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To load a British rifled musket, you pour the powder into the muzzle. Then because the Bullet is seated in the cartridge base first you insert bullet and paper base first into the muzzle and ram. When fired the paper bites the rifling and then is left behind by the bullet. It seems reasonable to perhaps tear off a bit of cartridge paper as there is probably excess.

The same part of the loading exercise on a musket is: Pour the powder down the muzzle, screw up the cartridge paper and the ball insert into the muzzle and ram.. On sentry duty when you may not fire as soon as you have loaded another scrap paper wadding might be a good idea.

My question is when the ball is fired does the paper burn or cling to the ball and further spoil it's already poor ballistics.
 

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I would say it depends on the type of paper use in the cartridge. On the muzzleloadingforum.com they have talked about using the nest from paper wasps (after they are gone) as a protector for the patched ball.
If your using news paper then it may catch fire, The heaver weight papers to a lesser degree.
 

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I usually use 1/2 square of toilet paper as an overpowder wad. It actualy increases accuracy with the round ball. I have never seen any burn or smolder. It generally turns to dust as it exits the barrel.
 

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The original paper cartridges were nitrated and were consumed upon firing.
 

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I would think it depends on what rifled musket and the projectile. I can't answer the question but I have this link on paper cartridges. Of interest to me are the Sharps, Kammerlader, and Westley Richards Monkeytail paper cartridges. The leather wrapped Baker rifle roundball interests me very much. The projectiles next to it are for the Brunswick rifle... the author was mistaken. The site is in German.

http://www.ch-munition.ch/sammlung_papierpatr/sammlung_clips.htm

Maybe you can find a video of the loading sequence of the particular arm here.... This is a demonstration of the smoothbore Brown Bess musket which was accompanied by a paper cartridge box.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrRSy55XJNA
 

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My understanding was the same as Sharps45/90. During the Civil War the paper had a nitrite coating which caused it to basically burn.

I also saw on you tube a while back, they were shooting a 1861 rifled Springfield musket at 800 yards and hit a man sized target. With open sights.. I was impressed. I can't even see that far basically.
 

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What projectile are you shooting? The Minie' ball or something else?

With the Minie' the paper does nothing more than serve to protecet the hollow base of the bullet. The skirt of the base expands upon firing and engages the rifling. They can be quite accurate and I've seen them so. However, I've never been able to make one accurate out of my Zouave.
 

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In the US ordinance manual of 1862 there is no reference to nitrating the paper used in making cartridges. Gives pretty hardcore details about testing the paper for suitability, how to shape it, and making the cartridge. (took one master and ten boys!). I don't think the military cared about lighting "the cornfield", on fire.
 

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Interesting, maybe .... I have read accounts of battles in that era where the surrounding countryside was indeed set aflame. The accounts did not give a specific reason, though.
 

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The Ordinance manual also tells you how to grease the balls. Dipped on a frame into a mixture of 1 part tallow to 8 parts beeswax (melted) till the cylindrical part of the minie was covered. They called both round balls and minies' balls. And they used swaged balls, round ball and minie. greasing the balls took three frames and one boy. (give the grease time to set).I suspect the frames had holes the minies were centered over so the cavity would drain. also to introduce more grease to the mix. They seemed to want as much grease in the bore as possible. Jim
 
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