View Full Version : paper cartridges for sharps replica

The Hindmost
March 5, 2001, 11:38 PM
A friend asked me to help prepare some paper cartridges for
his sharps replica. We have a mandrel of the proper diameter
to roll the paper tubes but need either an economical source
of nitrated paper or advice on the best type of paper stock
to treat with potassium nitrate solution.
Can anyone offer a source or further advice?

Doc Hudson
March 6, 2001, 01:41 AM
Dixie Gun Works sells Nitrated paper. While you are waiting for it to arrive, go to a head shop or convience store and buy some double wide cigarette rolling papers.

Before you think I've been nipping on too much gin, remember this. The first cigaretts were rolled with cartridge papers.

Doc Hudson

p.s. If you don't have a Dixie Gun works catalog, e-mail me and I will send you the catalog number for the cartridge papers. You really should have on just for the reference material on all sorts of firearms and historical data. LMH

4V50 Gary
March 7, 2001, 02:22 PM
You can make your own nitrated paper. The trick is to get something which is linen based (no plastic, yes, there's plastic in some of the fancy modern paper) which is thin enough to combust quite readily (or be ignited by your musket cap) and is strong enough to be handled.

I'll post later when I find the address of the chemical supply house I purchased my potassium nitrate from. BTW, shop around on the web and you may do better.

March 14, 2001, 03:21 PM
The pharmacy section in the drugstore will order you potassium nitrate, long as you don't look like a teenage mad-bomber.

The article mentioned above recommended adding-machine tape for the paper. I don't own a Sharps, but I've tried this for musket cartridges. Works fine.

4V50 Gary
March 14, 2001, 04:53 PM
Sorry, can't find my receipt to the Chemical Supply place I ordered from. However, I did find it over the net and ordered 5 lbs from them. Look under chemical supply or pyrotechnic supply (just don't order those 55 gallon drum sized containers from that place in India - the wait is terrible ;) ). You could also look into getting waterglass as an adhesive for the cartridges. Stay away from glues which leaves deposits which abrades the barrel.

The Hindmost
March 15, 2001, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the info .
The order is in for some nitrated paper from Dixie and we plan to check the thickness with a micrometer as a guide
for weight of stock for our homemade.
There is no problem with a source for potassium nitrate as
my friend works in the quality control lab for a large chemical company and can within reason order on the company account.

4V50 Gary
April 14, 2001, 11:49 AM
Here's the supplies & equipment needed: linen cloth; scissors, ruler, potassium nitrate, tea kettle or pot, Pyrex measuring cup, Pyrex casserole dish, wooden dowl (1/2"), carpenter's glue.

1) Find a good fabric store and buy a yard of 100% linen (no plastic or man made fibre added);
2) Find a pharmacist or chemical supply house and buy yourself a pound of potassium nitrate. You may have to explain that you're not the kitchen terrorist about to take on the world.
3) Boil water in kettle and when boiled, measure out 1/2 cup of water. Add about 10 teaspoons of Potassium nitrate and stire. Add a few more teaspoons and stir. Watch for the water to reach saturation point (liquid won't accept any more Potassium nitrate) which will show when a small swirl of Potassium nitrate will swirl around in the bottom.
4) Roll up the strips of linen and shove it into the measuring cup. Pull it out, reverse roll and stuff into cup again. You want to achieve even saturation of the linen.
5) Lay strips out in pyrex casserole dish. Drain liquid off & back into measuring cup. Let the strips dry (they'll have a sparkling frosted look when dried).
6) The unused liquid can be allowed to dry and the crystals collected and used again.
7) Cut dry strips to about 1 5/8". Roll strip around dowel. Cut off so there is an overlapping seam about 3/16 to 1/8". Unroll, slightly, and using carpenter's glue along the overlap, apply glue to overlap.
8) Slide linen tube down to the end of the dowel. Fold edges of tube into the center, saturate with glue, mash fiber together until saturated. Slide the fabric catridge shell off and let the glue dry overnite.
9) The next day, bell out themout of the cartridge, and slide the ase of a slug. Figure out how much you'll need to trim down...the linen should just protrude from the breech (almost a flat end should be cut off) to be sheared off, and enough fabric should be left to get up into the bottom of the grease groove.
10) Remove cartridge shell from slug. Pour into cartridge shell 60gr of FFg powder. Squeeze a bead of carpenter's glue into the bottom of the grease grove and slide slug into fabric until even with the bottom groove. Mash into place, saturating the fabric. Set aside to dry.

(These instructions were originally provided by Larry S. of Nevada - my Whitworth mentor).

Alex Johnson
April 16, 2001, 06:08 PM
I could be wrong on this, so don't take my word for it. I have made many cartridges for the sharps and various percussion revolvers over the years and I used to get my chemicals from the local drug store. Still, I recall seeing Brownells was selling nitre for metal finishing. It is possible that this stuff is potassium nitrate and would be usable, if so, its pretty cheap.