Questions for that smart guy


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timothy75
June 26, 2006, 11:25 PM
Were conical bullets used widely by the military in C&B revolvers when in service? Were paper patched cartridges used in revolvers? Did the military specify a powder charge or was it up to the soldier? Did soldiers load with wads or grease? Thanks

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Derek
June 27, 2006, 02:36 AM
One type of ammo issue to Union troops was made of two little pieces of wood, about 3 1/2"X 1 1/2"X 5/8"[these are "eyeball" dimentions, I've only seen a packet in a glass case] The wood was clamped together and 6 holes drilled. Paper combustible cartridges, their bullets dipped in wax, were put into the holes and the whole thing wrapped in paper with a piece of [usually red] thread underneath. To use, you just pulled the thread to slit the wrapper and the wood would fall apart, giving you easy instant access to the cartridges. The packet was to protect the fragile loads from damage and damp.

Derek
June 27, 2006, 02:43 AM
One type of ammo issue to Union troops was made of two little pieces of wood, about 3 1/2"X 1 1/2"X 5/8"[these are "eyeball" dimentions, I've only seen a packet in a glass case] The wood was clamped together and 6 holes drilled. Paper combustible cartridges, their bullets dipped in wax, were put into the holes and the whole thing wrapped in paper with a piece of [usually red] thread underneath. To use, you just pulled the thread to slit the wrapper and the wood would fall apart, giving you easy instant access to the cartridges. The packet was to protect the fragile loads from damage and damp.The bullets them selves were not patched with paper or anything else for revolvers.I have never heard of wads or grease being issued but how the individual soldier loaded in the field with loose ammo was probably dependant on what he could get hold of.

4v50 Gary
June 27, 2006, 09:57 PM
Dunno about wood, but then again I never studied the pistols as well as I have the rifles. Anyway, like Derek said, the soldiers were issued paper cartridges and as far as I know, they often came with conical bullets. The entire paper cartridge was inserted into the cylinder and rammed down as a one piece unit. Presumably, the ramming would help break the paper for the spark to ignite it. No crisco or other lubricant was placed over the mouth of the cylinder as a safety measure (soldiers didn't have that fancy stuff in the heat of battle). A good book to read on this would be Bill Edwards' Civil War Guns or Joe Bilby's Civil War Firearms.

ribbonstone
June 27, 2006, 11:01 PM
Have read of some studies of the paper cartidges. Like today, these were put ou for bids and the lower priced bidder won the contract. Contract was really too large for any one company, so were several differnt contracts.

Lots of Civil War reprots of profiteering and sub-standard materials (one guy was convicted for substuting cardboard boot-soles)..and some cartridge makers short changed the quality of powder and the weight.

The contaiers were wood (kind of like little loading blocks), wraped in a paper coating (some were waxed paper, others eem like butcher's paper)...some tied with ite twine. Have seen individual cartridges made from news print (probably nitrate soaked), but those aren't standard, mostly likely made by individual soldiers or by the Southern forces (were some published reports in Mississippi papers of the tme of the ladies getting together for a cartridge party, where they'd shape the nitrated paper tubes and insert the bullets, but leave powder charging and packaging to others...kind of a quilting bee wthout the quilt).

At least some of the bullets were lubed with Beeswax (or sme mix with beeswax as the main portion)...most of the surviving nes have lost any wax they once held (and some seem mever to have been lubed at all...who knows, it won't last exposed for 100years).

mec
June 28, 2006, 08:02 PM
ribbbonstones post is exactly what I've heard. apparently the little wooden zip boxes were issued by the thousands. every vendor had their own standard for bullet weight and powder charge and type. before nitrated paper came into use, they made the ctgs out of metallic foil and it was pretty necessary to put a pick through the cone for reliable ignition.

writers and such say that loading of loose powder and round ball was much favored for accuracy and power and I believe them.

gmatov
June 28, 2006, 11:50 PM
MEC,

I think you're right. I've never made nor used cartridges, no need to, except mebbe for experimenting like was on these forums a few months ago. Everybody was getting into it, no one mentions them anymore.

Probably a soldier could load a C&B in a minute or less, none of this spring valve flask poured into a measure and tap to settle, then top off, then flip the funnel top and pour, then repeat 5 times, then seat 6 balls then cap.

WE are so damned cautious we'd NEVER pour from the flask, they'd never dream of making up a target charge with a measure. They wanted to get back to shootin' in a hurry. Fill the chambers enough to cram a ball in and cap and shoot.

BTW, have you ever seen a capper from that era, or did they all cap singly? Can't believe no one made one up for sale, whether Colt or an aftermarket outfit.

Cheers,

George

mec
June 29, 2006, 02:21 AM
the only cappers Ive seen have been modern ones which may or not be replicas of originals. I know the Paterson used a capper but the modern copy is just a decorator. wont fit into the frame.

Wwalstrom
June 29, 2006, 08:18 AM
I've seen pictures of antique snail-type cappers on auction house websites. I saved a pic of one dated to the Civil War.

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