View Full Version : Loading the Enfield Cartridge

M.T. Moses
03-31-2011, 12:55 PM
For those of us who carry an Enfield rifled musket. Are you properly loading your cartridge?

C.S. Central Laboratory, (Ordn.)

Macon, Ga., Feb. 9, 1864.


It has been recently ordered by the Chief of Ordnance that the only patters of cartridge to be hereafter used with muzzle loading rifled small arms shall be that known as the English pattern of Enfield cartridge.
It is important that the troops should be taught to load this cartridge properly - the following instructions upon the subject are therefore published - Ordnance Officers on field service will endeavour to secure their observance, and to correct any irregularities which they may notice.
1. - If the powder end of the cartridge has been "pinched" or folded straighten out the folded portion of the paper - if it has been twisted (as is the case with the cartridges made in England) untwist the end with the finger and thumb.
2. - Tear off the part of the paper at the powder end beyond the stiff inside cylinder, taking advantage of leverage upon the edge of this stiff cylinder, and tearing off as close as possible to the edge.
3. - Pour the powder from the end of the cartridge thus opened into the barrel of the gun, taking care not to lose or scatter any of the powder - Hold the barrel vertically, so that but few grains may remain adherent to the inside surface.
4. - Invert the cartridge, and insert the lubricated end into the muzzle of the piece (without tearing off any of the paper from the ball).
5. - Press the bullet end of the cartridge down into the barrel until the top of the cylindrical portion of the ball is just flush with the muzzle taking acre that the axis of the bullet coincides with that of the barrel, and that the cartridge is pressed directly down - not twisted.
6. - Break off the empty powder cylinder from the bullet, taking advantage of leverage against the edge of the muzzle, and being careful not to twist or pull the bullet out of its place.
7. - Ram the ball steadily down, using no more pressure than is necessary, and avoid twisting the ramrod. Settle the bullet in its place by one or two light taps.
8. - Cap the gun, which is then ready to be discharged.
In case of the gun becoming excessively foul, so as to prevent easy loading in the proper way, as above detailed, the paper of the cartridge may be torn off from the bullet, and the latter loaded naked. As the lubricant is upon the outside of the paper and not upon the bullet this practice is not to be recommended unless it be rendered necessary by the cause mentioned.

J. W. Mallet, Maj.
Supt. C.S. Laboratories

J. Gorgas, Col.
Chief of Ordnance
Richmond, Va., Feb. 15, 1864.

From "Rules to be observed in the Laboratories of C.S. Arsenals and Ordnance Depots" (ISBN 1-57747-095-8. Thomas Publications, USA, 2002.)

03-31-2011, 02:34 PM
Kevin Dally makes these British rounds the correct way (photo below) and they are simple to load using the above mentioned procedure.


Here are some that he made for us to use during a live fire at a living history.

03-31-2011, 03:55 PM
4. - Invert the cartridge, and insert the lubricated end into the muzzle of the piece (without tearing off any of the paper from the ball).

And if they forgot to invert the bullet and loaded like a convential US minie this may have been the result. It would appear that this bullet was fired without inverting and the base struck first. Not too uncommon to find them like this. 32890

M.T. Moses
04-01-2011, 07:31 AM
From Enfield Paper Cartridges by David Minshall (http://www.researchpress.co.uk/firearms/british/enfield/cartridge07.htm)

"The Musketry Instructors Manual of 1853 explains the process of how to manufacture Enfield cartridges.

Manufacture of Cartridges

Having cut the paper according to the size and patterns shown, for cartridges for the rifle-musket or carbine,-

1. Form the powder case. Roll the "stiff paper" pattern, tightly about 2 times round the "mandrel," which is to be laid on the side opposite the acute angle, or AB, with its base coincident with the broader side, or AD; then place the "inner envelope" paper pattern No.2, on the top of the stiff paper with the side opposite the acute angle, or AB, of the former about of an inch from the acute angle, of CD of the latter, and role said envelope tightly on the stiff paper and mandrel; after which slightly twist the end that overlaps about 7/8 of an inch, or AC, and fold it into the hollow at the base of the mandrel, making use of the point of the "former," to close the folds and adapt the paper to the cavity, which is to receive the point of the bullet, being careful to secure the bottom of powder-case, so that no powder can escape therefrom.

2. Unite the bullet with the powder-case. Put the point of the bullet well into the cavity of the powder-case, and place both so fixed on the side of the "outer envelope" paper opposite the acute angle, AB, and about an inch from the broader, or AC; roll the "outer envelope" tightly round the bullet and powder-case, with the mandrel still in it, the twist or fold the paper that overlaps, and tie it as close as possible to the base of the bullet; after which place the base of the cartridge on the table, and withdraw the mandrel with care, by pressing the powder-case with one hand while raising the mandrel with the other, so as not to separate the powder-case from the bullet, both of which must be kept as close as possible to prevent any play at the juncture, which would soon render the cartridge unserviceable.

3. Charge the powder-case. Place a funnel into the mouth of the powder-case and pour 2 drams of powder or a less quantity, according to the arm used, into it; remove the funnel, being careful that none of the powder escapes between the inner and outer envelopes; and secure the charge by squeezing the tops of the two envelopes close to the stiff paper of powder-case, and giving them a slight twist with a pressure inwards, laying the ends on the side of the cartridge. The slits in the outer envelope are made to facilitate its detachment when fired.

4. Lubricate the cartridge. The cartridge being complete, dip the base up to the shoulder of the bullet, in a mixture composed of 5 parts of bees-wax and 1 part of tallow."




Mr. Minshall's article not only covers the "how to",
but goes in great depth on the history, packaging, and casting of the bullet.