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Paper Cartdridges and Needle Guns

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by whm1974, May 17, 2020.

  1. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Another consideration was that they wanted to issue guards and other second-line troops some sort of firearm so they could do their job (deterrence), but which would be useless if stolen by insurrectionists, rebels, or criminals.

    A single shot, short range, smoothbore that took non-standard ammo was just the ticket. Dont forget, it could still mount a pretty long, nasty bayonet too.
     
  2. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    I hardly have any knowledge of how the British or the local Indian government permitted legal firearm ownership among the native Indians, but in a considerable number of countries that place heavy restriction on Civilian legal gun ownership, shotguns were usually the ones with the least regulations along with maybe .22 Rimfire rifles.
     
  3. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, it is not a Needle Gun.

    Unlike the Chassepot cartridge, the primer in a Dreyse Needle Gun cartridge is located at the base of the bullet. It is ignited by a long needle that penetrates all the way though the powder charge in the paper cartridge.
     
  4. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    Well that explains quite well why the firing pin was so weak. Why didn't the Germans put the primer in the back where it belongs in the first place?
     
  5. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Had to do with gas seal and burning rates--things learned during development..

    I believe the Chassepot was superior.
     
  6. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Well, the French fielded more than million Chassepot, and the Dreyse was around a million as well. And quite a lot wound up over mantels or stored in armories.

    Flat dunno. They would be "black powder" which is something of a gray area in 18 USC 922. They would not be "factory produced" either, to further muddy the water.

    Well, for one, that was a less stable area on a paper cartridge. Also, the "rocket" cartridges (where the skirts of Mineé balls were extended then stuffed with powder and a percussion cap) led "the art" astray there in the mid 1800s.
    At least until they put 2 and 2 (and 2) together on using a metallic cartridge. Which also neatly solve the obturation issues with needle-fired arms.

    The Prussians, with their Dreyse rifles also convinced the world that bolt action rifles were a thing, too.
     
  7. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    If I'm remembering right (and I may not) Chassepot used a rubber washer at the base of the cartridge, which helped hold it's shape better, and aligned the needle, and obturated the breech. Which is pretty elegant design.

    And chunks of rubber down the bore probably ranked with black powder fouling for requiring cleaning, too.
     
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  8. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Until the use of metallic cartridges and invention of the Berdan primer, which uses the cartridge base as it’s anvil, and the Boxer primer, which uses an integral anvil, there had to be something against which the needle and cap could percuss. The Germans used the back of the bullet, requiring a longer, more fragile firing pin. The French somehow managed to get enough solidity inside the waxed paper Cartridge and powder column to be able to use a shorter and more durable firing pin. The French cap was not on the back of the cartridge; it was still inside and the “needle” had to pierce the cartridge and strike the cap inside.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
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  9. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Something like the metallic Benet cartridges, in terms of configuration.
     
  10. yulzari

    yulzari Member

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    Pedandtry but there is no Royal Army. It is the creature of Parliament dependent upon an annual passing of a Bill in Parliament each year. The last King to treat it as 'his' army had his head cut off and Britain became a republic. After bad experiences it reverted to monarchism and Charles' son was invited back as King. Hence there is a Royal Navy, a Royal Air Force but just the British Army. After the republic experience no one trusted a standing army.

    The British Army practice with the musket paper cartridge was to bite/tear off the powder end of the cartridge, pour some powder into the pan to prime it. Close the pan and pour the rest of the powder down the barrel then push the empty powder end of the cartridge whole into the bore with the ball end on top complete. Then ram home. There is no top wadding. The cartridge was rammed home with two firm taps of the ram rod to seat the ball onto the paper which scrunched up to form a paper sabot holding the ball in place. Surprisingly accurate out to 100 yards when well made and increasingly accurate as the windage decreased with a larger ball or increasing fouling. Mine used the 1840 Honourable East India Company charge of 120 grains in the barrel with a 0,685" ball with a x3 wrap of 0,004" paper.

    My Westley Richards Monkey Tail Carbine (as used in the 1860s by my old Yeomanry regiment) uses a 0,450" conical bullet of 430 grains with a 2 dram charge. The tail is lifted. The complete one piece powder case/ bullet is inserted into the breech. The tail lowered. A percussion cap placed upon the nipple and the hammer cocked and fired. The base is a greased felt wad which remains in the chamber and is pushed forward by the next round and fired out ahead of it to clean and grease the bore.

    My Brunswick Rifle uses a belted ball ready wrapped in a sewn greased cotton bag/patch. The powder in a simple paper cylinder tied off at each end. The Paper is bitten open, poured into the muzzle. Then the ball is aligned with the two grooves and rammed home. A percussion cap loaded onto the nipple and fired in the usual way.

    My Chassepot used paper cartridges made up according to the instructions published by the French Navy for their Chassepot for sailors to make their own cartridges. The closer I got to the original the better it performed. Details like making the base rubber disk from natural rubber not synthetic and waxing the base of the cartridge to let it come loose off the needle at the end of the firing process make a real difference. The only changes I made were to use modern (x2 tap washers) rubber for the obturator and modern stainless steel for the needle.
     
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  11. whughett

    whughett Member

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    As mentioned late in the Wiki article paper shot shells are still in use and as a component readily available. I use them in my 1894 Remington double loaded with black powder. Don’t smell any wax however just smoke.
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    OK, how accurate IS a musket? And a Brunswick.
    And does the Monkeytail work as well as I think?
     
  13. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    Muskets don't have rifling so... With round ball bullets, not very.
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I was referring to
    So how accurate is surprising?

    There was a period comment that one might expect to strike his man at 80 yards and perhaps 100, but standing at 200 yards "had just as well be on the moon."
     
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  15. yulzari

    yulzari Member

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    The above is reasonable. Though better than that at 100 metres. It is sighted for 140 yards. It does need the full charge. By 150 yards the ball is slowing into the transonic range where the airflow is unstable but it is fine as long as the speed is kept up. On a range a man size target is usually hit by me and I am a rotten shot although aided by the fixed service rear sight.
     
  16. yulzari

    yulzari Member

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    The Brunswick and Monkey Tail are rifles. Muzzle loaded and breech loaded respectively. The Monkey Tail is very accurate and was popular with South African Boers and the Portuguese and used by my old Yeomanry cavalry regiment. The Brunswick is too but to within it's period expectation of 0-300 yards and a favourite of the Indian Army and, in Belgian copy form, the Finnish marksmen of the Imperial Russian Army.
     
  17. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I am surprised that the Podewis-Linder never came up in the attached articles or discussion. They were a breech fed paper cartridge percussion cap fired rifle used by the Austrian Army during the Franco Prussian war. I have one made in 1865 and have made my own nitrided paper and cartridges so I could shoot the thing. It has the ballistic pattern of a slow pitch softball but is a hoot to shoot.
     
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  18. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Very very cool! Great that you have the full regalia!
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Great. I particularly like the cap stored in the cartridge.
     
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    That's a lot, 4 1/3 drams, 1 1/10 oz, what would be a very heavy load in a fowling piece or shotgun.
    There was a little lost to the pan and I would expect a bit of spillage with a Frenchman bearing down on one. But still...
    A friend has a journal kept by a "gentleman ranker" during the Napoleonic Wars. One night in camp he wrote "Fired 70 rounds of Ball today. My shoulder is black."

    In the TV version of Sharpe's Rifles, a stuffy C.O. made Sharpe's "picked men" turn in their Bakers for muskets. Sharpe taught them "tap loading" and made the Regulars look sad in rate of fire. I can't say how authentic that was, but it looked good.
     
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