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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As mentioned elsewhere, I'm an aficionado of the single shot cartridge rifles of the later half of the 19th century. Most, if not all of the hefty .40 and up rifle cartridges for those guns were hand loaded with rather primitive tools that included wrapping "slick" (non-grooved) bullets with paper instead of lube-in-the-groove bullets. "Grease cookies" were typically added not as a lube, but to help keep the gun powder (yes, that's what black powder was called because literally it was the only powder known) soft for additional shots without bore swabbing. Most of us who load PPB (paper patched bullet) cartridges don't bother with grease cookies because they take up valuable space in the brass that's better filled up with black powder. This absolutely requires fouling control between shots, and for PPB shooters that means wiping the bore. Anyhoo, I spent a few years learning to build good, match winning PPB cartridges for my '74 Sharps Sporter rifle replica and it's been an interesting learning experience fraught with many expected frustrations and some gratifying successes.

As a preamble, most any rifle can digest PPB cartridges, IF the cartridges are built correctly for the caliber and gun in question. Most of the modern (20th century) guns will employ groove patched slicks whilst the old timer (19th century) rifles will work best with bore rider patched slicks, which is what I build and compete with and will try to explain in the next text.

This is how I address the building of .45-70 PPB cartridges and the following are all my personal opinions and processes. No great detail is given - that would take lots of typing and bore most of you good folks - it's more of an overview PPB cartridge build primer, as I do it.

If i need to start with new Starline brass, it gets lubed and reformed to my tight PPB chamber spex by running the cases into a Lyman sizing die that has 3/8" cut off its bottom. This forces the case mouth to get constricted to the special tight PPB chamber dimensions. The Imperial sizing wax is removed with naphtha on paper towelling. If the brass has already been fired in my rifle, nothing is done other than ultra-sonic cleaning, water bath to get rid of the U/S soap solution, vibratory drying. The brass is trimmed with a Wilson trimmer and the case mouth ID is lightly chamfered. All the brass gets primed with Federal 210M primers. Annealing gets done about every 12 to 24 firings.

Swiss 1-1/2F black powder is scooped into a brass pan sitting on a GemPro 250 digital scale (+/- .02 grains vetted accurate). The charge is always light and brought up to spec with an RCBS powder trickler. The weighed powder (for me, that's 78.5 grains) is trickled down a 30" drop tube and that trip compacts the powder into the primed case. A .060" LDPE wad (created on a press mounted Cornell wad punch) is pushed into the case mouth, the case goes on the press and both the wad and powder are compressed about 1/32", with the wad seated 1/10" below the case mouth - yes, you read that right, one tenth of an inch. The case is now ready to accept the PPB.

I cast 523 grain slicks (BACO mould Jim443530E) with 1:16 alloy (tin:lead) and the resulting slicks are sorted by weight, with the ones that are 523 grains (+/- .5 grains) reserved for match loads. A prebuilt brass sheet patch template is used to create rhomboid shaped patches from uber thin translucent onion paper (Fidelity 9#). The slick goes on a V-block jig that allows me to put a pencil mark on the slick's side for where its ogive starts. The paper patch is carefully dry wrapped around the slick (twice), right on the ogive pencil mark, and the end of the wrap will be about 1/32" shy of the start of the wrap (IOW, no overlap of patch paper, which would skew its thickness on the slick). The completed PPB diameter (.449") is just shy of the bore diameter (.450"). Upon ignition and detonation, the slick will obturate and the patching will fill the grooves, giving a bearing surface for the alloy's trip down the tube. As the slick exits the muzzle, the paper is stripped off like confetti. The excess paper is wrapped over the slick's base and pressed down firmly. The PPB is finger/thumb press twisted into the cartridge case, sitting in 1/10th inch. The PPB will be a tad loose and can fall out if the cartridge is turned upside down. The entire cartridge goes into a Lyman taper crimp die that's set not to crimp, but to give the case mouth a very slight squeeze. The result is that the PPB can be turned around in the case and even pulled out with very slight pressure, but it won't fall out of its own weight. OK. Done.

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