Self-Lubricated Bullet

Hello All,

I have found that there are two definitions in use for “inside lubricated bullet”. One definition refers to the location of the grease grooves, these being hidden by the case when loaded. The converse of this is the outside lubricated bullet where the grease grooves are visible when the bullet is loaded into the cartridge case. Then there is also the more specific use of the term “inside lubricated bullet” which refers to a patented bullet design whereby the grease is forced from the hollow of the bullet through small holes. So when I refer to a cartridge loaded with a bullet having hidden grease grooves as “inside lubricated”, am I wrong? Is there another term for this type of bullet? How do other people use the term “inside lubricated bullet”? This may seem pedantic and trivial but and it has been bugging me for quite sometime and I would like to be clear with my cartridge descriptions. I would like to hear what other people think. Thank you.

Ian–The bullet where the grease is forced out of holes in the bullet was made by U.M.C. and is call “Self-Lubricated”, not inside lubricated. It was available in at least the following calibers: .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .38 S&W, .38 S&W Special, .38-44, .41 S&W (Experimental) and .44 S&W Russian. They were patented by D.B. Wesson, Patent No. 440,672, dated 18 November 1890.


Our very own A Cartridge Collector’s Glossary describes and illustrates an Inside Lubricated Bullet exactly as IanB says. If it’s incorrect (maybe it is, maybe it isn’t) it should be revised. Of course, there are other things in the Glossary that also need revision. How about finding a young, still enthusiastic, collector willing to take on the job?


here’s 1/2 of a cartidge to look at

Thanks Ron.
The sectioned cartridge is really nice. What cartridge is it please Pepper?

Ray–Here is a page from a S&W catalog showing the correct name for these cartridges. Plus, in all the U.M.C. catalogs the term “Sef-Lubricating” is ALWAYS used, not inside lubricated. The two terms are not synonymous.

I have always wondered if self-lubricating bullets lived up to their performance claims. It seems to me that they would have been significantly more expensive to make than either inside or outside lubricated types without providing any measurable advantages. Perhaps an example of a solution in search of a problem?

A.C. Gould, in his Modern American Pistol and Revolver (1894), said that the self-lubricating ammunition was very accurate, but somewhat more expensive than the conventional type. To his mind the major advantage would have been the ability to fire 50 consecutive shots without cleaning. Here he has in mind a course of fire that didn’t permit cleaning every ten shots, which Gould felt a handgun firing black powder cartridges required for best accuracy–especially in dry weather when fouling became very hard. And, of course, once smokeless propellants replaced black powder, that consideration ended. Jack