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TsalagiDave

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Reply with quote  #46 
The best commercial lubricant was likely sperm oil but I imagine tallow or lard would suffice. I've had the opportunity to experiment a lot with these. First off, I use an original Colt conical mold with saltpeter impregnated onion skin paper with 25g of FFFg. I have found that with a properly formed and seated ball and proper fitting caps, there is little if any risk of a chain fire. If I use oil, it is one drop that settles into the crevice between the tube's walls and the conical ball. There are a few reasons for this. I do a lot of my shooting and trailing in the Mojave. Temperatures can reach 120 degrees F out there. Any grease you use will completely liquefy and run out of the tubes making a mess of your pistol's barrel, holster and even your trowsers. More on a dangerous level however, is that all that grease is a dust magnet. With desert winds ranging from a gentle breeze to over 60mph gusts, airborne dust and sand particles are a way of life. A glob of sand-filled grease stuck mid-barrel could cause your pistol to explode. I've never seen it happen but I did ruin the barrel of a San Marco Colt pocket years ago when the grease attracted a large granule of sand mid barrel. Attached are a couple of reproduction rounds I've made. They are to spec with the colt factory combustible envelope charges.
Colt pack small.jpg  Colt Rounds small.jpg 


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horseapples

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Reply with quote  #47 
I can't see the pictures Dave.
TsalagiDave

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Reply with quote  #48 
Try again. I fixed it.

-Dave

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When I die, I want to go like my grandfather did. Quietly and peacefully in his sleep, not screaming like the passengers in his car.
horseapples

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Reply with quote  #49 
Oooh, now they're pretty.
TsalagiDave

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Reply with quote  #50 
Thanks, they really speed up the pace during triggger time but time consuming to make.

-Dave

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Sonorabitandspur

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Reply with quote  #51 
Chance is right, on the frontier, loads were loaded with tight fitting ball or conical bullets.Patches were often used, some times treated with lard but most often not. If a load is loaded with lard for any length of time it may fail to fire. Most often dry cotton cloth was used. My grandfather had an 1860 colt revolver which belongs now to one of my cousins. He liked to cut patches from old jeans, to prevent sparks from igniting the adjacent chambers. He never used any grease. Today where saftey has become a greater concern and blackpowder guns are normally not left loaded, grease dose add another measure of saftey, so follow the recommendations of the manufactures.

Wow, Dave those are very cool, very "civil war era." I have seen the cartridge pouches that were a larger version of the cap pouch, but I had never seen actual cartridges. Thanks for sharing.
I think I recall government specs for Union cartridges called for a "nitrated paper." I really don't know what that was.
DixiePiobaire

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Reply with quote  #52 
Nitrate paper was soaked in chemical (same root as Nitro explosive) so that it burned very readily and fast .. less likely to leave burning paper embers around.

DP

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TsalagiDave

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Reply with quote  #53 
I make the cartridges (including the nitrated paper) from scratch.

There were 2-general types of combustible cartridges made following the very first that were made of foil.  The "combustible envelope" (as seen above) were made of nitrated paper as previously said; and "skin" made from nitrated intestine.

For my combustible envelope, I make a solution of saltpeter and bottled water.  I heat it (not boil it) in an oven at around 200 F and make sure that full dissolution occurs when some of the saltpeter remains at the bottom, unable to dissolve further.

I then soak the paper an hang it up to dry.  It's a lot of effort but will produce enough envelopes for about 100 shots per sheet. 

I cast the rounds from an original Colt's .36 conical mould.  If I want to speed things up for the shooting range I have a modern .375 conical mould that allows me to produce bullets at a faster rate.

Sodium silicate (water glass) is the glue that I use because that is what the original cartridges were made of and unlike craft glue, it will not turn into a cooked-in residue that will ruin your barrel. I use the sodium silicate to create the envelopes and attach them to the bullet after loading about 25-28gr FFFg.

Always use FFFg.  It cuts down on the fowling and gives superior ignition.  I also never grease the tubes but rather, oil them with a drop or two instead.  Globs of grease don't clean fouling, it adds to it.  Without the greasy mess, I often shoot 3-4 sets before running a brush through it.  Also, handling a firearm with greasy hands is just plain reckless.  I have often shot without greasing at all and have never had a chain fire.  A proper bullet size, properly seated over powder properly funneled in the right amount with tight fitting caps negates the risk.

Finally, I use number 11 caps as opposed to number 10. a slight pinch to the rim ensures that they will seat and hold.  I have also noticed that many cap revolvers don't get along with Number 10s so I use those on percussion hunting rifles instead.  When seating them, exercise patience and never give too much direct force from your thumb.  I know of a guy who blew the tip of his thumb off doing this and he's fortunate that the discharged ball failed to hit him or anyone else nearby.

Compared to the single-shot pistols of a few years previous, a 5-6 shooter is a regular arsenal so forget about carrying loaded cylinders in your pockets (always a bad idea). 5-6 shots or even a second gun would be more than enough firepower to settle most disagreements.

-Dave



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When I die, I want to go like my grandfather did. Quietly and peacefully in his sleep, not screaming like the passengers in his car.
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