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Thread: To shoot or not to shoot? 1884 td is the question

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Question To shoot or not to shoot? 1884 td is the question

    Just picked up an 1884 Trapdoor cadet Mk2. I think they made about 20,000 cadets so not all that common to start with.
    While the stock has some bruising the metal work is damn near perfect with just the occasional blemish, as is the color case hardening (looks like a refurb but that would not happen in oz. No one does color case hardening).
    Looking at the bore, breechblock, firing pin and hammer I would say it is unfired.

    The question is....
    Should I use it or lock it up???
    Last edited by LawrenceA; 11-11-2019 at 06:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    No reason to have it if your not going to shoot it.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  3. #3
    I have an old model 1873 trapdoor that I shoot regularly. Just keep the pressure down when you first give it a go. H4895 was my test powder as the pressures were very low according to the data. If I recall correctly the starting load of 40gn under a 405gn cast bullet was only 14400 which is well below max pressure for the old trapdoors. Being H4895 I also tried the 60% reduced load which I believe was 28.8gn under the same bullet. It shot just as well with a lot less recoil.

    Since then I've been using 12gn of trail boss, and while I think the pressure is higher with that powder, the recoil is almost non-existent.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Let that 1884 roar, use cast and black powder like it was ment to be used . that's all my 1884 built in 1890 gets.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Will a couple hundred dollars more in your estate make up for a lifetime of pleasure lost?
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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Shoot that Old Warrior!

    Hi. I'm in agreement with the others, why would you have a wonderful old rifle in great condition if you don't shoot it? I recommend you get a copy of "Loading cartridges for the original .45-70 Springfield rifle and carbine" by Spence & Pat Wolf. He's done all the work and research needed to build accurate arsenal type loads for the Trapdoor (which he calls the "Old Warrior".) He provides load information for both Holy Black and smokeless powder. You certainly don't need the book, but it will provide a treasure trove of information. You can also shoot lighter loads with a 275gr - 325gr bullet with light charges of many powders (Bullseye, Unique, AA5477, etc.) that have little recoil and are just plain fun (and affordable) to shoot. I'd recommend not shooting factory jacketed hunting ammunition in that rifle since the trapdoor has a very low pressure action and could be damaged. Enjoy your rifle! Ed
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Loading data at end of website link ... http://www.trapdoorcollector.com/shooterstext.html
    Regards
    John

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    John,
    That is a good link to read, especially using smokeless in the TD's I seen one in worse conditions here at our range with a load of 5744.
    That is one wale of a group shot with a TD.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceA View Post
    Just picked up an 1884 Trapdoor cadet Mk2. I think they made about 20,000 cadets so not all that common to start with.
    While the stock has some bruising the metal work is damn near perfect with just the occasional blemish, as is the color case hardening (looks like a refurb but that would not happen in oz. No one does color case hardening).
    Looking at the bore, breechblock, firing pin and hammer I would say it is unfired.

    The question is....
    Should I use it or lock it up???
    Use it of course, with BP as was meant.I have 1867 Rolling Blocks I shoot with full loads of black.
    Rob Blomfield , a gunsmith at Pomona on the Sunshine Coast here in QLD does a great job in colour case work. A real specialist in old guns as well.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    A Lyman 457125 500 gr government pattern bullet some BP or a smokeless load that duplicates BP pressures and speeds and a lot of enjoyment. Most cadet rifles got more abuse from teenagers antics than any use at the range.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    If you're not planning to sell it as some sort of investment---
    try to wear it out.
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    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

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  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    All sounds good.
    Very good

    I have a marlin 1895 soo molds on hand are lee 405gn, Lyman Gould 320 grain and Lyman Whitworth 485gn.
    I believe the Cadet was tuned for the Carbine 45-55-405 load which I am trying to duplicate. Only bugbears are problems with the dies shaving the bullets and a very limited supply of the almighty black as the nearest gunshop is over 300 miles away and the nearest one with Black is about 3 days drive each way (and you cannot mail powder or courier it).
    Anyway 20 rounds ready to roll.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Get a neck expander plug

    Hi,
    If your seating die is shaving lead, then you'll need to use an expander plug. Most .45-70 Govt reloading dies are set up to load a .458 Jacketed bullet and don't expand the case sufficiently for a .460 sized lead bullet. Additionally, you'll swage down a softer bullet (e.g. 20:1.) I'd recommend you get an expander plug like this one.. You can get them in various diameters so you don't shave your bullets or swage them down. It's designed to fit in a Lee Universal expander die body, which is relatively inexpensive. You really don't need much tension and should be using a mild taper crimp on your single shots. Hope this helps. Ed
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  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    The Lyman reloading manuals are an excellent source for 45-70 loads and specifically list loads for the trapdoors. I agree with the other posters that you should shoot the rifle and enjoy it. You may want to start with some of the lighter bullets listed. The Lyman 457124 is a good starting point. It shot very well in a trapdoor I had. Good shooting.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I shoot my 1884 Rifle regularly with BP an.d the Lyman 457132 and 457125. Both great bullets. The 405's shoot well also in the shorter ranges. Every once in a while I'll use 4198. as you know the Trapdoor action is a low pressure affair.

    The only thing that is a bear with that rifle is the trigger pull at 15#. Hard to not start shaking, even off the sticks, with that pull.

    Enjoy your rifle. Treat her kindly and she should last another 125 years!
    So many toys........so little time.

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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