paper cartridges

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Bear Rider

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Certainly there's an advantage to exposing the powder charge directly to the cap's blast -- response time. A burn through of the paper takes time, combustible or not. If you want to see an extreme example of this, take a flintlock and fill the pan clear up over the top of the vent like they do in the movies. FFFFFFFFFFFFT----------BOOM. :grin:
 

wicket

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Pressed powder ignites instantly, so does nitrocellulose, i've fired both, trust me.Also, there's no comparison between a pan full of powder and a cap containing mercury fulminate. If you set powder off on a piece of paper, it blows upward with a poof. Mercury fulminate blows a hole down through the paper, trust me on that too. Seamless skin cartridges were also tapered, and there were patents on ways to strengthen them by wrapping them with thread, not what you would expect of a cartridge meant to split during loading. Finally, there aren't any patents out of the hundred or so i've read from the period that mention designing a cartridge to split open in the chamber, if it was a consideration, somebody would have mentioned it.
 

Zonie

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Hopefully lead styphnate does the same thing as mercury fulminate.

They haven't made caps using the corrosive mercury fulminate for years.
It's been replaced with lead styphnate and a few other things that leave non corrosive residues.

:grin:
 

wicket

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True,but the question pertains to Civil War era cartridges and what their ignition characteristics were with reference to whether they were tapered to insure splitting in the chamber to insure ignition, thus the reference to mercury fulminate.
 

wicket

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Results of an experiment in which lightly built tapered paper cartridges were loaded, placed in a glass tube, and crushed using a drill press.

 

Bear Rider

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What were the dimensions of the cartridge before pressing?

This is getting interesting. The amount of data that this thread has gathered is incredible.
 

crockett

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I'd agree, at least on the Colt Navy, that loading port is very small and unless you use a tapered case it is very hard to load a combustible. I tried a parallel shape with a buffalo bullet conical which looks like a semi wad cutter and I couldn't get it in the port to load. On a Remington Army, that cut out is huge with plenty of room for a round with more powder. The Army may have used a 17 gr charge on some loads to save money but that just doesn't sound like a typical army thing, as I said, I never thought about it before but now I am thinking a tapered shape that ruptures the case as it is being fully seated in the chamber- that may be the reason for the taper. Now I'm thinking about how I make my combustibles- maybe I can figure out a design that sort of "pulls apart" the base of the case as the round is seated. The idea here is that the case could break around the perimeter rather than across the base- leaving a layer of paper over the flash hole but if the design was correct maybe the case would always split apart across the base during the final movement of seating the round- hope I explained what I mean for others to understand.
For example- you fold over the cigarette paper to a double thickness as it is wrapped around the mandrel but the trap door that gets glued over the base is a single thickness- when the case ruptures the base will always split apart.
Well, something fun to work on.
 

wicket

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Bear, the cartridges were 1.1" long, .35" at the wide end, and .2" at the narrow end, the dimensions were dictated by the internal diameter of the largest size glass tubing i had on hand.I used glass because i wanted to see the actual crushing, and insure that ejecting the cartridge after crushing wasn't contributing to the bursting.
This has indeed been a very informative thread, and i've certainly learned a lot. Excellent participation and a lot of new ground broken on a topic many people consider a waste of band-width.
Crockett,in my experience so far getting the cartridge to fire is fairly easy, sealing the base with thin paper and minimal glue, or leaving it open and dripping a bit of shellac on the exposed powder have both worked.
Getting the case to either burn away completely or to exit the muzzle as chicken feathers seems to be the real challenge, since the delicate paper generally employed makes for rather fragile cartridges.
There's also the problem of how long it takes to make the things. I can produce four dozen cartridges an hour, but i suspect very few folks are willing to invest that amount of time and effort for a handful of cartridges.
 

Bear Rider

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I see one point of difference. My cartridges are for a .44, and are tapered to about the same diameter. Thus there is more wall to split. I'm going to have to see if I can figure out some way to simulate a .44 chamber. I assume that your test setup was just the tube set on the drill press table, with the table serving as the chamber bottom?
 

wicket

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Bear, you might be able to find some thin wall brass tubing of a suitable diameter online or through a hobby shop, or even glass tubing from a laboratory supply place like Elemental Scientific.
I used a piece of 1/8" aluminum as a chamber bottom when i pressed the cartridges.
What surprised me about the experiment was that when i load my usual cartridges, i have them standing in a block of wood bored to 3/8", and tamp the powder before gluing in the bullet. Now and then i split a cartridge in the process, and the split always begins near the top. Like everybody, i figured that that was how tapered cartridges operated; splitting from the top down and spilling powder into the bottom of the chamber.
The thing i observed while pressing the test cartridges was that they didn't split initially, the paper wrapper collapsed accordion fashion as the charge compressed, and only ruptured minimally low down on the side wall at the end of the compression cycle. I'm still scratching my head about what's going on!
 

crockett

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The other thing is the difference between what we make and the originals. I am not certain but I thought the original cases were stiff- maybe that forced rupture better than the flexible cigarette paper. I thought my good rate of ignition was due only to a single layer case but now I think it is a combination of a single layer and a tapered shape.
 

wicket

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Dunno why you'd attribute firing to a ruptured case Crockett, out of six cartridges i tested none of them ruptured to expose powder directly to the primer's flash, and only one even breached the base of the cartridge at all. The ratio of cartridge volume to chamber volume and ability of the cartridge to deform before rupturing suggest that the method is impractical as a means of insuring ignition, at best ignition would be indirect five times out of six.
Selecting a cartridge material because of its ability to rupture readily under pressure would result in a cartridge of such feeble strength as to be virtually useless as charge container.
In terms of design, it does appear that the base of a cartridge sealed with a paper disk expands in some way since the bases on the test cartridges didn't rupture. Depending on what's going on, it might be possible to seal the cartridge base with a star crimp rather like a shotgun shell and have the crimp open sufficiently during compression to expose the powder to the primer's flash. It's equally possible that the side walls of the cartridge are being forced into the bottom of the chamber as the wrapper accordions though, which would tend to strengthen the crimp rather than opening it.
 

Tinker2

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So have you tried Magicians Flash Paper yet?




William Alexander
 

wicket

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I've never tried commercial flash paper Tinker because i make my own. I was tempted to order some, but wasn't sure that the paper it was made from was suitable for cartridges, that's why i asked about the physical qualities of the stuff you used; to see whether i could simply buy flash paper rather than making it.
The current discussion about cone shaped cartridges isn't of any practical importance to me since i use flash paper, but it's an interesting subject none the less, and i enjoy experimenting with stuff.
 

LeMat1856

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deadidick,

sorry i didn't get these posted earlier, but i didn't actually think this topic would generate 14+ pages of debate. others have done this cartridge thing with great success and here are some of their videos:

CapandBall channel:
"Making paper cartridges for percussion revolvers"

Boom1850 channel:
"Making paper cartridges 1858 Remington

BusyHands94 channel:
[url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLG8z-khMlA]"How to make paper cartridges..."
"[/url]

enjoy !

~d~

ps. for some unknown reason, the "YouTube" linking icon doesn't work for me or these posts. has something changed or am i not doing it right ?
 

Ray-Vigo

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I pretty actively check YouTube for these sorts of things. I only recently came on the CapandBall channel, and I really enjoy their videos. They have a few others involving percussion revolvers (and other muzzleloaders). I believe he has a couple original revolvers he tests and compares in another video as well. I'd love to see a ballistics comparison of the originals versus the reproductions with different shapes and types of ammo and cartridges.
 

LeMat1856

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Ray-Vigo,

yeah, they are pretty good (as long as you can "decode" his hungarian-english dialict :grin: )

have you seen the other new video that has his offering and demonstration for an 1800's brass range finder ? i'd like to have one, but not at $36 each off of ebay. get real !

he's also going to offer his "authentic" six round box for those of us who want to have a travel-safe batch of perfabricated cartridges. no doubt the boxes will go for $25-35 each...!

keep the faith, bro,

~d~
 

wicket

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This is an interesting thread, one of the few that hasn't simply ended with:

A. Don't waste your time on cartridges.
B. Use curling papers and a glue stick.
C. Soak cigarette papers in potassium nitrate.

It's refreshing to see some in-depth discussion out here instead of the usual "do it my way, it's the best way" malarky.
 

LeMat1856

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wicket,

agreed !

and sorry for the glitch in my previous posting for "how to" youtube demos. hopefully this one will come out right.

[youtube]pC5mwOJ2Khg[/youtube]

this was made by Boom1850 and shows how to get 2-fer-1 out of large sized papers.

personally, i like to see it done before i start trying things like this.

later, bro,

~d~
 

Tinker2

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wicket said:
I've never tried commercial flash paper Tinker because i make my own. I was tempted to order some, but wasn't sure that the paper it was made from was suitable for cartridges, that's why i asked about the physical qualities of the stuff you used; to see whether i could simply buy flash paper rather than making it.
The current discussion about cone shaped cartridges isn't of any practical importance to me since i use flash paper, but it's an interesting subject none the less, and i enjoy experimenting with stuff.
You make your own flash paper, I am impressed. :bow:

You use concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid

If you are making your own then you could use any weight paper or cloth right?





William Alexander
 
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