OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

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coyote nose
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OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by coyote nose »

I get quite a few questions at the range on this, figured maybe you guys would be interested in one way to make paper cartridges for cap and ball revolvers. First a preview:
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The gun is a 3rd gen Colt 1851. I just love this gun and the wood is absolutely outstanding. Thats the way it came from the factory too! To the left of the case is pyrodex, a wood block, paper printed with the label I use to wrap, and the round balls. On the lid of the case is the cigarette papers I use, the wood form to roll the papers with, completed cartridges, and a filled cartridge box. You must make the form by turning a 1/2" dowel on a lathe or drill press. I put a 7 degree taper on mine.
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First lick the gum on the paper and roll it around the form. I cut the tail to about 1/4" long with scissors then lick the tail and fold it back onto the form. Slide it off the form to dry. A note on paper. Tops brand is too thick, I get too many misfires or hangfires with it. Zigzag seesm to work the best for me...it is real thin.
This picture shows the paper rolled on the form
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After the paper tubes are dry (only a few minutes) I charge them up using the flask...mine throws the equavelent of 18 grains blackpowder, but I use pyrodex P. Then drop a ball in each, twist the top..the tighter you twist it the sturdier the cartridge becomes, but dont overtwist or it will rip. Experiment a little. Then using cotton or linen thread (not nylon!) tie the ends off.
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A note on tying, if the cartridges are not for shooting but for display, I tie them the way old ones were: 1 loop under the ball, then take the thread up over the ball and tie off the twist. This bottom loop under the ball stops powder from migrating up over the ball. It is time consuming and I found it is not necessary if I twist the top tight to push the ball in, as the taper of the tube causes the ball to seal the powder off tightly. Still, if they are to be handled as when showing people it is best to put that loop under the ball. The picture shows 3 tubes with powder only, 3 with ball seated, 3 with the top twisted, and 3 with the thread tie on top. The loose ends and the excess paper above the twist will be trimmed off with scissors.

You can take these out in a plastic ziplock bag or any other container, but after several years of this I wanted something more historical, so I printed up a label and with the computer printed them out on colored paper. I made wood blocks with 6 holes in them (blind holes, block dimension is 1/2" + X 1 1/2" X 3") Wood is basswood. Glued a strong thread on one end to help in ripping the paper wrapping open, cut out the labels and form them over the wood. Glue only the paper to itself, not to the wood since every time you use a pack you simply glue a new paper wrap on.
Here are completed cartridges, paper wraps, completed cartridge packs, and the wooden holding blocks:
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In use I rip open the pack clear across the top which allows me to dump out the cartridges, then either load them normally, paper and all, or rip open the back end and dribble a little powder in first then seat everything normally. If i dont rip the back end then before capping I use a long wire or pick and pierce the paper from the nipple. Doing one of these 2 I have never had a misfire or hangfire using thin Zigzag paper. If I dont do this I never had a misfire but have had a small amount of hangfires so BE CAREFUL. using other thicker papers I have had both misfires and hangfires. I have both greased over the cartridges and also fired them w/o grease. Normally I use wonder wads but they dont lend themselves to these type of cartridges so I recommend grease over the top. Very rarely is paper left in the cylinder after firing. I mean rarely...I cant remember the last time it happened but you should check anyway to make sure nothing smoldering is left in there.
Also, when the ring of lead is shaved off when seating, often the very top of the paper comes off with it...no big deal as it does not seem to affect anything.
I mainly use these in the winter when my fingers are frozen and I dont feel like messing with powder flasks, loose balls, etc.
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Wind
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Wind »

Hey there Coyote Nose - Really nice presentation. It's cool to see you go the extra mile and print up the wrappers too. Almost makes me want to go dig out the original Remington and crank off a few!! Watch yer top knot. Wind.
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Nath »

Thats fantastic, thankyou for sharing. Very neat :D

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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Borregos »

Nath +1
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Blaine »

Very, very cool! 8)
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Guncase »

That is GREAT. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by kimwcook »

BlaineG wrote:Very, very cool! 8)
+1 :D :D :D
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JReed
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by JReed »

That is cool. I may have to try that with my 58's. Have you used a heavier powder charge the 18gr with this set up?
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Ysabel Kid »

JReed wrote:That is cool. I may have to try that with my 58's. Have you used a heavier powder charge the 18gr with this set up?
I have. I made some of these for my Walker reproduction many years ago. I read an article in an old "American Rifleman" that my dad had - think it was from the early 60's - and used to make these all the time when I was in college. Of course the gas station attendants never believed me when I told them why I was buying the rolling paper.

Coyote Nose - this is a fantastic post! Thanks for sharing. You wouldn't have that label design on a Word file, would you? If so, would you mind me flagarantly copying it? Could you e-mail it to me? :D
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Jaguarundi
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Jaguarundi »

Nice presentation 8) !
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Rusty »

Nice job! you could start a part time business doing that.
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by JerryB »

That is a great "How To", you have covered each step so clearly I think I'll try to make some for my '51 .36, should be fun to do. Thanks for the time to put this together.
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coyote nose
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by coyote nose »

Jreed, your 58 Rem is 44 caliber, so you'd have to make a different taper form to hold more powder and the bigger ball. I use 18 because that is the charge I usually shoot in my navy. The taper kind of determines how deep the ball will seat in the paper, which in turn determines how much powder it can hold. I had to experiment a little with some wood forms before I stumbled onto the correct length/diameter. Ysabel, I think I used notepad to print these up on an 8X10 piece of paper, then scanned that paper, then using my HP printer program found an album size to make the correct size prints. Really a backward way to do it, but I am TERRIBLE with computers (I cant even get my avatar to take...it is too big and I have no idea how to make it smaller) and that is the only way i was able to print the forms. A computer literate person would probably laugh at me. I got the wording from looking at old cartridge packs (gunbroker or auction arms under Colt cartridges).
I also should add this about the loading procedure, you never want an airspace in the chambers when shooting black or pyrodex (or 777), so seat the ball firmly with the loading lever...it will rupture the paper and remove all airspace when you do this.
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mklwhite
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by mklwhite »

Very neat step by step presentation. Thanks for sharing!
Is there enough room in rolling paper to make the 44s? Has anyone given this a try yet?
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by rjohns94 »

VERY WELL DONE Thanks so much for an excellent post.
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Chuck 100 yd »

Wow, good work!! :D
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Ysabel Kid »

mklwhite wrote:Very neat step by step presentation. Thanks for sharing!
Is there enough room in rolling paper to make the 44s? Has anyone given this a try yet?

Yes. I used the 1.5's years ago and had enough room to make 50-grain paper cartridges for my Walker reproduction. :D
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Newtire »

Don't think the "smoke shop" people bought my story about the paper cartridge making. They sure have a bigger assortment of papers than they did "back in the day."

Thanks for taking the time to write up the post!
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Shasta »

This is one of those instructive and timeless old threads that ought to be dredged up once in a while! A very good read every time! 8)

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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Old Ironsights »

Very nice. Especially the cartridge boxes.

I have a series of pictures of another method from another guy - IIRC the whole post was in French - but the pics are self explanatory. I'll post my own thread so as not to step on yours.
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Re: OT How to: How I make paper cartridges

Post by Griff »

Shasta wrote:This is one of those instructive and timeless old threads that ought to be dredged up once in a while! A very good read every time! 8)

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