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Old 09-06-2021, 04:00 PM
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LostintheOzone LostintheOzone is offline
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Originally Posted by BB57 View Post
The ignorance in this thread is epic.

Before the advent of the cartridge, pretty much every non military shooter “hand loaded”. Military shooters used factory made paper cartridges that they bite the end of the cartridge, put a small amount of powder in the pan to prime, pot the rest down the musket or rifled musket bore and then follow it with the ball and paper wad, or minke ball and ram it home.

Loading got slightly slower with the percussion cap as rather than a flick of the risk, it required fiddling with the cap.

Cap and ball revolvers were similar but were obviously percussion and the charge was in a paper cartridge glued to the back of the ball or conical projectile, which burst as it was seated and was normally nitrated paper anyway.

Once the cartridge came along reloading was not much more complicated. You could, and still can store bullets primers and powder in less space for less weight than you can loaded cartridges. If you had 50 black powder cartridges that was a lot and as straight walled or mildly bottle necked low pressure cartridges they’d basically last forever.

Back when I shot BPCR out west I used the same 100 .45-70 black powder cartridges for about 15 years and never worse one out. They got an occasional wash in soap and water and were loaded with a hand tool. Powder was loaded by volume, not weight so no scale required and all of my loading was done with a hand tool.

In short, a fair amount of powder, lead and primers could be carried in a saddle bag along with a tong type hand tool, a bullet mold and small pot and dipper to run lead with. The shooter then didn’t have to worry about the next down having his particular cartridge, just powder, primers, and enough lead to replace what he didn’t recover from game animals.
This is how you loaded a BP cartridge according to the instructions that came with a sharps rifle.

“Instructions for Re-Loading Metallic Shells

The cartridge issued with the Sharps Company's Arms are made up of shells that are susceptible to being re-loaded and fired many times.

After the cartridge has been fired, the following process must be strictly observed in re-loading:

Bore a hole in a piece of hard wood, the size of the body of the cartridge, leaving the rim of the cartridge even with the surface of the board, in which place the empty shell.

Perforate the exploded cap on one side of its centre with the awl, and pry out the exploded cap; clean out the debris in the small end of the exploded shell perfectly, and insert a new cap in the head of the shell, setting it home snugly by pressure.

Charge with 70 grains of powder, with a pasteboard wad upon the powder, forcing the wad down the full length of the follower.

Insert upon the wad a lubricant disk composed of one part of pure beeswax to 2 parts sperm oil in weight, to occupy 3/16 of an inch in length of the shell.

Dip the base of the ball [bullet] up to the forward ring [grease groove] in the melted lubricating compound, taking care to fill the grooves.

Insert the point of the ball in the chamber of the Ball Seater, and introduce the shell through the circular orifice at the opposite end of the Ball Seater, and press the shell home with the hand on a soft piece of wood.

Wipe the cartridge clean and it is ready for use.”

I hate to say it but that looks like a lot of trouble to get a box cartridges that one could buy in a general store and carry until you needed another box a year later. Cowboys weren't gun fighters or market hunters and they didn't need to hunt for meat with all that beef on the hoof. Just because it was possible doesn't mean it was practiced by cowboys who had access to store bought goods like everyone else. They didn't make their own boots, clothes, or saddles either.

The incentive today to reload is because it's stupid easy with the gear we have today and less expensive, neither of which was the case in 1880.

I grew up in AZ in the 60's and knew some old cowboys in their 80's. Not a single one knew anything about reloading cartridges. A few of them rolled their own cigarettes' though.
That's just somebody talkin.

Last edited by LostintheOzone; 09-06-2021 at 04:32 PM.
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