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Paper Cartridges clogging up nipples

StradivariusStradivarius Member Posts: 51 ✭✭
Hello AGAIN ! Guys and Dolls. I have a new question for you all. I am/was thinking about using paper cartridges ( non nitraded cigaret papers ) but i have been reading on the internet that they have a bad habbit of clogging up the nipples in revolvers. I realy like the thought of having mabey 50 paper cartridges ready to go when i get to the shooting range. But ! i dont like the thought of it going fftttzzzzz BANG ! - Or not going of att all and standing there with a unfired cylinder that could go BANG severel sec?nds after i have given up on it. -- Do you guys have good or bad experience of non nitrated paper partridges ?

Thank you from Sweden [:D]


  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would recommend not using cigarette paper. If you roll paper cartridges with only 1 layer of paper, they are almost too fragile to transport and they tend to break apart when trying to load into the cylinders. If you make them with more than 1 layer of paper, then you can get incomplete combustion of the paper.
    Your best bet is to nitrate your own pape.
    The best paper to use is 20 lb. 100% rag paper. This is available as 20 pound,100% rag drawing paper which is available at any art supply store, or as 100%rag content typing paper, available at any Office Supply store.
    Dissolve 4 heaping tablespoons of Saltpeter ( Potassium or Sodium Nitrate) in a glass of hot water. Saltpeter is available from most pharmacies. Then, using wide manilla tape-the kind that you have to wet the glue side- and tape the paper to a flat surface. Using a paint brush or sponge soak the paper with the saltpeter solution. Allow to dry until the paper is bone dry. The tape allows the paper to dry completely flat. You can cut the paper from the tape.
    Make your cartridges sith this paper. It will make sturdy cartridges just like those "of the period" and burn completly away upon firing.
    I also suggest that you use Water Glass (Sodium Silicate solution) as an adhesive. White glue, which some people recommend, should be avoided because it does not burn completely away and can leave a gooey residue behind.
    By the way, to prevent hang fires when using paper cartridges, it is always smart to use a nipple prick to puncture the loaded cartridges before you put on the caps.
  • flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    FWIW, I've been using paper cartridges in my 1861 Navy Colt's all summer with great success.

    The key is the paper. Following Steg's excellent advice, I made a couple of modifications. I form the paper around a tapered wooden mandrel, with the paper cut to a rather "fancy" form that allows the least amount of paper, without doubling anywhere. I made a metal template of the form, and cut papers with an X-acto knife, a few at a time. Then, I soak the papers in the saltpetre solution, and stick them on a piece of glass at a slight incline to dry - kinda like toilet-papering your roommate's ceiling. When the papers are dry, they just fall off the glass, and are reasonably flat enough to form the cartridge around the wooden mandrel, and "glue" with water-glass.

    I use a conventional powder measure to fill the cartridges, and "glue" conical balls into them, putting a couple of drops of water-glass into the bottom groove of the bullets, and pushing the paper into the groove.

    These cartridges are robust enough to pack "in the field" without problem, and I have had no problems with either ignition or hang-fire even without pricking the cartridge through the nipple.

    I've been using these at "Cowboy" meets, and have found some unburned paper residues after firing three or four rounds (each chamber) at matches. It would probably be a good idea to run a brush through the chambers between loads, a brush meant to clean a blind bore, not a conventional pistol brush.

    Many thanks to Steg for his help and good advice !
  • stegsteg Member Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for the compliment.
    Back in the day, unless one was target shooting, handguns were rarely re-loaded more than once during use....even in combat. So, some paper residue after 2 or 3 reloadings of combustable cartridges was not a problem.
    When you consider that combat during the percussion era was an eye ball to eye ball affair, and the difficulty of re-loading, even with combustable cartridges- you could be dead before you could reload.
    As for the cavalry, these troops, regularly carried spare loaded cylinders because it was easier to replace the cylinder in a Colt or Remington revolver, than it was to reload on horseback.
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,725
    edited November -1
    FWIW, in Chas. Suydam's US Cartridges and Their Handguns- he has photos and histories of a lot of early non metallic cartridges- including "waterproof" revolver rounds that were coated in collodion, or covered in varnished animal gut (condom) and the Colt tinfoil cartridges- cup shaped, thin tin foil, pressed into the heel of the bullet. They claimed no nipple pick needed, force of cap would penetrate tin foil.

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