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How to Load a Bulk Caulk Gun From a Pail (by Bob Reynolds)

How to Load a Bulk Caulk Gun From a Pail (by Bob Reynolds)

Bulk caulk has several advantages over cartridges and sausages. These include a wider range of color, faster curing, and lower cost. Bulk caulk guns have full or closed barrels, which are loaded and dispensed by the suction created by the piston cups that move up and down inside the barrel.

There are four primary ways to load bulk caulking. One thing they all have in common is a properly-maintained gun. The barrel should be clean and lubricated. The pistons must be oiled and not excessively worn. The rod should move freely back and forth when the recoil is depressed. Twenty and 30-ounce bulk guns such as the Albion DL-45 and DL-59 are the most popular sizes, although, you can go all the way up to our 80-ounce monster, the number 103-15.

The first and most popular way to load bulk caulking is directly from a pail. In addition to lubricating the inside of the barrel, spray a light lubricant such as WD-40, 3-in-1 mineral oil or cooking spray on the exterior barrel threads. This will reduce the accumulation of material in those threads.

Remove the cap and nozzle assembly from the gun, immerse the gun into the material to a depth of an inch or two, move it about slightly to completely wet the barrel and ensure an air seal. Pull the piston rod back slowly, sucking the material up into the barrel, pause every few inches to allow the pressure to equalize. When the barrel is full, remove it from the material. Clean the barrel first with a spatula or bucket scraper then wipe the threads clean with a rag. Invert the gun and tap the sides to burp out any air pockets, replace the cap, and you’re ready to caulk.

The second most popular way to load bulk caulking is with a loading sleeve. To help maintain clean barrel and threads while loading bulk material, Albion has developed the number 33-1 loading sleeve. Thread this device over the end of your bulk barrel before plunging into the pail. After filling your gun, unthread the sleeve, leaving it partially immersed in the caulking. Withdraw the gun from the sleeve and replace the cap and nozzle assembly, and you have only minimum wiping of the barrel.

The third most popular way to load bulk caulk is with a follow plate. These handy accessories fit snugly inside 2-gallon or 5-gallon pails. There’s a threaded ring in the center to accept an Albion 2-inch diameter bulk gun such as the DL-45 or DL-59 series. It’s cleaner than using a loading sleeve and has the added advantage of keeping air and other contaminants out of your pail of caulking.

Place the follow plate directly into the caulking and press down firmly to remove any air pockets. Remove the front cap from the gun and advance the rod as far forward as it will go into the gun. Thread the barrel into the plate, and while exerting pressure down onto the plate and pressing the recoil or thumb release, pull back on the rod to fill the gun. When full, unthread the gun from the plate and replace the cap and nozzle on the gun. Cover the opening on the following plate with a piece of plastic to eliminate material contamination and curing between fills.

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