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Thread: Combustible cartridge conundrum

  1. #1
    Dave Fox is offline
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    Combustible cartridge conundrum

    In my declining years I've developed a fondness for acquiring and shooting CW carbines. Cannot get the Burnside to work correctly, but that's another story. Especially enjoy the paper cartridge carbines. Charlie Hahn's cardboard tubes work as advertised in my Sharps, exiting the barrel in a seemly manner when the gun goes off. The difficulty is with my Merrill, Gwyn & Campbell, and Starr. The paper cartridges tend to stay mostly intact in the breeches after firing. I've made a sort of hook to extract them. I've used commercial nitrated paper from DGW and 1950s rag bond from my Dad's office liberally soaked in potassium nitrate. Other people don't seem to have this problem. What might I be doing wrong?
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    mgmradio is offline
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    The Gwyn and Campbell and the Starr used linen cartridges. These are photos of the ones I make and shoot . They burn up completely and only occasionally leave small carbon flakes.
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    Greg Ogdan 110th OVI is offline
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    Your paper is too thick and/or not enough nitrate. Try 14 lb legal pad paper and tracing paper for the end cap. Works for me.

    Greg

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    Muley Gil is online now
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    I've never tried it, but I have read of folks using rolling papers for combustible cartridges.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
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    34th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry
    Great, great grandson of Cpl Elijah S Davis, Co I, 6th Alabama Inf CSA

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    geezmo is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgmradio View Post
    The Gwyn and Campbell and the Starr used linen cartridges. These are photos of the ones I make and shoot . They burn up completely and only occasionally leave small carbon flakes.
    Your linen looks pretty fine. What is your source for that? Is it still available?

    Thanks in advance,
    Barr S.

  6. #6
    geezmo is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Fox View Post
    In my declining years I've developed a fondness for acquiring and shooting CW carbines. Cannot get the Burnside to work correctly, but that's another story. Especially enjoy the paper cartridge carbines. Charlie Hahn's cardboard tubes work as advertised in my Sharps, exiting the barrel in a seemly manner when the gun goes off. The difficulty is with my Merrill, Gwyn & Campbell, and Starr. The paper cartridges tend to stay mostly intact in the breeches after firing. I've made a sort of hook to extract them. I've used commercial nitrated paper from DGW and 1950s rag bond from my Dad's office liberally soaked in potassium nitrate. Other people don't seem to have this problem. What might I be doing wrong?
    Dave,

    I've had similar results with the Merrill during minimal experimentation. I've used curler paper, which is pretty thin, and folded the end over like originals leaving several layers at the base. Tried using Elmer's glue sparingly. I get a fair amount of cartridge base and some of longitudinal seam left over. I've thought about trying different glues and just rolling a tube and inserting tissue base like a Sharps but haven't had the chance to.

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    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello, Dave:

    If you can receive PM's, I just tried to send one.
    Please look and signal me. Tx.

    VR/Kevin Tinny
    Tammany Rgt, 42NY 13667

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    I'd love to see a youtube video or other tutorial on how to make your linen cartridges. They look perfect!

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon
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    mgmradio is offline
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    Geezmo,
    The linen cartridges in the photos are made with drafting linen. They are 2 layers thick and have onion skin paper bases inserted. The drafting linen is 0.005? thick as was the original linen used in the Starr and Sharps cartridges. It is very hard to find as it hasn?t been made for 70 or so years. The roll that I have is actually cotton I believe instead of real linen. The thinnest modern linen I have been able to find runs between 0.009-0.011? thick and the tread count is very low, almost a gauze. The pure linen does burn more completely than the cotton, but that doesn?t make much difference as the cotton usually burns completely.
    The original glues used were either Gum Aribic or shellac glue.

  10. #10
    mgmradio is offline
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    I would like to try and clear up some confusion on the use of the word combustible cartridges. During the mid 1800?s there were many advances in they types of cartridges made one was the combustible cartridge. These were made using different methods and materials. Gun cotton was one of the materials used for propellant and cartridge. Another was pressed powder pellet with either a paper or coloidian impregnated paper covering. Also a coloidian shell with powder inside. Some of the earliest Hazard company combustible cartridges were just a powder pellet glued to the bullet base then dipped in bees wax.
    There is no known government documents that show any of the Civil War era cartridges used nitrated paper or linen. Sharps gave a list of what was used in making its cartridges for the government and makes no mention of nitrates other than black powder.

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