Author Topic: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball  (Read 297 times)

Offline tpelle

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Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« on: November 06, 2017, 05:41:32 PM »
Finally getting serious about combustible paper cartridges for my Pietta 1860s.  So here's a couple of pictures of a few that I made, and a little explanation of how I went about it.

First, after a brief and unsatisfying experience a few years ago, and having given the matter a lot of thought, and after watching dozens of YouTube videos, I reached a few conclusions.

1,  I want to use the thinnest paper possible - the thinnest that is structurally capable of staying together during transport and loading - in order that the jet of flame from the primer can penetrate the bottom of the cartridge and can light the powder.
2.  The paper must completely burn up on firing, and leave no smoldering residue in the chambers.
3.  Cigarette paper is probably not the best way to go, as cigarette paper is treated so as to actually burn slowly.  We want paper that burns quickly.
4.  The cartridges had to be adaptable to round ball, as that is the easiest projectile to obtain, and there is sufficient space under the loading lever of my Piettas without having to relieve any of the frame.

So, to jump ahead to the happy ending, here are what my cartridges look like:





The method that I felt was the best is as illustrated on the Capandball.eu web site.  The only deviation I made was to glue a round ball on the instead of a conical bullet.

The former, of course, is a wooden dowell, tapered from just under bore size down to a flattened end.  The paper that makes up the body of each cartridge is cut from hair curler papers.  There is a sort of cap on the end of the cartridge that is made from a small square of facial tissue separated into one ply.

Step 1 is to take one of the small square of facial tissue, place it on the narrow end of the former, then sort of form it down over the bottom and twisted around the bottom of the former.  About 1/8" extending up over the side of the former seems to work well.

Step 2 is to use a glue stick to apply glue to the edges of one of the curler papers that has been cut to the shape to wrap smoothly around the taper of the form.  I paint glue on one of the bottom edges and to one of long side edges.  I fit the cut paper on to the dowell and over the bottom cap, then just roll it around and make sure that it adheres to the bottom cap and also to itselt when it reaches the point that it doubles over itself.

Step 3 is to pour in a charge of powder.  I have a spout on my powder flask that pours about 27 grains of Pyrodex P, which fills each tube up to maybe 1/4 or 3/16 of the wide top of the tube.

Step 4 is to pour in a filler, such as Cream of Wheat, to bring it up to about 1/8 to 3/16 of the top of the tube.  This leaves enough paper that it can be glued to the ball.

Step 5 is to apply glue to the bottom half of a ball, then set it in the tube and use my fingers to stick the paper to the bll.  If using conicals, this same flap would be glued to the heel of the bullet.  Press the paper against the ball to get it to stick, and you're done!

The ones I fired ignited readily and did not leave any paper scraps of burning embers in the cylinder.

Offline Hawg

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 08:40:39 PM »
I have used tea bags and just twisted the ends and they fired reliably with no paper left in the chambers but to me they're too tedious to make. I don't shoot at a range but I can see where they would be worth it to make doing that. I just go outside and don't get in a hurry, just take my time and have fun. I made paper cartridges for my Sharps out of wrapping paper but got tired of doing it and finally sold it.

Offline mike116

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 05:00:29 AM »
I use curler paper and make them several different ways.    Even the twisted end type ignite easily.




Online 99whip

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 06:32:23 AM »
Nice Work.  I like using the curling papers also, easy to work with, cheap to buy and they burn up well. 

I have used this same method but find it a little easier to place the ball in the cartridge and then smear a little glue around the seated ball/paper.  I find without the glue on the ball it makes it easier to get the sprue on top. 

Offline valforgettaboutit

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 08:05:45 AM »
Very cool, they look great. Something to jot down on the "things to do when I get a garage" list.

Offline tpelle

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 11:53:32 AM »
Nice Work.  I like using the curling papers also, easy to work with, cheap to buy and they burn up well. 

I have used this same method but find it a little easier to place the ball in the cartridge and then smear a little glue around the seated ball/paper.  I find without the glue on the ball it makes it easier to get the sprue on top.

So 99Whip,

What glue are you using and how are you applying it?  I'm using a regular glue stick, and I find that it works pretty well for everything except gluing the ball.  That's the messiest part.

Online 99whip

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2017, 01:03:05 PM »
Regular old glue stick, nothing fancy I'm sure it's the same as what you are using. 

When I already had glue on the ball I couldn't sit the ball down in the tube without the glue grabbing the paper, and that made it a pain to try and get the ball into a sprue up position.  Without the glue I could sit the ball down, get the sprue centered, then take the glue stick around the seam where paper meets ball and tighten it up with my fingers.   

Not a thing wrong with the way you're doing it.  I just prefer adding glue after the ball has been seated in the tube, less messy to me.

Offline tpelle

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2017, 05:06:55 PM »
Thanks.  I'll give it a try your way and see how it works out.

Offline scooby

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 05:14:20 PM »
Very nice work tpelle! Making and shooting the paper cartridges is very fun and rewarding regardless of the method and projectile used. I will also throw in a vote for using curling papers. They are tough and burn up well.

I have developed my own method of making the cartridges with conicals and they come out looking real nice. My method is likely the most time consuming of those that you see, but since I don't watch TV, I can justify the time spent.

Thanks for taking the time to post the text and pictures. It was a refreshing read for me.

Offline mazo kid

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 08:12:44 AM »
Nice work. I started out using tissue paper, the kind new shoes and shirts, etc. come wrapped in. That worked OK, but I felt it was a bit too fragile. Also switched to hair curling papers. The tissue paper was free, but the curling papers are very cheap.

Offline tpelle

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Re: Combustible Paper Cartridges with Round Ball
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2017, 12:05:08 PM »
I've continued experimenting with this.  I saw a Youtube video by Plowboysghost where he used cigarette papers over a tapered mandrel where he first twisted the narrow end, dropped in his powder charge, then the ball, then finished it off by twisting the remaining paper to seal the ball in.  He then trimmed the "tails" - very closely on the powder end, but leaving the tail on the ball end about 1/4" long.  No glue, other than the gummed edge on the cigarette paper.  I made up six of them for .36 and fired them in my Navy, but I had issues with the degree of unburned paper left in the bottom of the chambers.  On two chambers the paper seemed to be blown back into the flash holes of the (stock Pietta) nipples!

Keep in mind, though, that cigarette paper is treated to be, as it clearly states on the packages that I have, "Long Lasting - Slow Burning".  This is exactly opposite of what we want.

I liked the notion of twisting the ends to close them up - especially the tail on the ball end - instead of gluing them, but I think I'll go back to the curler paper for the raw material, as it seemed to burn more cleanly.  And I think I'll continue gluing on a single ply of facial tissue to close the powder end, but I think I'll glue this on to the OUTSIDE of the tube while it's still on the mandrel, then close the ball end by twisting the tail.