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Why muzzleloading is awesome: Paper Cartridges 101

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by shibbershabber, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    Ive been into black powder off and on over the years, but lately Ive been getting more serious about it.
    Ive seen people with the paper cartridges and never bothered to try it... thinking it was a pain in the bubblegum or some other reason for me to be lazy.

    Now that Im in a spot where I need to occupy my free time with things other than looking for new guns to buy, I thought Id give it a shot.

    ITS AWESOME!

    I havent actually fired any of them yet, but Ive made them and they should work fine.

    Ive read that some people take their pick and poke into the powder side of the cartridge, Ill try that but it seems just as easy to rip out the bottom before stuffing it in.

    What I did was for .44 cal cap & ball revolvers, but the concept is the same for long guns / single shots.


    First, assemble your stuff.

    Balls
    powder
    Cigarette papers
    scissors
    a .38spl case (.357 if you need more powder)
    loading block of somekind
    .45acp box, or similar
    WP_20150907_23_30_37_Pro.jpg

    Place the ball on the open end of the brass & begin to wrap 1/2 cig paper around both. Be aware of the orientation of the glue strip! make sure it sticks properly
    WP_20150907_23_31_59_Pro.jpg

    lick the glue strip and finish wrapping the brass & ball
    WP_20150907_23_32_48_Pro.jpg

    wet the paper that is around the ball, just give it a sloppy kiss... then pat it or roll it in your fingers so that it clings to the ball.
    WP_20150907_23_33_32_Pro.jpg

    Blow on it some and place everything, ball side down, into the loading block. Carefully remove the brass case.
    WP_20150907_23_34_07_Pro.jpg

    Add your powder. I used 25gr of FFFg (real black or pyrodex) out of a premeasured spout.
    WP_20150907_23_34_45_Pro.jpg


    Carefully grab the cartridge in the middle, lift it out and wet the remaining paper... pinch & twist it into a small tail.
    WP_20150907_23_35_53_Pro.jpg

    Store them someplace dry where they wont get damaged. I use a plastic .45acp box from Midway that I used for my .45 reloads.
    WP_20150907_23_36_07_Pro.jpg

    To shoot them, just puncture or tear the paper before loading, stuff it into the cylinder and fire away. The paper will burn off or blow away.
    WP_20150907_23_36_57_Pro.jpg

    Just for fun, here are my 1858 Remingtons. Stainless Buffalo 12" and the standard 8" but with case color frame and checkered grips, both by Pietta.
    WP_20150904_22_25_01_Pro.jpg


    There it is. Super easy.
    Just do a few of them a day when you have a moment and by the time you get to go shooting you will have plenty of rounds already loaded.


    You can use this method for other calibers too. Just find something around the house that is close to the diameter of your ball. I used a .44mag case to load a .535 round ball cartridge.
    If you dont have empty brass of various calibers around, you can anything from pens to chapsticks. You can hit the hardware store and buy dowels too.

    Its the most fun you can have without the governments permission these days.
     
    Stomper, Dyjital, P7id10T and 12 others like this.
  2. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I haven't tried black powder yet, but this looks like an interesting process should I ever decide to do that. Thanks for the info.
     
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  3. Simonpie

    Simonpie Portland Active Member

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    Nice.
    I still have a couple civil war era paper cartridges that my dad collected as a kid. It will sure speed things up.
     
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  4. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    I was just looking into this!! This'll be my winter project :D
     
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  5. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Might as well, so long as the Feds continue to not classify them as regular firearms - no BGC, shipped straight to your house. What's not to like.
     
  6. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    My thoughts exactly! And as long as you have powder and caps the other stuff could be scrounged or improvised if push came to shove.

    There is a kid on youtube
    Codys lab.
    Made his own gunpowder using urine, and some other things of course.. But it can be done.
     
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  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Lol, he's pretty awesome. Makes his own 12ga slugs with some drilled out particle board.
    Oh, he's "picrockpro" boy
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
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  8. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'll have to check his channel out. I'll stick with commercial powder for my uses though :eek:

    There is also a channel called the WildernessOutfitters - Kind of a back woods survival kind of channel. He's got a video where he shows how to turn a break barrel 12 gauge into a black powder gun using regular 209 primers as caps and recycled shells to hold the powder, wad and shot - loaded from the muzzle. I'm looking forward to trying it sometime.
     
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  9. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I've never been a fan of paper cartridges in my revolvers, even when I nitrated my own papers.

    To each his own though.
     
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  10. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    What issues did you have?
     
  11. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Sigh. I gave up on them many years ago. Where to begin?

    1) I could never make more than 8 acceptable cartridges an hour. I thought it a waste of my, of so valuable, important time. :)

    2) That paper acts like a wad, but an unlubricated wad. For sustained accurate shooting, with black powder, my rounds require a lubricated wad. I make my own out of felt that I grease with a 50/50 solution of lambs tallow, and bees wax.

    3) If you try to incorporate the felt wad in the cartridge it adds an extra step and the wadded paper takes up room that in that small space that could be better used for powder.

    4) I like to leave a site cleaner than I found it. It's hard enough to find my greased wads down range. Picking up the paper confetti from the paper cartridge is a real pain…..

    5) It's not true that your paper cartridge will either all "burn up or blow away." Your cigarette paper is treated with a flame retardant. You will quite often leave small strips of paper inside the cylinder chambers after firing. They can be hard to see and you must fish them from the chambers (which can be a major pain using tweezers or something else) or else you run the risk of blocking the cylinder flash hole with flame retardant paper.

    6) I suppose it's somehow possible that your cartridge paper strips left in the cylinder might be smoldering when you pour in a fresh charge. That would be a disaster…..

    7) If you decide to nitrate your paper that adds to the expense and time in the preparation.

    Like I said: to each his own though.
     
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  12. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    Well... Thanks for raining in my parade.

    I got my system down pretty good with less than 10% needing to be re-rolled.
    It made me hopeful.

    Hadnt considered the paper left in the chambers... I'll have to see how that works out.

    Hopefully I get out to try them in the next few weeks.

    I'll post my results
     
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  13. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Great!:(

    Now I need a new gun...
     
  14. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    No problem.
     
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  15. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    Well, I read the thread.

    I made twenty .44cal cartridges this morning [I'm an early riser] for my ROA using Rizla large cigarette papers and by eleven o'clock they were dried out and fit to use.

    I went shooting with another pal with nothing else to do who could act as the other RCO.

    They all went perfectly without pricking the bottom, and left nothing in the chambers of any kind.

    More will be made this evening. Prolly a hundred.

    Thanks, Shibbershabber.

    tac
     
  16. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    Awesome.

    Can't wait to go shooting
     
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  17. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    Revisiting this thread and realized I forgot to update with my results...

    I shot a couple dozen of them through my '58 Bison and they worked reliably.

    I experimented with both tearing the paper before loading and hist stuffing it in the cylinder as is. Both ways I blomped my beeswax/Crisco lube in with my finger.

    Accuracy was good enough for casually hitting a steel plate at 20yds, though I haven't put it on a proper target. It definitely served it's purpose.

    The only thing I'd change is getting bigger papers to load more than the 25gr, which was the max capacity of the papers I used.
     
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  18. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts exactly!
     
  19. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I recently picked up a BP revolver used from a member here. I'm definitely going to have to try this trick with that revolver!
     
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  20. shibbershabber

    shibbershabber Vancouver Well-Known Member

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    Go big on the papers...

    I don't roll my own or even smoke for that matter... So I'm ignorant of papers. I don't know what size I had in the beginning... But a standard size is too small.

    PM me if you're in the pdx area and I'll give you some of my beeswax/Crisco lube to use. It's great for shooting but also coating the gun with before storage.
     
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