Forgive my ignorance, but with a Minie there is no patch needed????
Well, like I tried to explain, in the United States, "cartridges" were made up of paper, with the expanding ball and powder inside. You tore the tail off of the cartridge and dumped the powder down the barrel. Then you would crack/tear the cartridge in half, and extract the bullet from the paper. The bullet was pre-lubricated by being dipped in a mixture of tallow and beeswax. This lubricated bullet was pushed "naked" down the barrel.
The 1855-style looks like this:
It had a separate "powder case", and it and the bullet were housed in the outer sleeve with the tied off nose and the folded up tail.
In 1862 they changed the design, doing away with the special, pasted inner case and just taking two tied-off outer sleeves and nesting them together. The outer one held the bullet, and the inner one held the powder.
They were used the same, though.
Now the English did it different. Their cartridge contained the bullet and the powder, but the finished cartridge was dipped in lube with the paper
. So it was a paper-patched bullet. You still tore the tail off, and dumped in the powder, but then you stuck the bullet-end of the paper cartridge into the end of the barrel and tore off the extra paper. So some paper (with lube) went down the barrel with the bullet. The bullet was sized to work this way. It looks like this:
Here you can see a complete
cartridge stuck in the end of a musket. Note that you would have torn the tail off and dumped the powder in before this point. The picture is just to give you an idea of the bullet-end of the cartridge going into the barrel:
All pictures are from here:
[/quote]Whichever way you prefer. That's the original way of doing it. I presume to keep the lube from contaminating the powder. The only way to lube an Enfield bullet is in the base.[/quote]
It's not the only
In a period cartridge, the bullets were dip-lubed. The powder was separated from the bullet by its own separate paper powder case, for precisely the reason you state - to keep the lube from fouling the powder.
In the N-SSA, many folks fill their plastic "cartridge" tube with powder, then stick the bullet in like a stopper, and then dip the bullet into molten lube, using the tube as a "handle". If you let the lube rise above the seam between the end of the tube and the bullet, you actually get an air-tight seal to boot.
I personally use a Lyman lubrisizer that sizes the bullet and applies lube at the same time.
Of course as you note if you get lube on the mouth of the case when you go to dump your powder some powder stays stuck in the lube.
It's definitely less messy to lube in the hollow base of the bullets - then you can pull them out of their cartridges without getting lube on your fingers and risk dropping the slippery things.