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The product originated from Germany before World War I, after the German military requested an 'all-around' oil and cleaner for their rifles and equipment. The German military used it from 1905 to 1945.
The chemical is a yellowish clear liquid with a consistency expected of a light oil. However, when it comes in contact with water it emulsifies, becoming a thick creamy white substance. It has a sweet and mildly pungent smell similar to black licorice. It is distributed in liquid and aerosol forms. The aerosol uses butane or propane as a propellant.
It advertises it has no carcinogens. Some other similar chemicals contain petro-chemicals which can pollute the environment if improperly handled, and can damage the 'seasoning' developed on the bore of a black-powder gun.
(according to a specification from December 2002)
- pharmaceutical white oil: CAS RN 8042-47-5
- Oleic acid: CAS RN 112-80-1
- C-5 alcohols: CAS RN 78-83-1; CAS RN 137-32-6; CAS RN 100-51-6
- different essential oils to perfume Ballistol
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