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Thread: SMLE in .45-70

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

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    .303 brass can be cut to suit .416 for sure and I have an old article on the .44 Rhino which was a long cylinder revolver using cut off .30-40 Krag brass so .303 brass should do the same. I can't recall if the brass was reamed after trimming or not.

    I was considering the Lee Enfield in .444 Marlin some time ago but never got to it. If I were to build one now I'd go .45-70 or cut off .30-40 Krag or .303 British for a wildcat round mostly because .444 is expensive and not common here and brass even less common but .303 is readily available. Of course things may be different where you are.

    Another option is the .444 rimless based on .308/.30-06 brass head size. Likely need a different extractor in a Lee Enfield action though.

    Not that there us anything wrong with the .303-.375. For me, I have lots of .44 moulds so I'd lean that way.

    Different strokes.

    Longbow

  2. #22
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I use .303 British brass as donor material for my Rolling Block in .40-50SS. All .303 brass is not equal, and even inexpensive as it is, not all will easily expand out to .40 caliber, let alone .44 caliber!
    I had several boxes of once fired .303 brass that was given to me, and lost nearly all of them during expansion process. Most simply split at some point, even though I expanded them in 5 steps to make it gradual. I tried to lightly anneal some to make expansion easier, but then shoulders set back and crumpled during expansion. I finally bought 100 brand new Remington cases and never lost another case expanding them to .40 caliber!
    So beware what brass you use in .303 if you plan to use them as donors for larger calibers.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is a 1871 Mauser single shot Rifle in 45.70 black Powder.It was an action and furniture that had been hanging about my workshop for a while.The barrel is 1in 20 twist.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master


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    Col4570, very nice rifle!

  5. #25
    Boolit Master

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    Did you anneal the brass before expanding? Just curious. I know what you mean about not all brass being created equal though. There is good and bad.

    Also, there is a difference between expanding the .30 cal. neck to .40 or .44 than for that Rhino cartridge which was cut off at the neck so certainly some difference there.

    I wonder if fire forming would be easier on necks?

  6. #26
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    Did you anneal the brass before expanding? Just curious. I know what you mean about not all brass being created equal though. There is good and bad.

    Also, there is a difference between expanding the .30 cal. neck to .40 or .44 than for that Rhino cartridge which was cut off at the neck so certainly some difference there.

    I wonder if fire forming would be easier on necks?
    I started without annealing and got splits. Then annealed some and shoulders collapsed as I tried pushing in the expander dies. No way to get annealing to allow expansion, and not have the shoulder collapse too. Using the new Rem. brass as it came worked perfect! No splits, and no shoulders damaged.

  7. #27
    Boolit Man
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    A tapered expander works a lot better to expand case necks than using the expander button on a FL Sizer die.
    The latter may often be just too blunt and either splits the neck or collapses the case.

    I made a simple tapered expander from an old 45acp expander. I needed one to expand from 30cal to 41cal,,making 401WSL out of 7.62x39mm.
    I took the orig 45acp expander and turned it down to a taper of just under 30cal tapering to 41cal. Nothing fancy. Polished smooth.
    The annealed AK cases can be simply expanded in one step from 30 to 41 cal with no loss.
    If I had needed it at the time, I probably could have tapered it from 30 to 45 with the same results.

    FWIW, I have a 35-303, actually two of them. One a LeeSpeed Sporter that I bought that way. The other a Watson Bros marked Martini Sporter that was a 303 and I had JES rebore to 35-303. Both are excellent shooters. Light loads w/ 357/38cal pistol bullets are fun with them too.
    303 to 35cal gives no problems necking up with the use of a 35Remington FL sizing die. I use the 35Rem seater die for that purpose also for the caliber.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Danish Krag converted to 45-70 but the bolt face is just a tiny bit to small for the 45-70 rim. I had to turn down the rims on a bunch of 45-70 brass a tiny bit to fit. Kind of a pain but no problem once it was done. It chambers, feeds and shoots pretty darn well once you get the brass working.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col4570 View Post
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    This is a 1871 Mauser single shot Rifle in 45.70 black Powder.It was an action and furniture that had been hanging about my workshop for a while.The barrel is 1in 20 twist.
    She is a beauty. I bet it is a joy to shoot also.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffer View Post
    She is a beauty. I bet it is a joy to shoot also.
    Yes it shoots good.65 grains 3f and a 405 grain Hollow base bullet.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2152hq View Post
    A tapered expander works a lot better to expand case necks than using the expander button on a FL Sizer die.
    The latter may often be just too blunt and either splits the neck or collapses the case.

    I made a simple tapered expander from an old 45acp expander. I needed one to expand from 30cal to 41cal,,making 401WSL out of 7.62x39mm.
    I took the orig 45acp expander and turned it down to a taper of just under 30cal tapering to 41cal. Nothing fancy. Polished smooth.
    The annealed AK cases can be simply expanded in one step from 30 to 41 cal with no loss.
    If I had needed it at the time, I probably could have tapered it from 30 to 45 with the same results.
    A tapered expander works well IF the taper is gentle and the expander length is long enough. I have Lyman M dies in both Short and Long, and several dozen expander plugs to chose from, so I can take smaller steps to get to the end size I want. The expanders I like best are Lyman's rifle length expanders as the body of the plug is longer. They have a nice rounded end that slips into the case mouth easily if I keep the plug lubricated. I use Hornady spray case lube on the plug and also inside the case mouth.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master


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    Beginning to think in terms of making this one a .35 or .375. I cast for both bore sizes with good hunting bullets.

    Could a .303 barrel be rebored to .375/.303? Does anyone make dies for this cartridge? Is load data available?

  13. #33
    Boolit Master

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    Check out JeffinNZ threads. I think he mentions both. It seems .303 Wildcats of larger than .303 are pretty common in both New Zealand and Australia.

    Oddly not so in Canada... in my experience anyway.

    IIRC I've read that a Lee Enfield barrel can be rebored to .35... okay, just checked and JES rebores Lee Enfield to .35-.303.

    Check out this old thread too. Turns out Jeff has a .38 Hawkins (.375-.303).

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/arch.../t-257771.html

    A quick internet search hasn't told me that rebore to .375 is doable. Either one would be nice though and .35 is doable.

    Keep us posted. Interesting project whichever way you go.

    Longbow

  14. #34
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Might consider making it a .40-50 Sharps Straight, like my old Rolling Block is chambered in. Same bolt face, rim diameter, but with a .410" bore. Simply open the .303 brass up, and cut the length to about 2" and load them up!
    A wonderful little cartridge that does very well with smokeless or BP, due to it's small case volume. Very similar to a .38-55, but with a heavier bullet.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlinman93 View Post
    Might consider making it a .40-50 Sharps Straight, like my old Rolling Block is chambered in. Same bolt face, rim diameter, but with a .410" bore. Simply open the .303 brass up, and cut the length to about 2" and load them up!
    A wonderful little cartridge that does very well with smokeless or BP, due to it's small case volume. Very similar to a .38-55, but with a heavier bullet.
    Would a 40-60 Maynard be based on the 303 case?
    AKA hans.pcguy

  16. #36
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffer View Post
    Would a 40-60 Maynard be based on the 303 case?
    Yes, from the info I can find the Maynard could be made on the same .303 brass. But length will be an issue. .303 brass is around 2.2" long, where Maynard is 2.3" long. So your cases will all be short in the chamber.

    Made an error on case length for the .40-50SS I make. It's 1.76" long, not 2" long.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check