Paper Cartridges

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JimT
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Paper Cartridges

Post by JimT »

Messing around with making paper cartridges for the .36 and .44 cap 'n ball guns has been interesting, frustrating, and a learning experience. I am still learning! The .36's have been the hardest for me to make. Smaller .. and my old fingers ain't as nimble as I used to think they were. But I am gaining ground.
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One of the issues is that making the paper cartridges is time-intensive. BUT .. it is something you can do in the evenings or in bad weather when you are stuck indoors. I found during the hot afternoons it was a good time to get ahead on them. I like to have a hundred or two made up ahead of time.

One of the "slow-downs" in making them is the piece that goes on the bottom of the cartridge, sealing it. A round circle. I was marking them and cutting them with a pair of sharp scissors ... difficult to do with the very thin rolling paper. Bill From Oregon turned me on to a CIRCLE CUTTER! Who knew they had such things? So I ordered a couple. One to make 5/8" circles for the .36 and one to make 3/4" for the .44.

The big problem I found was that they would not reliably cut the very thin rolling paper! Bill came to the rescue again by sharing with me to use a backing of heavier paper. AND IT WORKED! I love having smart friends.

Circle cutter
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Rolling paper on the backing paper
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Feeding it into the cutter - cutter upside down helps watch what is going on
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And there it is!
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Another thing I discovered .. DO NOT use too much glue. If you get it into the forming die when gluing the circle onto the bottom of the cartridge it screws it all up! If you do get some into the die, a small cloth with rubbing alcohol on it will clean things up easily. I have proven this in actual practice! :roll:

Anyway .. it's becoming more fun and is a great way to experience what some of our fore-fathers lived with.
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Bill in Oregon
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Jim, I am going to try making a few cartridges today. Praying for patience and hoping not to resort to profanity!😂
These little bits of paper are mighty frustrating. I finally cut a few of the circles then let go a deep sigh—and they blew all over my desk and floor.🙁
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JimT
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by JimT »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Wed Sep 13, 2023 9:16 am Jim, I am going to try making a few cartridges today. Praying for patience and hoping not to resort to profanity!😂
These little bits of paper are mighty frustrating. I finally cut a few of the circles then let go a deep sigh—and they blew all over my desk and floor.🙁
ahahaha ... I know the feeling. It helped doing it in the house because the 7 year old grandson was around and I had to watch that I did not teach him some new words.
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GunnyMack
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by GunnyMack »

You guys and your paper cartridges! :D
I was going to suggest 28 ga over shot cards for the base but there is no way a cap would burn through it so nevermind :lol:.
Rainy day here so I loaded some 20ga slugs to test.
Now lunch and then some 44 specials!
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Ysabel Kid
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Ysabel Kid »

I used the circle cutter too (duelist1954 had it in a video), and if I am using a separate piece of paper I still do. But I went to a design of my own, where the side walls and base are cut at once from the same piece of paper. I just fold and glue it - and it works great. Developed it for the .31 calibers, because like you Jim, my fingers don't work on super small objects well any more (and neither do my eyes). I'll take a phot of some of them and post it here tomorrow. Off to church for a meeting now. :D
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Ray Newman
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Ray Newman »

This brought back a memory. Back-In-The-Last-Century I knew a Fellow Black Powder Shooter who was a very good pistol shot hand loaded paper cartridges for a Colt 1860 and Ruger Ol' Army. If memory serves me, he utilized a nitrated paper similar to what Buffalo Arms sells. He claimed that the nitrated paper was much easier to ignite and gave better results on the target.

Anyone ever tried nitrated paper? Wondering if there any downsides.

https://www.buffaloarms.com/nitrate-pap ... 20745.html
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JimT
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Re: Paper Cartridges

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Ray Newman wrote: Thu Sep 14, 2023 1:14 pm Anyone ever tried nitrated paper? Wondering if there any downsides.
It pretty well completely combusts from what I've heard. No downsides to that. With what I am using there is residue that if let build up after too many shots can block the flash hole. I keep a rod with a brass brush in my possibles bag. After 3 or 4 reloads I run that in the chamber and fish out any residue of unburned paper. i have never heard of that problem with nitrated paper.
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Ysabel Kid
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Ray Newman wrote: Thu Sep 14, 2023 1:14 pm This brought back a memory. Back-In-The-Last-Century I knew a Fellow Black Powder Shooter who was a very good pistol shot hand loaded paper cartridges for a Colt 1860 and Ruger Ol' Army. If memory serves me, he utilized a nitrated paper similar to what Buffalo Arms sells. He claimed that the nitrated paper was much easier to ignite and gave better results on the target.

Anyone ever tried nitrated paper? Wondering if there any downsides.

https://www.buffaloarms.com/nitrate-pap ... 20745.html
I'm not sure it ignites better, but it sure does burn more thoroughly. It is very easy to make too. I bought a jar of stump killer. I used unbleached thin coffee filters, as they are tan and look better (more period correct but that doesn't do anything for the shoot-ability). I mix a solution of the stump killer (which is just potassium nitrate) and water, soak the coffee filters, and hang them to dry. I put the solution in the sun and the water evaporates and you can use the remaining potassium nitrate! I think I made up 200 filters in one session and they have lasted a couple years.
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Ysabel Kid
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Re: Paper Cartridges

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Ysabel Kid wrote: Wed Sep 13, 2023 6:12 pm I used the circle cutter too (duelist1954 had it in a video), and if I am using a separate piece of paper I still do. But I went to a design of my own, where the side walls and base are cut at once from the same piece of paper. I just fold and glue it - and it works great. Developed it for the .31 calibers, because like you Jim, my fingers don't work on super small objects well any more (and neither do my eyes). I'll take a phot of some of them and post it here tomorrow. Off to church for a meeting now. :D
Argh! I can't find my paper cartridge kit! I'll need to keep looking. Sorry!
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JimT
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by JimT »

No problem. It ain't like none of us has ever misplaced anything. :lol:

oops ... NEVER ... supposed to have used the word "never" .....
Bill in Oregon
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Bill in Oregon »

I tried several times yesterday and came up with three cartridge cups. Two issues: I don't like the Elmer's purple washable school glue for this work. And I made the mistake of cutting a bunch of RAW papers in half as in Dustin's Youtube, but they were a bit too short for .44 cartridges, no doubt fine for .36. I will try again today, first punching circles out of one end of the papers, then using the longer remnants to form the .44 cartridges. If that doesn't work, I'll make a proper template. And I did need to rub some paraffin on the mandrel to reduce sticking.
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JimT
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Re: Paper Cartridges

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Bill in Oregon wrote: Fri Sep 15, 2023 8:34 am And I did need to rub some paraffin on the mandrel to reduce sticking.
No Bill! This is not like the old days. You don't lick the paper before you roll it!!

:lol:
:lol:
:lol:
Bill in Oregon
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Now ya tell me. :lol:
I actually went through a lot of TOP and Bugler back when I was a poor, broke college kid.
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Ysabel Kid
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Found it!

I looked at it three times when I was searching and thought it was something else. Ugh.

Anyway, here's how I started cutting my paper for paper cartridges:

Image

I started doing so with the .31's because they were just too tiny to handle otherwise. Then I thought, why not do this for larger rounds? This one is for Walker or Dragoon .44's.

You wrap the sides around the mandrel just like you would when using a circular piece of paper for the base of the paper cartridge. You let the tail extend downward.

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You glue the side wall to itself, then put some glue around the base and start the fold.

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Then I insert the cartridge into the former as usual:

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And here is what the base looks like in the former:

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Measure and add powder. The "Guns of the West" kit has a built-in powder measure. Being for a Dragoon or Walker, this one holds 40 grains of FFFg.

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I actually had to back off a couple grains as the longer shank of the Era Gone Walker bullet wouldn't sit completely with 40 grains. You can see that clearly here:

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Glue the shank of the bullet, seat it and presto: one paper cartridge:

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Now, cutting the circle with a hole punch is just as easy, especially for the larger cartridges, but for tiny ones this works a lot better. :D
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JimT
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by JimT »

Ysabel Kid - THANK YOU!! I will try that on the .36 ... no way am I trying to make paper cartridges for the .31 ... my fingers ain't that nimble and the .36 requires all my concentration. :D But your idea looks good! I appreciate the photos.
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Jay, you're a genius! 8)
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Ysabel Kid
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Re: Paper Cartridges

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JimT wrote: Sun Sep 17, 2023 9:25 pm Ysabel Kid - THANK YOU!! I will try that on the .36 ... no way am I trying to make paper cartridges for the .31 ... my fingers ain't that nimble and the .36 requires all my concentration. :D But your idea looks good! I appreciate the photos.
My pleasure Jim! It was just trial and error to find the right dimensions for the tail (base). Once I liked the paper cartridges made, I would cut a template out of thin cardboard stock (the one I used is the orange paper in the kit, and I made it out of a mailer from the NRA). When I go to make more, I just trace a bunch on the nitrated coffee filters and cut away. :D
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Ysabel Kid
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Re: Paper Cartridges

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Bill in Oregon wrote: Mon Sep 18, 2023 7:02 am Jay, you're a genius! 8)
Aw shucks Bill! :oops:

I have to believe someone back in the day did this as well. I just haven't found any reference to it. But I will admit I have not looked too hard either.
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Re: Paper Cartridges

Post by Ysabel Kid »

JimT wrote: Sun Sep 17, 2023 9:25 pm no way am I trying to make paper cartridges for the .31 ... my fingers ain't that nimble and the .36 requires all my concentration. :D
Oh, and even with this "cheat", loading those .31's is a real PITA. I still crush 25% of them when trying. :roll:
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