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Thread: Do any of you shoot a Jenks Carbine?

  1. #11
    Dave Fox is offline
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    Jenks, etc.

    Friend Gil:
    There's a decent Jenks listed in Cherry's Fine Arms site. Purchase it before I sin again. I'll try to post photos of the Ferguson. Even have a video of the first shots being fired from it. Fat chance I know how to post it. If you PM me w/ your e-mail address I might be able to forward it. One of the major auctions is listing an original Ferguson in the mailing I received a couple weeks ago; a rare offering.
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    Last edited by Dave Fox; 03-23-2021 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #12
    geezmo is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal View Post
    Dave,

    Since my original post, I skirmished with the Jenks once. I used paper cartridges with .535 round balls and a combination of powder and filler to equal the chamber volume. I have yet to do any load development. I made a guess at a really low powered load and it shot fairly well. Not great, but not bad either. It definitely has potential. And best of all, it was hitting at point of aim, which has never happened to me with any original civil war era gun. It shot well enough I thought I'd take it to a skirmish, so I did. Overall, I didn't do as well as I usually do with my beater Smith, but I didn't embarrass myself either. It hit an egg at 50 yards, but I don't think I could do it consistently.

    I was not going for period correct cartridges. I was just going for something quick and easy to make that would shoot reliably. I wrapped hair curler paper around a mandrel. Slipped it about 1/2" off the end and folded it against the end of the mandrel like a roll of pennies. I slipped it the rest of the way off. Filled it with powder then filler, then dropped the ball inside and twisted it shut. I cut the twist off to down around 1/8" long with a pair of scissors and dipped the ball end into melted musket lube.

    A cartridge without paper and lube over the nose of the ball might be better, but would be more time consuming to make. The next thing I want to try is gluing the fold shut. I refrained from doing that due to fear of the cap not burning through the glued paper. The way the thing is made, the fire kinda hits the cartridge in the corner. There is an angled slot in the face of the breech plug that kinda channels the fire across the base of the cartridge. If any were to burn through the side, then there would be no problem with ignition. If it is burning through the several layers of folded paper on the base, then glue may complicate things. Maybe loading a dummy cartridge with all filler and no powder then popping a cap on it would tell you where the cartridge gets burned through. I haven't tried that, but I think I will. I'm gonna have to try gluing the folds though because the folds don't necessarily stay folded well enough. Most did, but some tried to open up and the cartridge got soft, which made it difficult to load.

    Obviously, mine has the elongated loading port modification. And yes, it's a tight fit loading a cartridge though it, but that's just part of the fun.

    Hal,

    Thanks for the description of your cartridges. I?ve tried a similar approach making cartridges for a Merrill using a conical bullet. I glued the folded end down. I had no trouble with ignition as the fire in the Merrill comes in from the side. The problem with most shots is that I was left with the circular end disc left in the chamber to be fished out. The body of the cartridge was consumed but the glue kept the base from burning up. Did you have much trouble with the unglued folded base staying closed while handling the cartridge, as the curler paper is somewhat flimsy?

    Thanks,
    Barry S.

  3. #13
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    Barry,

    Yes, some of the folds did try to open. A couple of them opened enough for a small amount of powder to escape. None fell completely apart, though. The ones that did best were the ones I payed extra special attention to rolling the mandrel around on it's end while pressing down very hard to get a really good crease in the paper. Those seemed to hold the powder much better, especially when twisting the front end over the ball. You can generate some pressure in there doing that. Some is good, as it results in a firm cartridge that holds its shape, but twisting too hard can try to force the powder out the folded end. I treated the cartridges gingerly, as they would not have stood up to any rough handling at all.

    No, I did not have any trouble with unburned paper left against the breech plug. I too have a Merrill and have experienced that with it. I kinda expect it to occur with the Jenks once I try gluing the folds shut, though. I need to find a glue that is combustible when dry, like maybe Nitrate Dope for airplanes, but I doubt that is available anymore. As fast as dope dries, it is still many times longer than using an Elmer's Glue Stick, which is what I typically use on paper cartridges. I don't want to slow things down. perhaps I can find a way to use only a small amount of glue stick on the final fold.

  4. #14
    geezmo is offline
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    Hal,
    I was thinking of trying something simple and natural like the old fashioned flour/water library paste, figuring it might burn up or otherwise disintegrate. Two drawbacks are length of time to dry and the mess of mixing paste each time you want to roll a few cartridges. I may try it anyway. If I have any luck I?ll let you know.

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    Good idea. I may try that.

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