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Old July 5, 2010, 05:33 PM   #26
bedbugbilly
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Hey Hawg . . . . . just curious . . . what do you recommend for the type of tea bags . . . . green tea or old English? Green tea is supposed to be really good for you . . . . . .

Interesting concept I have to admit! I'd never heard of it before but those bags are tough and I'm sure they make a nice cartridge. My only problem is the look I'm going to get from my wife if I start cutting up the tea bags and throwing the tea away . . . . she already thinks I'm nuts at times . . . which I probably am!
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Old July 5, 2010, 06:42 PM   #27
Hawg Haggen
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Green tea is yucky. I use cheap flow thru bags.
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Old July 5, 2010, 06:52 PM   #28
davem
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Why do you want to go to all that trouble? Just use cigarette paper. Either way you are not historically correct, now don't SHOOT ME cause I'm working from memory but the original stuff was gutta peche or some similar sounding term- basically nitrated fish gut. So I'd just use cigarette paper and be happy .
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Old July 5, 2010, 07:09 PM   #29
Hawg Haggen
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Cigarette paper is flimsy and expensive compared to tea bags even if you dump the tea. Plus it needs to be nitrated to burn clean
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Old July 6, 2010, 05:58 PM   #30
bedbugbilly
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If you're talking about "gutta purcha" . . . . that is what a lot of the tintype cases with patriotic motifs were made out of during the Civil War years and later . . . . . it's like a thermal plastic composition. Referred to as "gutta purcha cases". A number of buttons were even constructed from it. I believe it was technically a "thermo set" composition. I'm no expert, but I believe that combustible cartridges were made from nitrated papers and I have also heard references to "skin cartridges" - which I think were made from natural products . . . . not unlike some of the vintage "condoms". I also remember seeing some original cartridges for the Smith carbine where the tubes were made from "gutta purcha". The paper wrapped cartridges that were issued in the Civil War for the .58 caliber and similar muskets were not combustible as many folks think. They contained the powder charge and the minie ball. The "tail" was torn off my the teeth (much like paper wrapped cartridges were in previous years for the smoothbore muskets) which exposed the powder which was then introduced into the bore. The minie ball was then pushed out and introduced into the bofre and then rammed. These paper wrapped cartridges were issued in "Arsenal Packs" of ten with about every 3rd round being a "Williams Cleaning Bullet" which had a zinc waser whick in theory, would scrape the fouling from the barrel on the way out. Many of the soldiers thought that these made the musket kick more and they would discard them. Included in the Arsenal Pack was a quantity of 13 musket caps rolled up in paper which were to be put into the cap box on the belt. I have and original "roll" of these caps and the paper is much like what we would know as typing paper. I bought a pack of nitrated paper from a magic supply store years ago but never had much luck with them. They were "wet" and were supposed to be kept in the refrigerator. I dried them out but I was all thumbs in trying to make cartridges out of them for my '51 Navy. It's too bad that someone doesn't come up with a way of producing the tapered paper tubes out of cigarette papers or similar which would combust upon discharge. I think that there would be a good market for them and make it a lot easier without a lot of screwing around to make cartridges for the BP pistols. Or better yet, some type of an "easy roller" (much like the old cigarette rollers) that would save on the handwork of using a dowel, etc. I know . . . I know . . . I'm getting lazy in my old age! This is an interesting thread and enjoyable to read about what some of you have come up with! Many thanks!
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If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old July 6, 2010, 06:19 PM   #31
wittzo
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There is a kit out there that comes with nitrated papers and a tapered dowel, but you still have to roll them yourself. Dixie used to sell the kit, but now all they have is a kit for a Sharps rifle and extra nitrated papers for that kit.

Whoo! 100 sheets for $37.95 http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product...oducts_id=8218
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Old July 6, 2010, 07:26 PM   #32
davem
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Well to me at least the cigarette paper seems pretty cheap. On the gutta..whatever. I ran across Sam Colt's original patten at a local depository of patten records but as I said I couldn't quite remember all the details. I know that Colt started with tin- the percussion cap was powerful enough to burst through the tin but the residue in the chambers was excessive so Colt switched materials. I think there was a small wad of some sort behind the bullet and over the powder. I also recall that explosions at the plants making these cartridges did occur on several occasions- pretty much wiping out the work staff.
And.... although seldom used, there was a very small amount of combustible cartridges used in the Civil War for muskets. The Yankees used them and at the first fight the Rebels couldn't figure out how the Yankees could be shooting so fast BUT (if I recall correctly) the fouling was again bad and they were never used much.
PERSONALLY I would NEVER use a combustible cartridge in a musket. A cap and ball revolver is different because you can look in the chamber to see if there is any fouling (i.e. embers) but such can't be done on a musket.
AND.... I do a certain amount of buckskinning and there are references to mountain men rubbing some powder on a rag and using such with a flint and steel to start a fire so the use of powder in that capacity seems historically valid to some degree.
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Old July 6, 2010, 08:33 PM   #33
bedbugbilly
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davem - I've heard of the firestarting using BP as well. I can start a fire pretty fast with a flint and steel if I have DRY char and tinder. I can only imagine the problems though in doing it in a snowstorm or rainy weather. I would think that the BP would be just the ticket as long as you didn't use too much and char your eyebrows as well! During the Civil War there were so many "new ideas" and "better ideas" that had Pantents applied for that I think if would really be interesting to be able to sit back and watch them demonstrated. As far as combustible cartridges for the revolvers, they obviously were available and used. It's too bad that there isn't an abundance of "first person" documentation available for the average "Joe Blow" that tells just what they did use. I'm not talking about Army issue . . . . I've always wondered just how "available" combustible cartridges were in regards to the settlement of the West and the average pioneer . . . in regards to availability and affordability. I've got to think that a good number of them cast their own balls and loaded from a flask when it came to their revolvers - whatever make they were lucky enough to have or afford the same way that they cast their own balls and used their hunting pouches to load their muzzle loading rifles. Unfortunately it's something we'll probably never have a clearcut answer on as there just aren't than many primary resources that exist that tell those sorts of things. Most of us that enjoy this hobby have a number of pistols, rifles and smoothbores. Some of the guys really become good shots with them . . . all you have to do is watch at Friendship. For myself, I probably couldn't hold a candle to my forefathers as I try to shoot too many different types of guns. I don't think that many of our forefathers had that luxery and as they say . . . "beware of the man who shoots just one gun". I have a feeling that they could serve me up a large slice of "humble pie".
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If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old July 6, 2010, 11:14 PM   #34
davem
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BBB:I think I read in Rosa's Gunfighters that Hickok used a lot of combustible cartridges for target practice and the town fathers had to foot the bill and were getting pretty tired of the expensive. That said, from what I've seen on a Navy 36- like Hickok carried, the combustibles carried a 17 grain charge whereas with powder-ball-grease you can cram in about 25 grains fffg if you really try. What's more, the balls back then still had a sprue- today we use perfectly round balls but that flat sprue- if loaded forward- was sort of like a semi-wadcutter and hit harder than the conical bullets. The conical bullets in the combustible cartridges were also poorly shaped with hardly any base- so they could twist out of line while being ramrod into the chamber- not good for accuracy. In any event, from what I could learn, any gunfighter loaded from a flask and used balls and carried a packet of the combustible ammo for emergency back up shots if needed.
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