Cartridge Making Instructions

Support for the 1863 shooter. Discussions of powders, loads, bullets, etc.
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terry
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Cartridge Making Instructions

Post by terry » Sat Apr 24, 2004 9:53 pm

Hi All

Glad to see the forums are back up and the Bryan's have added this section on the percussion guns. Thank's!! A few years ago I wrote an article for the quarterly newsletter of the Sharps Collectors Association about making Sharps Combustible Cartridges for the "NEW MODEL" (1859, 1863, 1865) guns. It needs to be updated but hopefully will be of interest. The process is adapted/expanded from the original Sharps instructions. It's a .pdf file and can be downloaded here:

http://www.schuetzen.net/sharps_combust ... ridges.htm

Enjoy, Terry Behm

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Lee Stone
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Post by Lee Stone » Sun Apr 25, 2004 11:31 am

Terry

If I may make a comment. I do not shoot the Sharps '63s or earlier percussion models. They're not what I am interested in shooting. I prefer cartridge rifles. But I am interested because all things Sharps interest me. But, I was thrilled when I saw that Lucinda, Kirk, et. al. had added this Forum department because I know a lot of us do enjoy these rifles. And I find this department a marvelous place to learn about the percussion Sharps. But that is the way Shiloh Rifle Mfg. Co. is, always thinking and implementing things to benefit us.

Now you pop in and post a magnificent article and share your knowledge of combustible paper cartridge making. Even if I don't personally use this information, it still benefits me in understanding these Sharps rifles I so love.

Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness.
Lee Stone

gmartin
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Post by gmartin » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:21 am

Terry,
So you are Terry Behm! A Fellow user of these sites sent me a copy of your original article. It changed the way I shoot my "63 carbine forever! I recommended this method to others and posted the results of first trying cartridges with the bullets inserted some time ago. Will check out the new info. now. Always sriving to improve my shooting and thus far using these led to the most consistent shooting I've had yet.
Thanks, Gregg

VAshooter
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Post by VAshooter » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:09 pm

Terry,
Thanks for the information. I am a new owner of a Shilow 1863 Carbine and need all the help I can get. Your instructions are clear enough so that even I can understand them.
Freedom Isn't Free

Doug

terry
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Post by terry » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:00 pm

Lee, Thank you for the kind words, though I doubt that the word "magnificant" has ever been connected to anything I've ever done, especially writing. You should try the combustible cartridge guns, no more reloading! All your ammo is brand new!
Thanks Gregg, this is pretty much the original article, I updated it once but lost that copy in a computer crash. I originally wrote it because there was a lot of misunderstanding about the difference between the slant breech models (models of 1851,1852,1853 and 1855) and the "New Model" straight breech guns (models of 1859, 1863, and 1865). Folks didn't know that the straight breech guns had a completely different type of cartdridge designed for them.
Anyway, these cartridges are easy to make and the guns work much better with correct cartridges.

Terry Behm

Todd Birch
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Making Combustible Cartridges

Post by Todd Birch » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:02 am

Hey Terry

I received copies of your instructions from two subscribers to this forum, so your article is out there doing good work amongst '63 owners.

I'm a bit of a herectic in that I discovered a labour saving way of making cartridges using Pyrodex pellets ("boo, hiss...." from the gallery). It only applies to .50 calibre rifles, but works so well that it might be enough of an incentive to order a rifle in that calibre.

Hogdon offers Pyrodex pellets in .54 (60 grain equivalent) which is perfect for rolling in combustible paper with a lubed bullet. You can either leave the end of the pellet exposed (it's coated with a smear of black powder) or puncture the end of the cartridge with an awl before or after loading.

It's rigid cartridge and I breech seat it with a short starter. This makes it a very suitable round for hunting. If I don't use the short starter, it still goes in far enough to close the block.

So far, it is the round to beat in my rifle! The only negative is the somewhat objectionable smell compared to good ol' BP and the very dry residue.

I've talked to Hodgdon about it and they saw no negatives. If they were were willing to make up pellets in .58, presumably they would chamber in a .54 '63. However, they claim to hard pressed meeting the current demand for .50 and .54 pellets.

Shoot a paper Sharps - the original!

Todd
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

gmartin
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Making Combustible Cartridges.

Post by gmartin » Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:21 am

Terry,
Thanks again, the article I down loaded was what I already had which was fine. Let me share some experinces with/about them. I had no wide masking tape so I mated 1/2" wide strips on a 6" .50 dowel. Trial and error led to making ccomplete cartridges too large, too small, etc., concerning width, but I got it right. I found an advantage with this system in that I could widen one end for a bullet of a slightly larger diameter. I tried to find "Tamale Paper" at a local eatery/store of Mexican goods and was shown corn husks as I expected. My best paper has been SubWay type paper cut as per your instructions, though paper from boxes of new shoes, ie., ReeBok, Nike,and others worked well, though seemed to leave a bit more residue when shot. I've mentioned this before, but my carbine shoots a cartridge of 1 7/8" best no matter what ball (bullet) I used. Total length that is. I also use white glue throughout and can't help but nitrate my paper.
One question: You show a ringtail bullet, what was the procedure for insuring a tight fit when inserting those?
To Lee, Yes sir, load these up and shoot them, simply accept that your efforts are expended in a milisecond, but, No collecting and cleaning of brass, deburring, etc. etc., though the magical search for a "match" combination of ingredients remains to drive one crazy.
Concerning Todd's Pyrodex cartridges, again I've mentioned this elsewhere, they are classic looking and produce exceptional results for him. Enough so that I wish there were .58 Pyrodex pellets to fit the chamber of my .54. I will NEVER understand how lube alone holds those balls in place! I would hope also that suppossed .58 P pellets would fit inside my "new model 1859 cartridges."
Doug, this is the cartridge information I offered to send you, thanks to Terry I believe you have it now.
Best to all, Gregg

terry
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Post by terry » Wed Apr 28, 2004 4:47 pm

Hi guys, I also used 1/2" masking tape, just didn't mention it in the instructions, Gregg try using the Subway paper without nitrating, you will like it, nitrating the paper really fouls up the chamber. I have been unable to find any documentation that the paper cartridges were ever treated with nitrate or anything else. The linen cartridges were heavily treated but not the paper cartridges. I would love to see the documentation if anyone has it. Not too sure of your ringtail bullet question but that bullet is not correct for a straight breech gun. In the old model cartridges for the slant breech guns the cartridge tube was a smaller diameter (about 7/16") and slid over the ring on the end of the bullet and was then tyed to the base of the bullet with string. The case was filled with powder and folded close in the standard military manner.

Regarding Pyrodex, I would never put that corrosive crap in any of my guns, I value them too highly.

Terry Behm

Todd Birch
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Paper Cartridges and Pyrodex

Post by Todd Birch » Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:57 pm

Terry

I don't think you value your firearms any more highly than the rest of us.
Prompt cleaning afterwards ensures long life and service, regardless of propellant.

It's well and good to be a purist, but there are also people who are able to get Pyrodex a lot easier than BP.

I have a reference book with a very good illustration of the 'skinny' cartridge you describe that was tied to the base of the ring tail bullet.

Someone tell me how to do it and I'll scan it to the forum.

Todd
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

gmartin
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Location: Boise Id

Cartridge making instructions

Post by gmartin » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:03 pm

Terry,
I will try NOT nitrating my SubWay paper. It will be diffilcult for such a creature of protocol/habit/routine. So many folks use the ringtails, but the only cartridges I've seen of them were illustrations of originals as you described.
Uh oh, "corrosive crap?" Indeed? Dare I say I'd still like to find .58 PY pellets to try?
A great cartridge, thanks yet again, Gregg

JMLange
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Cartridge Making Instructions

Post by JMLange » Sat May 01, 2004 1:35 pm

There is a lot of information on the NSSA board about cartride making, it just takes time to find it. Those guys seem to like hair curler papers (no nitrating) for their cartridges. The only place I've ever found them was Wally World.

As to the use of Pyrodex pellets, one of them was actually gluing the pellet to the back of the bullet with pretty decent results for just plinking (caseless amunition, not a new concept).

John :)

Todd Birch
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...."caseless ammo"....

Post by Todd Birch » Sat May 01, 2004 4:51 pm

That's exactly how I think of my Pyrodex pellet loads - caseless cartridges.

I've out bear hunting lately and that has been my ammo for my .50 '63 Military.

I carry four rounds in a shirt pocket or leg pocket on pants and it's standing up well.

As to 'BROTHER BEAR', I know where he lives, I just can't catch him home......
It's been great beatin' the bushes with the .50 Sharps in hand. Gives confidence when threading my way through thickets where maybe I ought not to go, but hey, that's why I carry the Sharps!

Todd
"From birth to the packing house, we travel between the two eternities ....." Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail"

gmartin
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Case less ammunition

Post by gmartin » Sat May 01, 2004 8:21 pm

Todd, John,
So much new information! We've a great forum here. When I get my carbine back and shoot the various loads I have to try, all 125 of different combinations of powder, balls, paper, and even lube, I'll attempt more of the load information gleaned throughout. I too have a "baseline" load, but I believe it may be improved upon. The cartridge shooters have nothing on the percussion folks as far as a desire to improve what they already know is good! By the way, I shoot P Pyrodex out of my Remington Mod. '58 and have realized no ill effects in 20 plus years, however, it is stainless (but it is well cared for immediately following shooting).
Gregg

L. Sanders

Hints For Making Paper Sharps Cartridges

Post by L. Sanders » Sun May 09, 2004 12:15 pm

Having made and fired literally thousands of Sharps paper cartridges over the past 30 years, here is what I have found to work best:

1. I use Ladies Hair Curling papers-they are pre-cut, burn great and are cheap, cheap, cheap. Don't need to nitrate them either. Some people make their paper cartridges using 'double wide' cigarette papers. While they burn O.K., those papers have a high price because of hidden cigarette taxes. Cutting out paper for cartridges from sheets of paper is a waste of time and energy. Pre-cut Ladies Hair Curling paper is the way to go!

Ladies Hair Curling papers can be obtained from places like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc. Just don't make the mistake of telling the clerk WHY you are buying those curling papers, unless you want some weird looks thrown in your direction.

2. My favorite bullet is the Sharps "Christmas Tree" bullet, a.k.a. known as the "Ringtail" bullet.

3. With the Lyman "Ringtail" bullet, the base where the paper cartridge is attached is the perfect size so a sawed off piece of 1/2 inch dowel rod (available at your local hardware or building supply store) can be used as the cartridge former stick. Just saw them off in 5 or 6 inch lengths.

4. Simply roll your hair curler paper around the piece of dowel rod. Use some "stick glue" to glue the tube together.

5. Also use the stick glue to put glue all around the SIDE of the Ringtail of the bullet.

6. Now, butt the front of your cartridge former stick up against the back of the bullet's Ringtail and SLIDE the paper tube off the former stick so far that it completely slides over the sides of the ringtail and stops when it contacts the base of the main part of the bullet.

7.Using your forefinger and thumb, press down on the paper where it contacts the side of the ringtail and using other hand, withdraw completely the former stick from the paper tube.

8. Then using your fingers, press the paper down ALL AROUND the sides of the RINGTAIL. This is to make sure that the paper, lead and glue have 100% contact.

9. Put the bullet nose of your semi-made cartridge down in a cartridge block.

10. I also tie the cartridge tube to the bullet using Johnsons & Johnsons, REACH, "Fresh Mint" dental floss. I have found that dental floss makes the ideal string to tie the bullet to the cartridge because floss is light and very strong.

11. Cut off a 5 or 6 inch section of dental floss, form it into a semi- granny knot type of loop and slide it over the cartridge tube, then pull it tight when you get to the ringtail. This "CHOKES" the paper to the bullet.

A great advantage of using dental floss is when you pull it tight and release the pressure, the dental floss will relax on both sides of the outside of the knot, keeping the knot TIGHT while you tie it again. Then I simply clip off the excess floss with a pair of scissors.

12. This procedure produces AN EXTREMELY STRONG paper cartridge and bullet bond. Much stronger than just gluing the paper case and bullet together.

After you have had one or two "glued only" paper cartridges come apart in your cartridge box (like I have) you will go to the "glue/floss" type of cartridge.

13. Then I simply "hot dip" the bullet in lube, being careful to prevent the lube from coming in contact with the paper.

14. Then I load the cartridges with black powder and "twist" the ends closed. This is called closing the cartridges "Confederate Style" as the Sharps cartridges made at the Richmond Laboratory for issue to the Confederate Cavalry used this method to close the cartridges.

15. Needless to say, when the cartridge is loaded into the Sharps, the closing of the breechblock shears off the twisted end. When the Yankees experimented with Sharps cartridges, they found that Sharps Cartridges with closed ends SHOT MORE ACCURATELY. This was because the end of the paper cartridge WAS NOT SHEARED OFF when the action closed. IF the end of the paper cartridge is NOT sheared off, then there can be NO LOSS OF POWDER (the main problem with the Confederate Style of closing the cartridge).

16. So if you want to make your Sharps cartridges "Yankee Style," then cut off some of the end of the paper AFTER the black powder is loaded in the cartridge and then glue the end closed. Some shooters use "Water Glass" to close the rear end of their Sharps cartridges because the
glue is flammable.

Of course, the MAIN SECRET of shooting a percussion Sharps ACCURATELY involves your actual Sharps LOADING TECHNIQUE. The muzzle needs to be pointed downwards toward the ground. The cartridge is then pushed FIRMLY into the chamber AND ALL THE WAY INTO THE CHAMBER. This assures you that your cartridge is "headspaced" properly in the chamber and this produces the most accuracy.

Care must be taken to seat EVERY cartridge at the SAME AND PROPER DEPTH IN THE CHAMBER, esepcially when the chamber is getting fouled up because of continious shooting, The more fouling present in the chamber, the harder it will be to seat the cartridge at the correct depth in the chamber.

If you are involved in a shooting match and despite the fact that you are pushing your cartridges firmly into the chamber of your Sharps, you notice that more of the rear end of your paper cartridge is being sheared off when the action closes-this is a RED FLAG WARNING your Sharps is giving you that you need to stop shooting and clean out that chamber and barrel!

gmartin
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New .54 bullet info.

Post by gmartin » Sun May 09, 2004 12:51 pm

L. Sanders,
Thank you for this info! I shoot another type paper cartridge with the cartridge as near to chaamber width as possible an the botton sealed with a nitrated piece of light paper with a flat based ball (bullet) pasted to the cartridge. Exemplary performance so far, but I'm open to other suggestions always. Correspondence with several other shooters are leading me to the ring-tail design. I would attempt to make mine a flat based end to chamber length were I to attempt your design.
One question, how much powder and what type do you use or are able to utilize?
Great post, Gregg

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