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Author Topic: Paper cartridge know-how ?  (Read 69284 times)

15. July 2007 kl. 5:04:28
Read 69284 times

manykids


First of all; thank you for your welcome to the board Oyvind.  

Coincidentally, I am in occasional contact with one of your countrymen on another Forum, his screen name is Storegnu and he is a contributor to the 6.5 Grendel Forum, he is an IPSC competitor, you might find http://www.65grendel.com/forum/ to be of interest.

Now to my inquiry:  I have some rifles and muskets that I'd like to shoot using assembled paper cartridges, as would have been used by the infantrymen who originally fought with these weapons.  I was accustomed to just pouring a charge of BP into the barrel, and putting a patched ball or bullet directly onto the charge, which works very well once the correct combination of components is arrived at for each weapon.  

Still, I think it might be interesting to experiment with paper cartridges, both for comparative accuracy testing, and rate of fire too.  I understand that an experienced British musketeer could load and fire 5 rounds per minute through his Brown Bess.  I'd like to see ow many I might be able to shoot through  mine with some practice.  

In addition to the Bess, I will be shooting paper cartridges through a 1777 French Charleville musket, and an 1861 Springfield rifle. Will be using round balls in the muskets, and Minie balls in the Springfield.  Would any board members know of a good tutorial to learn how to make paper cartridges for these guns ?  I am looking for historically correct version if that is still possible.  

Thanks,  Tom
The opposite of talking is not

listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.  Fran Liebowitz

17. July 2007 kl. 19:00:40
Reply #1

Øyvind F.

Administrator
This is a quite extensive subject. The making of all these types of paper cartridges are described in my blackpowder book, but this book is only available in Norwegian.


.75 cal. British style cartridge.

French and British paper cartridges for the smoothbore musket differ slightly. The British tied the ball to the cartridge with a woollen thread while the French simply folded the paper over the ball.

To make the French style of cartridge, see this article. If you want to make the British style, simply tie a thread in front of and behind the ball.

Minié cartridges consist of an outer wrapping, a paper casing for the powder and a paper casing for the ball. Here you must decide whether to make the British style or the American style. The British style is used for miniés that is loaded with a paper patch, while the American version contained a lubricated grease groove bullet.


British style Pritchett cartridge for .577 and .58 cal. muskets.


This site describes the fabrication of an American style cartridge.

Finally, this site describes both roundball and minié cartridges.
Øyvind F. - forum admin
Ta også en kikk på kammerlader.no.

18. July 2007 kl. 12:18:30
Reply #2

manykids


Thanks for the links, Oyvind.  If your book has good diagrams and photos showing the steps to make cartridges, I'm sure I could puzzle out the Norwegian text.  Is your book available in the US ?  If not, can I order one from you and pay with a Visa ?  I sent something to an acquaintance in Norway a few months ago and it was simple to do, it's a small world now after all :-) .  Tom
« Last Edit: 18. July 2007 kl. 12:19:57 by 695 »
The opposite of talking is not

listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.  Fran Liebowitz

24. July 2007 kl. 21:19:50
Reply #3

Øyvind F.

Administrator
No, the book is not available in the US. I don't take VISA, but perhaps you can order it through a Norwegian book store like Bokkilden, or directly from the publisher.

I was working on an English translation, and I'm about half way through the book. I stopped about a year ago, and I don't know if I will ever finish it.
Øyvind F. - forum admin
Ta også en kikk på kammerlader.no.

06. August 2007 kl. 15:31:39
Reply #4

tommy303


Hi Tom,

The following links show the relevant pages from the 1856 edition of the US Ordnance department's Experiments for Small Arms for Military Service.

http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h130/thomas_fuller/Burtonballcartridge1.jpg

http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h130/thomas_fuller/Burtonballcartridge2.jpg

hope that is of some help.

Thomas
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

06. August 2007 kl. 23:23:47
Reply #5

manykids


> Hi Tom,
>
> The following links show the relevant pages from the 1856 edition of the
> US

Ordnance department's Experiments for Small Arms for Military Service.
>
>

http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h130/thomas_fuller/Burtonballcartridge1.jpg
>
>

http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h130/thomas_fuller/Burtonballcartridge2.jpg
>
> hope that is of some help.
>
> Thomas

Thomas;  Many

thanks.  Tom
The opposite of talking is not

listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.  Fran Liebowitz

07. August 2007 kl. 1:49:57
Reply #6

tommy303


Hi Tom,

My pleasure.  A slightly less complex version was widely used in the Civil War by government contractors, probably as a time/cost saving measure.  This eliminated the innermost cylinder of rocket paper.  I have made and used both kinds and the inclusion of the stiff rocket paper gives a bit more rigidity to the cartridge and helps break thouter and inner wrappers when the empty powder end is struck against the muzzle.  The outer wrapper breaks clean, allowing the greased bullet to be squeezed directly from the remains of the outer wrapper directly into the rifle muzzle (bearing in mind the entire bullet was slightly lubricated by dipping into melted lubricant).  

Thomas
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

08. August 2007 kl. 1:47:30
Reply #7

tommy303




a Packet of ten rounds plus three loose rounds of my making.

Thomas
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

08. August 2007 kl. 2:06:44
Reply #8

manykids


> a Packet of ten rounds plus three loose rounds of my making.

What sort of paper do you use for your cartridges ?  Did you make these following the instructions as provided in the pages you sent yesterday ?  How well do they
shoot ?  Finally, what do you use them in ?  I am going to be shooting some in my 1861 Springfield Artilleryman's rifle.  I have an 1803 Harper's Ferry that I want to try paper cartridges in too; have you a lot of experience with paper cartridges ?  Tom
The opposite of talking is not

listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.  Fran Liebowitz

08. August 2007 kl. 4:19:12
Reply #9

tommy303


Hi Tom,

Yes I have made and used paper cartridges for years for my P1853 Enfield and Long Land Pattern Musket.  The cartridge pictured were made according to the 1856 treatise I posted.  The paper is newsprint for the inner and outer wrappers and I use heavy card stock for the inner powder cylinder.  The bullet is the Lyman old-style minie as designed by Burton in the 1850s.  I have also made and used the British Pritchett bullet and cartridge as well.  Both seem to shoot quite well in my Enfield with service charges.  The American cartridge had 60 grains of powderbehind a 480gr bullet, while the British had 2.5 drams, which is about 68 grains, propelling its 530gr Pritchett ball.  One can experiment though, but I would not exceed those charges by much as it can result in the hollow base belling out like a drag chute.  This tends to ruin the exterior ballistical performance, and at any rate the slow twist of your Springfield will probably not stabilize a bullet over a certain velocity.  I suspect that the given service charges were a bit larger than needed to allow for spillage of powder during loading under difficult combat conditions, and a charge of 50 to 55 grains might give better accuracy.  

I believe the 1803 rifle was issued with both a small waistbelt cartridge box, as well as powder horn and bullet bag for normal rifle type loading.  The cartridges were intended to be used only to speed up rate of fire in emergencies.  If you intend to try the 1803 andflintlock muskets in military fashion, make yourself a frizzen stall.  This is a heavy leather sleeve which fits over the frizzen and is attached to the trigger guard or sling swivel by a leather lace or cord.  This is necessary since in military drill the pan was primed from the cartridge before the musket was loaded--the term don't go off half-cockedhad real meaning back then.  It does slow up rate of fire just a little, but that is better than having an accidental discharge during loading.  The stall also makes a dandy safety when carrying a loaded flintlock.

thomas
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

08. August 2007 kl. 6:31:52
Reply #10

tommy303




Packet of 10 Pritchett Cartridges with single example of bullet and cartridge.  The coloured band is a gummed paper strip which holds the outer tube holding the bullet to the inner powder tube.  The bullet end is greased and is slit in three places to help the paper shed as the bullet leaves the muzzle.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

09. August 2007 kl. 18:48:41
Reply #11

tommy303




Hi Tom,

This would be an interesting round for your muskets: this is the 75 calibre buck and ball with one tier of five buckshot on top of a musket ball. In an exchange of vollies between formed infantry at 100m or less this could be devastating.  The addition of the buckshot would increase the number of projectiles going down range from 500 for an average battalion of foot to 3000.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

10. August 2007 kl. 1:17:17
Reply #12

tommy303


> > a Packet of ten rounds plus three loose rounds of my making.
>


> What sort of paper do you use for your cartridges ?  Did you make these
> following the instructions as provided in the pages you sent yesterday ?


> How well do they shoot ?  Finally, what do you use them in ?  I am going
> to be shooting some in my 1861 Springfield Artilleryman's rifle.  I have
> an 1803 Harper's Ferry that I want to try paper cartridges in too; have
> you a lot of experience with paper cartridges ?  Tom

I was thinking about your 1803 Harper's Ferry rifle.  The list of accoutrements issued with it included a small linen cartridge box (which in the event did not
stand up well to campaigns and was replaced with a leather and wood box worn on the waistbelt), a bullet bag, and powder horn.  This indicates that the rifle
was primarily loaded with powder from the horn and a patched round ball in the usual manner.  The inclusion of a small belly cartridge box was for scaled
down musket cartridges for use in emergencies to increase the rate of fire.  Presumably these had smaller diameter balls than the ones used with patches to
allow for ease and rapidity of loading, although it is possible that the cartridge might have had a prepatched ball in the manner of Britain's Baker Rifle.  In these the cartridge was the usual paper construction but with a pre greased patch tied around the ball (at least during the campaigns against the
French).  

I do not know if the US followed that practice, but there were instances in the Revolutionary War of riflemen being issued with or given the materials to make cartridges.  The main problem of the day was the riflemen's slow rate of fire compared to musket armed line infantry or fusil armed light infantry.  Cartridges helped speed up the loading of the rifle, though the undersized and unpatched ball would lead to a loss of accuracy.  An alternative would be to have a paper cartridge with just the premeasured charge, and a number of greased and patched balls in a wooden loading block.  This would speed things up slightly by eliminating the need to fumble around for powder horn and measure, and had been well established by the time of the
Revolutionary War.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

12. August 2007 kl. 0:30:41
Reply #13

manykids


Thomas;  

You must be a re-enactor, you are a wealth of information.  How long have you been shooting and studying these guns ?  I am a real novice, there is always some other thing that drags me away from my gun hobbies, (we have 7 children, 4 yrs to 14 yrs), plus we are both self-employed...it will be nice when the last kid is in school, we might have more free time then.  I am eager to assemble some cartridges using the techniques I have now, hope to get a copy of Oyvind's book soon too. Magnus, an acquaintence in Norway, is going to help when he gets back from Germany, I guess.  Do you live in the US ?  Tom
The opposite of talking is not

listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.  Fran Liebowitz

12. August 2007 kl. 4:01:06
Reply #14

tommy303


Hi Tom,

I purchased my first black powder rifle, a .40 calibre DGW Flintlock long rifle in 1960.  Since that time, the rifles and muskets I have or have had include:

.50 calibre flintlock Southern Mountain Rifle,
45-70 Springfield rifle model 1873
45-55 Springfield carbine model 1873
50-70 Alin conversion Model 1866
11x59R Gras Model 1874
75 calibre Long Land Pattern Musket
.577 Enfield P-1853
.577 MkIII* Snider-Enfield Carbine
-577-450 Martini-Henry
.54 calibre Sharps Carbine M-1863
.45 calibre Sharps conversion of the
M-1863 45-70 Navy Arms Rolling Block Remington,
45-70 Burgess Lever action rifle with a Morse barrel
a variety of percussion and cartridge BP pistols

I have indeed done re-enacting when I was still able to keep up with the youngsters.  

Revolutionary War (64th Regiment of Foot)
Mexican War (Horse Artillery)
Civil War (3rd US Infantry and 2nd US Artillery)
Indian Wars period 1856-1880 (3rd Infantry, 1st US Cavalry, 2nd US Artillery)

I live in Arizona with my wife and daughter and I hold Bachelor's and Master's degrees in history.

I thoroughly enjoy black powder shooting, although my colleciton has been reduced to a handful of favorite shooters (I do wish now that I had not sold or traded a lot of the ones I used to have--but that is life I suppose).  It has always been a pleasant learning exprience, using the tools of the past in the context of the times.

When I first started out there was not a very wide pool of experienced shooters or suppliers to draw upon.  In fact a lot of learning the ins and outs of the sport was by trial and error.  I will be extremely interested in following your progress, and please feel free to ask questions at any time.

yours
Thomas
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

12. August 2007 kl. 9:18:23
Reply #15

tommy303


The following link has some examples of original cartridge packet wrappers: http://www.cw1861.com/1Originals.htm

This link shows a variety of CW cartridges.  note the colour or colours of the paper used: http://www.cw1861.com/1Single%20Cartridges.htm

Also note the red and white thread used on the .69 cal ball cartridge
« Last Edit: 12. August 2007 kl. 9:19:22 by 700 »
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman

17. August 2007 kl. 7:33:12
Reply #16

Fabian23


This thread has got me into thinking about trying some cartridges from my orignial India pattern Bessy :-P

If you like a paper cartridge challenge, get yourself a Chassepot needle rifle.  It is very labour intensive but worth it.  They shoot wonderfully.
Give me iron, steel and wood!  Tupperware guns are for losers!

My website, growing entry by entry:http://www.militarygunsofeurope.eu[/url]

17. August 2007 kl. 10:00:14
Reply #17

Øyvind F.

Administrator
> It you like a paper cartridge challenge, get yourself a Chassepot needle
> rifle.  It is very labour intensive but worth it.  They shoot wonderfully.

Picture, pictures, pictures! :-D I don't know of people here in Norway that shoots the Chassepot. I have wondered about getting myself a Chassepot or a Dreyse needle gun, but haven't got around to it yet.
Øyvind F. - forum admin
Ta også en kikk på kammerlader.no.

17. August 2007 kl. 12:11:30
Reply #18

Fabian23


> Picture, pictures, pictures! :-D I don't know of people here in Norway
> that shoots the Chassepot. I have wondered about getting myself a
> Chassepot or a Dreyse needle gun, but haven't got around to it yet.

I use a method I found on t'interweb, with a few adaptations of my own:

I use nitrated paper ordered from Dixie, cut it up according to my chamber dimensions.




Some recommend filling the cap with powder before glueing it to the disc, I don't with the theory that it will slow the needle down as it passes through.











The strip of paper around the bullet is also nitrated paper, it is not intended to produce a patched bullet, it is just to provide a tight fit into the paper tube. Currently I use 55gr Swiss#2 with a traditional 45-70 RN bullet.

Managed to score 82 last time I did a series (50m) with it.  It does not like being held 'target style' unlike my Vetterli for instance, I always get my best results with standard rifle grip.

It isn't a faithful reproduction of the real one, I'll try that someday.  I'm just happy with my current concoction, which the rifle seems to like.
Give me iron, steel and wood!  Tupperware guns are for losers!

My website, growing entry by entry:http://www.militarygunsofeurope.eu[/url]

17. August 2007 kl. 18:37:09
Reply #19

tommy303


I would love to have one.  

It looks just like the sort of challenge I love.  Nice job on the cartridge design and making.  It is too bad that needle guns show up so rarely in the US.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

A.E. Housman