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Old March 28, 2020, 03:42 PM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Storing paper or brass BP cartridges safely.

I’ve just bought a Sharps .54 breechloading carbine.

From what I’ve seen, I can either drop the bullet down into the chamber, fill the space with BP, close the breech and be ready to cap it or load a pre-loaded cartridge where the powder charge and bullet are held together either using a paper “case” or a brass one with a little flash-hole where the cap’s spark can access the powder.

I am concerned with how to safely store the latter prepared cartridges.

I’ve heard that static can ignite BP and that doesn’t sound good when you live in a wooden house so once I’ve made up these cartridges, how do you recommend storing them?
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Old March 28, 2020, 03:55 PM   #2
Oliver Sudden
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Static will not ignite black powder. Using a static generator I tried to set some off with charges and duration that is beyond anything that can be produced short of lighting. Store it like anything else that is flammable.
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Old March 28, 2020, 04:15 PM   #3
44 Dave
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I have them every where, basement, garage in the truck. Have some .41 shorts that were made in the '30s that I still shoot.
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Old March 28, 2020, 04:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
a brass one with a little flash-hole where the cap’s spark can access the powder.
Why not cover it with a piece of tape which the edge can be folded over to create a small pull tab.
That way the powder won't absorb moisture or leak out of the flash hole.
I'm imagining that you may have more than one of these brass cases that will be loaded in advance and not at the range as needed, thus the need for storing them.
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Old March 28, 2020, 07:38 PM   #5
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Static electricity wont set off bp. It takes heat to set it off. When I had my Sharps I kept paper cartridges in a cardboard box.
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Old March 29, 2020, 12:46 PM   #6
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I save my small cigar tins to hold my .45 cal paper cartridges for my revolvers. Might just work for .54 cal if the ring is large enough (a 38 ring would be .59”).
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Old March 29, 2020, 01:24 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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I don't have a photo service to show pictures, but after my house burned out, I recovered a metal can of Goex powder and a bottle of Irish whisky. The labels were scorched by flame but the contents were unaffected. I wouldn't be concerned about normal storage.

I also use an iron framed Redding powder measure. Haven't struck a spark and blown it up yet; although I did put on a metal hopper to eliminate static cling, not static spark.

Please go to https://www.shilohrifle.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=8
There is a lot of information, and even though it is slanted toward the Shiloh rifles, a lot of it will apply to your Pedersoli.

In addition to paper cartridges and those brass thingies, many shooters use Hahn Tubes which are simply cardboard tubes of appropriate diameter. Maybe you could find something locally. He tells how to close the end with hair curler paper and how to seat the bullet.
http://www.hahnmachineworks.com/index.html
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Old March 29, 2020, 03:14 PM   #8
reinert
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Years and years ago, a couple of b.p. shooting buds and I went together on a 25 lb. container of GOEX 2fg. The container was a metal can that I got to keep, which held my share. I was quite concerned, as inside that metal can was a thick plastic bag type of liner that all that powder was contained in, and which we poured out of. The GOEX folks must've had that static electricity question solved long before we ever got our metal can with the plastic liner. It's pretty much been proven that a static spark won't set off b.p.

Probably 5 or 6 years ago now, there was another small group of us b.p. shooters that went in on another 25 lb. lot of GOEX 2fg. That powder came in a cardboard box, just like one you'd get when buying 25 one pound cans in separate containers. This box had one big sealed plastic bag holding that 25 lbs. of powder. We all agreed it looked rather scary in MY garage. We divvied it up evenly, and carefully... and we're all still in this world.
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Old March 30, 2020, 02:33 PM   #9
Pond, James Pond
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Why not cover it with a piece of tape which the edge can be folded over to create a small pull tab.
I actually have a sheet of that nitrate paper. I was thinking of cutting small squares that I could drop into the case to cover the flash hole, but not halt ignition.

Based on what I've read, it doesn't seem likely that static is an issue after all, but owder falling out of the flash hole could be. Tape is a good idea if you ignore my ability to completely forget about removing it!
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Old March 30, 2020, 06:22 PM   #10
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The nitrated paper inside the case should work. Given the long fire channel with two turns it might have a slight delay but it's definitely worth trying since you already have the paper. One thing you definitely don't want to use is CCI musket caps. They're weak.
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Old March 30, 2020, 11:52 PM   #11
Pond, James Pond
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I have “extra strong” ones, whatever that means!
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Old March 31, 2020, 09:56 AM   #12
Jim Watson
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A NSSA friend says the six flange musket caps are "hotter" than the four flange type.
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Old March 31, 2020, 09:55 PM   #13
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CCI six wing are hotter but I don't think they make them anymore. I don't know of anybody that does make six wing caps. I have RWS four wing and RWS wingless and never had a problem with either of them with my Sharps.
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Old April 1, 2020, 04:26 AM   #14
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I have four-wing fellows.
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Old April 8, 2020, 03:03 PM   #15
maillemaker
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I shoot a Pedersoli 1859 Sharps Carbine in N-SSA competition.

I make up paper cartridges for mine, using the Eras Gone Richmond Sharps bullet. I have also used the Pedersoli bullet.

I tried nitrated paper, and indeed it does 100% of the time burn to ash, but I believe they are not as safe as non-nitrated cartridges. The reason is this: In the event that there is an ember in the breech, when you push in a nitrated cartridge if the paper touches the ember it WILL ignite the cartridge. Regular paper is more apt to smother it. Now both cases are probably rare because the cartridge is pushed in bullet-first, and this will probably push any debris/embers down into the bore ahead of the paper end. But still, there is no doubt in my mind that a nitrated cartridge is vastly more sensitive to a spark than a standard paper cartridge. Further, it's just not necessary. I go through 75+ rounds in a weekend and the bits of paper just get blasted to oblivion.

As for storage, I'm a big fan of MTM Case Gard's 20 Gauge Dryboxes. With 2 trays, they store 100 rounds of ammo. I like to take two pieces of cardboard and stick them in between the rows of holes on the bottom tray, to support the top tray, so the top tray does not rest on the ammo in the bottom tray.

http://www.mtmcase-gard.com/products...xes-sd-100.php

The 20 gauge box works great for anything up to 58 caliber.

Black powder, especially graphite-coated black powder, is very difficult to set off with a static spark. There is an article on there on the web you can google about the fellow who made an electrically-fired muzzle loader. It was exceptionally difficult to get the black powder to go off. The reason is that BP is very electrically conductive. More so when coated in graphite. This means it offers little resistance to current, which means little heat is generated when the current flows through it. In fact, little current flows through it - most if it flowing over the surface of the grains. This fellow even tried zapping the powder with a taser with no effect. In the end it took special circuitry to generate a spark substantially stronger and longer than your typical "doorknob" spark to make it go off.

Likewise black powder is not appreciably hygroscopic. Black powder was in use for centuries before the advent of air conditioning and when historic historic examples are discovered they are as combustible today as they ever were. As long as it doesn't get wet, it will be perfectly serviceable stored in any kind of human habitat today, just like it was for centuries before air conditioning.

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Old April 9, 2020, 04:49 AM   #16
Pond, James Pond
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Thanks, Steve.

I may toy with paper cartridges, but initially it will depend on: do I enjoy shooting full-house loads?

I have the brass cases that I can also pre make and they appear to be half-loads: 50gr of BP.

It may be that already those 50gr behind that behemoth of a bullet are enough to reacquaint me with my shoulder and cheek tissue and I'll stick to that.

Paper cartridges would be a nice skill to acquire though.

Right now, I think I'll use the nitrated paper as a seal for the base of the brass cases. A small cut-out, dropped in to cover the flash-hole before pouring in the PB charge.
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Old April 9, 2020, 02:22 PM   #17
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I don't use full loads with my paper cartridges in my Sharps. I glue a cardboard wad on top of the powder to keep it at the back of the tube. I use 45 grains 3F Goex.

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Old April 9, 2020, 05:41 PM   #18
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I used 80 grains of 2F Swiss. I'm not recoil sensitive tho.
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Old April 10, 2020, 01:01 AM   #19
Pond, James Pond
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I don't use full loads with my paper cartridges in my Sharps. I glue a cardboard wad on top of the powder to keep it at the back of the tube. I use 45 grains 3F Goex.
Does that do away with the danger of air gaps?

Although if I have the brass cases, and they take 50gr, then its probably easier to just stick with those. Paper cartridges would be an option if I want to go above that 50gr capacity. Breechloaders seem hard to vary charge for: the muzzle loaders, it seems easier. Just vary the load as needed and push in the bullet.
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Old April 11, 2020, 03:12 PM   #20
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Does that do away with the danger of air gaps?
An air gap isn't a problem with a Sharps. The manual with mine said to not have a gap between powder and bullet but the recommended load was 80 grains. Mine held 110 gains with a bullet seated so that's 30 grains worth of airspace on top of what you get with the breech block. I don't think the Pedersoli has a chamber that big.
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Old April 12, 2020, 06:52 AM   #21
Mike Irwin
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Original brass cartridges for the Smith, Gallagher, Burnsides, etc., carbines that used external priming generally had the flashhole sealed with a bit of beeswax or tallow.

The force of the primer was enough to knock the sealant out of the way.
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Old April 12, 2020, 02:20 PM   #22
Pond, James Pond
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The force of the primer was enough to knock the sealant out of the way.
So far I have made up one cartridge and that held about 55gr. I can see how the full chamber could take 110!

As for the flash hole, I put a square of nitrated paper at the base and poweder the powder on top. The pressure of the bullet should keep it in place.
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Old April 13, 2020, 08:37 AM   #23
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Does that do away with the danger of air gaps?
As Hawg noted, the Sharps doesn't have a problem with an air gap. In fact, it's impossible not to have air in a Sharps chamber, as the breech block has a hollow area in its face.

I believe my Pedersoli maxes out around 60 grains of powder with paper cartridges but I can't remember.

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