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Old June 23, 2010, 12:16 AM   #13
davem
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Join Date: October 4, 2004
Posts: 330
Well let's take a trip back to yesteryear.... When Old Sam Colt came up with a workable revolver the idea of fast loading ammunition was right there, if memory serves me around 1836- in any event, very early on. First Sam used thin tin foil, thin enough that the powerful burst of the percussion cap would rip open the fragile tin and ignite the powder. Tin worked okay for the first six shots but the unburnt remnants fouled up the works.
Untreated paper LIKE YOUR NEWSPAPER was out of the question because if any embers remained and you put in another round......BAM right in your face- nice knowing ya!
So Sam needed something that was combustible- so there wouldn't be any fouling AND no live embers. I think he ended up using nitrated fish gut but cigarette paper is fine. That word COMBUSTIBLE has caused a lot of trouble over the years because a lot of folks think you need combustible paper to catch the flame of the cap and burn through the paper shell to ignite the powder. Folks tear open paper cartridges and all sorts of things dealing with this non-problem.
During the Civil War millions ( I forget- 7-10 million?) rounds were used by the North. The South used them too.
So... off to the lab.....
For tin foil I used the metal foil used to wrap candy. This has a paper backing you have to peel off but in any event, metal of sorts. They should all explode (mine did) but after a couple of rounds there are so many bits of unburnt foil in the chambers that you cannot fully seat another round- AND if you can't seat the round you also can't rotate the cylinder because the not-fully seated round gets jammed.
So... next I tried the Newsprint- being real sure to fully inspect the chambers before putting in another round. Newsprint works great but as I said- there is some fouling- unburnt paper and the danger of an ember somewhere in that paper.
So...on to the cigarette paper. Colt used an isosceles trapezoid with a little trap door on the shorter base. Sounded good so I did the same thing. You'll need to sand down a wood dowel as a tapered form to help wrap the paper around. The long base of the trapezoid will be the top of the shell, the angled sides are overlapped with stuck together using a glue stick. The little trap door on the shorter base becomes the bottom of the case- it is folded over and held in place with the glue stick. Now the gummed edge of the cigarette paper ought to be on the inside rim at the top of the shell. Remove the paper case from the dowel, pour in your powder charge, stick in the bullet and lick the rim of the paper- the moisture goes through the paper, activates the glue, and glues the paper shell around the base of the bullet- hold everything together about half a minute to let the glue dry.
BE SURE TO STORE the cartridges in a flame proof container and don't let any live rounds be exposed on a shooting bench, etc at the firing line, a stray spark could cause big trouble.
And....some bullets are hard to load into a Colt 36 Navy because the port in pretty small. On the 44's you'll be fine.
If anything is confusing- ask questions. Glad to help.
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