View Full Version : Paper Patch Bullets

03-04-2006, 12:28 AM
Am ready to take the next step up the ladder of casting want to start or try to reload with paper patch. :violin:

Have a ton of Questions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How much smaller than the bore should your bullet be?
What kind of paper to use?
How many wraps of paper on the bullet?
Would consider gettin a custom mould, WHO'S??????
Would an adjustable mould be a good thing or a bad thing?

This is to start out with an 1875 C. Sharps in 40-90SBN. was thinking of about 370 GRN, Close? :lovebooli

Any help would be a god sent!!!!!
Thanks Ken. :castmine:

John Boy
03-04-2006, 01:20 AM
Kodiak, you may want to start here:
Making, Loading, and Shooting Paper Patched Bullets


03-04-2006, 07:50 AM
................Kodiak1, there is no deep dark secrets to paper patching, and it is a very simple straightforward operation. Like all the rest of reloadng, casting and shooting sits on the bedrock of consistancy, so does patching.


These boolits above I swaged for use in a Whitworth and Rigby style long range match rifles. They weigh 540grs, have a hollowpoint and cup base, and come from the swage die at .443". They are then patched to .451" using 2 wraps of 9# paper. As they're for muzzle loaders, they cannot be much over the bore diameter in order to load.


These on the other hand were paper patched to get a .472" over the patch diameter, using 2 wraps of 20# paper. The slug in this instance is a Lee 457-405F 'as cast' at .458"and then patched. Unlike the muzzle loaders, these are patched pretty much to fit the throat and the leade. In this case the Martini-Henry 577-450. This rifle has a long gentle leade. We're mimicing the original British load to a degree, but fudging with the paper to get the diameter.

The Brits had a .465" slug they patched up. I didn't have a slug going that fat so chose a heavier (fatter) paper to bring it up to spec.

The above should bring up the fact that you do NOT have to have a dedicated cast or swaged lead boolit in order to paper patch successfully. By sizing to various degrees before or after patching, in conjunction with various paper thicknesses, you can get just about any diameter you'd need.

A really stupendous performer is again the Lee 405gr slug, and this time patched with 9# paper which makes it .465" over the patch. The slug is lubed and then run down into a .459" die and then loaded. Basicly you can take any 45 cal slug cast kind of soft, size it to about .452" and then patch it with a suitable paper (9# airmail is great) back up to groove diameter.


As above, paper patching allows quite a bit of latitude. In the instance above, for a 444 Marlin. I have one built on a Martini-Greener with a very fast 14" twist Douglas barrel. Since at that time ALL 444's suffered with a 38" twist, the heaviest slug one could use was a 265gr bullet. There were no really heavy slugs going 300+ grains. Lee and a few others came out with heavier slugs but mainly aimed at pistols.

What I did was to take the RCBS 43-370 intended for the 43 Spanish. Since I had a 43 Spnaish rifle and the mould, it wasn't much to try it out. I cast them fairly soft at 8 bhn, and they dropped at .438". They were then sized to .432" in a ho-made push through sizer. Just about the right size at that point. However, they were then paper patched and now miked at .439".

The patched slugs were sprayed with a spray moly lube intended for machine surfaces (mould drop out, or other spray graphite and moly's would work) and were sent again, back up through the .432" size die. You can see on the one slug lying on the left, the shiny paper surface that was burnished in it's passage through the die.

Being as it was a straight walled rimmed case as was going to be shot from a Martini, I decided that the name '444 Marlin' just wouldn't do. I started calling it the 11.7x63R which seemed much more fitting.

Read Brent's fine article on the art of patching as he explains a lot and no sense repeating it all here. If you are wanting to patch a slug that takes a GC, you should GC it before patching. Remember you do not need real fancy paper. Most any 'Bond' type paper will work. It's main attributes have to be that it is tough enough to be wetted and stretched as it's rolled on the boolit. When dry, it will be like it's painted, on if you did it right.

Common papers for patching are:

Dress pattern: .001 - .0015"
9# airmail 25% cotton: .002"
Medium typing: .003"
16# Bond: .0035 - .004"
20# Bond: .004 - .0045"
24# Bond: .0045+"

The 'lessor' suitable papers being the various bond types can have quite a latitude in thickness and quality. Many you buy these days are re-cycled. I don't suggest re-cycled paper for patching. Besides these you can experiment with papers from crafts stores or art supply places alng with drafting papers.

A pal of mine bought a MkIV 577-450 Martini not long after I got mine. One time he showed up at the range and he had patched his boolits up with 4 color newspaper insert advertising paper! :bigsmyl2: That and the fact that he used TP over his powder charge provided a literal fog of paper confetti 5' off the muzzle!


03-05-2006, 01:18 PM
This is very interesting! This might be just the thing for my .303 and my t/c Renagade .54. both of these rifles have been giving me problems. I was able top find a site where a fellow was using pp with a muzzle loader and if I make a custom sizer for my Lee mold maybe? Then I might need a custom homemade mold. What ta heck its winter and a good time to try this .

03-05-2006, 02:23 PM
I could recommend a very good book on the subject of modern paper patching. The requirements with smolkeless are agood bit different than Black Powder. The book is "The Paper Jacket" by Paul Mathews and is published by Wolfe Publishing. It should be in everyone's library who is remotely interested in paper patching. It is arguable the best hunting bullet going for cast bullets. It is a GOOD read.



03-05-2006, 03:30 PM
I haven't done a lot of PP shooting--some was disastrous, other attempts were quite successful.

One thing Buckshot didn't mention in his text that he pointed out to me at the range--the absolute burnished brightness of the rifle's bore after firing PP boolits--like a new-in-box Winchester nickel-steel bore.

Now, if you screw up.......like I did......you will have a lead mine to extract ore from that will last through both games on an NFL Football Sunday, and you'll be putting the rifle back in the safe as Sunday Night Football gets under way. "How might thee know this?" you ask......

Many here know the history of The Albatross......the Lee Five Dollar 500 Grain 45 Rifle Mold I got at the Great Western L.A. Gunshow some years back. I'll save the newer membership the sordid details, but what it boils down to is this--the tool leads the pack in the race to be the Most Grossly Undersized Mold On Earth. No matter the casting method or metal--.454" is as good as it gets, and no more.

The castings are too long for use in the BisHawk x 45 Colt. Yes, I checked. Whatever part of human nature insists on making use of what is obviously a deeply flawed tool I don't know--but the tendency was fully awake and absolutely uninfluenced by common sense at this point of the venture. I next cast some slugs with pure lead in this mold, and they fell out at about .452". These were wrapped to .460" with 9# airmail paper, and gas checks were not attached. A coating of Lee Liquid Alox was given, and the boolits were seated into cases atop some reasonable amount of IMR-4198. I did 20 of these as a test run.

I don't know which problem to blame--Buckshot and Bearwalker helped with the autopsy, but it's still a crapshoot. Anyway, by Round #7 the distinctive sound of a cartwheeling boolit could readily be heard, even by older guys with bad hearing. Buckshot's talent for understatement was in full force--"They sound understabilized", or some similar thing. A look down the formerly 45 caliber bore showed a diameter of roughly 41-42. Not good.

I don't know if the absence of a gas check is responsible for this outcome, or the "Government Ballseat's" rather abrupt rifling leade, or both. In any event, use a gas check on any paper patch attempt using a boolit shanked for same.

45 2.1
03-05-2006, 04:59 PM
One thing no one has mentioned is: DON'T LET THE PATCHED BOOLIT GET A RUN AT THE RIFLING, seat your patched boolit so that the patch touches and engraves lightly on the rifling. Do anything else and you might be like Al.

03-05-2006, 08:00 PM
I asked for help and it looks like I am getting it.
Some are really fun the most I will try out.
Keep the pointers coming.
Thanks Ken.

03-06-2006, 03:16 AM
.................Well another pointer is lube. Lots of stuff will work to a greater or lesser degree of success. If a lube turns the paper translucent it ain't gonna work.
Best long term lube is a spray on moly. Distinctly non sticky so it won't gather up abrasives, or melt. Not really affected by being carried in a pocket.

Next best lube is Lee LA. Best attribute is it's ease to apply. Worst is that like a 22RF slug, unwelcome junk will stick or embed. It's ugly.

One I like is merely vaseline and beeswax. It is NOT a long term lube in that over time it will begin to penetrate the paper. Why do I like it? Cheap, simple, clean, easy to apply and best of all it satifies my vanity 8). It really shows off those white paper patches. Simple as that. If I spend the time patching up slugs, then by God O wanna be able to admire them, and allow others the same pleasure!

If a lube penetrates the patch, it is bad as it has an effect on the patches' adhesion to the boolit.

In tossing back oddball, or onesie twosie leftover patched slugs into the lead pot, I've been absolutely amazed at how long those things will float around on the surface, without melting. It is also amazing how difficult it is to remove the patch from a correctly patched slug. Easiest way is to use an X-Acto type knife to slit the paper, peel it off and THEN toss the boolit into the furnace.

..................Charlie45, years ago I bought a nice looking M91/30 Finn pickup from SOG for $39, while ordering some other stuff. Of course at the time I didn't know it would be good looking or a Finn pickup. While the barrel had some shine to it and the lands appeared sharp, the Finn's had deemed it worthwhile to counterbore the muzzle.

As it was I was not granted a rifle that shot well from the git-go. Without relating all the rest of the BS, the best accuracy ever from that rifle (and it would have been good in ANY rifle) was by paper patching up Lyman 311284's to .317" and then running the patched slugs through a ho-made .316" size die and loading the result. Lube was LA.

As great and satisfying as the accuracy was, I was danged if I was going to spend my time PP'ing bitty 30 cal slugs up so a $39 M-N would shoot :-)!


03-06-2006, 02:45 PM
All good info. Here's a link that also talks about waterproofing patches: