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Old May 15, 2012, 05:44 PM   #1
Ervin
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Making historically accurate paper cartridges

Gents, I've been scouring the web for hints on what the load was for troops of the revolution with the .69 cal Charleville and .75 Brown Bess.

Since the first Springfield muskets were copies of the Charleville in both design and caliber I can assume the load specs didnt change much up into the Mex-Am war.

Can you give me an idea of some of the loads that were being used in the period from 1770-1815 with the Charleville, Brown Bess and Springfield muskets?
ex. weight of musket ball and weight of powder charge.

Info on safe present day loads is helpful too.
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Old May 16, 2012, 02:09 AM   #2
arcticap
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The Pedersoli manual lists the powder charge and maximum powder charge for each of their reproductions:

Charleville - 60 grains - 100 grains max., .675 round ball & .007 patch.

Springfield - 60 grains - 90 grains max., .577 minie/weight 620 grains.

Brown Bess - 75 grains - 100 grains max., .732 round ball & .010 patch.

Brown Bess Carbine - 65 grains - 90 grains max., .732 round ball & .010 patch.
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Old May 16, 2012, 05:09 AM   #3
Hawg Haggen
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Original Bess loads were 120 grains and Springfield loads were 150 grains.
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Old May 16, 2012, 05:39 AM   #4
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I have copies of some very old British manuals and standing orders and while they make references to the cartridges, they give no data regarding powder or how the cartridges were made up. Just as today, there is usually a lot of information that was expected to be common knowledge, apparently, or just as likely, covered elsewhere.

There were some interesting things to note. For instance, they used blank cartridges, which if I remember correctly, were made up with blue paper. This one publication also remarked on making up new cartridges from old, suggesting that the cartridges were not expected to have much of a shelf life.

The manuals I refer to were for cavalry. Would carbines of the same caliber as the infantry musket had a different load? Pistols also sometimes were of the same caliber and surely had a different load.
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Old May 16, 2012, 06:56 AM   #5
Mike Irwin
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I've never heard of the standard US musket load being 150 grains. That's a huge amount of powder and doesn't seem to match up to the original arsenal loaded .69 caliber cartridges I've seen in museums and collections.

During the Civil War IIRC the buck and ball cartridge that was issued in the millions used 65 to 75 grains of powder. It was measured volumetrically so it could vary somewhat.

That's apparently how we came up with the 70 grains of powder in the .50-70 and the .45-70 after the war.
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Old May 16, 2012, 10:16 AM   #6
Hawg Haggen
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Quote:
I've never heard of the standard US musket load being 150 grains. That's a huge amount of powder and doesn't seem to match up to the original arsenal loaded .69 caliber cartridges I've seen in museums and collections.
I know I read somewhere that the "original" charges were 150 with a one ounce ball but I cant find it online. I did find charges listed at 110 grains. By the time of the CW everything was standardized. Remember also that the first musket manufactured at Springfield was the 1795 and was a pretty close copy of the Charleville. At the time of the CW they were 1840's with some 16's being converted.
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Old May 16, 2012, 04:48 PM   #7
Ervin
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Gents, thanks alot.
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Old May 16, 2012, 05:31 PM   #8
bedbugbilly
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One has to remember that part of the powder charge in the cartridge was utilized for priming the "fire lock". That's not to say that a large amount of the powder was utilized for priming, but considering "spillage" due to stress and nerves under fire, there would certainly be a question as to consistency from one load to the next.

I never did any measuring to see how consistent I was but I did utilize some paper wrapped cartridges for my Fusil de Chase one time. Personally, I much prefer (for obvious reasons) to prime a flintlock after the charge is introduced into the barrel rather than prior. However, military regulations of the time saw it differently. By priming with powder from the cartridge, t eliminated the necessity of a priming horn.
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Old May 16, 2012, 06:12 PM   #9
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That makes sense.
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