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Thread: .50-70

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    .50-70

    Does anybody know how fat a bullet you can fit in a .50-70 case? Have a Springfield roller with a .50 bore but .522 groove. I'd been shooting .515s out of it until I had a slug measured for me by Texas Mac.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    You'll get plenty of good knowledgeable answers here. Until they're posted I'll give a couple of my ideas. First, are you shooting black or smokeless? I've shot both, but mostly smokeless.

    If your bore is slugging at .522", I'd expect to shoot at least a .523" or .524" lubed bullet. Any size bullet can be put into a 50-70 case (within reason). It all depends on your chamber size.

    Since you're shooting the brass in the same rifle all the time, you might not even need sizing, perhaps just a tad of neck sizing to hold bullet "snug", not tight.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    varsity07840:

    You may need to do a "throat" cast to determine the size of the chamber and throat/rifling leade. You may need to have a custom mould made for your specific gun. If the chamber is too small to accept the boolit size demanded by the groove diameter, you may be able to use a "heeled' boolit design. I had the same issue with an 1863 Sharps carbine conversion that had a .535 groove diameter but boolits larger than .525 would not chamber in my brass cases even when slightly neck-turned. Veral Smith of LBT made a mould that cast a heeled bullet with .520 section for inside the case mouth and a .537" diameter diameter nose that shot great.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    One way to tell is to make a chamber cast of body neck throat and mearsure it up. on the neck dia subtract neck wall thickness x2 then -.001 ( bullet release) for bullet dia.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by curator View Post
    varsity07840:

    You may need to do a "throat" cast to determine the size of the chamber and throat/rifling leade. You may need to have a custom mould made for your specific gun. If the chamber is too small to accept the boolit size demanded by the groove diameter, you may be able to use a "heeled' boolit design. I had the same issue with an 1863 Sharps carbine conversion that had a .535 groove diameter but boolits larger than .525 would not chamber in my brass cases even when slightly neck-turned. Veral Smith of LBT made a mould that cast a heeled bullet with .520 section for inside the case mouth and a .537" diameter diameter nose that shot great.
    Accurate makes a similar mould that I'm considering. I'm vacillating between a mould or a reline to .515.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master MOA's Avatar
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    If your rifle has fired lots of black you may find doing a chamber cast difficult if there is much pitting. The casting will grip the roughness an pitting to where you will not be able to get it out whole, an therefore not arrive at a casting that will help you with the measurements you are needing. I would get a custom reamer of correct dimensions that would work with my groove measurements and have the chamber reamed and be done with it or get a new barrel with proper chamber and barrel dimensions installed by a good gunsmith. Have fun shooting not fixing.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Why not just see what the ID of a fired case is? That's how big of a bullet you can use. Any more won't chamber.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Is this Springfield rifle an original roller with Springfield Armory markings?
    As you likely know, if nothing else, trying softer lead cast and sized as large as can be chambered, and loaded with BP will go a long way to accuracy.

    A picture of the rifle would be fun.
    Chill Wills

  9. #9
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    Wish I could remember what writer it was that was loading pulled .50 cal. BMG 750 gr. slugs in the .50 - 70 case, could have been Mike Venturino.Robert

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardcast416taylor View Post
    Wish I could remember what writer it was that was loading pulled .50 cal. BMG 750 gr. slugs in the .50 - 70 case, could have been Mike Venturino.Robert
    Mike knows better than that. Terrible thing to do to an old rifle, and the twist is too slow to stabilize them anyway. Now my friend's 500 raptor, that's another matter. The tracers and incendiarys are great fun in it.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    Is this Springfield rifle an original roller with Springfield Armory markings?
    As you likely know, if nothing else, trying softer lead cast and sized as large as can be chambered, and loaded with BP will go a long way to accuracy.

    A picture of the rifle would be fun.
    This would be my advice. Something to try before doing a major rebuild anyway.

    Find the fattest bullet that will chamber. Maybe even look for extra thin brass.
    Softer bullets will bump-up the most, particularly with a stiff load of black powder.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Drop tube black powderin the case, use a card wad with light compression soft bullet on top and shoot. Then fine tune it.
    Don't buy nuthing you can't take home

    Joel 3:10

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    Is this Springfield rifle an original roller with Springfield Armory markings?
    As you likely know, if nothing else, trying softer lead cast and sized as large as can be chambered, and loaded with BP will go a long way to accuracy.

    A picture of the rifle would be fun.
    Yes. It's a Springfield 1871 2 band. Same "go to half cock on closing" action as the NY State 3 band. I misspoke on the groove size.It's actually .524. It came as quite a surprise as I was expecting around .515 which is what my 1868 TD has. With the exception of casting from a custom mould, it's tough to find a government style bullet at .526 or larger. I think I may try Accurate's heeled .530. It has a .520 heel and I can size the nose to .526. No worries about if it will chamber. It's relatively short which the slow twist needs.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Varsity, I've got a pretty close to pristine Ideal 50-70 mold at the house.
    It's #518145.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	518145 holes.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	29.6 KB 
ID:	229610.
    Shoot me a message if you're interested and this weekend I'll dig that rascal out.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have any better ideas than anyone else on a correct size bullet mold other than the Steve Brooks kinda fix, BUT, for some fun, you might be able to get a 54 cal round ball to shoot with not too much trouble. I have shot some 0.535" RB's squeezed to fit my normal size 50 barrel.
    A 0.530" RB would be closer yet to 0.524".
    Just a thought.
    Chill Wills

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardcast416taylor View Post
    Wish I could remember what writer it was that was loading pulled .50 cal. BMG 750 gr. slugs in the .50 - 70 case, could have been Mike Venturino.Robert
    I remember reading that many years ago. I think it was from the Wolf press in hand loaders or rifle shooter.

    A lot of those older rifles were more a .52 caliber then a .50 as well as some of the .44's were closer to a .45.

    If you don't want to make a cast using cerrosafe because of fear getting the cast out you can use wax for what you want to find out. Wax will shrink on the inside of the cast and holds the exterior close enough for what you want to see. just very lightly oil the bore and the cast will push out with a cleaning rod.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    I don't have any better ideas than anyone else on a correct size bullet mold other than the Steve Brooks kinda fix, BUT, for some fun, you might be able to get a 54 cal round ball to shoot with not too much trouble. I have shot some 0.535" RB's squeezed to fit my normal size 50 barrel.
    A 0.530" RB would be closer yet to 0.524".
    Just a thought.
    Last night I was able to squeeze a .526 round ball in a case and chamber it. So, it looks like I may send a Lee .515 to Hollow point mold and have them open it up to .528 so I can size it back down to .526. I was going to go with the heeled bullet but it only has one grease groove and it's exposed, which I don't like.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Good Cheer View Post
    Varsity, I've got a pretty close to pristine Ideal 50-70 mold at the house.
    It's #518145.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	518145 holes.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	29.6 KB 
ID:	229610.
    Shoot me a message if you're interested and this weekend I'll dig that rascal out.

    Thanks for your thought. I have a .518 mold for my Gallagher that Ray Rapine once told me shoots good in a .50-70. Maybe it'll bump up enough in pure, or 40:1 lead.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    If it's heavy enough and soft enough it probably will.
    Might need a gas dam behind it to help seal off, hard card or some such.

    About that over sized bore 45-70 years ago, the chamber just wouldn't take a boolit big enough to fit the barrel. Perhaps your 50-70 is a similar situation.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    I ordered a .526 mound from Accurate yesterday. It has a .515 base with a beveled bottom that should make it easier to start in the case. The bullet is listed as .522 but there’s no upcharge to grow it to .526. To me, that’s a custom mound at a stock price. I’m impressed with the way they take your order, mine being to cast “at least” .526, and, they factor in the type alloy you’re going to cast with.
    Thank you Accurate.

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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