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Thread: Trapdoor on the way but now what?...

  1. #1

    Trapdoor on the way but now what?...

    Alright I'm excited as I've got a TD on the way but am getting discouraged and confused as I read more and more. I've read through Mr Gibson's big TD write ups and I have Mr Spence's TD loading book on the way.

    I've got Lee dies and brass on hand and the Lee 405HB mold in route. I've got H4895, 2400, IMR 4895 and 4064, Varget and some SR4759 available as powders, any type of primer one would need and both COWW and SOWW. I've got really only 2500+ Xlox and BLL (minwax and alox) as lubes.

    I know I need to do my best to slug my bore (I've got 45 cal round balls but know those aren't big enough) to get a size for my boolit. I am leaning toward an NOE expander plug but don't know which size yet. I'm also leaning toward Mr Gibson's 18-21 gr 2400 with 3/4gr dacron as my starting point.

    Will my 2500+ be appropriate for a lube and can I use straight SOWW (a bit of tin for fillout) sized appropriately based on my bore slug?

    Without reinventing the wheel, can someone knowledgeable steer down the road a bit please? TIA.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Wait until you get your rifle and slug the bore and do a chamber cast of one type or another. These, carefully measured with a micrometer, will answer a lot of your questions. Then you can start thinking specifically. For an original Trapdoor I'd shoot Black, but I'm already loading BP and it doesn't look like you are. I can't add anything to what Larry has said about loading for the trapdoor so I won't try. Any smokeless lube will do as long as the boolit carries enough - look for a lube star on the muzzle after you shoot a couple. No lube star and you are running dry - the lube is too hard or your boolit doesn't carry enough.

    Straight SOWW will do for up to about 1200fps. You probably don't want to push this beyond that - it does have a steel buttplate.

    When I was loading for one the most accurate round was the Lyman 457125 over a full case of Goex 3F compressed with a card wad and the bullet finger inserted with just enough crimp to hold the bullet in place - you could twirl the boolit in the case with little effort. The case was not resized. It hurt to shoot it. I bought a PAST pad.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    With the 405 hb I would try 20-1 and maybe add 1-2% antimony at a later date to test. I use SPG or emmerts with these rounds. Load a nice easy load around 1200 fps. and enjoy the fun. I cant give advice as to smokeless powders and your lubes as I haven't used them in 45-70. I load Black Powder ( olde ensforde 1 1/2) and use SPG or emmerts improved home made lube in my rifles.

    Put one of those hb base bullets cast from soww on a pin in the vise and lightly tap the nose with a small ball peen hammer checking size often with micrometers. you should be able to get it up to .463-.464 pretty easy and then drive thru. Not the very best but done with care will get you very close. I also very lightly lube the slug before driving it thru.

  4. #4
    Thanks guys. I'm not at BP loading yet. Haven't the proper gear or know how just yet.

    Country Gent could you explain the last paragraph of your post a bit please? Im not understanding what you're saying. Thanks.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    You can "peen" a bullet up in dia. Put a pin in a bench vise the dia same size as the small end of the hollow base. sift lead will expand out with light tapping when it has no place to go.
    Measure the bullet and write this down
    set bullet on pin and hold with fingers, lightly tap the nose with a small 8 ounce ball peen hammer with square taps. give 5-8 taps
    remeasure bullet and repeat as needed
    This will Swell a bullet up to slug the barrel with. I have bumped soft bullet up for one time things. Is easier in a press but here the hollow base get in the way of this. Lead will flow pretty even and a few thousandths dosnt take much.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    You can "peen" a bullet up in dia. Put a pin in a bench vise the dia same size as the small end of the hollow base. sift lead will expand out with light tapping when it has no place to go.
    Measure the bullet and write this down
    set bullet on pin and hold with fingers, lightly tap the nose with a small 8 ounce ball peen hammer with square taps. give 5-8 taps
    remeasure bullet and repeat as needed
    This will Swell a bullet up to slug the barrel with. I have bumped soft bullet up for one time things. Is easier in a press but here the hollow base get in the way of this. Lead will flow pretty even and a few thousandths dosnt take much.
    Now I'm following. Thanks again.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    I understand you wanting to measure things and set up your loading to the rifle.


    IF you run a slug through the barrel and get a good impression of it - you are going to somehow need to measure the odd land/groove slug. How are you going to do that?

    A few things you might want to consider.
    Don't make it hard at first.

    If you have read the book Spencer Wolf wrote, you know that these rifles can shoot well using only 0.459" bullets with BP. And, if you are loading Smokeless powder that LEE 405 HB cast soft will likely work well too - By design!

    BTW- that LEE bullet will cast larger than 0.459" Try casting and shooting unszed.
    How are you going to lube? Hint- pan lube with bulk soft lube - equal parts bees wax and veggie oil will get you going and is a good lube.

    Load and shoot the rifle and see how it goes before stressing over the very detailed start-up you have outlined.
    You might be amazed at how well the rifle performs for you. Loaded with smokeless powder it will shoot high.... don't change the front blade - fix the load.

    Consider loading with BP and a WW or softer cast bullet.
    Bp sounds scary but it is not as hard as you might think and certainly not as hard and casting chambers and slugging bores. In fact the hardest part of shooting BP is getting past all the ** you hear about it and finding out it is easier.

    This isn't hard - if it was, the average guy could not do it.

    I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I am trying to prevent you from having a hard time. Take it from someone that knows.
    Good luck and have fun.
    Chill Wills

  8. #8
    Thanks Chill. I think what scares me the most with BP is the clean up and not doing it properly. Then all I've done is ruin a peefectly good rifle.

    I appeeciate the information and will give it a shot. Over thinking stuff tends to be discouraging.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    AggiePharmd, I find BP easier to clean than smokeless./jacketed. At the range wipe with windex vinegar window cleaner. This is great for powder fouling it can be mixed 50-50 with water even. I normally shoot 10 round strings in my rifles and spray or 2 of this in the bore a few passes with a brush and patch push out the heavy fouling. a damp patch and a couple dry and your good for the next string. When done clean with the windex. When you get home dry patch and solvent clean for any lead build up. dry and lightly oil. I use a patch with bullet lube to preserve bore instead of oil. Work lube into patch and 2 passes thru bore then smooth and thin with a clean dry patch.

    I deprime brass between strings with a hand deprimer and drop them into a jug with water, a couple drops of dawn dish soap and a small amount of lemishine. This keeps the fouling soft and from working on the brass cases. At home I rinse in the jug with hot water 2-3 times and spread on a drying rack. when dry clean in the tumbler.

    Use a bullet lube meant for black powder tis keeps the fouling moist and soft. A blow tube can also be a big help keeping fouling soft. BP fouling isn't hard to clean if it hasn't dried out and gotten crusty.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    "Will my 2500+ be appropriate for a lube and can I use straight SOWW (a bit of tin for fillout) sized appropriately based on my bore slug?"

    Yes 2500+ will work with smokeless loads but I'd not call it "appropriate" as those bullets will eat up a lot of it, much more than will be needed for smokeless loads. Actually I suggest you use SPG or White Labels BP lube (both are quite suitable for both smokeless and BP) or make your own. It's very easy to make out of just beeswax and virgin olive oil. I believe I posted the recipe in my writings on loading for the TD but I can post again if needed(?).

    The SOWW + tin can work well with the right powders at 40 - 1 or 30 - 1 for carbine level loads up through 1150 fps. Above that at least 20 -1 is should be used but I prefer 16 - 1 for service M1873 or M1882 level loads. 16 - 1 alloy is what the arsenals settled on after extensive testing.

    You may find it unnecessary to size the bullets. I shoot many of my Lee 405HB bullets "as cast" in my original TD as they drop .462 - .464 (depending on alloy). I simply hand lube them while watching TV. A lot can be done when watching a good John Wayne western.....many more when watching a movie my wife picked.......
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  11. #11
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    Subscribe to the new Wolfe magazine on BP shooting. Cheapest/fastest way to learn. I have found Alliant Black works great in a 45-70, makes smoke, smells good but cleanup consists of 3 smokeless rounds and a boiling water rinse. You can also shoot 50 w/o cleaning.

  12. #12
    If Im reading and using the lead alloy calculator correctly, I can mix COWW:SOWW 2:1 (10lbs:5lbs) and get roughly the 16:1 you mention?
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  13. #13
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    I like the 457130 collar button with 6g of unique.fun 25 to 50 yard load
    “When people have tried everything and have discovered that nothing works, they will tend to revert to what they know best—which will often be the tribe, the totem, or the taboo.”
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AggiePharmD View Post
    If Im reading and using the lead alloy calculator correctly, I can mix COWW:SOWW 2:1 (10lbs:5lbs) and get roughly the 16:1 you mention?
    There is no way you can get a 16 - 1 alloy (16 parts lead - 1 part tin) by mixing COWWs with anything. COWWs will have 2 - 2.5 % antimony and, at best, 1/2 of one percent tin. Your proposed mix would lesson the tin and still have antimony in it. A 16 - 1 alloy will have 93.75% lead and 6.25% tin and no antimony. If you add 6.25% tin to your SOWW (1 oz of tin for every lb of SOWW) you will have a very nice alloy of 16-1.

    However, if you mean by "get roughly" you want a usable softer alloy for use in your 45-70 with smokeless loads then you are going to have to add tin....not dilute it. With COWW and SOWW you're just not going to get around adding tin. For such I suggest mixing SOWW:COWW at 3 parts SOWW to 1 part COWW and add 5 - 6% tin. Or, for smokeless powder loads, just add 2% tin to the COWWs then mix that with the SOWWs at 50/50 and go with that alloy which will make very good smokeless 45-70 bullets for your TD.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  15. #15
    Thanks Mr Gibson. I'd have never figured all that out. My "roughly" commentbeas address BHN of the 16-1 and my proposed mix above and neglected the addition of tin.

    Thanks again.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  16. #16
    Larry I have enough lead to mix either way you suggested. The limiting factor for which method Will be tin. I'll have to see how much I have. May be time to order some more.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy iron brigade's Avatar
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    34 grains of IMR 3031, Lee 405 HB cast 20-1. My mold cast at .461 and that's how I shoot it in my trapdoor. Plan on the rifle shooting 12-18" high.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    AggiePharmD
    Here is a system that I make to more easily wipe a TD from the breech
    as well as to clean it. Sure beats "blowing your brains out" with a blow tube.
    beltfed/arnie
    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #19
    Beltfed that's a pretty cool contraption. Thanks for posting.
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

  20. #20
    I've been reading on Mr Wolf's book and it states that the expander plug needs to expand the case to a depth of 0.67" in order not to deform the boolit base. I've measured the NOE 0.463"X0.459" plug and I don't think it will get me down to his recommended distance into the case. Any suggestions?
    Calling an illegal immigrant an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

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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