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Thread: 45-120

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    45-120

    Hello,
    I'm super new here having just found this site.
    Please forgive me for asking a question that most likely has been asked many times in the past. I will start looking through old post, I just want to get something ordered quickly if needed.

    I have an old Pedersoli in 45-120 that hasn't been touched in 20 years or so, back then I loaded up 350gr rounds for my father using smokeless powder and old media from my tumbler for the extra space. I'm wanting a new project so I thought I'd try casting some bullets and running black powder through it for the first time. As of this moment, the only experience I have with casting and black power would be casting projectiles and shooting old black power rifles when I was a kid.

    I have some lead. it's 20 to 1, I have a cheep set of Lee 2 cavity .457 making 450gr. and some magnum primers. If I do go black power, I'm short on supply and only have Pyrodex. I have P and RS. Will this work?
    So My question is, do I need to get a sizing/lube press. Or can I get away with a Lee bullet sizing die, if so what size do I get. I'd like to maybe go paper patch but if I did that does that mean I need to get a smaller than .457 sizer? Midway has a .454, .452 and .451.
    Or am I going about this all wrong?

    I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts..

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Cast_outlaw's Avatar
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    Well a lee push through die will work but lube needs to be natural as in no oil products so crisco beeswax 50/50 is a common black powder lube. Petroleum based lube make the fowling turn to concrete

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The PP Black powder bullet is a slightly different "animal than for smokeless. It is actually a bore rider not groove dia. My brooks mould drops 20-1 bullet at .442-.443 then 2 wraps of paper bring it to .450 dia. Lube if used is in the form of a grease cookie under the bullet, since there are no grease grooves to hold carry the lube.

    Wrapping the bullet;
    Cut your patches you want from ogive just past the base. I wrap with no tail a small circle of lead showing inside the fold over. Patch should make 2 wraps about 030 short of matching this account for the slight radius of the over wrap.
    wrap bullets tight and form fold over. My Brooks mould has a cupped base that allows paper to form in holding better and a very flat base. You can wrap dry or damp but the template needs "adjusted" for damp as the paper stretches more. Damp wrapping also requires some drying time.
    Once wrapped and dry a very light coat of Jo Jpba oil on the patch.

    Loading is slightly different than grease groove but straight forward.
    Here is my data for the 45-90
    clean cases hand deprime and reprime lightly brushing inside if fired cases.
    Drop powder charge into case and add a .060 napa rubber fiber wad. then 2 tracing paper wads
    compress to depth required to get .125-.180 of bullet into case. Remember these are bore riding and slide up into bore allowing more room for powder.
    size around bullet to just hold bullet, Mine are such that the bullet dosnt fall out but can be turned or pulled by hand.

    With Black powder no airspace to start and work up adding compression my loads run around .180 compression with Olde Ensforde. I work up in 2 grain increments the test at mid point of the 2 best loads

    My brooks mould is set to drop a 525 grn bullet when cast from 20-1.

    I also use a wrapping board to wrap the patch on

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    Thank you both for the replies,
    I think I'm going to slow down before I just go on an ordering spree. I'm thinking the first thing I need to do is establish my overall dimensions, so I going to slug the bore.
    The whole thing makes me real nervous, I've spent my shooting life making sure lead doesn't end up in my barrel and now I'm about to hammer some in.
    Or maybe I'll try chamber casting..
    Last edited by jconley; 03-22-2021 at 03:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    You better find out what the twist of the barrel is to get the optimum bullet length. And also see if the chamber has the free bore throat. My early Pedersoli had a bunch of free bore, if yours has it you will have to adjust the patched diameter for the free bore and not the bore diameter to get any accuracy out of that rifle.

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    Well so far I’ve established it has a 1 in 18 twist.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Cast_outlaw's Avatar
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    Try cerosafe it’s low melting temp and shrinks when it cools the at one you’re after cast it is the exact size and continues to expand over two weeks to .0025 over I’ve used it many times works great just wrap a wire around a screwdriver a few times and put a small piece of clothe on it to block the bore a few inches down if you warm the barrel it’s casts nicer when hardens apply upward pressure and it will pop right out set a timer for one hour then measure

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cast_outlaw View Post
    Try cerosafe it’s low melting temp and shrinks when it cools the at one you’re after cast it is the exact size and continues to expand over two weeks to .0025 over I’ve used it many times works great just wrap a wire around a screwdriver a few times and put a small piece of clothe on it to block the bore a few inches down if you warm the barrel it’s casts nicer when hardens apply upward pressure and it will pop right out set a timer for one hour then measure
    Thanks, just ordered it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    With cerosafe follows the directions. If you leave it in the barrel to long (15 minutes of distractions ) it begins to return to original chamber size and you will need to bash it out.
    PP has a definite advantage in application. Target shooting for long distances is one. Firing soft cast fast is another. Adding diameter to skinny cast another. Or just doing it the old way !
    But if you are only shooting 5 rounds at a steel gong a properly fitted lubed cast is going to do all you need. Hunting... One well placed accurate slug does it all.
    So yes. Think through the purpose and jump in.
    Last edited by missionary5155; 03-23-2021 at 08:31 AM.
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by missionary5155 View Post
    With cerosafe follows the directions. If you leave it in the barrel to long (15 minutes of distractions ) it begins to return to original chamber size and you will need to bash it out.
    Will do..

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    When you get that chamber cast done, you might also want to take a measurement of inside of a fired case mouth. Then you'll want to be looking for someplace to order a proper patched bullet mould that will drop a slick from you're 20-1 about .004 or 005 under the diameter of the inside of your fired case mouth. In that 120 16-1 alloy may groove to give you much less problems with nose slump.
    While the Pyrodex Rs might work, you'll probably find much better results with 1f black.Get a bunch of it because you're not going to get many rounds from a can of powder. Some .060 fiber wads or LDPE wads will probably make life better if you're looking for nice sized groups.
    Long range rules, the rest drool.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don McDowell View Post
    When you get that chamber cast done, you might also want to take a measurement of inside of a fired case mouth. Then you'll want to be looking for someplace to order a proper patched bullet mould that will drop a slick from you're 20-1 about .004 or 005 under the diameter of the inside of your fired case mouth. In that 120 16-1 alloy may groove to give you much less problems with nose slump.
    While the Pyrodex Rs might work, you'll probably find much better results with 1f black.Get a bunch of it because you're not going to get many rounds from a can of powder. Some .060 fiber wads or LDPE wads will probably make life better if you're looking for nice sized groups.
    Great info, thanks so much..
    Do you think I can get away with using my lee mold for the time being if I can size down the bullet with a die? I'm fine with getting a new mold, it's just it may be a bit before I can get my hands one one..

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    No point to wrapping a grease groove bullet with paper. But I know some do so.
    Long range rules, the rest drool.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    I have a number of Pedersoli Sharps and have chamber cast on 3 of them.

    I use Federal Large pistol primers, because the cup is softer ignition is more positive and fast. I did some prolonged testing some years ago, LP gave as little as 5fps variation while LR's were 40-55fps. Groups tightened from loose 2.5MOA to a consistant 1+ MOA average.

    This group at 100yds is actually 11 shots because at the time I thought I had shot on the adjoining target! Load was 115gn Swiss 1 1/2 (2FG) with a custom 545gn PGT bullet.



    Doing a bit of research on the great barrel makers, Harry Pope, George Schoynan, Paine, and the overwhelming factor is a tapered bore. All these great masters were keen on the idea that a barrel should be tapered for best accuracy. The old MH was tapered having .009 deep rifling for the first "4" and only .007 for the remainder; and even today, modern makers like Pedersoli have a tapered bore in their BPCR rifles. Parker Hale reproductions from the 1970's have tapered bores.

    Many shooters think this allows them to in jam oversized projectiles for best accuracy, but from references in "The muzzleloading Caplock Rifle" and "The bullets Flight" by Mann, it would seem that the main reason was to accomodate the powder fouling where it mostly accumulates (immediately in front of the combustion chamber) so that second and subsequent rounds could be fired without cleaning (battlefield conditions)

    In the history of the "Little Big Horn" massacre, we know that the trapdoors after a few rounds experienced jamming and lack of extraction. When I look at my own original trapdoor, behold no taper that I detect!
    Modern after market rifle barrel makers provide smooth parallel bores; so have we got it wrong?

    Quote from The Pedersoli factory

    So........ given that we broach rifle our Pedersoli barrels and obtain straight lands and grooves with match grade tolerances we then add our final high quality feature which is to impart a very small taper on the rifling, from breech to muzzle!

    Now when a bullet is fired in this barrel is is constantly entering slightly smaller dimensions and thus it maintains almost a perfect gas seal....resulting in those highly required "single digit" muzzle velocity variations as well as extremely small velocity spread (ES) in a long string of shots. With groove and bore dimensions held to the match grade standards of plus/minus .0002" and then having the little taper to the entire length of the rifling, we end up with barrels which are capable of accuracy equal to or superior to any other barrels made today, and at a price many can afford.

    End Quote



    So extrapolating from this data Pedersoli barrels run 0.450/458" at the muzzle to 0.452/0.458 at the breech. Your cast bullet nose therefore should match the 0.452" for perfect alignment. All this explains why match shooting with a Pedersoli Sharps is a science, NOT just another gun!
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    Good info, thank you. So one thing for sure is my .457 mold is not going to work with what I’m wanting to do, no sizing die is going to get me to .452.

    In the last few day’s I’ve learned a lot and have a good bit to go before I get started.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    Doing a chamber cast is a good idea, but I would slug the barrel too.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    Doing a chamber cast is a good idea, but I would slug the barrel too.
    Do you guys think I could use some of the cerosafe cast in a ball to slug the barrel?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    My 50cal Sharps also has the barrel taper but it measures 0.002" and I use a variety of boolits sized to 0.512, a chamber cast will also tell you where the boolit should be seated to be no more than 0.005 off the rifling.
    50/70 bench rested 100yd x 10 shot group


    It should not be hard to find a mold that will cast 0.459"/0.460" that will work in you rifle. I have a couple including a 500gn spire point by Pedersoli that casts 0.4595 and it shot unsized.

    50/70 loads with 450gn and 510gn boolits
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jconley View Post
    Do you guys think I could use some of the cerosafe cast in a ball to slug the barrel?
    No. When you do the chamber cast put the plug to catch the cerrosafe about an inch into the rifling.
    Long range rules, the rest drool.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master



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    You seem to be really hesitant to push a slug of soft lead down your barrel. Don’t be. Make sure you lead is soft, as close as pure lead as possible. Then tapit down from the muzzle. Put some bullet grease on it and as soon as it starts, it should go down easily. Running a swab with grease on it is a good idea. Note if you have an area where it goes through too easily areas where it is hard. Usually this won’t happen and it will slide right through and give you a lot of important information. Don’t hesitate, just do it.

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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