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Thread: Combustible paper revolvers cartridges

  1. #1
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    Combustible paper revolvers cartridges

    Hi
    I am new to N-SSA skirmishing but not revolver shooting. I have been playing with these made from cigarette paper using a flat nose lead bullet in my 36's. Not happy with the accuracy but I was wondering if any of you use them using round balls? Was going to try some with round balls and nitrated paper in my1851 and see if I get better results
    Last edited by jaxenro; 10-16-2013 at 07:24 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    dennis g is offline
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    N-SSA rules prohibit paper cartridges.

  3. #3
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    Interesting seems they would be the most authentic accuracy seems to suffer for me with them though

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    ian45662 is offline
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    have you tried using the mold that lee makes for making revolver combustible cartridges? I have used them and they worked good. For paper I used onion paper. Did not need to be nitrated and everything burnt up upon firing

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    Jim Barber is offline
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    N-SSA prohibits paper preloads for various safety reasons. I'd actually like to try nitrated rounds, however, for practice in the off-season-- I have limited time to shoot, and would save a good bit of range time with wrapped cartridges. I have a lot more time to fiddle around at home than I do to run off to the range.

    That said, have you checked your barrel dia. vs. bullet diameter? My R&S .44 shaves rings off a .457 roundball but really likes that oversized round. The manual for my .36 Lyman Remington (still unfired, dammmit!) recommends a .375 roundball. It actually came in the box with a .375 mould. Gonna try that thing out this winter...

    My dad shoots a Remington-- he'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's a Pietta Shooters Model-- & prefers the conical bullets, and his are a .457 which are kind of an ordeal to cram into the cylinder. Anything less than "really tight" will give poor accuracy.

    A lot of folks shoot roundball rather than conicals in N-SSA competition with excellent results; actually, my pop is an outlier in that regard. I tried his conical formula and did not do very well. Stuck with the oversized/ .457 RB and the gun shoots great. I, on the other hand, do not shoot great. At all. Revolvers, apparently, are tough to shoot offhand. But benched, Mon Dieu! The thing is a tack driver at 25 yards. At least I know "it's not the gun!"

    There's also the matter of lube, which someone will hopefully address. In my short time shooting revolver, I haven't made any wise observations about improvement or detriment w/ regard to lube. 3F Goex, corn meal, ball, and a gob of Bore Butter on top. Works great.

    Good luck and happy shootin'!

    Jim B.
    110th OVI
    Grove City, OH

  6. #6
    jonk is offline
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    I still think the idea that they are prohibited 'for safety reasons' is utter nonsense. For a long barreled musket I understand; a little ember in the bottom from some unburnt paper could ruin your day. But if we can rack open our Sharps and fire shot after shot without issue, I see no reason why we can't do so with revolvers, given the time between relays. Heck, the Sharps USUALLY has at least some resude in the chamber, sometimes a whole tube that needs to be dug out- or, in the excitement of the moment, you just ram another charge in and hope that it doesn't go off in your face. For revolvers, in between relays, just make swabbing the cylinders mandatory. Which most people do anyhow.

    As to the question, I have tried it; while it made for a nice little package it was pretty flimsy. I too used cigarette paper. Accuracy wasn't much different than anything else, but I did have to use a slightly undersized ball to accomplish it.

  7. #7
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    Accuracy with this gun (ASM 1862 pocket navy) was better with round balls then bullets (I am using the 140 grain flat nosed Kaido bullet with a tallow/beeswax/paraffin mix in the grease groves) but it really dropped off when I tried the cartridges. For a small gun with a 5.5 barrel it's actually pretty good with round balls.

    I did notice when using the cartridges a ring of paper was sheared off on loading. It could be the lube went with it as I also got more leading in the barrel

    I have the Lee round nose mold and 100 or so cast but didn't try them with paper cartridges yet
    Last edited by jaxenro; 10-17-2013 at 07:00 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Hi Jaxenro:

    As you've heard, the N-SSA doesn't allow paper cartridge except for breech loading carbines. The obvious fear is that if there was a cook-off while loading a cartridge from the muzzle you will have a live bullet flying at you. With the breech loader the cartridge goes in nose-first pushing any potential embers out of the way, and the breech is open so while it certainly wouldn't be pleasant if the cartridge cooked off at least you would not end up with a bullet launching at you during loading.

    I think you'll have a hard time developing a competition-accurate load for a revolver using period-style cartridges for a couple of reasons:

    The period cartridges were loaded with a service charge, which usually does not give the maximum accuracy that the revolver is capable of.

    If you try to load the cartridge with less powder, as most of us do to achieve the maximum accuracy, you will necessarily have an under-filled cartridge resulting in an under-filled chamber. Many people shooting in competition make up the empty space with a filler like a wad or cream of wheat. Powder goes in the cylinder chamber, then the filler, then the ball gets compressed firmly on top of it so that there is no mixing of the powder and the filler prior to firing.

    I know from experience that you can get a big difference in accuracy just by using filler vs. no filler under the ball.

    If you tried to put filler in your paper cartridge with the powder, they would almost certainly mix during handling/shooting and dilute the effectiveness of the powder charge. You might figure out a way to put a felt wad or two in the cartridge and then the powder charge and that might fare better, but I don't know of any period examples of that being done.

    There are several videos on YouTube of people making paper cartridges for revolvers, both for round and conical bullets, but most that I have found do not show a period technique (or end up with a period-looking result) for doing so:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC5mwOJ2Khg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdiAX_pI8vE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLG8z-khMlA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8CF3h1PkMk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skC_xUOWF-A

    This fellow has an interesting technique in that he uses a modern brass cartridge as a former for the paper and to hold the charge and bullet while wrapping the cartridge, then slips out the brass:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um0UEnDU6rA

    Our own Space Cowboy has a video that shows a fairly period-correct looking technique here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUBrI0jKiuQ

    This is one of the best videos concerning VERY period-looking cartridges (and packaging) that I have seen, but unfortunately there are no details on construction nor who made them:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vx_nQphKO4

    An excellent book on the subject of Civil War-era cartridges is the 4-volume Round Ball to Rimfire series. Volume 3 talks about pistol cartridges:

    http://www.amazon.com/Round-Ball-Rim...ref=pd_sim_b_2

    You will also note that there were period "cartridges" made for revolver that were just like those made for expanding ball rifles - a paper cartridge that contained the bullet and the powder charge, and you would tear off the tail, dump in the powder, extract the naked ball, and load it by itself (no paper), throwing away the paper remnants. These were found to be "fidgety" for revolvers with complaints that it was hard to pour the powder charge into the cylinder without spilling.

    Steve

  9. #9
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    Wasn't concerned s much with competing with them as wondering why the accuracy loss. I have been making them for years but never as bad as with the latest batch I could barely stay on the target at 15 yards and usually these bullets are fairly accurate at that range

    Thanks for the links I can always use more
    Last edited by jaxenro; 10-17-2013 at 10:41 AM.

  10. #10
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    Remember when using these around law enforcement, they look an awful lot like doobies.

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