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Thread: IMR-4831 and the 45-70?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    IMR-4831 and the 45-70?

    Does anyone have experience with using IMR-4831 and the 45-70?

    A cast Lyman 457 193 or something in the same weight range is what I intend to make a load for. Both the Winchester 1886 and Winchester Single Shot rifles are the likely recipients.
    Chill Wills

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    I load a lot of different bullet weights in 45-70 and have never used IMR 4831. It seems a very slow powder and you will need a case full to get it to perform. Hope it works for Ya.

    Jedman

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I followed Ken Waters’ recommendations when I was shooting the 4831s in my Garrett .45-70 Sharps Carbine. His articles in Pet Loads detailing the various load levels in the .45-70 rifles said that 4831 burns at different pressures in straightwall and bottleneck cases, and gives black powder velocity at low pressures in the .45-70 case. I found this to be true, at least with what lots I was using at the time. The load was around 55 grs, according to my notes. The case wasn’t full of powder, but a double charge couldn’t be accomplished. At the same time, it wasn’t a “HV”-type loading with lots of recoil, like the heavy charges of 3031 give. I didn’t chronograph them myself, just figured Waters’ data was OK.

    It left a lot of unburned powder in the bore, and the sound of the “bang” on firing seemed to change occasionally, but it was quite accurate with heavy boolits like the 457124, at longer distances than my default smokeless load of (IIRC) 13 grs Unique. The loads used a lot of powder, though, which was no longer surplus and at the time cost more per shot than loads with GOEX black powder did. (This was back in the Pleistocene, obviously. ) People started using black powder successfully around then, so I tried it, switched, and never went back.

    I use the 4831 in my Springfield and Arisaka rifles and in my .270 now. Besides the cost and the authenticity issue, I was bothered by the notion that whatever makes 4831 burn like that in a straight case could disappear with the next can I bought. It is a big charge of smokeless for a Group 1 type rifle, and Waters pointed out that this use was nothing that showed up in any powder company load recommendations.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    QuickLoad shows a compressed load of 51 grains (SAAMI length) giving 1475 fps and 18k psi, for black powder velocities and low pressure just as Waters was saying. If you load longer for the big Sharps you may well get another 4 or 5 grains powder in to get around 1600 fps and still under 20k psi. This may well be a useful load if you have a jug of 4831 sitting around with no other good application for it.

    Back in those "good old days" when we were getting surplus 4831 for $.50/lb in 50 lb kegs I'll bet there were 45/70 shooters discovering this useful loading. And those days were definitely Ken Waters' days. These days where the stuff is closer to $25/lb this doesn't look quite as attractive.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    IMR published data says 56.0 compressed IMR 4831, Win 405 gr SP, Win 8.5/120 primer , 2.550" OAL gives 1390 fps from 25" barrel at 17.8k CUP, if you use a 400 gr cast should be similar.
    Hell, I was there!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I would definitely use magnum primers but it sounds fun if you have 4831 lying around and nothing overbore to use it in.

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  7. #7
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    Well TbG beat me to it.

    I experimented with slow powders in the 444 and found magnum primers helped with consistency and avoiding unburnt powder. I still gave up as for the reasons given; expense, waste, able to duplicate results with faster powders.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
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  8. #8
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    Yup! Those of you who responded are pretty much on it.
    This is an outlier load for sure.

    I have other powder choices and better powder choices but this comes with a short story. I have most of 8 pounds of this IMR-4831. The can was old enough to vote when I got custody of it and I have had it another 25 years. It was basically given to me with some other reloading stuff. That is another story. Because I have a lot of black powder rifles and only a few modern ones, and I hardly ever shoot the modern ones, there are few chances to use it up.

    Last fall I cracked that eight pound can open thinking I would develop a good Win 243 Antelope load with it. …Smelled right. Looked fine. While pouring it into the hopper there was just the slightest dust, really next to nothing, but as an old handloader, I look for that kind of thing. I got the books out and made up some test loads.

    I made a good hunting load and filled my tag. Hmmm. Thinking I still have most of 8 pounds of the stuff and, I would hate to let it turn into fertilizer, I remembered some old published loading data I have.
    In about 1980, in the little local (to me) gun store in western Colorado, on the counter, there were IMR – loading data handouts, and I always picked this kinda stuff up. I have a bookshelf full. Why? Because I loaded, right? In the rifle cartridge section of this pamphlet, IMR listed almost all, and I mean almost all the SR and IMR powders for every round they offered data. For the 45-70 it lists load and pressure data for what I thought of as inappropriate powders like 4064, 4895, 4350, 4320 and 4831. The 4831 data showed really attractive TD or BP level pressures. That stuck with me. The down side was, who would ever spend that kind of money on loads using 50 to 56 grains of powder when you can do the same thing with ½ or even ¼ the amount of powder? Or what I guess I am really saying is, a fraction of the powder cost.

    The IMR info pamphlet only listed the max powder charge and asked the reader to start by reducing it 10%. It said little else.

    Well…. Here it is 2018, the powder and I are not getting any younger, and I have this 8-pound jug. And, it is going to go bad at some point.
    In full disclosure, last week I made up some loads using standard LR and magnum LR primers at 50gr and 51gr and shot them, and then a few at 51.5 just because that was what the measure spit out. Lyman’s Marlin bullet (457 193) in Starline 45-70 cases was the bases of the load.
    At 100 yards the Winchester single shot grouped the loads well. It did not care what the primer was. The Winchester 1886 was fussy. The 50 gr. group with the standard primer was classic, at 100y, the holes printed two inches wide and 10 inches top to bottom.
    The second time out I tried the 51.5gr load, with magnum primers. This load grouped well in the Model 1886. No point trying the standard large rifle primers again. It will be all magnum primed from here on out. At 200 yards and the wind blowing, the lever rifle printed 2 inches vertical and 8 inches east and west.

    I have not used the chronograph with any of the IMR-4831 loads yet. I really have not shot IMR-4831 in the 45-70 enough to really form an opinion yet. I do think there is an accuracy load here and I may not have to load it to the max to find it. And that will be fine.
    BTW- the un-burnt powder issue does not seem to be very bad in this case. Only a very few yellow/brown pieces left in the barrel and none in the chamber. I was not using a crimp – I will try a few crimped too. Just because.

    I have enough powder for 900 – 1000 rounds. They won’t cost me much more than the primers to make. I shoot the local NRA cowboy silhouette match a few times a year and they also have a local class for singleshot rifles too. Fun stuff. That is enough powder to keep me in that match for a while. I was not hurting for proper powder choices but I guess I will shoot this for as long as it lasts.
    Chill Wills

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    A heavy bullet, crimp, compressed charge, and magnum primer will make 4831 a nice, gentle to boolits, reduced load powder for the .45-70.

    Yea, today, we think it wasteful of powder; but the old boys bought kegs of the stuff, CHEAP, and used it everything. Later IMR's brown paper pamphlets, hinted at this "secret," even if we didn't have a gray bearded mentor to do so.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Yep, been a lot of good shootin' done with WWII surplus 4831. Might as well go ahead and shoot it up -- give her another 75 years and the stuff might begin to get stale.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I love that old IMR pamphlet. It's full of tested "what if?" Loads.
    As a kid I loaded 22-250s by putting the loading block in a boot box and sprinkling H4831over the cases till they were all full. Then I'd take one out.tap it once sideways to knock out the excess, then seat the bullet. My 788 Rem did not care and shot little groups. When my sister's boyfriend quit giving me 4831 out of his stash, I went back to buying IMR 4320....

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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy veeman's Avatar
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    I wonder how it would work in a Uberti 1876 in 45/75?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    In my Browning BPCR 50grs of 4831 and the Saeco #020 540 gr FPGC was my accuracy load with smokless powder ! 2.5" 25 shot group from the bench @200 yards using a scope.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobthenailer View Post
    In my Browning BPCR 50grs of 4831 and the Saeco #020 540 gr FPGC was my accuracy load with smokless powder ! 2.5" 25 shot group from the bench @200 yards using a scope.
    I believe that! My first load, a starting load by reducing the max 10%, was (IMR-4831) 50 grains pushing a 415gr Lyman 457 193.
    Not so good in the 1886. No magnum primers, by mistake, but in the single shot Browning BPCR! ....Wow! Outstanding group! I was really testing loads for the 1886 though, not the Browning BPCR. It was along just as a baseline or test mule.
    Chill Wills

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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