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Thread: Buffalo Arms 9lb Onion Skin Too Thin

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Buffalo Arms 9lb Onion Skin Too Thin

    I picked up a nice Pedersoli .45-70 Silhouette earlier this year and thought I'd try PP. That's probably as close to Quigley's rifle that I'll ever own. I already owned an 1871 H&R Buffalo Classic but a pound cast of the chamber looks like the leade is too sharp for PP so I'll likely stick to GG boolits for it. I also have a couple of Trapdoor rifles but their abrupt transition from throat to rifling looks like they may not be good PP candidates either.

    I'll probably size a couple of different GG boolits that I've cast down to the size I need for the Sharps (.4505") even though I'll have to run them through a couple of progressively smaller sizer dies. I know, it's not the best method as far as accuracy but I have the boolits and sizer dies already. I'm in the process of ordering a mould/s for slicks to patch but this will allow me to get started while waiting for moulds to be made and shipped to me.

    The question I have regards the paper. I ordered a roll of Seth Cole 55W 8lb tracing paper which measures .0015" as I expected. My math told me that I'd need a bit thicker so I ordered 100 sheets of 9lb Onion Skin from Buffalo Arms. When the Onion Skin arrived I measured it with a calibrated Starret 0-1" micrometer. The Onion Skin only measures .0015" just like the 8lb 55W. I went back and checked the Buffalo Arms website and it does indeed advertise the 9lb Onion Skin as .0020" thick. I measured other sheets to be sure the one sheet was not a one-off but it was not. The 9lb Onion Skin is .0015" thick. Has anyone ran up against this?

    What other paper could I use that is just a bit thicker than the 8lb .0015" 55W? I may not need a full .0020" thickness but I do need more than .0015" thick if I am going to only use two wraps.

    https://www.buffaloarms.com/9-pound-...h-pppaper.html


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    Last edited by broken-mold; 02-11-2024 at 01:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Rather than trying to measure the paper itself I have found it more useful to wrap a bullet and see how much it adds. Then you'll know for sure what size bullet you need to make the combination work. And it is somewhat different from measuring the sheets since you get some stretch when it's wrapped.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I wrap to bore dia not groove my brooks paper patch mold is .442 when wrapped with the cole its right around .450 +- a few tenths. It is an adjustable mould and currently is set for 525 grns. works great in the 45-90, and my 45-70s. A pedersolis long range, rolling block with badger barrel and a brochardts. all are 1-18 twist. My paper patch loads are only seated in the case .100-.125 to get the bullet in the bore as far as possible. The short throats leades are an advantage with bore riders.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Are you patching to bore diameter or groove diameter? Are you planning to use smokeless or black powder?
    “Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
    ― Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    The SethCole I use measures 0.0015" as does yours but my BACO 9# paper I bought several years ago measures 0.002" as advertised. There are other paper brands out there between these two. I would recommend asking this question on the Shiloh and ASSRA forums.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Another trick is take your micrometers to Micheals, wallmart, office max and measure the tracing papers and others in pads.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    Rather than trying to measure the paper itself I have found it more useful to wrap a bullet and see how much it adds. Then you'll know for sure what size bullet you need to make the combination work.
    I understood from Matthews book, "The Paper Jacket" that the bullet size was determined by bore and groove diameters and the paper thickness was the variable. He says for smokeless to size the bullet to bore diameter minus .0005" and patch to groove diameter. For black he says to size the bullet to bore minus .004"-.006" and patch to bore diameter. Are you saying that the bullet diameters can vary from the sizes he says to use without adverse consequence?


    And it is somewhat different from measuring the sheets since you get some stretch when it's wrapped.
    I understood that from what I have read and that is quite logical since the paper is slightly stretched while wet. That's why I figured I'd need more than .0015" x 4.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Michel View Post
    Are you patching to bore diameter or groove diameter? Are you planning to use smokeless or black powder?
    I will be trying both black and smokeless (as well as duplex loads). I will be patching to groove for smokeless and to bore for black.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim1 View Post
    The SethCole I use measures 0.0015" as does yours but my BACO 9# paper I bought several years ago measures 0.002" as advertised. There are other paper brands out there between these two. I would recommend asking this question on the Shiloh and ASSRA forums.
    I probably need to ask Buffalo Arms first. I was just curious if anyone else here had encountered the same problem with Buff Arms 9lb Onion Skin.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Another trick is take your micrometers to Micheals, wallmart, office max and measure the tracing papers and others in pads.
    That's a good idea. I considered that before I ordered the paper from Buff Arms. I just figured that when I paid for .002" paper that is what I would get instead of .0015", a full 25% thinner. I really wanted a high rag or cotton content paper instead of wood fiber paper (like copier paper) figuring it would be a bit tougher and closer to what would have been originally used.

    I guess it's buyer beware. Measure it yourself and don't trust advertisements.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken-mold View Post
    I understood from Matthews book, "The Paper Jacket" that the bullet size was determined by bore and groove diameters and the paper thickness was the variable. He says for smokeless to size the bullet to bore diameter minus .0005" and patch to groove diameter. For black he says to size the bullet to bore minus .004"-.006" and patch to bore diameter. Are you saying that the bullet diameters can vary from the sizes he says to use without adverse consequence?




    I understood that from what I have read and that is quite logical since the paper is slightly stretched while wet. That's why I figured I'd need more than .0015" x 4.
    Patching for smokeless and for black are two completely different animals. For black, you want very thin paper and you want the finished projectile to be bore diameter or slightly larger so it sits on top of the lands and will slide through the barrel if you push it with a cleaning rod. Typically I use a .442" bullet and paper that adds .008. I also have some that adds .009 if the barrel is slightly bigger. The bullet is barely in the case, 1/8" or less. essentially you're trying to duplicate what you'd have with a muzzleloader. You want nearly zero throat.
    Patching for smokeless is where you get into Paul Matthews books. The bullet needs to be bore diameter plus about .001, so that it will not slide down the hole and will engrave the rifling if you force it. Then you patch it to slightly over groove diameter so when it's fired you have a good gas seal and nothing leaks past. It is seated in the case like a normal bullet, so the patch just starts to touch the rifling when it is chambered. Since smokeless won't bump up bullets like black powder will, they have to already be big enough.
    You can certainly load black powder this way. I do that for my Trapdoor rifle and it works fine. But you give up a lot of case capacity, and the ability to have a lubricated bullet so unless there really is a need for it, there's no good reason to do so - just use a normal bullet. In this case, a longer throat is fine since you can seat the bullet out a bit to touch the rifling. But a long throat will play havoc with accuracy if you're patching with black powder, since the bullet will upset to fill the throat then immediately get squeezed back down into the bore. In rifles like that, a two diameter bullet is most beneficial. My Browning 40-65 is like that, it's useless with a parallel sided patched bullet but the custom two diameter one I got from Accurate is a tack driver. That rifle is designed to shoot grease groove bullets.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    You can patch to bore with smokeless powder. I've been doing it for quite a few years with a .443 slick patched to .450-.451 in a 45-90 using both WC 872 & 867 and IMR 3031. In a 45-90 you do need to take up excess space with wads or floral foam and seat the bullet .010 into the case and a slight taper crimp to hold the bullet. Works very well. FWIW

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25ring View Post
    You can patch to bore with smokeless powder. I've been doing it for quite a few years with a .443 slick patched to .450-.451 in a 45-90 using both WC 872 & 867 and IMR 3031. In a 45-90 you do need to take up excess space with wads or floral foam and seat the bullet .010 into the case and a slight taper crimp to hold the bullet. Works very well. FWIW
    I've been meaning to try that since you told me about it. I'm super curious to see it work since all my previous attempts to get bullets to bump using smokeless powder have been failures. But I've never tried this exact combination so have some learnin' to do.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A question for you guys... more regarding BP paper patching though. I have read i that the ODG's used "money paper" for patching because it was a high strength paper likey linene rag. Money paper is thick like 0.004"+.

    I normally see posts about paper that is typically around 0.002" thick like the Buffalo Arms paper.

    Is there any truth to the "money paper" comment?

    I have paper patched for smokeless powder withj paper up to 0.0035" thick with good success so thick paper obviously can work. I am sure a lot depends on bullet diameter and groove depth. I started with a smooth mould for .44 mag. and a bullet of 0.421" patched up to 0.433" and that being shot in microgroove rifling. In that case the rifling is so shallow that using a bore diameter +0.001" boolit then patching to groove is a no go so I cut my mould to allow use of the paper I had (kinda backwards approach) but it worked.

    Then I made a mould for my .308 that cast at 0.301" per the NRA design .30 cal. boolits and patched to groove and that worked well.

    Then I tried using the same boolit with slightly thick paper in my .303 Lee Enfield and got horrible results. So I knurled the boolits up to 0.304" then patched and that worked well.

    All of this was done with thicker than "normal" paper mostly through my ignorance but it worked. I won't say I got "Quigley" accuracy but I got what I got what I would consider good accuracy comparable to grease groove bullets.

    So, back to the money paper question and if it is true then why do most modern paper patchers use thin paper?

    I am curious! Educate me please!

    Longbow

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I believe I found some 25% cotton tracing paper that measured .0019 thick at office max a few years ago but 4 pads of it.

    More important is to find the papers grain and align with your patches when you cut them. This increases patch strength also

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Read the first two paragraphs of #11 post and reflect. This is an excellent bit of information and will save you a ton of grief and.......leading.
    “Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
    ― Mark Twain

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post

    So, back to the money paper question and if it is true then why do most modern paper patchers use thin paper?

    I am curious! Educate me please!

    Longbow
    Yes, thicker paper will work but thinner paper allows for a bigger bullet to start with, which doesn't have to bump up as much and go through so much distortion so it is more accurate.

  18. #18
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    I found something called “Neenah Paper UV Ultra II Translucent Papers,” 8.5 M weight (whatever that means) number 01379 from www.neenahpaper.com

    It measures ~0.0021” by my micrometer (using the Dutch Schoultze technique) and is translucent. I believe the store I bought it from described it as “tracing vellum” rather than “tracing paper,” which I find is around 0.0015” by measure.

    The stuff tends to be a little too thick for my rifles and castings; a good clean (as opposed to the pig-and-patch wipe) between shots is needed for black powder. Otherwise I have to use my cartridge seating lever. In any case, the paper pieces after firing are larger and farther away from the muzzle and accuracy is not as good as with thinner paper. (Wanna trade? )

    The ODGs mentioned using “Bank Note Paper,” but also said they could get it in thin, medium and thick sizes. Just as a guess, I would imagine that the same paper pulp formula used for bank notes (not necessarily US currency; these were issued by the individual banks in the old days) was pressed or rolled to different thicknesses for different end uses. Certainly paper the thickness of a dollar bill would have plenty of toughness but it would patch to well over the rifling depth and I can’t imagine that loading or accuracy would be very easily gotten from such a construction.

    Unless the Erasible Bond and Graph Papers I used to use (when I could find them) had some sort of rag content, I’ve always used whatever crinkly, thin, translucent paper (generally called tracing paper) 0.0015” thick, that I’ve found available, and the packages have never mentioned rag content at all. As long as the patched boolit can be pushed down the barrel with a slight hydraulic/pneumatic draggy feeling, shows rifling marks lightly impressed on the paper, and the shreddies come off a couple feet from the muzzle when the cartridge is fired, it all seems to work.

    I tried smokeless paper patching once, with a 0.315” grease groove boolit patched with printer paper to groove diameter or a little over for a .32-40. I got one good group out of it and that was all. Tried black powder groove diameter paper patching with a .44-77, using a 0.441” cast slug (for a .45 cal) patched to 0.449” or so and seated deep in the shell. Accuracy was nothing to write home about, and I had a lot of “paper fouling” at the case mouth and in the leade, which pushed out with the wiping patches. Kind of lost my interest in further experimentation after that.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Back in the ODGs time cotton paper was more the standard than wood based it was more consistent and better quality. The wood paper had voids rough finish and small chunks of wood in it. Also cotton rag was popular in the days before ball point pens the quills and fountain pens laid the ink on the surface and it soaked in, ball point pens pressed the ink into the surface of the harder wood papers.
    For many years air mail paper was cotton rag as it was lighter weight.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I am thinking the thicker paper for patching to bore diameter for BP would require a smaller boolit to start with but the bump up should be the same as the patched boolit would still be bore diameter. Possibly there would be a little more give in the thicker paper at bump up so maybe a little more bump up but I'd think we are talking 0.001"/0.002" at most.

    If patched to groove it really shouldn't make any difference except that if the boolit is much under bore diameter then possibly there could be slippage of the boolit in the patch?

    I was actually a bit surprised that my .44 mag. Marlin shot so well with boolits about 0.004" under bore and then patched to groove diameter but it worked well. As noted above, when I used the 0.301" boolit in my .303's with thicker patch I got poor results but knurled up to 0.303"/0.304" then patched to groove worked fine.

    Anyway, just curious and maybe Bent Ramrod's point that bank note paper was available in a variety of thickness explains it. I can see bank note paper being cotton or linen rag for durability and that is good for paper patching so if available thinner than what I read for current paper money (now plastic here!) that would explain things.

    Longbow

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