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Thread: Well, I've finally got a 45-70: Now what!

  1. #1
    Boolit Master piwo's Avatar
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    Well, I've finally got a 45-70: Now what!



    Hey Fellas, been a while. sometime life gets in the way of fun....

    My best friends FIL is in pretty bad shape, and it's sad. We went to many gunshow's together, the three of us over the course of 25 years or so, and Ken was always ready to roll. He also had money, which me an my friend did not! Anyway, out at dinner last night and my buddy say's I am to look at his firearm inventory and select something: I was stunned: Ken had quite a collection. My buddy also told me they found another gun tucked away down the basement, and no one knew what it was, but seemed to be black powder. We went to my buddies for a night cap and he asked if I would take a look at it and see if I knew what it was. One look I knew it was a Pedersoli 45-70. Told him so, but didn't know what it's value was as I never owned one. He simply handed it to me and said "take it", no one else will want it.

    So now, I'm the owner of a Pedersoli 45-70, CAT 3514. It has rust on the opposite side of the action, the Vernier site also has a bunch of surface rust on it, though not "welded" together. It will take some cleaning for sure, barrel a bit of frost but doesn't appear to be pitted, at least at first glance. I have a number of black powder rifles I cast for, but all flinters and one percussion double barrel. So, what have I gotten myself in to? Me thinks I will need a lot of stuff, but no idea what...
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    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
    Pope John Paul II

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Beagle333's Avatar
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    I don't know either. My 45-70s are modern. But way cool of him and congrats to you!!!
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master piwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beagle333 View Post
    I don't know either. My 45-70s are modern. But way cool of him and congrats to you!!!
    Thanks... I know Pedersoli made some faithful recreation rifles, seems well put together. Wish it wasn't stored in the basement but nothing some RB17 and some elbow grease can't fix. Gonna need a munual, but no idea how to load for cartridge BP.. another discipline all together I believe...…..
    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
    Pope John Paul II

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

    Beagle333's Avatar
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    There is a section of the forum dedicated to black powder cartridges. Maybe they can help.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/foru...wder-Cartridge
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    The Pedersoli Rolling Blocks are a very good gun, and those I've know who owned one had very good results with them. They make a good barrel, and it should be a fun way to enter the world of cartridge reloading. Whether you go with BP or smokeless mild loads, it will be able to serve you well.
    If you've never reloaded for fixed case ammo I guess you'll be starting out by simply learning that process and getting all the equipment to load for the .45-70 first. I'd buy any of the better loading manuals by Hornady, Lyman, RCBS, or others. Reading the how to reload section, and talking with others who've been reloading a long time. Especially any who reload for the old BP style cartridges.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    45-70 brass, reloading dies if you don't have them, Lyman M die, FFG BP of several varieties (I assume you already have this) and a drop tube or compression die. Decide the range you want to shoot at and do a bunch of research about the various boolit styles for the various ranges they are best at before you invest in a mold or two.

    Start by filling the case with BP, compressing this to the base of the boolit, add boolit, and shoot. Next invest in a wad punch and start trying varying wad material. Oh, forgot about a lube sizer (if you don't have one) and BP lube (easy to make, look in the Lube section here).

    Now get ready to do a lot of shooting. Change only one thing at a time, amount of powder, type of powder, type and size (thickness) of wad, boolit, lube, etc. Keep records, there is no way you will remember all of the combinations and their result.

    Have fun!
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


    Kraschenbirn's Avatar
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    Interesting, my Pedersoli 45-70 RB is catalog #3515 (straight stock instead of pistol grip) so it's probably about the same vintage and if yours shoots anywhere near as well, you've been handed a genuine 'keeper'. Mine handles both BP and smokeless loads equally well and has no particular 'quirks' that come to mind.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master piwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    45-70 brass, reloading dies if you don't have them, Lyman M die, FFG BP of several varieties (I assume you already have this) and a drop tube or compression die. Decide the range you want to shoot at and do a bunch of research about the various boolit styles for the various ranges they are best at before you invest in a mold or two.

    Start by filling the case with BP, compressing this to the base of the boolit, add boolit, and shoot. Next invest in a wad punch and start trying varying wad material. Oh, forgot about a lube sizer (if you don't have one) and BP lube (easy to make, look in the Lube section here).

    Now get ready to do a lot of shooting. Change only one thing at a time, amount of powder, type of powder, type and size (thickness) of wad, boolit, lube, etc. Keep records, there is no way you will remember all of the combinations and their result.

    Have fun!
    Thanks Wayne, thats a lot of good info! ����
    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
    Pope John Paul II

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    If you are used to reloading it's actually easy, just that the possible variations are practically endless!
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Pedersolis barrels and chambers have gotten rave reviews as top shooters for years. Before going to far check twist rate and do a chamber cast to see what you have to work with. Brass, dies, Bullets ( in appropriate weight and dia), lube appropriate for powder. I prefer an expander over the m die for BP loads. The expander can be set up to open the case up the full depth of bullet. You also need to decide what bullet style, Paper patch, or grease groove.
    As to specialty equipment if loading BP then a compression die is handy and useful. Also a wad cutter.

    As to loading the cartridges here one of my loads to give an idea

    Starline 45-70 brass,
    Annealed, flash holes deburred trimmed and deburred chamfered. Primer pockets uniformed
    Reminfton Large rifle Std primer hand seated
    Olde Ensforde 1 1/2f BP 64 grns. Dumped in case with a 3' drop tube to get a uniform start.
    .060 Napa rubber fiber wad hand seated onto powder.
    This is compressed to depth of base of bullet at seating depth with a compression die Usually around .500 depending on bullet.
    2 tracing paper wads hand seated, these make sure the heavy wad doesn't stick to the bullet
    Hand seat bullet onto the powder wad stack.
    Lightly size around bullet to set neck tension, just enough to hold bullet but bullet can still be turned in case or pulled by hand

    This load normally gives 1150-1200 fps with es of 8-10fps. Will hold rams at 500yds all day long if you do your part.

    A small wooden punch to seat wads down, compression die drop tube are about the "extras" you may want

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
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    You my friend are beginning an addictive and very fun endeavor. Your path can envelope several rifles, lots of boolit molds and Black Powder by the case. Your frustration will be tempered with success along the way. Your success's will be challenged by repeatability with seemingly no answers as to why.

    However,

    This is or can be some of the most satisfying endeavor of your life. After getting and shooting modern replica's ... if you are like me ... you will yen for original rifles in great shape ... just so every time you take it out ... the only thing that separates you from the late 1800's is time. To set around a small fire in the dingleberries holding an old original can speak to you like nothing else in my put togethers.

    Good luck my friend! I firmly hope that you get out of this what I get out of it.

    Do not have to shoot 1000 yards nor 600 yards ... not even 300 yards to just have a genuine great time. Shooting game is a super gratifying event followed by rocks at distance unknown. All in all ... I believe you are at the precipice of an addiction that just may consume your imagination for years to come.

    WELCOME!!!
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    black powder cartridge is very habit forming, I shoot an 1884 built in 1890 Springfield trapdoor 45-70 and love it that is where my handle comes from. tdoor4570

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    You are not 'required' to have a lot of stuff just to shoot a 45-70. You 'can' get a lot of stuff, but it not required.
    but, be aware that 45-70 ammo is in fact available in varying load levels.
    Lightest loads are listed for Trapdoor actions, as in Springfield Trapdoor.
    Medium loads are listed for lever guns as in Marlin 1895.
    Heavy loads are for Ruger #1 or stronger actions.
    If you reload with black powder, you will be at trapdoor levels,
    If you reload with smokeless powder, you can load to any intensity level,
    Before you reload with smokeless, you should verify which power level your action is capable of. (some rolling blocks were capable of high-power loads)
    Shooting 45-70 with trapdoor loads is a hoot, banging on steel , knocking things down, the recoil is a rush itself.
    BP loads shot out 200yards and on is really fun.......BANG,,,,,wait for smoke to clear,,,,,,,,,listen for clang on steel,,,,,,,smile !!!,,,,,,,,,,repeat

  14. #14
    Boolit Master piwo's Avatar
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    Geez guys, many many thanks for your thoughtful replies. I'm excited by the adventure, timing is always a hassle but i'll just have to make time. I've been centerfire reloading for @ 40 years, but even the vernacular is different here! First thing i need to do is clean up the rust, both inside and out. Been online reading and watching video's, wish I didn't have to work this week! Well, let the adventure begin. I'll be back re-reading these posts frequently. These old eyes won't likely shoot ling distances, but if i can shoot up to two bills within minute of deer, i'll be one very happy camper.

    Cheers, and thanks again for your input and support!
    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
    Pope John Paul II

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    elk hunter's Avatar
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    Nice rifle!

    Some of us are blessed with good friends be sure to tell them that you appreciate them while you can. I lost a friend last March that I was closer to than my own brother, I miss him every day.

    Looks like you're going to have a lot of fun.
    BIG OR SMALL I LIKE THEM ALL, 577 TO 22 HORNET.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    You can load 45-70 ammo for a single shot rifle with a modified nail, a hammer, a wooden dowel, a powder scoop, and a flat surface.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master piwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    You can load 45-70 ammo for a single shot rifle with a modified nail, a hammer, a wooden dowel, a powder scoop, and a flat surface.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    Now this is something I'd pay to see!
    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
    Pope John Paul II

  18. #18
    Boolit Master piwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elk hunter View Post
    Nice rifle!

    Some of us are blessed with good friends be sure to tell them that you appreciate them while you can. I lost a friend last March that I was closer to than my own brother, I miss him every day.

    Looks like you're going to have a lot of fun.
    Sorry to hear about your loss. I'm in my 60's now, lost my mom last year and two close work buddies. Its why we work so hard to have fun: cause life is shorter than we'll ever imagine. Cheers
    "So how many Divisions does this Pope have?".. Joseph Stalin

    "Be not afraid"..
    Pope John Paul II

    Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
    Pope John Paul II

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Keep in mind that the 45-70 and most of all the old dash calibers stood for, caliber-amount of black powder,
    45 caliber- 70 grains Powder.
    "People in Arizona carry guns," said Detective David Ramer, a Chandler police spokesman. You better be careful about who you are picking on...

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Rick459's Avatar
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    shoot it you will love it
    Last edited by Rick459; 12-04-2019 at 11:28 PM.

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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