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Thread: Need Some Help With 45 90 Load data Please for Original Winchester 1886

  1. #1

    Need Some Help With 45 90 Load data Please for Original Winchester 1886

    Have a Winchester 1886 made in 1894 and trying to find a varget load for the 45 90 with a 300 grain and 350 grain cast boolit.

    Trying to find a load the duplicates the original BP velocity of 1450 fps with a 300 grain cast boolit for hunting. The 50th Lyman manual does not show any varget loads for the 45 90. The 45 70 trapdoor loads start with 53 grains of Varget for a 292 cast bullet and 48 grains of Varget for a 320 grain cast bullet.
    Has anyone worked up any loads with Varget in the 45 90 ? would you start at 50 grains ?
    Looks like IMR-3031 may be a better choice of powder than Varget.

    Also plan to try 13 - 14 grains of trail boss for the 45 90 with the 300 grain bullet. Should be mild and fun for the kids.

    Have only shot the Winchester 1886 with 45 70 brass and have tried 40, 41, 42, 45 & 46.5 grains of varget with the 405 grain cast. All shot well at 25 yards and hit the plastic bottles.
    Also used 13 grains of Trail Boss in the 45 70 brass with 405 cast boolit which was really mild for the kids.
    It seems like the listed trapdoor pressure for the varget is less than the trail boss.

    Have some new 45 90 brass and ready to try a 45 90 load. Will be using Meister .458 cast boolits and currently use the Meister 405 grain bullets .458 bullets in the 45 70 case.

    The Winchester 1886 has really smooth action with an outstanding trigger and is a joy to shoot. At some point barrel was cut down to 20 inches but that could have been done 110 years ago. Just love the rifle.

    Appreciate any help you could offer, Thanks
    Last edited by lever1886; 12-05-2018 at 01:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have never loaded for that cartridge but I doubt you will find a suitable load with Varget, I would hate to see an original 86 come to harm trying, if I was to load for an original I would use Unique or 2400 which have pressure tested loads available. Regards Stephen

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply. If Varget has low pressure suitable trapdoor loads in the 45 70 case , would that same load have less pressure in the longer 45 90 case?

    On the Hodgdon website for 300 grain cast for 45 70 trapdoor load:
    Hodgdon Varget .458" 2.465" 45.0 1,599 17,800 CUP 55.0 1,880 20,600 CUP

    compared to trail boss for the same 300 grain 45 70 trapdoor load.
    Hodgdon Trail Boss .458" 2.465" 14.0 1,199 19,400 CUP 16.5 1,285 20,900 CUP

    From the online research it looks like others have used 13-14 grains of trail boss with a 300 grain cast bullet with good results for a light plinking load in the 45 90. The varget seemed to keep the pressure down with decent velocities in the 45 70 case and I had expected the same results in the longer 45 90 with even lower pressures.

    My concern with the Unique charge that it seemed to be very little powder and had read about concerns about detonation.

    I have read where others have said they used the published trapdoor 45 70 loads in the 45 90 case.

    Not trying to hot rod the load , just looking for a mid range 1500 fps hunting load with the 300 grain cast that will be safe in the rifle.

    If I am missing something or on the wrong track please let me know.

    Appreciate the help, thank you
    Last edited by lever1886; 12-03-2018 at 10:21 AM.

  4. #4
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    The 1886 is quite strong. Even in original guise, considerably stronger than the trapdoor. Any load suitable in the trapdoor is safe in the 45/90. I would NOT load at the 1886/1895 levels as there is no need to beat on an antique. I also have a family heirloom 1886 and I’ve always used trapdoor loads in 45/90 cases with good success

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The problem with Varget in the bigger 45-90 case may be low pressure ( not enough pressure to burn completely) or more likely the added airspace is causing poor ignition. $5-70 is 2.1" long case while 45-90 is 2.4" long, At the 45 cal dia that's a lot mire volume to consider.

    For an Idea of what to expect here is some data from Lymans4th edition cast bullets handbook
    45-70 Government Trapdoor loads 2.1 case 385 grn 457124 2.540 OAL

    IMR 4198 30.5 1298fps 11,300 cup 34.0 1441 fps 16.000 cup
    SR 4759 24.0 1252 fps 10.400 cup 26.5 1426 fps 16.600 cup

    45-90 2.4" case 385 grn 457124 OAL 2.850
    IMR 4198 47.0 1861 fps 19.400 cup 51.7 2070 fps 26.800 cup
    SR 4759 33.0 1675 fps 15.400 cup. 36.5 1826 fps 24.000 cup

    A real difference there with the only difference in the powder charges with the only difference being the .3 added case length.

    The above shows the difference the added volume makes in these big cases. You could try unique at around 10-11 grns but there is going to be a lot of air space to deal with in the case. ( Case will hold 9-10 charges of this so seeing a double charge down in the case will be hard to do).

    A case full of 1F Olde Ensford Lightly compressed ( about .100) and a .060 wad with your bullet should drop right in at the velocity your looking for, with no airspace in the case. While I don't care for them one of the BP substitutes may do the same.

    My 45-90 load for my Hepburn is as follows
    Starline cases PP uniformed and deburred. 84 grns 1 1/2F olde ensforde .060 napa rubber fiber wad 2 .002 tracing paper wads compressed to .540 down from case mouth with a 550 grn Old West shilouette bullet hand seated on the wads. Bullets are cast from 20-1 and pan lubed with SPG or Emmerts. This is a solid very good performing load more than capable o taking all 10 rams at 500yds. For you lever action it is probably to long.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by osteodoc08 View Post
    The 1886 is quite strong. Even in original guise, considerably stronger than the trapdoor. Any load suitable in the trapdoor is safe in the 45/90. I would NOT load at the 1886/1895 levels as there is no need to beat on an antique. I also have a family heirloom 1886 and I’ve always used trapdoor loads in 45/90 cases with good success
    Thanks for the reply. Will do the majority of the shooting with the 13-14 grain trail boss load with 300 grain cast. NO PLANS to load at current 1886/1895 levels and in fact will not even load a maximum trap door load.
    Would like to get 1500 fps with the 300 grain cast for a hunting load and will try the 350 grain cast as well.

    What powder and cast bullet has worked well for you in your 1886 ? what sort of velocity ? what is the barrel length of your 1886 ?

    Thanks to everyone for their replies.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lyman/Ideal #40 manual 300gr cast 2400/26gr/1440fps MAX 31.5gr/1685fps
    4895/50gr/1550fps
    3031/50gr/1600fps
    Unique/15gr/1370fps MAX 19.7gr/1660fps
    4198/42gr/1600 fps

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Fairly extensive data in Ken Waters Pet Loads on the 1886 45-90 if someone can post it here as I'm not that sharp on the computer .Otherwise PM me and provide me with a mailing address and I'll photocopy the lot and stick it in the mail for you.Both jacketed and cast data.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer2 View Post
    Lyman/Ideal #40 manual 300gr cast 2400/26gr/1440fps MAX 31.5gr/1685fps
    4895/50gr/1550fps
    3031/50gr/1600fps
    Unique/15gr/1370fps MAX 19.7gr/1660fps
    4198/42gr/1600 fps
    Greatly appreciate it, thank you

    Going to try and find a copy of the Lyman Ideal Manual

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer2 View Post
    Fairly extensive data in Ken Waters Pet Loads on the 1886 45-90 if someone can post it here as I'm not that sharp on the computer .Otherwise PM me and provide me with a mailing address and I'll photocopy the lot and stick it in the mail for you.Both jacketed and cast data.
    That is very generous of you , thank you.
    The good news is that I forgot that I had a copy Pet loads and there it was on the shelf. It shows a load for a 309 grain cast bullet starting with 48 grains of IMR 3031 for 1490 FPS and then a load of 51.5 grains IMR 3031 for 1650 in a 26 inch barrel.

    Going to give the IMR -3031 a go and start at 48 grains. Will try 48, 49 and 50 grains and see how that works.

    Thanks again

  11. #11
    Moderator



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    I’ve been using NOE 460315 with 15gr trailboss. Velocity is around 1150-1200 out of a 24” barrel IIRC. I don’t see a need to beat on the old gun. Dad would use a decent amount of Varget with 405gr WFNGC design, but honestly, as a family heirloom, I’m fine with trailboss. I’ve got my Browning 1886 and 1895 Marlins to abuse if I want big bore fun.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer2 View Post
    Fairly extensive data in Ken Waters Pet Loads on the 1886 45-90 if someone can post it here as I'm not that sharp on the computer.
    The better way to get them is to buy the book. Good data are worth having.

    https://www.wolfeoutdoorsports.com/b...nes-art/books/

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