View Full Version : Winchester 45-60, any hints?

Wayne Smith
06-24-2006, 09:06 PM
Esteemed Board

A friend who went with me to teach the Boy Scouts to shoot today (his son was one of them) rode with me and told me that he has his Grandfather's Winchester 45-60 and could I teach him to load for it? Having experinece with the 45-70 in BP and the 458125 mold as well as the Lee 405gr flat nose mould, loading my 44-40's in BP, and now playing with the 10.5x47R I figured I'm as qualified as many, more than most probably.

I believe that this is the 45-70 case simply loaded lighter. Am I wrong on that?

I'm thinking the 500gr pill may not be the medicine he needs, and thought I'd point him to the Lee mould and the Lyman 330gr HP Gould that's still in production. Yes, I have NEI's catalog and know what they offer. Yes, I'll do a slug if he'll let me!

This is a Winne Lever, I'm guessing an 1886 model, but haven't seen it.

Anybody have any experience with this? - yes, I'm gonna tell him again that it's BP only.

Any expertise offered is appreciated. We only have a year and few months to do it, he and his wife will both be retiring from the USN in November '07 and are moving back to Texas.

45 2.1
06-24-2006, 09:21 PM
You will probably need a chamber cast. The original 45-60 is a shortened 45-70 case. It took a 300 gr. 0.454" boolit cast of probably 20:1 alloy.

The 1876 was chambered in this cartridge and it is NOT a strong rifle.

06-24-2006, 09:29 PM
Cartridges of the World lists the cartridge as using a 300gr bullet at about 1300fps. They also note that "rifles for this cartridge are not strong, ---" The Load given to duplcate factory ballistics is IMR 4198 25grs and a 300gr lead bullet. Cartridge Conversions says it can be made by sizing, and trimming a 45-70 to 1.89". Buffalo Arms probably has cases and dies. I suspect trimming some metal off the bottom of a set of LEE 45-70 dies would also work for dies.

Jerry Liles

06-24-2006, 10:16 PM
Having read the original factory tests of the 1876 I am amazed that people class this as a WEAK rifle. The gun was tested with loads ranging from triple to as much as 7 times the normal load with no major damage to the gun. I would think that as long as a person stuck to B/P or B/P replacments you should have no trouble gettng ths one back in action. I believe that Starline will soon have 40-60 and 45-60 brass available to go with the new rifles coming out. On the original Winchester you may want to stick with B/P and a soft lead slug as most of the bores I have measured were oversized and they relied on bump up to get the gun shooting. You may not have enough throat to get a bore size slug chambered. Only slugging and shooting will tell. I note in passing that a Winchester 94 in 38-55 has a bore of 379 and the Winchester factory mould casts a slug of 375 diameter. With smokless this bullet wont shoot worth spit, but it will do just fine with fffG.

06-24-2006, 11:52 PM
Think the reason people think of it as weak is that the 1876 was just a scaled up 1873. Same toggle action and such, just a lot bigger. Believe Venterino wrote about this cartridge and rifle recently in Handloader or Rifle mag.

06-25-2006, 12:43 AM
if you are interested i have a couple factory loaded 45-60's i would be willing to part with.
And I totally agree with the position KCSO took on the 38-55,,although in my case its a 1886 in 38-56 that won't shoot for spit with smokeless. I oughta just see what it can be traded for.

Wayne Smith
06-25-2006, 08:30 AM
45Nut - Learn to load BP, it's a lot of fun! Clean up aint that bad since I got ceramic beads for my vibrator, either. Thanks for the offer, but I think I'm better off with a chamber cast and trim cases to match.

I'll let you'all know what's going on once I see the rifle.

06-25-2006, 10:11 AM
so...who can write a "loading bp cartridges for dummies" article?

06-25-2006, 11:08 AM
Not to hijack anything,but.... do you like the ceramic media, Wayne???

06-25-2006, 12:02 PM
so...who can write a "loading bp cartridges for dummies" article?

Might just refer to Mr. Trenk's article.


charger 1
06-25-2006, 01:12 PM
OH I'm goin to get some crap over this, BUT I load for one in an orig 85. AAAANNNNNNDDDDD I use and have the best luck with sierras 300 gr hp,because its such a thin jacket for trapdoor velocities,it works very well around the 1750 fps..My bore is a frikin mess but it throughs them into an inch at 100 consistantly with these bullets on shortened 45/70 cases with 4759 powder, but no other combo will hit squat in the gun. Sorry for that copper talk but truth is truth brothers...PS:
Actually thats the gun and a bear taken with same in my avatar

06-25-2006, 01:21 PM
Mike Venturino's piece in the June 2006 "Handloader" was a pretty decent article on the subject, and featured a photo of a Win 76 that underwent catastrophic destruction due to use of smokeless powder in a possible double-charge situation.

Mr. Venturino's loads featured the RCBS 325 grain FNGC loaded over 55 grains of The Holy Black. I'm not sure how he got that much powder into those 1.89" cases, about all I can get into R-P 45-70's without drop-tubing is 55 grains of Goex 2F and still have room for boolit shank. That said, these loads have to date done the best work in my Ruger #1 in 45-70, doing 5-shot/1.25" groups at 100 yards very consistently. I'll leave the barrel foul-outs and tumbling boolits from my M-73 x 44-40 using THB for another thread. :-)

Anyone wanting a copy of the article, send me a snail mail address by PM and I'll burn some for ya.

Idaho Sharpshooter
07-19-2006, 12:46 AM
the July 2006 has a ten page article on the new ones, and about half a dozen safe smokeless loads for it using Laser-Cast's 300gr TC bullet.

the Idaho Sharpshooter

Baron von Trollwhack
07-22-2006, 01:12 PM
Along the lines of the 45-60, I have a started project to build one. It starts with a 45 colt caliber Uberti highwall, with a .433/4512 bore and groove, a specially selected set of 4D dies with a tight neck, and a .450 "m" die in the die set, The reamer is being made now for a .452/.453 bullet cased in my made up dummy loads. BTW the Uberti twist is 1/18". The chamber will clean up without re-indexing the barrel. I can't wait, lighter boolits, less recoil, hopefully good accuracy.

Wayne Smith
07-25-2006, 07:48 AM
Not to hijack anything,but.... do you like the ceramic media, Wayne???

I love it. I've got the 3mm beads, got them from Buff Arms. Use Dawn dish detergent and a little water, actually just some of the soapy water that I had at the range to drop them in. This cleans them up fine, but doesn't shine them. I tumble them in Walnut media to dry and polish.