Rolling a Blank Musket Cartridge

Instructions for rolling your own blank cartridges for musket salutes
by Compatriot Bradley Jarard


What you’ll need:

  • Blank newsprint, can be bought in large booklet/sheets from Plaza Art. Avoid using printed newspaper…its look bad
  • Black Powder ONLY. Goex brand is the most common. Use either FFg or FFFg ONLY. The more “Fs” the finer the black powder. Fine grained 4F is used for priming the small rifle flint pans only.
    DO NOT use any black powder substitute…they will not ignite from flint sparks, and NEVER use smokeless powder.
  • Brass powder measure
  • Brass Powder dispenser
  • Glue stick
  • ½ diameter wooden dowel
  • Paper template
  • Pencil/marker
  • Scissors


Layout the template.
Template size= 3.5”x5.25”x2.5”. Use a hard stock paper or thin piece of wood for the template. Here I’ve used an old stiff greeting card.
Keep drawing out paper blanks for as many cartridges as you need.

Cut out the paper blanks with your scissors.

Grab your dowel.

The dowel should be ½ “ in diameter or slightly smaller than your cartridge box holes.  Dowel length is 6”.  Draw a straight line 4.5” on one side and make a mark there.

At the end where the line starts dremel out a concave opening about the depth of a pencil eraser.

Lay the dowel on the blank with largest end to the right.  Align the smaller end with the straight line mark.

OPTIONAL:  Use some glue stick to place a line of glue across the top edge of the paper. This keeps the paper together better.

Align the bottom edge of the paper with the straight line and then roll the cartridge.

CAREFULLY twist the excess on the larger end and push it into the concave end of the dowel.  If the paper tears here…toss it because the powder will run out.

Slide the dowel out and you have an empty cartridge.

Fill your brass powder dispenser with your black powder.

Take your brass powder measure and set it for your charge.
Suggested loads(subject to change):

  • Smoothbore Musket (Charleville, Brown Bess) = 100gr
  • Flintlock Rifle = 75gr


Fill the measure with powder from the dispenser.

Swivel the lid of the measure over the opening.

Pour the powder into the blank cartridge

Flatten the open end of the cartridge all the way down to where the powder sits.

Fold over the edges of the open end.

Fold over the flap onto the cartridge.  OPTIONAL:  Put a little glue stick on the flap to keep it down, thereby increasing the seal of the powder.
NEVER-EVER staple the cartridge down.

Use a marker or pencil to write the load amount on the cartridge.

All done!  Now go make 25 more.

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2 Responses to Rolling a Blank Musket Cartridge

  1. Dan Hamilton says:

    Hello, I am Dan Hamilton, a member of the Arlington Texas SAR chapter. I a,m currently working on a power point presentation discussing the Charleville musket and long rifle(s). I really admire this presentation on rolling paper cartridges and would like to ask your permission to use it in mine? Of course kudos to your chapter in the credits.

    • Tim Madden says:

      Dan, sorry for the late reply. I would not see any problem with that. Please put a disclaimer in the presentation “explosives are dangerous”. I am not an attorney, do not play one on TV 🙂 Not sure we have that disclaimer in ours, it should be.

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