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Thread: Combustable paper cartridges

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Question Combustable paper cartridges

    Hi to All,

    I am new to black powder shooting and only fell into it as a side line to the licence I required to be able to buy NC for reloading (I live in Germany) which also enabled the purchase of black powder. I presently own and shoot a Zoli .58 Navy, cheap and cheerful I know, but delivers plenty of fun.
    Whilst reading online about my new found interest, I came across combustable paper cartridges for pistols....That got me thinking and Googling deeper. My question is, can I make and use these with my rifle? I have Googled until my fingers started to bleed, but could only fine some very vague references to them for rifles and there usage. Is there a specific reason why they are not made and used? The making of them looks very simple if the pistol process is a template to go by and this appeals to my inner child of fine details.

    Thanks in advance
    Matt

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    You can certainly make paper cartridges for your muzzleloader, but they are meant to be torn open, the powder poured in separately and the bullet and paper rammed down on top of it. There is no need for this paper to be combustible.

    Combustible paper cartridges, where the whole thing is inserted, are only practical in breech loaders like the Sharps, or cap and ball revolvers. These allow you to see whether the “combustible” paper is still smoldering in the chamber before adding another cartridge. Even heavily nitrated papers can do this sometimes.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I will have to disagree with BR.

    You may make and use paper cartridges with your muzzle loader rifle with great effect and convenience, and they need not be torn open. Nor do they need to be made of nitrated paper. You are not going to war with your rifle, so you can use paper cartridges without regard to the additional time their use requires.

    As BR correctly notes, even nitrated paper will leave residue and that could be smoldering. The danger is that when the next cartridge is rammed home, this causes ignition. That would be bad. But since you are not required by the exigency of battle to produce three rounds per minute, this is not a concern. After each round, use of an appropriately sized bronze brush to remove any residue from the chamber will address any concerns about paper cartridges. If absolute certainty is required, a moist patch on a jag after the brush not only assures no smoldering residue but helps clean fouling out. Again, since you are not engaged in battle taking the time after each shot to run a brush and moist jag down the barrel is no big deal. The cleanliness and certainty of the paper cartridge on the other hand is a nice convenience.

    Cartridges are made the same way as for your pistol, although finding cigarette papers big enough for a .58 cal may be a challenge. For .50 cal, regular Bugle brand cigarette papers formed around a tapered wooden dowel (with the wider part filling the barrel at the top and the slightly narrower bit where the twist is made at the bottom) work quite well. Once formed. cut the end of the twist. For smaller caliber paper cartridges, once the twist is cut off, placing the paper still on the dowel into an appropriate brass case (like 45 LC, for example) is very helpful. With 58 Cal, that will be impossible. Two options to consider: cut down 20 ga plastic hulls ( but they may be too large) or get some wooden trays made up with @ .60" holes drilled about 5cm deep. Cut the twist leaving no tail and place the paper hull the tray. Load powder into paper hull and top with a .60" card wad. Twist shut and cut off tail at top. I like to put a dollop of black powder lube on top and cover with another card wad. And done. A couple of wooden trays with two rows of ten in each will hold 40 cartridges. Remove, drop, ram, etc.

    When loading, the tapered bottom end will drop right into the barrel while the top end will be a tight fit. Ram home. The ramming will split the bottom end of the cartridge ensuring ignition. Load ball on top of cartridge, making sure it is sitting on compacted paper cartridge.

    There will be some unburned paper after firing. Simply run a bronze brush down, twist and remove. The paper will come out. For extra assurance and to help reduce fouling, ran a dampened (not wet) patch down and back.

    Enjoy.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    rancher1913's Avatar
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    there are numerous threads about this on castboolits. use the little search bar just below where you log in, I typed " paper cartridges" in and a whole list of threads showed up, even one on how to make them. read and enjoy.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    vzerone's Avatar
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    I can't speak for paper cartridges for rifle or muzzle loaders, but I have used quite a few of them in Ruger Old Armys. I would take that thin paper that new shirts use to be boxed in and I would just make up a watery solution of water and black powder. I would soak the paper then leave it to dry. You have to play with how much BP you put with the water and get it to really dissolve well. Actually if you can get some potassium nitrate and make the same watery solution you will have much better paper cartridge.

    As to shooting them in my cap n balls I've never had any residue stay in the cylinder. I made a tapered wood dowel with the small end being a round nose and would form my paper over this. I then filled it with the right amount of BP I was using and twist the open in and glue it into the back of a hollow cavity Remington bullet specificallly for the Remington New Army cap n ball using just Elmers white glue. You could very well glue the open end around a round ball. It made the loading and shooting much more fun.

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Many thanks for all the answers.
    As pointed out by RPRNY, I will not be firing at a civil war rate, so I think I will be giving this a go, it appeals to the engineer in me (aviation). As for the paper, there is a company here in Germany that sells combustable paper in large sheets.... https://translate.google.com/transla...duct%3DP000117
    I also have access to a lathe for turning a taper, it looks like a new project has just appeared for my table...
    rancher1913....I tried that, but was constantly directed to a Google search.....however upon trying again it now does show forum thread links...

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Magicians use flash paper!

    https://www.google.dk/search?q=magic...HOr06ASV8LeYCQ

    Works a treat for any cariridge

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub Owen49's Avatar
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    I'm no expert. I have made paper cartridges for my .44 calibre Remington style cap and ball revolvers. I used cigarette papers.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Unless you can get some special import "super Magnum Joint Paper" from Jamaica, i suspect it will to small for rifle cartridges

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    rancher1913's Avatar
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    lots of people use the jumbo end wraps from a beauty salon, the salons use them for permanents, but they work really well for paper cartridges.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Amongst the cleaning products in any Supermarket there are moisturised Wipes for most Jobs.They are made from a cellular product and are ideal after drying to make Paper cartridges.the material stretches one way more than the other so make sure you have the stretch length wise.They can be nitrated and dried and make a less flimsy Cartridge.A friend uses them all the time for his Calisher and Terry Capping Breach Loader with much success.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I've been making paper cartridges off and on over the years and one of the best papers I've found to date are "perm" papers, as in the paper slips used in doing a permanent on someone's hair. They seem to be somewhat out of vogue these days, so the big box "marts" may not carry them, but any hair care store geared to the ladies will have them. They are thin enough to be consumed without being treated, just over .001, but tougher than any paper of similar thickness. This paper type has durability, which is a requirement for successful and satisfactory field use, but you'll still want a container to protect them. A sucrets or altoid tin works well. It comes in boxes of a thousand slips for $3-$4 in sizes large enough to accommodate rifle-size cartridges. For use in revolvers, the slips can be cut in half. Omnivore called my attention to it, who also has probably the most easily workable revolver cartridge method I've seen so far. There might be some pointers there.
    Last edited by yeahbub; 12-11-2017 at 10:01 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    John in PA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 17nut View Post
    Magicians use flash paper!

    https://www.google.dk/search?q=magic...HOr06ASV8LeYCQ

    Works a treat for any cariridge
    Dittos on magician's flash paper, but best if you find the heavier weight paper. The regular stuff is like tissue paper, and so is very fragile. Back in the early '80's I used a product called Pro-Glo, but I doubt that brand is still available. Try magic supply houses. The reason flash paper is best is that it combusts instantly, with ZERO residue.

    Since it is nitro cellulose, I always wondered if any additional pressure resulted, but had no means to test. I used it in a Shiloh Sharps model 1863 rifle with fine results.

    Plain nitrated paper in a muzzleloader exponentially increases the chances of a cook-off. With a blank charge, this results in a loss of eyebrows. With a live round, disaster can result. Remember, until your bullet is fully seated on the powder charge, your holding an attractive PIPE BOMB, not a gun.
    John Wells in PA

    Peabody's and Peabody-Martini's wanted
    Also shoot a 10-PDR Parrott Rifle in competition

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check