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Guide to Rolling Cartridges

Having an adequate number of cartridges at an event is always a good thing. Ideally, each soldier should bring enough cartridges to fill three blocks. That should get you through the weekend with no problem.

cartridge box rolling cartridges rolled cartridges 7th regiment of foot british reenactor

The cartridge box that the 7th Regiment of Foot uses will hold 29 rounds. Three blocks will amount to 87 cartridges for the weekend.

Although historically battles during the American War were not powder burners, we as modern reenactors tend to get carried away.

Most of our members are skilled in rolling cartridges. However, we do have recruits who will benefit from this guide.

7th Regiment of Foot Guide to Rolling Cartridges

The first thing to consider is rolling paper. The best paper for rolling cartridges is Artist Newsprint paper. This paper is available at any office supply or art supply store. It comes in an 18” x 24” pad. The paper is strong enough to roll and hold powder, yet easily torn with the teeth. It also resembles the paper used on original cartridges.

Second, you will need to cut the paper. You will need to cut your paper to the following size and shape, 6” x 6” x 2 ½” x 4 ½”. One sheet of paper on the pad should yield about six cartridges.

rolling cartridges 7th regiment of foot rolling paper reenacting musket cartridge

Thirdly you can now roll your cartridge. You will need to use a 6” x 5/8” diameter wooden dowel with a cupped end. The cupped end will form the crimped end of the cartridge. The end of the dowel should be about ½” from the edge of the rolling paper. Roll the cartridge and crimp the end.

If you want the “deluxe” version, dip the crimped end in melted wax to add strength to the rolled cartridge. This method also prolongs the life of the cartridge when storing and transporting.

Once rolled and waxed (if you choose,) fill the paper tube with black powder. Once filled, fold the top end over. BANG (no pun intended,) you will have a well-rolled cartridge and period-correct cartridge.

rolled cartridge revolutionary war musket cartridge

Powder Measurements

110 grains of FFFg = ½ tablespoon

125 grains of FFg = ½ “heaping” tablespoon

Warning! DO NOT dip a filled cartridge in wax. The results may be explosive.

Authored By Richard Lee, Capt.


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