Ammo Rifle cartridges

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
I have also read that the Enfield performs much better with the swaged ball as opposed to the cast.
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
Thanks, Peter. I have only made the US-style cartridges for my own use in both my Enfield and Springfield reproductions. My p53 Enfield is an early Parker Hale and features progressive-depth rifling but in a 1:48 twist. I think I will try the British cartridge design, I.e. with paper patch and see if that improves accuracy. Do you happen to know what would have been the British standard ball diameter for .577 caliber rifles?

BTW, I have read about the British-style cartridge and it sure seems more complicated to produce. Ill probably skip the whole cartridge but use the paper patch. I admit I’m getting a bit lazy.
Well for what it's worth, the paper used for rifle cartridges was patented in 1807. It used wool and linen fibers. And for years the Brits used a mix of bee's wax and beef tallow for lube. I think it was about 70% tallow and 30% wax. This was used on the patches for the Baker and Brunswick rifles. It was also used with the Minie rifle and the Enfields. By the time of the India Mutiny the Brits had switched to sheep tallow since it held up better in the extreme heat in India; that and the religious objections of the Muslims and Hindus to certain animal fats. Instructions from that era recommend using saliva as a lubricant if the tallow and wax had melted away. (That was a MAJOR NO-NO for the Sepoys!) So avoid any more problems the English switched to plain bee's wax. Wax is a bit more dense so they went to a slightly smaller bullet, in this case it was about .55 caliber. The rifle still loaded easily and no accuracy was lost, plus it was a saving in lead. (The Enfield bullets were swaged, not cast to avoid air bubbled in the molten lead.
I'm not 100% sure what size was used during the Civil War but it seems to explain why the Enfield rounds loaded easily in the Springfield but the US rounds tended to jam and clog more. And I'm fairly certain the powder charge in the Enfield was FG and was about 67 grains. And as other have pointed out the Enfield round has the bullet at the bottom of the cartridge and the outside of the paper was lubed. :sabre:
 

hrobalabama

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Location
Andalusia, AL
I made my bullets for the Enfield using hair curling paper soaked in Saltpeter and let dry.
For the .36, I used a round ball rather than a conical bullet. I found the round ball to be of better accuracy.
Fair to say, I was not accurate with either.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
I made my bullets for the Enfield using hair curling paper soaked in Saltpeter and let dry.
For the .36, I used a round ball rather than a conical bullet. I found the round ball to be of better accuracy.
Fair to say, I was not accurate with either.
I believe you are correct; apparently it must be fairly common.
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
Just re-read Wikipedia that states the Enfield rifle was .58 cal and used a .577 cal ball. I wonder how reliable that info is. Anyone?
Okay I did some more homework. This comes from Instruction of Musketry (1854) It is quoted in part in Peter Smithurst's book on the Enfield Rifle Musket. The first issue of bullets were .568 diameter and measured 1.05 inches long. This would be changed to .55 diameter and increased in length to 1.09 inch. The first rounds featured a tapered iron plug and later switched to boxwood and then to baked clay. These plugs were used to expand the skirt of the bullet so it would engage the rifling. These were dropped from use since it wasn't really necessary. The exploding powder gasses did the trick. Smithurst's book has diagrams and dimensions from the 1854 publication. He also includes a detailed description of percussion cap manufacturing. Young women between the ages of 10 and 14 years old were employed to roll the cartridges and were paid between eight and 11 shillings per week. (Not bad pay for the ladies) For what it's worth Smithurst has a photo of an original bullet showing a raised number 57 inside the base on the bottom of the bullet. There is a picture of one of the swaging tools too.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Wow, looks great! Thank you. While I havent fired mine in years, I always loaded mine with loose powder and ball on the tailgate of the truck. Check out this link, this guy recommends magician's flash paper -(edited link to page one of linked article) http://www.geojohn.org/BlackPowder/CartridgesMobile.html
I use magicians flash paper and have even nitrated my own paper for shooting my Sharps rifle, works well.
 

yulzari

Private
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
The first rounds featured a tapered iron plug and later switched to boxwood and then to baked clay. These plugs were used to expand the skirt of the bullet so it would engage the rifling. These were dropped from use since it wasn't really necessary.
Burton chose, production in the USA, to delete the plugs but they remained in British use throughout their life. Kept certainly to protect the shape of the balls in transit at sea and carts across the Empire and possibly to make an initial seal at the base to prevent gas cutting whilst inertia brought obturation into play. Their role was debated throughout their life. The US Burton Ball relied upon lubrication in the grooves inside the (discarded before loading) cartridge paper which resulted in a risk of the lubrication being drawn into the paper and lost to the ball. The British "Pritchett" kept the lubrication on the outside of the paper which was loaded with the ball. The Burton was quicker and easier to make up but the British and Confederates chose the other system. I have used both. The Burton, for target use, is the more precise. The Pritchett is more reliable in use and a better military choice. For target precision the Burton needs accurate bore measurement and appropriate sizing. The Pritchett less so. The plug debate and experimentation continues to this day.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Combustible rifle musket cartridge patents included U.S. 33393 of 1 Oct. 1861 Algernon Johnston and Lorenzo Dow and U.S. 36066 of 5 Aug. 1862 Barthalow. Doubtless there are many others, but these two should give a good idea of how combustible revolver and/or breech loading cartridges could be applied to muzzle loading rifle muskets too.
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
FWIW I used to shoot patched round balls in my Enfield and they worked fine. I used pillow ticking and a .570 swaged ball. A .575 loaded a bit tighter but accuracy was also bit better.
 
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