This is how I make and use spolettes for my small 1-1/2" shells. This method would probably not work well for larger shells, but I have had 100% success like this for this size:
1. Get a small, strong tube (say, 5mm ID, 7mm OD and 30mm long)
2. Stand it on a smooth surface
3. Put a small amount of meal BP in, and ram it hard.
4. Now put some more meal powder, ram again
5. Continue (like making a fountain) until you have the desired length of hard rammed BP to provide a suitable delay for your shell. You will need to find this out by trial and improvement. The spolette tube will probably be about 1/2 full with rammed powder, and half empty.
6. I now glue the spolette into the hole in the bottom disc of the shell, so that the "empty" end, where it was loaded from, is almost flush with the disc.
7. I then put this disc in the shell casing, against the cardboard liner, but orient it so that the bottom end of the spolette, where the BP core is visible is outside the shell, will sit in the lift charge. The outer layer of kraft is then pleated over the disc.
8. I now place some pulverone in the shell casing, and jostle it so that it fills the empty space in the spolette tube, and creates a thin layer over the bottom of the shell.
9. I now fill she shell with stars, and shake more polverone in to fill all the spaces, until it is level with the cardboard liner, close the top, and spike, paste, affix lift etc.
I have never found it necessary to prime these spolettes with black match, when used like this, as they are sat right in the middle of the lift charge.
If you are making a lot of spolettes, you can save time by ramming all of them with a longer charge than is needed, then using a drill press with a depth stop to drill a hole into the BP, from the "empty" side that will be inside the shell, so that they will all be exactly the same length.
I also often use meal with added charcoal, to slow it down a bit, so that I can use a shorter charge (saves time ramming) and have not had problems. However, spolettes made like this, with a shorter charge, are more likely to blow through. It's probably best to start off with a long charge meal.
Edited by Phoenix, 22 July 2004 - 04:08 PM.