Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lube It and Flux It - Sustainable plan comes together

Now we approach a subject that will make most of my readers understand there really was a method to my madness a few years back. Of course I never really intended that I would take to the bee keeping hobby as much as I did. There are so many benefits and needs that bee hives fill for any sustainable homestead and the sustainable armory was a big one.

I am sure most of you have read "The Road" novel. Near the end of the book after the man dies and the boy is with the stranger there is a part that mentions the shotgun shells the stranger is carrying. I am unsure of the actual text but one significant part is that the shells were sealed with wax. This is just one example I took off the top of my head. My point is that at least in the old days firearms and bees went together like horses and cowboys. You really couldn't have one without the other.

A sustainable grid down armory would be impossible without a source of bees wax, or at least that was my final conclusion as I researched my path several years back. Today there are several substances that are substituted for bees wax within the sphere of firearms and shooting but unless you want to set up a modern day chemical and polymer factory beeswax is about your only choice in a grid down scenario for several essential steps to sustainable shooting.

As a fluxing agent for your lead/tin/antimony mixture a small drop of bees wax stirred into the pot will allow the metals to combine and form a stronger bond. When used with plain old everyday sawdust it removes dirt and other trace substances and frees them to float to the surface where they can be removed and also reduces oxidation of the molten medal. It's also kinda fun when it burst into flames. Sawdust and beeswax have the added advantage of not being anywhere near as noxious in the fumes department as some modern day petroleum fluxes are and they can be produced easily.

Almost every historical bullet lube contains beeswax. Bullet lube is mandatory when shooting lead-mixture bullets through a rifled barrel because without it the bullet will leave massive lead shavings deep within the rifling. The bullet lube acts as an agent to prevent this "leading". Of course modern day materials and recipes do a good job but for sustainable cottage produced lube beeswax added to locally available oils or even animal grease can fulfill the job in a grid down situation when you run out of modern day plated bullets.

Cowboy shooting rein-actors use beeswax in the same way I mentioned from "The Road" novel and beeswax would be needed in several areas regarding blackpowder shooting as well. From waterproofing to the casting I mentioned above although you wouldn't need to bond the pure lead for blackpowder balls.

I did learn however that it takes a pretty fair number of bee colonies to produce enough wax for all the uses it fills especially when you only take the burr comb and cappings from the honey harvest. For instance this year I got next to no extra wax from the hives.

It's all in the numbers.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!

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