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Author Topic: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)  (Read 7210 times)

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Offline Omnivore

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Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« on: December 06, 2014, 08:23:12 PM »
I ordered a "pistol cartridge box" from Fall Creek Suttlery, because I wanted a way to carry paper or compressed powder cartridges on my belt, in place of the powder flask, ball bag and lube dispenser.

The plan is to end up with the "right" cartridge, which contains all the lube necessary to keep the gun running for an extended shooting session in the field, such that all I have to carry is the gun in its holster, a capper on a lanyard around my neck, and a cartridge box.  Someone here recommended the FC Suttlery pistol cartridge box, so I got one.

Fall Creek says it comes with a "divided inner compartment".  I don't know why that would be, or in what way the compartment would be divided, but mine came with a single compartment.  The leather inner liner is not attached to the long sides, and so it bows out into the compartment, which would be pretty annoying except for the way I'm using it.

I do NOT understand how these boxes were meant to be used, back in the day.  I wrote FC Suttlery several weeks ago to ask them, but got no response.  The idea of dumping loose paper cartridges in the compartment seems like a poor idea.  200 grain bullets shaking around in there, I figure, would end up disassembling or breaking some of the cartridges during a long hike in rough country.

To protect the carts I made two wooden blocks, each about the height of one of my "44-30-C-200" paper cartridges (44 caliber, 30 grains black, a GF1 lube cookie and a Lee 200 slug), and the width and depth of the compartment. The blocks fit snug inside the compartment, one over the top of the other.  Each block is drilled to hold nine cartridges, with each cartridge snug in its own tapered hole.   The twisted tail at the bullet end of each cart not only holds the cart together without glue, it makes a handy pull-tab for removing the cartridge from the box.

Each wood block has a "handle" made of dental floss.  The floss is tied to tiny nails, driven into each end of the block, so the blocks can be easily removed.  You empty the first nine rounds from the top block, then yank it out to access the cartridges in the bottom block.

It's a nice, tidy package.  The problem is it holds only 18 cartridges.  I'm going to want closer to 54.  This is not THE answer I was looking for, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.  I dunno, maybe 18 on the belt is enough, and I could carry cardboard packages of carts in my pockets to refill the belt box.  I'm just trying to figure out how best to minimize the number of things I carry on a day trip.  Johnnie's bandoleer of loaded cylinders idea would certainly work, but I'm trying to keep it light, and not have to clean all those cylinders.  This is just for fun.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2014, 08:24:57 PM »
More photos.

Offline Kaboom

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2014, 09:13:07 PM »
That cartridge box is a lot deeper than any I have ever seen before, but the way we use them in CW re-enacting is to put a piece of wood in the box that has been drilled with holes to carry the individual cartridges. You have found out about Fall Creek. I ordered a uniform from them and they got it wrong. Wrong branch (sent Cav not infantry) sent economy fabric when I paid for best quality and had the size wrong (I take a 38 waist and they sent a 44). I called them and they informed me that since it was "custom made" there was NO returns nor refunds, even though they got the entire order wrong! They DID very generously offer to try to sell it on consignment as a USED uniform, even though I never put it on. That is the sales tactics of Fall Creek Sutlery. They will NEVER get one more red cent of my money!
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Offline Classanr

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2014, 09:37:34 PM »
That cartridge box is a lot deeper than any I have ever seen before, but the way we use them in CW re-enacting is to put a piece of wood in the box that has been drilled with holes to carry the individual cartridges. You have found out about Fall Creek. I ordered a uniform from them and they got it wrong. Wrong branch (sent Cav not infantry) sent economy fabric when I paid for best quality and had the size wrong (I take a 38 waist and they sent a 44). I called them and they informed me that since it was "custom made" there was NO returns nor refunds, even though they got the entire order wrong! They DID very generously offer to try to sell it on consignment as a USED uniform, even though I never put it on. That is the sales tactics of Fall Creek Sutlery. They will NEVER get one more red cent of my money!

I have only heard good things about http://jas-townsend.com/
I know the lady who designed their computer design software.  Jas takes longer than others, cost more, but apparently the product is worth it.  Have you heard the same?
Jim Beam me, Scotty!  Life here is more intelligent than I.

Offline Classanr

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2014, 09:50:05 PM »
...a nice, tidy package.  The problem is it holds only 18 cartridges....

First, commendations on making a silk box out of a sow's ear.
Second, if you stagger the holes in the wood, you can bore 10 in each block.
Third, round the corner edges, you can make each block about 1/8'th inch wider and still fit in the leather, making it all that much easier to bore 10 staggered holes.
Fourth, use Poplar/Aspen as the wood.  Light as pine, but nearly as hard as ash.  Works very easy if you pick boards with the correct grain, and you can usually find the wood in the big box home repair store lumber yards.
Fifth, wax the wood inside and out to make water resistant so the wood does not crack from swelling and drying back out.

Several leather smiths on this forum can make a bandoleer to accomodate your 10-each wood blocks so you could wear 50 at a time without bulkiness.  Put your existing "box" on your front pack strap for access while you are on the move.  That way, your bandoleer only needs to carry 34 - but we all know you'll carry 40 in it just so you have six more when you start hiking back.
Jim Beam me, Scotty!  Life here is more intelligent than I.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2014, 11:49:08 PM »
Quote
That cartridge box is a lot deeper than any I have ever seen before

Well it's a good thing, because it's just barely deep, or tall, enough for two of my paper 44-30 cartridges end-to-end.  I have some taller cartridges having a card and a thicker cookie in them and they'd never fit two-high in this box.  The Pyro pellet carts are a lot shorter, and so maybe I could get three layers of those in there.

I'm thinking the ideal for a waist belt box would be three layers of cartridges at an angle (bullet point outward. Cartridge bas pointing inward, at maybe 30 or 40 degrees, so the height would be much less than the length of three carts end-to-end, but the box would be a little deeper, front-to-back, and the front would be cut down so all three levels of carts would be exposed when the flaps's open.  No juggling internal blocks.  Two such boxes, with 30 rounds in each, might be tolerable.  Just don't get too close to the campfire eh?

Classanr; why didn't I think of staggering the holes?  I though I was being clever fitting nine holes in a (sort of) straight line.  It looks like you've been down this road before.  Thanks for the tips.

As for the wood; I used what I found laying abound and in the right size range.  One block is old Red Fir heartwood, which worked, but split out a bit between the holes at the top.  The other is Hickory, which held up perfectly, but is a lot harder to work, and heavier.  The weight isn't too bad though since you're drilling out most of it.  The 3,600 grains of lead make up most of the load.  We have a lumber yard nearby, with a fair variety of species, so I'll look for the Poplar or Aspen next time-- I don't believe I've worked, crafts wise, with either of those before, so it'll be good to try something new.

Offline Classanr

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2014, 05:09:28 AM »
... I used what I found laying abound and in the right size range....

But of course!
The rule goes "The first prototype is ugly, but works.  The second prototype is beautiful, but fails.  The third prototype finds the compromise."

I wrote "Poplar/Aspen" because it is the same species, just a regional name difference.  Easterners use Poplar (the vernacular is "Popl").  Rocky Mtn folks call it Aspen.  I suppose that is because nobody yearns to ski in Poplar.  If you've worked Basswood before, a particularly good wood for carving, you'll find Poplar is almost as forgiving, trying its dardest to stay together despite your mistakes.  True softwoods have too much pith between the cambium layers (rings) to give the wood the strength required to provide reliable hole walls.  But it is hard to beat softwoods for availability and cheap for the first prototype.

You seem to be describing something like a tilt-out drill library with your 30-count blocks.  I for one would certainly follow that path with a prototype, gluing cloth to the bottom of the three blocks to serve as a "hinge".  I see a lot of merit in that idea, and it kickstarts all sorts of images in my mind.  Sometimes I wish I had a USB port in my skull so I could download what I "see" as 3D videos to share.  Here, mere words will have to suffice.

I caution you to consider each design opportunity in light of your falling down, landing with the blocks between you and a hard place.  And if that is no concern to you, then consider Hawg falling down and coming back from the hospital to track you down. )L$

Don't worry about the carts going off, cogitate how much damage to internal organs or bones will be delivered on impact.  For safety's sake when out in the slippery woods, thinner-spread-out would be safer.

However, a 30-pack strapped to the stock, now that could be a whole 'nother critter {?|

You have a cartridge-storin' groupie here, 'n I be anxious to follow yer concerts if'n you start makin' sweet music. L-#
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Offline Hawg

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2014, 06:16:25 AM »
This is one I got from Dixie. Its set up for 20 45-70 cartridges and has the inner flap.






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Offline DD4lifeusmc

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2014, 10:05:51 AM »
That cartridge box is a lot deeper than any I have ever seen before, but the way we use them in CW re-enacting is to put a piece of wood in the box that has been drilled with holes to carry the individual cartridges. You have found out about Fall Creek. I ordered a uniform from them and they got it wrong. Wrong branch (sent Cav not infantry) sent economy fabric when I paid for best quality and had the size wrong (I take a 38 waist and they sent a 44). I called them and they informed me that since it was "custom made" there was NO returns nor refunds, even though they got the entire order wrong! They DID very generously offer to try to sell it on consignment as a USED uniform, even though I never put it on. That is the sales tactics of Fall Creek Sutlery. They will NEVER get one more red cent of my money!


I have only heard good things about http://jas-townsend.com/
I know the lady who designed their computer design software.  Jas takes longer than others, cost more, but apparently the product is worth it.  Have you heard the same?

I've ordered from them(JAS). But most things they have that are period oriented I have located elsewhere for a bit less.
so some items I can retail at about their prices.
These leather  "cartridge" boxes. Are offered all over the internet at different pricing. But likely made bulk made by just a couple companies.
many of these were for the Civil War era  and as we know the military was in a transition period in ammunition, slowly going to a rimfire type cartridge, primarily in rifles, and by the end of the war, prototypes of centerfire cartridges were appearing.
These "boxes" were carried over into the 1870's  through 1890's by various different regiments.
Many early "paper" cartridges  were for the muzzle loading rifles and muskets.  Many cases those papers were heavier than we commonly use today. Many were soaked in a tallow solution to make them more rugged and water resistant.
Thus they were not as fragile when laid in the leather box.
In the rifle version of the box, there is a separate tin insert available.

As to the uniform, you might try  C&S  Sutlery. I believe thy are in Idaho.    I don't offer clothing just because of this issue.
I can get discounts here an there, but the returns are problematic at best.


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Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2014, 07:17:24 PM »
DD4; this pistol cartridge box is sold as;"Exact reproduction of the originals in our collection. Marked with ordnance inspectors stamp on flap..." Under the heading for Civil War leather goods.  If it's a copy of a government issue box for pistol cartridges during the war, it is certainly either for "consumable envelop" cartridges, of which many millions were made during the war, or for a metal foil type, which was less common.  The foil carts would have been sturdier, but the consumables (some with bladder or gut skin cases and some with paper) would have been relatively delicate compared to rifle carts, I would think.  Rimfire or CenterFire metallic cartridges for pistols would certainly not have been supported government issued accoutrements.

I'm having a hard time imagining that the consumables would have been carried loose in the belt box, but then I don't know, and so far no one seems to have any period documentation on that particular subject.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 12:17:24 PM »
Quote
...consider each design opportunity in light of your falling down, landing with the blocks between you and a hard place.

I figure it can't be any worse than falling on the pistol.  Daily, I carry a full sized auto pistol, a spare double stack mag, cell phone, flashlight and a large Leatherman tool, all on my belt.  Plenty of things to fall on.

If I'm going to fall, I hope to fall well and fall right.  If we go out seeking danger, we should not be surprised, or disappointed, when we find it.  If I were to fall on my new cartridge box I'd be more worried about breaking it than breaking me.

Offline PaleHawkDown

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 05:14:56 PM »
As I understand it, the U.S. cartridge boxes were based off the British ones, and often were British ones.

With Brit cartridge boxes, cardboard dividers were provided.
You know how the big box of Crayola crayons had those little removable cardboard compartments with several crayons in each? (http://www.savingadvice.com/images/blog/crayola.jpg)
Cartridges were kept in nearly identical cardboard dealies within the cartridge box. The leather divider in some boxes was to keep full cardboard dividers from tipping over when the one beside it became empty.
Without the cardboard dealies, or a neat wooden block like you have there, they are functionally useless.

As a neat side note, the early .577 snider rounds were also issued in these little cardboard sleeves to be used in old BP cartridge boxes by second line and indig troops.

I have a cartridge box almost just like yours, but mine is filled with .303 on stripper clips. Another buddy of mine uses his as a cell phone holder, so they are pretty utilitarian even if they aren't very useful as-is for their intended purpose.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 06:44:22 PM »
PHD:  Ah ha.  Things are beginning to make sense now.  Thanks for that.  It seems the leather thingie I got was made more for show than for use then.  Strange.  I think I'm going to get some Poplar or similar wood and make up a variation on that theme.

I'll take a wider block of wood, around one inch, or one and one eighth, and drill the holes at an angle, higher in front and lower in back.  That'll have the carts overlapping instead of end-to-end as they are in my current box.  Thus it will be slightly thicker, not much taller, and it will hold at least three tiers of carts, for a capacity of at least 30 rounds, all accessible at the same time rather than having to remove one block to get at the other.  That latter feature will be accomplished by having the front of the box cut down to expose the lowest tier of carts.  A gusseted flap should make it as weather resistant as the one I have now.

I'll need someone to do the leather work.  I might could get it done locally by a shoe shop owner in town, who's made a holster or two for me, but maybe someone on here can tackle it.  I'm thinking this would be something other people would want, at least once they see one.

It would be ideal for field carry, but then I don't know how many people would be all that interested in field carry as opposed to laying out a smorgasbord of accessories and supplies on a buffet and salad bar table at a shooting range.

Offline Classanr

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 11:27:53 PM »
I am interested. {?|

Since the infrastructure will be provided by your wood, might I recommend to make your first prototype case out of cloth?  Use fabric glue.  Prove the funtionality and debug the weaknesses.  Two or more working prototypes (cloth form around a wood block) could then be sent to two or more leather smiths to craft their version.  Pick the result that suits you.

I'd think something thin-strong-but-soft like Kangaroo, Alligator, Goat or Pig would be preferred to thick and hard-tanned cow.  It seems to me that the flap in your design is more a weather cover to "keep the snow out and them danged things in when Classanr goes over the cliff".  In that vein, I'd think it best to allow the cover to be easily folded all the back over itself for easy access during reloads.

Omnivore Pocket wouldn't be a bad name, when it comes time to market.

Hey, I will give away a dozen books to make room for one "Pocket".
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Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge Box (speaking of field carry)
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2014, 01:12:52 AM »
Classanr; Good points.  I got some Poplar in 4/4 and laminated two pieces together tonight, cross grained.

It seems we in the Northwest call the tree Aspen, and the lumber Poplar, hence my confusion.  I'd seen Poplar for sale in the lumber yard before but no "Aspen".  When we were kids, we'd climb out an upper floor window at "Billy Beeten's" (an abandoned house in the woods), climb out onto the roof, jump out and grab onto a little aspen tree and ride it to the ground as the young tree bent down under our weight.  Great fun, so we knew Aspen from an early age.  Never could positively identify a Poplar tree until now, which is pretty funny.  Thanks for the correction.

Anyway, the fresh laminate will be over 1.5" thick, so I'll plane it down to just over an inch, then start milling and drilling, when I can steal the time.  It'll be interesting to see how this wood works under the tools.  I think I'm set on a 10 x 3 configuration (three rows of ten carts).   I'd like to have more capacity, but size is an issue too.

With a 30 round box, plus the 18 rounder I have already, plus what you can carry in the gun, that's over my 50 round arbitrary minimum for a day of fun, and a person can always carry more in a cardboard box, or a plastic modern cartridge box, in a pocket, to replenish the belt box.  Loading from the belt box means you can have one hand on the gun and one hand to pluck carts from the belt box and stuff em into the gun; you don't need a table or a third hand, or to set anything on the ground.

As for the cover flap; I've been testing this leather one I got, and it's pretty easy to sort of swipe the flap up and open using the back of the hand, and hold it open with the ball of the thumb sort of, or the side of the thumb, while plucking out a cartridge with the fingers of the same hand.  At the moment I don't see a problem, but I'll have to take it out and actually do some shooting with it to see how I like it.

Part of this endeavor, as I see it, will be developing cartridge loads that will keep the cylinder arbor and bore lubed well enough that no additional lube is required to keep the gun running.