​Authentic Paper Cartridges         

Buck and Ball Cartridges, 69-caliber

​​"It is now thought that the musket with buck and ball is after all the best arm in the service."
-- Colonel Robert McAllister, 11th New Jersey Vol. Inf. Regt., 1862


69-caliber Buck and Ball Cartridge -- This cartridge, combining a 69-caliber lead ball with three 31-caliber lead buckshot, was so fearsome and effective that many units, including distinguished regiments of the Irish Brigade, insisted upon keeping their M1842 smoothbores even though more modern rifle-muskets were available.  It is probably not coincidence that M1842 muskets firing buck and ball are usually present at the Civil War battlefields associated with staggering casualty figures: the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, the Cornfield and Bloody Lane at Antietam, just to name a few. 

These recreated cartridges are made according to the specifications of the 1841 U.S. Army Ordnance Manual.  The cartridges you receive will contain NO POWDER.  You'll need to fill them with the appropriate measure of powder for your musket before they are ready to shoot (the period charge was 110 grains, but only use a charge that's safe for your musket). The cartridge tubes are long enough to accommodate extra powder for flintlock shooters, for priming the pan.

Buck and ball is just plain fun to shoot. It is not kind to target frames, so keep that in mind if you're shooting at public ranges that make you pay for damaged frames! 


I can fit up to 24 Buck & Ball cartridges in a USPS Small Flat Rate box. Because these cartridges are heavy, flat rate shipping is the best option. If you need more than 24 rounds, please contact us 




You will receive the unfolded tubes shown on top of the image; after you add powder and fold the tails, the cartridges will look like the pair at the bottom of the image. Each round contains one 662-cal ball.

You'll receive the unfilled cartridges like those at the bottom; after you fill the cartridge with powder and fold the tails, they'll look like the cartridges at the top. Each round contains one 662-cal round ball and three 31-cal buckshot, as shown in the top right of the picture.

69-caliber Ball Cartridge -- With the adoption of the U.S. Model 1795 69-caliber musket, this simple 69-caliber cartridge was used in every standard infantry arm of the United States until the introduction of the 58-caliber Model 1855 rifle-musket.  The cartridge even survived the transition from flintlock to percussion; the only difference was a reduction in the powder charge because the M1842 smoothbore percussion musket did not require priming the pan. It soldiered on through the end of the Civil War, when the last smoothbore muskets were finally withdrawn from service.

These cartridges are faithful recreations of the originals, following the specifications in the 1841 US Army Ordnance Manual.  They contain a single lead .662-caliber ball (same as the bullets shown at the top of the page) choked and tied in the paper cylinder, and the cartridges contain NO POWDER.  You will have to add approximately 110 grains of musket powder for an M1842 smoothbore in safe shooting condition (adjust powder quantity accordingly for 69-caliber flintlocks) before putting the rounds in your cartridge box and going to the shooting range. 

I can't resist mentioning one more item of historical significance about this particular cartridge: it remained in standard-issue front line service for well over 60 years, longer than any other caliber or cartridge used in the U.S. military history (5.56 NATO will break the record if still in service in 2023).


Special order - please contact me at brett.gibbons@papercartridges.com if you need 69-cal ball cartridge.