sheet; it had 40% sulfur. I said, "No Thanks."
A passing fad?
One of the Moly Snobs said "This Moly Coating is a passing fad and everyone is jumping on the band wagon." He doesn't like to try anything new until it's been around for fifty years or so.
I have personally seen increased accuracy and easier cleaning with Moly coated bullets. I know someone who keeps excellent records, showing less throat erosion (longer barrel life). I talked to long range shooters and Police Officers (SWAT) who say the first shot is right there. I have talked to experts in the field who say one can shoot more rounds between cleanings before accuracy drops off.
If only one of these is true, move over; I'm coming aboard this band wagon!!!
Moly Coating Bullets - Quality Results; Simply and Economically
I now have three years production experience moly coating bullets. How I do it is a massively lower cost alternative to commercial kits in the marketplace. I started in 1997, wanting to coat bullets, but unwilling to buy more tumblers and other equipment. Since I already had a huge Dillon tumbler, I considered ways to use it instead. I purchased 10 oz. Corning Moly Powder from WI Bearing for about $28. Midway now sells 8 ounces for $20. Either amount may turn out to be a lifetime supply for you.
I tried a number of processes, settling on small containers which would fit inside the Dillon tumbler bowl. As it turned out, the best ones were 18 ounce plastic peanut butter jars. Skippy, Jif and the store brands have this size. The jars are clear plastic and small. The smallest size,12 ounce jars, will also work for smaller batches, but the 18 ounce size seems to work the best and allows the greatest throughput.
The beauty of this system is that tooling for this moly kit costs merely the cost of the peanut butter jar. This assumes that one already has all the other equipment from one’s reloading interests, and that one eats peanut butter. If one wishes to use steel shot as in the NECO kit, fine. Inexpensive Copper BB's will work, but I find this is not needed. My moly coat will not scratch off, and my bullets look every bit as nice as any I have ever seen with any process.
One may be satisfied just coating bullets with moly; many are. There is some difference of opinion about waxing bullets and the benefit or detriment of same. For two years I did not wax. My bullets smudged little and kept their coating just fine. They shot just fine as well. The benefits of easy cleaning and the lengthened period between cleaning were completely realized. Barrel wear seems markedly reduced as compared with bare bullets. Accuracy does not seem to vary much from bare bullets, but groups seem to be more uniformly shaped, using moly.
In 1999, I decided to add wax coating. By then, I was learning of suspected intangible benefits from the wax. Boots Obermeyer, and Norma were speaking of having observed better results with wax. Boots spoke in terms of lowered standard deviations. Norma declares there is a benefit, but can not solidly quantify their belief. They just know.... Merrill Martin has posited that prevention of barrel erosion may be from an ablative effect which the wax provides.
Until 1999, an obstacle to waxing was the difficulty in obtaining powdered carnauba wax separate from the expensive kits. After some searching, I was able to find it. You can now obtain Kincaid’s Custom powdered carnauba wax in three once bottles from Sinclair International for $8.00. This amount may also turn out to be a lifetime supply for you.
If you wish to try waxing your molyed bullets, my easy process is quick and inexpensive, again using peanut butter jars and the tumbler you already own. When both molyed and waxed, my bullets look as fine as Janell’s hematite jewelry. In fact, grey hematite jewelry is my quality standard of comparison for properly molyed-waxed bullets. I am currently very satisfied with the beauty and cleanliness of my bullets when both molyed and waxed. My uniform results come from the following process which evolved from continuous experimentation and improvement over the past three years.
No shot is used with this moly-coat process. The bullets themselves are able to burnish the moly onto each other, as long as the container is small enough to keep them close together. I have successfully molyed and waxed batches of bullets as small as 1000 grains. Batches for moly coating and waxing should not exceed 12,000 grains (nearly 2 pounds) per container. Exceeding this weight prevents the jars from rotating adequately in the tumbler. The moly will not be uniformly applied and points of bullets will suffer damage. Two hundred .22 caliber bullets up to 60 grains can be done in one batch. Bullets larger than 120 grains must be done in split-box batches to insure a good result. This is not a hardship. One can place five, 18 ounce peanut butter jars in a large Dillon tumbler at one time.
Step ONE - Clean and Dry the Bullets
Clean oil and tarnish from bullets in a plastic container (I use a 28 ounce clear plastic peanut butter jar) with just enough 5% household ammonia & water solution to cover them. This will be 1cup or so of solution - 1:1 ammonia and water; ½ cup of each. Swirl occasionally. Total time swirling and soaking is five to ten minutes, maximum. The solution will turn blue, as the reaction and cleaning proceeds. Possibly some light etching may be happening as they clean.
Thoroughly rinse the bullets (3 times or more) under hot water. Dry on a soft cloth or premium grade sturdy paper toweling. Transfer the bullets to a dry surface, allowing additional time for the heat in the bullets to completely air dry them before the next step; approximately 20 minutes. Save the paper toweling for step three. The paper toweling will have dried by then. Avoid touching the bullets with your fingers.
Step TWO - Tumble with Moly Powder
Place no more than 12,000 grains of bullets in an 18 oz. peanut butter jar (no BBs, just bullets). Place 1/8 teaspoon of moly powder onto the inside of the jar lid cardboard (to be sure of the amount), then dump it in the jar. Tighten the lid firmly to avoid leakage. The cardboard seal should be kept in the jar lid. Use twice as much moly when using a new jar, as the plastic seems to suck up some of the moly.
Lay the jar in the tumbler on the media in your tumbler. You may, if you like, clean cases in your tumbler while you do this. It does not adversely affect the process - it might even help the jars "roll." Without brass being tumbled, the process is quieter. Observe the jar "rolling" slowly in the media in the tumbler to determine which way the jar rolls. Situate the jar so the rolling action serves to tighten the lid, not loosen it. Place the lid on your tumbler (dust consideration) and let the tumbler run for about an hour. I have experienced good results in only one half hour, but I am always satisfied with the moly coating after an hour. Tumbling bullets in moly for longer than an hour will not hurt. Three and four hours tumbling unattended has worked fine.
Step THREE - Polish Molyed Bullets
Remove the jar from your tumbler. Loosen the jar lid while tumbler is still running, using the vibration to help knock loose corn cob grit from the outside of the jar and the jar lid threads. Pour your bullets out on an old T-shirt, rag or sturdy premium grade paper towel set in a shallow cake pan. Polish the excess moly off of your bullets by gently shaking them back and forth on the toweling in the pan. This works well in 15 seconds or so. When you have finished, you will have beautiful, low-shine moly coated bullets which will smudge little. Check the coating by trying (with some effort) to scratch the coating off with your fingernail. You have done well if the coating will not scratch off. Do not be concerned about cannelures being uncoated. There is no impact possible in the cannelure, so moly can’t "plate" there.
Step FOUR - Carnauba Wax Your Bullets
Place the polished molyed bullets in the sun under a clear cover for 20 minutes to heat to 115EF. Alternatively, place them in your oven at low heat for 10 minutes to warm them. Be careful with polycarbonate tipped bullets, such as the Nosler Ballistic Tips, Hornady V-Max, or Sierra Blitz-Kings. Their tips will pop off the bullet (it sounds like popcorn popping) if the heat goes too high.
Half fill an 18 ounce peanut butter jar with clean corn cob media. Place 1/8 teaspoon of the powdered carnauba wax onto the inside of the jar lid cardboard (to be sure of the amount), then dump it in the jar. Do not use too much wax, as it will clump and your bullets’ coating will come out looking mottled and sickly. Use twice as much wax the first time you use new media, as the media will absorb wax. The media is a moderator in this process, assuring that neither too much nor too little wax is deposited on the bullets. The media is reusable until it becomes too dark with moly.
Add the warm bullets to the jar, again observing the 12,000 grain limitation per jar. Immediately lay the jar in the tumbler on the media in your tumbler. You may clean cases in your tumbler while you do this. It does not adversely affect the process - it might even help the jars "roll." Without brass being tumbled, the process is quieter. Observe the jar "rolling" slowly in the media in the tumbler to determine which way the jar rolls. Situate the jar so the rolling action serves to tighten the lid, not loosen it. Set a timer for ten minutes. Allowing this process to continue longer than ten minutes will begin to degrade the wax coating. At ten minutes, immediately remove your bullets and sift them from the media. I use a cat box kitty litter scoop to do the separating, shaking out about ten bullets in a scoop.
Your finished bullets will be silvery-grey, hard wax coated with a high shine. Their appearance will rival grey hematite jewelry and they will feel as slippery as a fresh waxed automobile panel. Place the bullets in their boxes. They are ready for loading.
For Chapter Seven of the Care, Cleaning & Sportsmanship Book, Click Here