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Thread: new (to me) 1895 in 45-70. Paper patch and other questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    new (to me) 1895 in 45-70. Paper patch and other questions

    For some time now I have wanted something big-bore in .35 to .45 caliber. After toying with several options I ended up with a '75 vintage model 1895 Marlin. It was the straight stocked version. I removed a cheap scope from it and installed an old 1.5-4.5 Nikon in weaver-type mounts. I'd like to replace this with a peep sight once I have a grasp on how it shoots with various loads.

    The only load I've shot in it much yet is a Lee 340 (mine weigh around 350), unsized, at around .459ish, over 10.0 grains of 700-x. I started with a set of Lee dies and some Starline new brass. I annealed a handful of the cases to use with these reduced loads, and that seems to be working well - no soot after firing. After getting a rough zero I fired this load at 100 yards - first two shots into about 1.25", I then adjusted the scope to zero the rifle, and the next shot went right where it should have. This is hardly a test of accuracy but it's promising. I then proceeded to ring an 8" gong at around 150 yards a few times and have rang my 'porch gong' from around 80 yards a few times.

    I loaded one of these bullets over a mild charge of H4198, and, sure enough, a single shot produced noticeable leading. I'd like to get a different mold (MP 460-420hp, or NOE's RD 460-350) and find a hunting load. I could do this with a gas checked mold, or I could powder coat some of the Lee 340s, or I could paper patch them.

    To the latter end I have tinkered for a very few shots with the Lee bullet sized to .451 and wrapped with two thicknesses of thin notebook paper. Obviously, this paper is much too thick, but zero leading even with hotter (but not max) charges of H4198. This has me intrigued and wanting to try paper patching. At this point I need forum help:

    -I need some appropriate paper for patching. I have googled and read a mountain of technical articles about patching. I do not need a link to any more of those. What I do need is a suggestion on some useable paper of .002" thickness or thereabouts. Searching amazon reveals lots of what is marketed as onionskin but reading reviews people complain that it isn't really onionskin.

    Would it be terrible to just buy some of the 10# fake-onionskin paper on amazon?

    Do you guys use a template to cut patches? I see that Buffalo Arms makes a template. Or do you just cut your patches by hand?

    Do you guys use rectangular patches or parallelograms? It seems that the latter would be easier to seat, but either should work fine as long as they are just shy of making two complete wraps.

    If using them with a mold designed with a crimp groove, should I allow the crimped case to more or less cut the patch, and then removed what little patch is on the nose after seating and crimping? Or leave it?

    This is a microgroove barrel. It measures around .4585ish. The light loads I've shot have been a bit over .459". If I bought another mold and sized them I'd probably start at .460". In light of that, for paper patching, should I size to .451" and try to build back to .459-.460"? Or larger/smaller? Or is there a way to patch first, then size the whole bullet, patch and all?

    Also - patched or not - I just swapped my straight stock for a pistol gripped stock, lever, and trigger plate. Once I did this I immediately noticed that the magazine is hard to load - cases will go in but hang up on the rim. I have to mash really hard to get the rim of the case to go into the magazines. Hard enough that this needs to be fixed before hunting with the rifle. Any suggestions? I didn't notice this until I swapped the stock (and related parts).

    My end goal here is to assess whether it's possible or practical to make a paper-patched cartridge that will be accurate and feed from a magazine and allow me to use the cheaper Lee bullets, hopefully cast from something like 70/30 COWW/SOWW plus 1% pewter, to make a bullet that will readily expand a bit at, say, 1400' impact velocity, without completely coming apart at 2000'. The alternative is to just buy a gas-checked mold and/or powder-coat.

    At this point, honestly, playing with paper patching is a way to learn a new skill without investing the cost of a new mold and a box of gas checks. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    You should find about everything you need to know here: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/foru...Paper-Patching

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    For smokeless patching I use 16# green bar printer paper. Size .452, patch, lube, size to .460 and load. The Marlin doesn't have much throat so not much patch will stick out but make it enough to just start to jam when you close the lever. This rifle responds very well to patched boolits.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    C.Latch:

    Have you visited marlinowners.com?

    There's quite a lot of 'how to' there and a section
    devoted to the 45-70. That's where I started, then
    found my way here.

    I've paper patched some 45ACP swc's for
    use in the 45-70 and found them quite accurate
    out to 50 yds. Easy on the shoulder and recoil-shy
    folks enjoy bragging rights having shot a buffalo gun!

    I giggle every time I see the little cloud of
    snow flakes at the muzzle when I shoot one.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I have the same rifle. I shot cast in it for years. The Lyman 322gr Gould Express HP cast 50/50 lead - WW over 21.5 gr of 2400 at around 1350fps. Bullet sized to .457”. No leading and very good accuracy. Killed several deer with this bullet in Rem RB, original rebarrel. No leading in either one. I would say your lead is to soft.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    For smokeless patching I use 16# green bar printer paper. Size .452, patch, lube, size to .460 and load. The Marlin doesn't have much throat so not much patch will stick out but make it enough to just start to jam when you close the lever. This rifle responds very well to patched boolits.
    Thanks! So you can patch and then size afterwards? That's the sort of thing I needed to know.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    For smokeless patching I use 16# green bar printer paper. Size .452, patch, lube, size to .460 and load. The Marlin doesn't have much throat so not much patch will stick out but make it enough to just start to jam when you close the lever. This rifle responds very well to patched boolits.
    Thanks! So you can patch and then size afterwards? That's the sort of thing I needed to know.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Greetings, C. Latch! I've been PP'ing for some years now and can immediately recommend a stout, but thin paper which matches the composition of bank note paper of the late 1800's, which is 100% rag drafting vellum, still made in abundance and available in 8.5x11 to E-size sheets, or in rolls, if you're really ambitious. It has excellent wet strength and two wraps will add (4 x .0025)-.001 to the casting diameter. Not sure why it doesn't come out to a full .010, but that's the way it works out with most papers I've tried. Other papers I've had good results with are plain butcher paper (.0025-.003 thick, no plastic) dampened with a spray bottle, notebook filler (.002-.0025), copier-ream wrapper paper (.004 for patching .30 cal cast to 8mm). Most papers can be made to work, but I avoid those which are very delicate when wet. I've heard of using cigarette papers and other very thin types, but I'm too ham-handed for that. This brings up another point - can you just wrap a casting, size it to the finished diameter and get good results on target? Yes, you can. I've tried it this way as well as wrapping from bore size to finished diameter and gotten good results with both, though it helps when the wrapping and sizing is done on the day they're cast, before age-hardening sets in. It can still be done when they've been around a while, but the sizing is easier when they're still soft. Because of this, I own few molds specifically for PP. Most are conventional designs and I wrap and size to throat diameter. The hardest alloy I’ve successfully patched and sized down from full diameter is quenched WW’s. Linotype will cut through the paper at every driving band when sizing a wrapped full diameter cast, so they’d have to be sized to bore diameter first, then wrapped.

    A note on alloy: You mention that you intend to use 70/30 COWW/SOWW for hunting. While perfectly acceptable for patching, I have doubts there will be any expansion on flesh. Even if there is, antimonial alloys above 3% tend to fracture as they deform. For good weight retention, my inclination would be to reverse the ratio at least and make them soft. Even plain lead PP’d can be driven at full velocities appropriate to the Marlin 1895 pressures.

    Parallelogram or rectangle? Actually, either can work equally well with a little attention to some details. The twistier the rifling and more numerous the lands, the more likely the seam will be crossed by a land, thus assuring no leaks. With your micro-groove barrel, you have at least 12 lands, if not 16. I don't know the twist rate, but I have a hard time believing that the seam on a square-cut patch would fail to be crossed by a land as it engraves in that many grooves. If you want to use a parallelogram, all well and good, but it’s a good idea that the seam uses the opposite twist from the rifling. Right-hand rifling twist? Use a left-hand seam, to make sure your seam isn't parallel with the lands. What angle? It's not critical, but I tend to use a 15 or 20 degree cut on the patch ends. A 20 deg angle equates to 1 turn in 3.97” in a .46 cal, which guarantees it will never match the rifling regardless of direction. I've seen some people use patches of such extreme angles that their patches look like a long, narrow diamond. That looks like a PIA to work with. Not saying they shouldn't, but I'm not doing it. Never needed to. Your patch should look about like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I do not use a 1-patch template for cutting patches. Too much trouble for me to hold the thing down without it moving while I'm cutting the patch - and I cut too far beyond the template too. Much better for me to cut strips of the needed width from the end of the roll or narrow end of the sheet (for proper stretch of drafting vellum) and cut them a touch short (1/16") for 2 wraps, because it can be stretched as it's wrapped on, making for a tight seam and a tight patch when dry. The last half-inch or so of paper, I stroke with a little dab of wood glue and roll it down on a piece of drawer liner, making sure to glue only paper to paper, not paper to lead. The strips should be from the heel to half way up the ogive + .100". The extra .100" is for folding under the heel. I quit using twisted tails a few years ago - too much wasted paper and torn tails, and that much more handing and attention to detail. I roll the wrapped heel between thumb and index finger when almost dry to pleat the extra like a cupcake paper, hold the heel down on a flat surface and give them a twist to fold it all flat. They are blasted off and shredded to confetti when they exit the muzzle. Here's my patch cutting fixture, made from cereal box cardboard, 7" x 2.5" glued double thick, for cutting patches from strips:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    An interesting note on Lever-action chamber designs is that they don't often have a throat like a bolt-action does, but sometimes they do. Chamber blueprints usually show a chamfer from full chamber diameter into the rifling. Mine are this way, so I tend to patch to the maximum diameter that will chamber without resistance and let the entry into the rifling do the sizing. The chambers aren't much over what they need to be, so the difference is only .002-.003 more than groove anyway. A chamber cast will tell you what your chamber-to-bore transition looks like, but it sounds like you are already getting good performance with conventional practices. Just a thought.

    Crimping? I crimp, but I make sure case mouths have a smooth radius from inside to outside - no sharp edges. My .357's and others will crimp well enough into the crimp groove to grip the boolit without cutting through the patch. This also assures a smooth, tear-free exit. I have pinched through them a few times, but usually I'm being too forceful.

    Lube your patches. It doesn't take much - less than what a grooved boolit uses. I usually roll them in a groove in a block of Emmert's or tumble-lube in Ben's Liquid Lube. Lee liquid alox works okay too, but I prefer my boolits to not be tacky. Ben's and LLA will make them waterproof.

    There you have it. Good luck with it.
    Last edited by yeahbub; 03-27-2020 at 12:46 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahbub View Post
    Greetings, C. Latch! I've been PP'ing for some years now and can immediately recommend a stout, but thin paper which matches the composition of bank note paper of the late 1800's, which is 100% rag drafting vellum, still made in abundance and available in 8.5x11 to E-size sheets, or in rolls, if you're really ambitious. It has excellent wet strength and two wraps will add (4 x .0025)-.001 to the casting diameter. Not sure why it doesn't come out to a full .010, but that's the way it works out with most papers I've tried. Other papers I've had good results with are plain butcher paper (.0025-.003 thick, no plastic) dampened with a spray bottle, notebook filler (.002-.0025), copier-ream wrapper paper (.004 for patching .30 cal cast to 8mm). Most papers can be made to work, but I avoid those which are very delicate when wet. I've heard of using cigarette papers and other very thin types, but I'm too ham-handed for that. This brings up another point - can you just wrap a casting, size it to the finished diameter and get good results on target? Yes, you can. I've tried it this way as well as wrapping from bore size to finished diameter and gotten good results with both, though it helps when the wrapping and sizing is done on the day they're cast, before age-hardening sets in. It can still be done when they've been around a while, but the sizing is easier when they're still soft. Because of this, I own few molds specifically for PP. Most are conventional designs and I wrap and size to throat diameter. The hardest alloy I’ve successfully patched and sized down from full diameter is quenched WW’s. Linotype will cut through the paper at every driving band when sizing a wrapped full diameter cast, so they’d have to be sized to bore diameter first, then wrapped.

    A note on alloy: You mention that you intend to use 70/30 COWW/SOWW for hunting. While perfectly acceptable for patching, I have doubts there will be any expansion on flesh. Even if there is, antimonial alloys above 3% tend to fracture as they deform. For good weight retention, my inclination would be to reverse the ratio at least and make them soft. Even plain lead PP’d can be driven at full velocities appropriate to the Marlin 1895 pressures.

    Parallelogram or rectangle? Actually, either can work equally well with a little attention to some details. The twistier the rifling and more numerous the lands, the more likely the seam will be crossed by a land, thus assuring no leaks. With your micro-groove barrel, you have at least 12 lands, if not 16. I don't know the twist rate, but I have a hard time believing that the seam on a square-cut patch would fail to be crossed by a land as it engraves in that many grooves. If you want to use a parallelogram, all well and good, but it’s a good idea that the seam uses the opposite twist from the rifling. Right-hand rifling twist? Use a left-hand seam, to make sure your seam isn't parallel with the lands. What angle? It's not critical, but I tend to use a 15 or 20 degree cut on the patch ends. A 20 deg angle equates to 1 turn in 3.97” in a .46 cal, which guarantees it will never match the rifling regardless of direction. I've seen some people use patches of such extreme angles that their patches look like a long, narrow diamond. That looks like a PIA to work with. Not saying they shouldn't, but I'm not doing it. Never needed to. Your patch should look about like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN6908.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	59.1 KB 
ID:	259209

    I do not use a 1-patch template for cutting patches. Too much trouble for me to hold the thing down without it moving while I'm cutting the patch - and I cut too far beyond the template too. Much better for me to cut strips of the needed width from the end of the roll or narrow end of the sheet (for proper stretch of drafting vellum) and cut them a touch short (1/16") for 2 wraps, because it can be stretched as it's wrapped on, making for a tight seam and a tight patch when dry. The last half-inch or so of paper, I stroke with a little dab of wood glue and roll it down on a piece of drawer liner, making sure to glue only paper to paper, not paper to lead. The strips should be from the heel to half way up the ogive + .100". The extra .100" is for folding under the heel. I quit using twisted tails a few years ago - too much wasted paper and torn tails, and that much more handing and attention to detail. I roll the wrapped heel between thumb and index finger when almost dry to pleat the extra like a cupcake paper, hold the heel down on a flat surface and give them a twist to fold it all flat. They are blasted off and shredded to confetti when they exit the muzzle. Here's my patch cutting fixture, made from cereal box cardboard, 7" x 2.5" glued double thick, for cutting patches from strips:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN6905.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	54.1 KB 
ID:	259210

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN6906.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	65.4 KB 
ID:	259211

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN6907.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	66.6 KB 
ID:	259212

    An interesting note on Lever-action chamber designs is that they don't often have a throat like a bolt-action does, but sometimes they do. Chamber blueprints usually show a chamfer from full chamber diameter into the rifling. Mine are this way, so I tend to patch to the maximum diameter that will chamber without resistance and let the entry into the rifling do the sizing. The chambers aren't much over what they need to be, so the difference is only .002-.003 more than groove anyway. A chamber cast will tell you what your chamber-to-bore transition looks like, but it sounds like you are already getting good performance with conventional practices. Just a thought.

    Crimping? I crimp, but I make sure case mouths have a smooth radius from inside to outside - no sharp edges. My .357's and others will crimp well enough into the crimp groove to grip the boolit without cutting through the patch. This also assures a smooth, tear-free exit. I have pinched through them a few times, but usually I'm being too forceful.

    Lube your patches. It doesn't take much - less than what a grooved boolit uses. I usually roll them in a groove in a block of Emmert's or tumble-lube in Ben's Liquid Lube. Lee liquid alox works okay too, but I prefer my boolits to not be tacky. Ben's and LLA will make them waterproof.

    There you have it. Good luck with it.
    Thank you!!!!

    Off to buy some patch material right now.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    First update - I ordered some paper to try today, online. Then a couple hours later I was cutting some parchment paper to wrap a brisket in, and it hit me - hey, there's a big roll of thin paper in my hands. I should slice off a corner and sit it on the loading bench and measure it later.

    Turns out, two wraps of it around a .451" bullet add up to somewhere between .4595" and .460", which ought to be perfect.

    I fired a couple of rough test shots tonight. I figured out that with my subsonic load zeroed at 100, these are gonna shoot around 22" high. Maybe I need to go to a lighter supersonic bullet and a heavier subsonic. If I can get them to hit within 12" of each other I can work out a zero that is useful for both of them.

    Thanks again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Hey, that parchment for cooking could present some interesting possibilities. Haven't tried them, myself. The only potential fly in the ointment that comes to mind is that some brands are non-stick, and may present some tendency to not stay put or glued down, but hey, it's certainly worth a try. They can't all be non-stick.

    Drm50's use of that 322gr Gould HP sounds interesting, and probably easy on the shoulder, as would some of the "heavies" intended for the .45 Colt, them being of the smaller diameter and ready for patching. For lever-actions, my tendency is toward RNFP profiles for easy feeding. YMMV.

    In fact, there's another very thin one I had looked at which I don't need at the moment, but may try sometime. The "wax paper" sheets used at a bakery in town don't actually have any wax on them. It's .001 to .0015 thick and seems to have decent strength. It takes water based inks very well and would make great airmail paper if anyone ever uses such a thing anymore.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    would cigarette papers work?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I've heard of people using them, but in my experience, they're very delicate when wet. Damp would be about right to keep them from turning into pulp by the time I'm done with them. I wonder how "end wraps" paper would work - that paper they use when the gals get a perm. That's got to be pretty tough when wet. Pretty thin, too. Some of the boolits I patch are somewhat over bore size, so I just patch them and run them through a sizer. It makes for a hard, shiny-smooth surface, almost like they've been coated with plastic or paint. A coating of BLL and they're good to go.

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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