paper cartridges

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wicket

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The cartridge packets inspire me too, i'm thinking of the wooden Colt packets but bored with a taper to suit my cartridges. After going cross-eyed reading old patents, i think J. H. Ferguson basically invented the workable combustible, so i hope to be able to cook up a label for my packets with is name on it, give the old guy some credit!
I shoot colt navies, and have no doubts about their accuracy, especially given the crude sights. They maybe don't punch as hard as my .38spl, but close enough.
 

BowerR64

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wicket said:
Combustibles aren't for everybody, that's a fact. The little plastic vials probably make more sense than rolling paper into a cartridge and then tearing the end off the thing to dump the powder into the chamber, seems like a lot of powder would get spilled.
The OP's topic though was how to seal the end of the cartridge without a lot of misfires. I've never tried it, but i wonder whether a drop of shellac or something on the actual powder would work to seal the thing, like they used to do with the fulminate mixture in caps back in the day.
That was the best luck i had with paper before i started using the tubes. I have decent dexterity left in my hands but working with the ppaer can be tricky. I twisted mine wich might be why i had issues. Ripping one end of the twist off and letting the powder dump in wasnt to bad though.

The pellets made by pyrodex wernt to bad but 30 grains of 3F was pretty stiff for me and after the first 100 round can i didnt buy a second.

Like i said though after i found a system and i started hitting the paper with this system i then focused on my shooting and now im an accuracy junkie. Now im workign on other things like trigger pull weight, chamber size to bore size, muzzle crowns, the other things that help accuracy.

Another goal i have is when im at the range i want anyone else who is curious to see how quick and simple black powder can be. We have 15 minute timmed sessions between fire and cease fire to load and shoot. With people there its more like 10-12 minutes.
 

wicket

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Good point about getting into accuracy Bower, best thing about this hobby aside from the bang and cloud of smoke is all the different ways you can go with it. There's something for everybody, so congratulations on your efforts to spread the faith at the range, lot of folks don't know what they're missing 'till they see it demonstrated.
 

crockett

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Bower- I'm sort of lacking in skills as far as posting photos but I came up with something similar. I made permanent single powder charge holders from heavy paper- rolled up and glued. and then a cardboard plug at the bottom- glued, and then a similar construction but shorter- which serves as a cap. These are about the diameter of a cigarette and a little over an inch in length and all they hold is a powder charge. The balls I keep seperate as well as pre-lubed wads and caps, plus a nipple wrench- all fitted into an Altoid Can. As you said these pre-measured charges and ball are far more accurate than the combustible cartridges.
Combustible cartridges were also made at the Richmond Arsenal during the Civil War. The Richmond ammunition was just put loose in a small cardboard box (like small turtles were sold years ago) and there was a lot of breakage of the cartridges as they rattled around. I tried to find out if any Federal Arsenals made combustible cartridges but so far have found nothing. I think (not sure) that the federals bought/contracted out for all their cartridges of this nature.
 

wicket

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Cartridge packets from the Watervliet Arsenal show up online, Frankford too, but the Frankford ones all seem to be dated after the Civil War.
 

BowerR64

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The rubber tubes for me seem like the most simple because it holds not just the powder but the ball as well. They are also reusable wich eventually will pay for themself over the paper.

Last summer i shot about 3 times a week and i average about 18-24 shots per day. I shot alot! I think i gave the paper a good test of about 100 shots before i tried something different.

When i dumped the powder from the paper i then pushed the paper down ontop as a wad then i packed the ball.

The bugler papers is what i used they seem cheap enough and wide enough to wrap around my jig.

The fun of these guns is trying different things so try everything and see what you like. I still havnt decided on a powder or a speed i like yet either. I may not till i run out of the 5 different pounds that i have. :confused:
 

Zonie

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While you guys and gals are playing with c&b cartridges try to find out what Eley was buying from the Germans so they could make the foil cartridges that Colt liked so well.

Whatever they were made from seemed to make them waterproof but the metal seemed to vanish when the chamber fired.
No burning paper fragments left behind either.

My guess is they were super thin tin foil.

I don't think I've ever seen real tin foil in my 70 year lifetime but maybe some modern cheap aluminum foil might work.
Then again, maybe not. :hmm:
 

wicket

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I've also heard that Colt used extremely thin tin foil from Germany, there isn't an American patent on his process that i've been able to find.
Tin foil no matter how thin is not an ideal cartridge material, it's mechanically weak and not reliably vaporized by the powder charge. It is waterproof, but there are other ways to keep cartridges dry.
There are lots of pictures of Colt combustible cartridges made from paper, and Eley's 1869 patent (No.88948)for a consumable cartridge suggests tin foil as a cartridge material was less than satisfactory.
 

desi23

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I don't have the book handy but the Colt foil cartridges were covered in one of the older biographies of Samuel Colt. He actually spent quite a bit of time and effort to get the government to buy his waterproof loads for everything from handguns to cannon.

They worked well though he had trouble passing some of the waterproof tests due to variations in the quality of the foil. They also left a type of metal fouling in the chamber but were free of embers that might cause pre-ignition. The fouling was worse in the larger bores but could be cleaned out with a brush if I remember correctly.
 

jaxenro

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I am starting some experiments using model airplane silkspan and nitrate dope. Silkspan is a light, tough, thin tissue paper used for covering model airplanes. Nitrate dope is used to stiffen, glue, strengthen, shrink, and waterproof the silkspan but it does have the side effect of making the paper very flammable. I have seen some tests by modelers who were worried about this side effect and compared to untreated paper this stuff just flames up like crazy.

I am making a form now do I can do twelve cartridges at a time. I plan to form the silkspan over shaped dowels, brush on about three coats of full strength dope, then charge with powder and glue in the ball with more dope.

I am hoping this will make a traditional paper cartridge that is sturdy, somewhat waterproof, and burns completely
 

wicket

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I read somewhere that American foil tended to have small holes in it where the German foil did not. Don't know whether there is such a thing, but magnesium foil might work, it's one of the few metals i can think of that might ignite from a powder charge.
 

aeatwood

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One thing you might try for paper is flash paper from a magician supply shop. I am content w/ powder, lubed wad, and ball.
 

jaxenro

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I think flash paper, from what I have heard, is too unstable for cartridges
 

wicket

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Tin foil looks like it was a dead end, i wonder how many engraved boxed revolvers Colt gave away to government officials in an effort to sell his foil cartridges.
Flash paper's my choice so far for combustible cartridges, burns clean as a whistle, i'd try compressed powder though if i could figure a simple way to press the stuff into a cone shape for easy loading.
I load loose powder and ball too, but i enjoy experimenting with other methods.
 

Mike 56

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I have been shooting these paper carts they load easy in my MNA and 1860 colt. I even made some wood blocks for them. With the cig papers i am using i don't need to use a nipple pick before shooting them. Once in while their is a little cig paper left the chambers.



 

wicket

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Nice job on the wood block, Mike. With the light-weight papers that burn away cleanly a block probably contributes a lot to keeping the cartridges undamaged.
Jaxen's experiment with silkspan and nitro dope sounds very interesting for making a somewhat stronger cartridge, and i look forward to hearing the results, but think that any paper cartridge is going to perform better if carried in the proper sort of packet.
 

jaxenro

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I usually keep mine in the little tins that look like altoids tins.
 

wicket

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I'm experimenting with a new paper just now, it's 100% rag and about twice as thick as a "Top" brand cigarette paper, hopefully it'll make for a more substantial cartridge and still load and fire ok.
 

wicket

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The video does a good job of demonstrating how to make a workable paper revolver cartridge. The overlap of curling paper, tissue, and glue from a glue stick used to seal the base of the cartridge will sometimes leave a bit of paper behind,so steps should be taken to make sure nothing is smouldering in the chamber before reloading.
It's not an authentic cartridge by any means, Ordinance would have insisted it be waterproof, mechanically stronger, and cleaner burning, but it's still a fine way of making cartridges for the modern black powder enthusiast, and would solve the ignition problem the original poster was having with the cartridges he was making.
 
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