View Full Version : Cartridges for Muzzle Loading Rifles

10-31-2006, 07:14 PM
This is almost a direct quote from Ned's book. I see the problems, but think it's worth printing because it gives the reader a place to start in making cartridges.
I'm looking for help here in editing these and finding my errors.
Ned Roberts
Turn a hardwood cylinder about .012" to .014" smaller than the bore of the rifle and about 6" long.
Roll a piece of wrapping paper about .003" thick and 3.5 inches long around this cylinder and mark the paper where it makes two complete laps. Cut the paper off at this point, unroll it and place it on a piece of tin. Mark the tin and cut the tin to shape to make a tin pattern for cutting the pieces of paper for the cartridges.
Use the tin pattern and a sharp knife to make the papers, six to eight thicknesses of paper can be cut at one time.
Roll a piece of the paper on the cylinder and paste the end down with gum arabic mucilage.
Slip the paper tube off the cylinder and allow it to dry.
After a supply of tubes has been made, slip one over the cylinder nearly to the end.
Place a round ball with the sprue up inside the tube. The tube should extend about 3/8" over the ball.
Twist the end of the tube, tie the end with a white thread and slip the tube with the ball inside off the cylinder.
Place a lubricated, correctly sized felt wad in the tube, over the ball.
Pour a measured charge of powder behind the wad and ball, into the tube, and finish the cartridge by twisting the end of the paper cylinder and tying it with red thread.
Then, with a small brush, apply a light coat of beeswax to the front end of the cartridge in which the ball is held, in order to facilitate loading and take the place of the oiled cloth patch.
When loading, the end that was tied with the red thread is grasped in the teeth, the end of the paper torn off, the powder poured down the bore, and the rest of the cartridge pushed down onto the powder with the ramrod.
When loading these cartridges with the conical bullet for the rifle. the end of the tube was attached with gum arabic mucilage to the base of the bullet and dried with the point of the bullet extending from the tube.

10-31-2006, 10:56 PM
When I was in the Civil War Skirmish Association many years ago, both of our units, Blue and Grey, made up our own paper cartridges. Someone found the old specifications and we went from there (in the war days the work was done by "boys"). I still have the wood mandrel and some cut supplies we made up. In fact, I still have 40 rounds made up and stored in the tin containers that went into the leather Cartridge Box.

We showed up at a "National" match in Dayton, NV (just across the highway from the "Sagebrush Ranch," which advertised by means of a revolving red light:roll: ) with our handmade ammo.

Within a couple minutes of the start of our first relay on the line, we had a bunch of onlookers asking what the heck the paper litter was! It was a lot of fun for us to shoot just as the boys in Blue and Grey did in their time. Cleaning up after shooting was quick and easy, too.

11-15-2006, 01:32 PM
The authentic cartridges are cool but a pain.Most guys now in the North-South skirmish assn use plastic cap plugs [thingies used to protect threads on pipes] We are not allowed to have any paper be shot for the fire hazzard.They come in all lengths and dia. Just measure powder and set bullet in opening.
Pic shown are a couple ways to do smoothbore .69 That red tube will hold 110 gr of ff and the 500 gr rb.