Rolling Papers—They’re Not Just For Pot

I have to give credit for this blackpower tip to my good friend and noted handgun guru, Charlie Petty. I was looking for a cheap and easy way to make paper cartridges like they used in the Civil War, so I called Charlie about how to nitride paper because he’s also a chemist. Nitrided paper generally burns while untreated paper might not, or leaves embers. With nitrided paper, you can tear the end off a paper cartridge and stuff the whole thing down the bore of a muzzleloader.

Rather than send me on a wild goose chase for chemicals and then encourage me to do some wacky experiment, Charlie simply said, “Why not just buy cigarette rolling papers? They’re nitrided.” Viola!

Making paper cartridges is pretty simple. Moisten the paper along the top edge that wraps around the bullet base and wrap it into a tube around the base of the bullet, then moisten the gum strip and seal it up the side. When the paper dries, it shrinks down around the bullet base leaving you with a bullet and a long paper tube off the back end of it. Fill the tube with your load, twist the paper into a tail, fold it over and you have a paper cartridge.


Scott Mayer

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”


Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.
Scott Mayer

Latest posts by Scott Mayer (see all)

  • Scott Mayer

    Important detail I left out…this is for blackpowder loads and muzzleloading guns.

    • Good point. When the article starts off with words Blackpowder and muzzleloader, I would assume the message is clear. Alas, you have made our lawyers happy.


  • Mikial

    This was a pretty cool post. I’ve shot muzzle loaders, although i don’t own one currently, but have looked into getting a couple again. If for no other reason than i can just order them on-line with no rigmarole, but I’m also quite a fan of the Mountain Man era and used to go to Rendezvous when I lived in Utah. So, this is something I will have to remember and put into practice.

    As you probably already know, the British use of beef or pork tallow to seal the paper cartridges used in the Enfield 1853 was a religious issue to both the Hindu and Muslim Indian Colonial troops because biting the end off the paper wrapping was something they just weren’t about to do. Although not a religious issue to me, the thought of biting off the end of a paper twist coated in what would no doubt be pretty rancid grease in the heat and humidity of India, is enough to put anyone off their feed. 😉

    • Considering I have a decapitated pig head on ice waiting to go to the taxidermists, I am sympathetic. I’m washing my hands 3-4 times when dealing with it.


  • MidwayBill

    These were used in the early Black Powder percussion breech loaders such as the Sharps 1863 as well.

  • Outlaw

    Who knew! Rollin’ a fattie has a new meaning……