Howdah you make paper cartridges?

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Sac

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Hello everyone. Hope I'm posting in the right category.

Simple curiosity about one pistol and paper cartridges for it.
And sorry for the stupid question, but you know, if you don’t ask, you don’t learn.
And I am on a learning curve, about BP.

The Perdersoli Howdah 20 gauge looks like an interesting gun, at least to me.
And I wonder if it could be possible to use some kind of the same paper cartridges used for a Colt or Remington revolver to load the gun in an easy and quick way, with shots.

I couldn’t find any informations about that...
I consider that if nobody talks about it, it may well be because it is not possible, but I would like to be sure, taking the risk of being an idiot. Please don’t hit my head too hard!

I don’t think about classic MLs paper cartridge that you tear up to load, but the cartridge you insert in the revolver cylinder and push down with a press.

So, from top to bottom of the paper tube (that may have to be a bit conical): BP - 20ga felt wad - card - shots - card.

I guess at least one problem would be the strength of the paper that could be torn travelling into the bore, leaving a mess of powder and paper?
The gas sealed needs a good wad the proper diameter, and it may not goes well with the paper. Unless using some resistant paper, maybe like tracing paper? But the ignition could be difficult?

If I talked about the Perdersoli Howdah first, it’s because it has a short barrel, that maybe could accommodate this, because of the shorter load travel.

Another way, it would be more or less the same as a « classic » paper cartridge, could be making two tubes, one for the powder load, one for the shots load, and use wads, in between the tubes and on top of them? (or over powder card and wad)
That is something like Brokennock shows in his topic « Your Skychief load in pictures ». But with a paper tube for the powder.

Once again, I think that if nobody is doing it, that’s because you can’t. But...

So, what do you think? Am I the fool on the hill? Well, I’m talking perfectly still!
 

Grenadier1758

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The paper cartridge for your Howdah pistol would be for all intents and purposes just like the cartridges I use in my King's pattern Musket. I did a search of the Forum and found a video which includes the rolling of cartridges at about the 15 minute mark.

Swiss Model 1842-59 Service rifled musket | The Muzzleloading Forum

Or, you can look at my pictures and plan on what you need to do. Note: Dimensions are for a 77 caliber Brown Bess.

You will need to make a mandrel for the paper that is three paper wraps smaller than the bore. Your Howdah is a 20 gauge, so start with a 5/8" (0.625") dowel rod that you turn down to about 0.590". Hint: run a dry wall screw in one end of the dowel to hold in a electric drill while you sand the dowel to size.

Cartridge01.JPG


Cut the paper into a similar trapezoid, maybe 4" long, and a little shorter on the edges.
Cartridge02.JPG

Lat a strip of glue along the angle. I use a glue stick or the white school glue.

Cartridge03.JPG


I forgot to tell you to make the depression for the round ball. Push the tube up to set the ball in the depression.
Cartridge04.JPG


Use some glue to hold the ball in the tube.

Cartridge05.JPG


Remove the tube from the mandrel and let the glue dry.

With the glue dry you might want to dip the ball in a lube. But that's a topic for another thread. You can twist the ball or tie a thread under the ball to keep the ball separate from the powder.

Cartridge06.JPG

Time to remove the tube from the mandrel.

Cartridge07.JPG


Measure your powder charge. Maybe 30 to 40 grains of powder.

Cartridge08.JPG


Pour the powder in the tube and fold or twist the tube to close off the powder.

Cartridge09.JPG


Now you have a paper cartridge.

To load your pistol, tear off the tail and pour the powder down the muzzle. Turn the cartridge over and push the paper wrapped ball in the barrel and ram it home. Prime or cap and prepare to fire.

You may need to adjust paper size or paper thickness or mandrel diameter to get a smooth fit of the ball.
 

Sac

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Thanks Grenadier1758, I'm sorry but this is not what I'm talking about...

I don’t think about classic ML paper cartridge that you tear off to load, but the cartridge you insert in the cylinder of a C&B revolver and push down with a press or with the gun's lever.

Maybe my explanation is a bit confused, sorry.
 

Sac

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Thanks Britsmoothy. Do you mean that the loose powder has to enter a channel to be closer to the nipple?... Without that the spark of the cap would not reach the powder?
Sorry, I must not say that correctly, hope you see what I mean...

I just sent a message to Perdersoli to ask them about this subject.
 

Britsmoothy

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Thanks Britsmoothy. Do you mean that the loose powder has to enter a channel to be closer to the nipple?... Without that the spark of the cap would not reach the powder?
Sorry, I must not say that correctly, hope you see what I mean...

I just sent a message to Perdersoli to ask them about this subject.
That is exactly what I mean yes👍
 

Sac

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Ok then. Thanks for your answer, Britsmoothy.

I found an exploded view of the pistol, but of course, there's no view of the inside of the barrels...



Howdah Barrel.jpg
 

tenngun

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On a revolver the flash blows directly in to the chamber. The bottom of the nipple is right against the charge or the nitrated paper of the cartridge.
In the howdah or any side lock gun there is an air space and a sharp turn into the chamber.
I would bet you would get real unreliable ignition with lots of hang and misfires
 

Sac

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Thanks Tenngun!

I thought that the ignition would hit the powder on the side, but if I understand correctly, there is a turn, for the ignition to hit the charge at the very base?

Well, I guess my question has its answers!
 
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revolvers have inline ignition very close to the cartridge, rather than an indirect ignition like your pistol. Even in revolvers, the paper has to be very thin to work, that makes them rather fragile (they literally have to be in a wooden cartridge box when carrying them around or stacking them for storage or else they get trashed). For indirect ignition, like on your pistol, you'd have to resort to 1 wrap of tissue paper to get anything resembling consistent ignition. Then there is another issue...

One of the biggest origins for the "spark in the bore" nonsense comes from reenactors, who "cheat" when they load and don't pour the powder and insert the cartridge in two distinct motions, rather many just shove it all down at once and hope enough powder gets out to get ignition lol. Problem is, now you have paper around and behind the powder charge, and it gets hot enough to burn, but since it is not out in front of the charge, doesn't always get expelled upon firing (generally, the pressure and lack of oxygen puts it out, but without a bullet in reenactment cartridges, the pressure is much less, and there is a slim chance it could reignite, considering it would be right back there by the vent, where free oxygen would enter the bore early once pressure subsided). You rarely see this in revolvers (it does happen), but in a revolver, you can easily see into the chambers and confirm that there isn't any residue, much harder to do on a ML gun.

That second way you mention is most like a cartridge for the Enfield P1853, or the 1862 pattern US cartridge and it is the type of cartridge I use for all my ML guns. For mine: Find a dowel that is small enough to get at least 1.25 wraps of your chosen paper around it AND still fit in the bore. I cheat, and just use rectangles and a Elmer's Natural glue stick to seal the seam, rather than making a trapezoid (you get more cartridges form a sheet of paper that way). You will need 2 lengths of rectangle, a shorter one to hold your charge, and a longer one to holt the shot and powder cylinder, they need to be at least 1.25x the circumference of your ball or dowel (in order to get a good seam)

1. make the powder cylinder: take your shorter rectangle, roll it around your dowel, glue the seam. Slide the cylinder down, so there is enough paper hanging over to fold and crimp and completely close off the bottom. Fold the free edges in and crimp against a hard surface (I add a spot of glue just to help it hold), it should look sort of like a modern shotshell, just without a hole in the center (we don't want our powder falling out lol).

2. form the outer casing/ paper patching: take your longer rectangle and lay your dowel with powder cylinder (still on it) at the top edge, that will leave an empty compartment for your shot below. Roll the rectangle around the dowel (if you have another short section of dowel or a ball to put in the shot compartment, it helps to keep it tight) and glue the seam. Now insert your shot into the compartment (weigh your payload if using small shot, or just use the same volume).

3. choke and tie the base: then, take a bit of cheese wire, braided picture wire, or strong threat, and choke the tail beyond the shot. This will crimp the paper, tighten the paper up against the shot, and help the thread hold better. Then you will take thread (I use red, so it's easier to see), and wrap it around the choked waist twice and tie a square-knot.

4. Weigh and load the powder: yes I said weigh, while it isn't necessary for shotgun or single projectile "blastin" ammo, weighing your charges, along with consistent loading procedure, will make your groups shrink (not as big of a concern with a smooth pistol, I suppose). Anyways, meter out your powder however you can, as consistently as you can, and pour it into the powder cylinder.

5. Fold the tail- tap the bottom of the cartridge on the table a couple times to settle the powder a bit, then pinch the paper at the top of the charge, and make a crease. Then fold the edges in (the new tail will look like a really tall trapezoid when it's done). so long as you don't abuse them, these cartridges will stay closed pretty well.

6. Lube- I use, by weight (roughly): 3 paraffin, 1 crisco, .15 Diesel Anti-gel (it gets hot and cold in OH, don't want it to crack in winter or melt in the summer). Heat this mixture until it melts together, and then lower the temp until it is almost starting to solidify again. Now dip the shot end of your cartridge into the mixture up to the top of the shot (not the powder). It should cool and solidify very rapidly, this is key to making sure the paper doesn't soak in and stick the paper to the shot. If not, your lube is too hot, and it needs to cool. Place the completed cartridge to the side and grab another to lube.

7. package/label: I make up a bunch in the winter, and shoot from them all year. So I make up packets of 10, wrap and tie them in wax paper, and label the packets with what they are. I also use colored sharpie to make a color band around each one to signify what is in the cartridge, in case loose ones get mixed up (the Brits used different color paper for blanks and live ammo, so it's a good idea). just take a packet or two to the range with you. If you want to carry them around, you'll have to figure out a cartridge box of some sort (not hard, it's a bag that has a 2x4 with holes drilled in it lol)

Loading- place weapon on half cock, cast the weapon about (weapon muzzle up and at an angle, top of the barrels facing down/forward), retrieve cartridge, tear cartridge, pour powder, and insert cartridge (for rifles I reverse it and tear off excess paper, but for smooth bores, I insert the whole cartridge, empty powder cylinder first), retrieve rammer, ram, return rammer (that's important lol), prime.

The extra paper under the shot in the smoothbore acts like a cushion (so long as you don't crush the hell out of it), and wadding to keep it in place. With shot, I've always been happy with patterning out of my 12 bore, even with the cylinder choke in (many a flock of pigeon has fallen to its roar, 2.5oz of #8's, 100gr of 2F, 30-40 yards, it's like canister in a tight infantry formation) (for turkey I use a extra full choke and an oz of BB lead shot with 70gr of 2F, bout takes their head off). For upmost accuracy with a round ball (large shot), have the ball and paper together be within 5 thousandths (.005") of the bore diameter, Ex: my 12 bore (.721")- .710 ball, 1.25x wraps of 16# (.003") paper, comes out to .7175". With these cartridges (165gr 2F), I get 8"-9" at 100yards (from a rest, with sights), and can shoot 15 shots or so before I need to wipe, or risk pushing the ball through the paper. Not military ammo, but definitely better than military accuracy lol.
 
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Sac

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Wildrangeringreen, thank you for posting such a detailled answer, much appreciated, that's very very interesting.

I have to read it a couple of times more to really see what you mean (!), but Kudos to you !

By any chance, do you have a picture of one complete cartridge to see what it looks like once finished?...

And by the way, I never saw a forum with such an easy way to add pictures to a post, amazing!
 

Sac

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Back, after being busy at work, I read your instructions carefully, Wildrangeringreen.
If I understand what you wrote, the cartridge should look like that?
Wildrangeringreen's Cartridge.jpg

(obviously, there is no scale at all, it's just for the general "design"...)

If yes, do you glue the shot cylinder on the powder cylinder while rolling it?

What is approximately the lenght of the folded paper on the powder cylinder? Do you cut it as close as possible to the powder for loading the gun, or doesn't it matter?

Do you use the same system for a round ball?

Do you have a favorite paper?

Hope it's not to many questions, Thanks!
 

Sac

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I received an answer from Perdersoli:

Pedersoli eMail.png

Like everybody knows, if it's in a movie, it's reality, isn't it?
Too bad the question wasn't transfered to a technical member/engineer...
I guess the engineers are on muzzleloadingforum. :cool:
 
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