Whatever Happened to Moly Coated Bullets? - Page 2
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Thread: Whatever Happened to Moly Coated Bullets?



  1. #11
    Gun Wizard
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    I think we tend to be a nation of "fads". I remember using a Moly additive in the motor oil of our delivery trucks in the 80's. We seemed to think we got some good out of using it but, it slowly faded out of use. They closed the Climax mine in Colorado and started importing from China. Seems like I heard the mine re-opened a few years ago.
    That stuff is slick though.
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  2. #12
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    I used a batch of moly-coated in my 9mm. I know you guys are talking about rifle barrels, but barrels are barrels. Moly coating left a black coating in the barrel and if you are expecting to a bright shiney barrel after cleaning you'd think that your barrel was dirty, but it wasn't. I never bought any more because I didn't think it was worth the additional cost. I guess people didn't think it solved a problem.
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  3. #13
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    In the 70's the USAF experimented on some of our heavy ground radars to see if moly could be used to extend the life of antenna bearings since changing them involved tall specialized cranes in remote locations.
    The result was that it's useless as an additive - it has to be bonded in a special process to show lubricating properties.
    Steel was the only material mentioned for obvious reasons but since the process involved heat and pressure I doubt that bullets were using a bonded coating.
    So all those moly engine additives are pure snake oil.
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  5. #14
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    I have a close personal friend, he worked in the Moly Room at Black Hills Ammo. The bullets were coated in tumblers, and the dust was everywhere, even with sealed tumbler doors. The microscopic Moly dust gets in your skin, hair, pores, clothing, and it creeps in to your wristwatch, glasses, and everything else. It enters the pores in the barrel steel, and becomes part of the metallurgy. It's very hard to wash off your body, and almost impossible to get out of a barrel, too.

    It makes your barrel 'addicted' to the coated bullets, groups will actually open up slightly if you shoot standard slugs through a Moly saturated bore. After weighing all the evidence, BHA quit Moly coating their match bullets. The disadvantages outweighed the advantages. The advantages were questionable, too. A slight increase in velocity, and maybe, just maybe an increase in accuracy, but not in all rifles.
    Last edited by rob42049; 03-22-2020 at 10:10 AM.
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  6. #15
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    In the 70's the USAF experimented on some of our heavy ground radars to see if moly could be used to extend the life of antenna bearings since changing them involved tall specialized cranes in remote locations.
    The result was that it's useless as an additive - it has to be bonded in a special process to show lubricating properties.
    Steel was the only material mentioned for obvious reasons but since the process involved heat and pressure I doubt that bullets were using a bonded coating.
    So all those moly engine additives are likely pure snake oil.
    Oh - I think they determined that the culprit was heat coupled with some other pressure effects from very large supported weights.
    It *does* make a good lubricant for high load conditions much like graphite.
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  7. #16
    Gun Wizard
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    Well I have one rifle that I used them in. I believe the old Winchester Failsafe bullet had Molly coat. My rifle loves them. I don't use that rifle much any more but when I do I have a couple of spare boxes. Don't fix what ain't broke. Nickel moa or less.

    I dont one know what slick 50 had in it but it worked on my 78 K-10 Blazer. It had a 400 ci small block. Known for running hot.
    Pone day after leaving the air base I stopped and picked up oil and a can of that. Changed the oil and filter with a hot engine. The took it out for a 50 mile jaunt and parked it. I the next day it was running much cooler and my gas milagle went up by almost 3 mpg. The down side I had to put cardboard in front of the radiator in the winter to have heat. Until I changed the thermostat. Never used it since though. In my case it was not snake oil.
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  8. #17
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    Slick 50 had Teflon it. Never used slick 50, but I am a big fan of Tri-Flow lubricants for use on my firearms. It seems, at least for me, to make barrel cleaning much easier. I first started using it back around 1980. I had a Colt AR-15 SP1 with a rough spot in the upper receiver, and after 20 or 30 rounds, the bolt carrier would tend to hang up occasionally. I tried several different lubricants, but Tri-Flow was the one that worked the best. I've been using it ever since.

    As far as moly-coated bullets, I remember reading about them, but I never tried any.

  9. #18
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    I first used them with the Winchester Fail Safe projectiles for an elk hunt. The projectile, Fail Safe, was similar to the Barnes X Bullet from what I remember but was covered in Moly. They worked great on elk that year but I didn't get the accuracy I had wanted when developing the load. After the season when I went to cleaning, the moly would not come out of the barrel. Yes it is just a coating but I get really picky on my bolt action rifles that I demand absolute accuracy out of them. To this day, my 338 Win Mag still has moly that won't come out of the barrel.

    I think it was a trend for the time to sell people as stated earlier, everything changes every year to try and make everyone buy something new. I didn't care for it and wouldn't use it again in my rifles just because of the lasting effect of it staying in the barrel.
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  10. #19
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    It's the best thing I've ever seen for making a mess everywhere. Lord help you if you get as sudden gust through a window. I'm thinking that may have lead to it's disappearance.

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  11. #20
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    I'm not an apologist for moly coated bullets, but I'd like to understand more about them.

    The bench rest shooters initially embraced them since they thought they could reduce their group sizes by 0.05-0.1". This is enough to move them from the top 25% to the top 5% of shooters at a match. These guys keep detailed records of every target shot--loads, conditions, bullets, temperature, wind, etc. They had the data to tell if moly was making a difference. (Evidently, that data eventually also convinced them to stop using it as well.)

    The barrels were black inside. Copper fouling could not be easily seen. According to the wisdom of the time, on the other hand, there was almost no copper fouling when using moly. Cleaning could be done with one or two passes with a Kroil saturated patch, to remove the powder residue, and that was supposed to be all that was necessary. Moly was thought to preserve the accuracy potential of the benchrest barrels from about 1000 rounds to 2000 rounds or more. It was also thought to similarly preserve the barrels of the ultra magnums and fast wildcat calibers, which suffer bore erosion from the high pressure propellant gases by around 1000 rounds.

    Although some moly coated bullets were commercially available, most users coated their own bullets in a rotary tumbler. I don't think this was commercially driven any more than is the popularity of stainless steel tumbling media.

    It's interesting to me that that moly coated bullets were once considered to be essential to win shooting championships. All the big name shooters were using it. Then, no more than about 10 years later, it all but disappeared. I will continue to use moly coated bullets for some of my top loads. I think moly offers advantages in lowering internal pressures. My rifles and my shooting are not accurate enough to demonstrate improvement in group sizes.

    Thanks for the thoughts and replies. Keep them coming.
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