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Thread: Reloading 45-70

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy
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    I think all the above postings pretty much covers it.
    I have an 1886 takedown Miroku, and here are a few of my experiences.
    Trap door loads work fine, and don't beat you up. 300 to 405 grain plain based bullets up to 1400 fps work good without leading using IMR4198 or Unique powder. 0.458 to 0.459'' bullet diameters are good, but 0.460'' maybe a little too tight for my chamber. I use gas checked bullets only because I have been using higher velocity loads, which I am now turning away from. RCBS plain base mold 45-325, would be good, or something similar. If you want off the shelf bullets take a look here, https://www.bearcreeksupplybullets.com/price-sheet, these work good.
    Full power 1895 loads are ok in the newer 1886 rifles, but 5 or 6 of those is more than enough on any outing especially if it has a crescent butt plate.
    As for reloading the 45-70, it is probably the easiest cartridge to load.

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bird View Post
    I think all the above postings pretty much covers it.
    I have an 1886 takedown Miroku, and here are a few of my experiences.
    Trap door loads work fine, and don't beat you up. 300 to 405 grain plain based bullets up to 1400 fps work good without leading using IMR4198 or Unique powder. 0.458 to 0.459'' bullet diameters are good, but 0.460'' maybe a little too tight for my chamber. I use gas checked bullets only because I have been using higher velocity loads, which I am now turning away from. RCBS plain base mold 45-325, would be good, or something similar. If you want off the shelf bullets take a look here, https://www.bearcreeksupplybullets.com/price-sheet, these work good.
    Full power 1895 loads are ok in the newer 1886 rifles, but 5 or 6 of those is more than enough on any outing especially if it has a crescent butt plate.
    As for reloading the 45-70, it is probably the easiest cartridge to load.
    Very cool.

    I planned to stick with .459 diameter, but just out of curiosity how would one know if a bullet is too tight? (like in your case, with the .460).

    And thanks for the bullet suggestion I will check them out.

    Do you use an NOE expander plug? I was consideirng the RCBS cowboy dies but may at some point want to shoot jacketed rounds, so I may go that route with the plug
    Last edited by Mint; 11-15-2022 at 08:15 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint View Post
    Wow, I wish I could shoot out to 1000+ yards...
    YOU can; YOU surly can; Find a range, someone there will help you, then practice, practice, and practice some more. When you get to the longer ranges you will maybe be needing a different rifle, a roler with a 30" or more tube, a falling block, a sharps, some of the guns used for longer ranges, along with the long range sights, the lever gun will get you out some, if and I say IF; you are real good, you might do, at a 1000 with a lever gun ???

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAHUT View Post
    YOU can; YOU surly can; Find a range, someone there will help you, then practice, practice, and practice some more. When you get to the longer ranges you will maybe be needing a different rifle, a roler with a 30" or more tube, a falling block, a sharps, some of the guns used for longer ranges, along with the long range sights, the lever gun will get you out some, if and I say IF; you are real good, you might do, at a 1000 with a lever gun ???
    Haha, I meant there is just no range available by me, I have looked.

    This was my original inspiration when I got my gun, here he is shooting a 990 yrd gong (7 minutes in):


  5. #25
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    A start load of 13 grains of Unique has worked well for me under any cast bullet in the normal weight range for 100 yard target shooting for me in the .45-70 for 100 yard target shooting. Accurate, low recoil, economical. That data is in the older Lyman manuals from the 70s and early 80s. Be careful of a double charge and don't use a filler of any kind.

  6. #26
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    It might be straight walled, but the walls are not parallel like your 357 and 44 cases. It is tapered, so carbide 45-70 would be hard to make and expensive.
    Trapdoor level load will give you plenty for plinking and easy on the shoulder

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint View Post
    Haha, I meant there is just no range available by me, I have looked.

    This was my original inspiration when I got my gun, here he is shooting a 990 yrd gong (7 minutes in):

    I have a 45/60, week gun, week linkage, very accurate.
    Accuracy with a .458/.459 isn't there, then If you try a .460 in soft bullet or pure lead, accuracy may improve?? He talks about a different front sight, that would be like a peep in the front sight tunnel. I think I will need to look for one of these 1886 Winchesters ?
    When you shoot steel, hits are what are counted, When you shoot paper, points are what is counted, ties are broken by X count.
    An X ring at 1000 yds is 10 " Steel is more forgiving....

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint View Post
    Very cool.

    I planned to stick with .459 diameter, but just out of curiosity how would one know if a bullet is too tight? (like in your case, with the .460).

    And thanks for the bullet suggestion I will check them out.

    Do you use an NOE expander plug? I was consideirng the RCBS cowboy dies but may at some point want to shoot jacketed rounds, so I may go that route with the plug
    To determine the largest cast bullet that will fit your chamber, you will need a couple of fired cases. Measure the internal diameter at the case mouth. That will be the largest diameter bullet that you can use.
    When a round is fired in a chamber, the pressure blows out the brass to fit the chamber, and the bullet is propelled forward. As the pressure decreases the brass springs back a couple of thousands of an inch. So if you use a bullet that fits your fired brass, the reloaded round will fit your chamber with a couple of thou clearance, and there will be no problems chambering the round. The bores of the 1886 Miroku's seem to be consistent at 0.457''. A 0.458 to 0.459'' bullet size should work fine.
    In my particular rifle, my fired brass neck inside diameter is 0.460'', which leaves it a bit tight on wiggle room, so I use 0.458'' sized bullets.

  9. #29
    Boolit Bub JuliettDeltaGolf's Avatar
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    Kinda sad no one has suggested real black powder loads in here- the way God intended the .45-70 GOVT to be shot lol. Just kidding, but the West wasn't won on smokeless powder, and few things in life are more satisfying than handcrafted black powder cartridges. And, it is inherently accurate, and impossible to overcharge. Swiss powder and SPG lube are pretty much the standard in the BPCR world.
    Jordan Goodwin, Blacksmith
    www.axe-n-anvil.com

  10. #30
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    Some good wisdom in this thread. one thing i did not catch- did you slug your bore?
    45-70 is one of our oldest cartridges, and its pretty cool that people are still loading and shooting it. Part of the cool factor is that there is 100+ years of data, information, and experimentation done with it available.
    Light button bullet loads, shot loads, wooden bullets, blanks, smokeless and black powders, and stompy heavy loads, all in one gun.
    Buying new starline brass was a very smart move- it will last a good long time, and you will get lots of shooting out of it.
    I like 3031 for full power loads, but trailboss is good too, as is 2400, and many, many others.....its not picky! 45-70 is a great choice for the end of the world as well.
    That Mikoru is a very well made rifle, and bet the other is as well, the 1886 is a good design.

  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mint,
    Sorry I missed you question on expander plugs. I use a Lee die set that has the expander plug built into the die. Its called a powder through expanding die, and is similar to the pistol type dies in operation.
    https://www.titanreloading.com/produ...die-steel-set/

  12. #32
    Boolit Master Randy Bohannon's Avatar
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    Mint, Some ideas on expanding dies, first and foremost you do not want to “bell” the case mouth on 45-70 brass that’s for semi auto pistols that head space on the case mouth and jacketed bullets. Measure the case mouth of a fired piece of brass from your given rifle,this number is your bullet size. You want to expand FL sized brass to that number not ‘bell’. Belling to accommodate a .460” bullet over works the brass and often so much so it won’t enter the crimp die. Their are expander dies that are specific to cast bullets and specific sizes that expand and not bell.

    https://www.buffaloarms.com/459-460-...van459460.html

  13. #33
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
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    Let me suggest: https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post5035519

    As to "unburned" 5744, won't worry about it. Irrelevant to the fact that 5744 is one of the best medium-performance 45-70 propellants out there. *

    As to bullet sizing, I suggest .459" (https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...43&postcount=1)

    As to case sizing, resize enough that a new cast bullet will no longer enter the case by hand. That's enough in general. (Me? I just FL resize an don't worry about it.)

    As to "belling" the case, expand/bell enough that the cast bullet will freely seat about a dime's width into the case before fully seating in the press. Prevent shaving.

    As to crimp, use one in that `86 -- both for consistent ignition and for tubular loading stability to prevent set-back.



    * 12gr of Unique/405gr cast is also a classic BP load
    Last edited by mehavey; 11-16-2022 at 08:38 AM.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy lawdog941's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    A start load of 13 grains of Unique has worked well for me under any cast bullet in the normal weight range for 100 yard target shooting for me in the .45-70 for 100 yard target shooting. Accurate, low recoil, economical. That data is in the older Lyman manuals from the 70s and early 80s. Be careful of a double charge and don't use a filler of any kind.
    This^. Pistol/Shotgun powders will do for plinking until you get comfortable. I used this site http://www.gmdr.com/lever/lowveldata.htm.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint View Post
    I'm open to anyones suggestions for powders as well.

    So far Accurate 5744 seems to be mentioned many times in my load manual as a solid, accurate choice.

    However, I regularly see reports of unburned powder...

    I do already have 2400 as sometimes that seems mentioned.

    Accurate states that you WILL get unburned kernels with 5744. It will not effect accuracy.

    It will dent the next case unless you lower the barrel and blow them out. Found that out on a 50-70 Trapdoor.

    Jumping to a 45-70 from pistol calibers is not that difficult. My first rifle caliber was .308 with a whack-a-mole. Next was the 50-70 using "normal" dies and press.

    And it sounds like you do zero lubing on the pistol calibers. Try a LITTLE Imperial sizing wax on every 10th case, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

    And long range is fun. We've got 300 yards at my club and big slow slugs are a hoot.

    Slower the better. Used to load 4.4 grains of Clays under a 330 grain boolit in 45-70. 200 yards you were aiming about 12 feet above the dinger to ring it. Never stuck one in the barrel, but I checked just to make sure between every shot.

    There was an article on, I think, Castpics with whisper loads for .223, 30-30, 30-06, 45-70. Worth the time to print off a copy. Think the info may have migrated here.
    Last edited by 15meter; 11-16-2022 at 08:09 PM. Reason: Hopefully a little more clarity in my writing.....

  16. #36
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Bohannon View Post
    Mint, Some ideas on expanding dies, first and foremost you do not want to “bell” the case mouth on 45-70 brass that’s for semi auto pistols that head space on the case mouth and jacketed bullets. Measure the case mouth of a fired piece of brass from your given rifle,this number is your bullet size. You want to expand FL sized brass to that number not ‘bell’. Belling to accommodate a .460” bullet over works the brass and often so much so it won’t enter the crimp die. Their are expander dies that are specific to cast bullets and specific sizes that expand and not bell.

    https://www.buffaloarms.com/459-460-...van459460.html
    Hmm maybe I am using the wrong phrase. Perhaps you can tell me if my plan is correct aside from terminology.

    I was going to buy .459 diameter lead bullet (.001 over). Then, I was going to buy an NOE rifle-type expander plug which is .460 x .456, which will result in .002 neck tension.

    This is what I did for 357 mag / 44 mag. Aside from the phrase "bell" is that the correct method of expansion step for 45-70 rifle w/ steel dies?
    Last edited by Mint; 11-16-2022 at 12:16 PM.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint View Post
    Hmm maybe I am using the wrong phrase. Perhaps you can tell me if my plan is correct aside from terminology.

    I was going to buy .429 diameter lead bullet (.001 over). Then, I was going to buy an NOE rifle-type expander plug which is .460 x .456, which will result in .002 neck tension.

    This is what I did for 357 mag / 44 mag. Aside from the phrase "bell" is that the correct method of expansion step for 45-70 rifle w/ steel dies?
    .429 in a 45/70 ???? Did you mean .458/.459 ??? Too bell opens up the case mouth so you can insert a bullet with out shaving lead off the sides. Lee has a through the die, powder expanding die. In steel.

  18. #38
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAHUT View Post
    .429 in a 45/70 ???? Did you mean .458/.459 ??? Too bell opens up the case mouth so you can insert a bullet with out shaving lead off the sides. Lee has a through the die, powder expanding die. In steel.
    lol yeesh, yes, that was a typo. I meant to say .459 (lead bullet, .001 oversized)

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy
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    Some further 45-70 load information.
    I always wanted to get a lever action in a larger caliber since I have a Uberti 44-40.
    To match this rifle invested in a 1886 Uberti 45-70 which are very nice looking and shooting rifles.
    Using a RCBS mold 300-gr gas checked bullet to start loading. Finished weight around 330/gr average.
    Since I bought Varget powder years ago at a good price I wanted to use it for this caliber.
    I did three test loads to start with to see the results and recoil.
    These would all be shot in a 25/yd indoor range.
    Load 1, 46.0/gr Varget 34-rounds
    Load 2, 48.0/gr Varget 8-rounds
    Load 3, 50.0/gr Varget 8-rounds
    All the loads were very accurate if you could hold almost a 9/lb rifle steady off shoulder.
    Load 1 recoil was considered mild, and the recoil went up very little from there.
    For future indoor shooting I would load the cast-GC bullet to 48.0/gr of Varget, anything higher wouldn't be needed for an indoor range.
    Overall Uberti rifles are expensive but as always you get what you pay for.

    My future plans are to make 45-70 jacketed bullets since I have thousands of 44/cal copper jackets which work very well for 45/cal bullets.
    I will also make test rounds using 40-S&W cases for jackets which I now use for 45/ACP rounds.
    Cost for bullets $0.05 to $0.10 each depending on what type of jacket is used.
    It will actually be cheaper for me to make jacketed bullets VS casting bullets using a gas check.
    The dies have been on order from Corbin but delivery may take one year, we'll see.

    Some further information for everyone who loads this round.

  20. #40
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mint, Bird is on target with boolit diameter. The Miroku made 1886's tend to have tight chambers and barrels. Both of my 1886 Brownings slugged at .457". The chamber on the 1886 rifle is tight enough that a round loaded with a .459" boolit will not drop into the chamber all the way under it's own weight and a slight resistance is felt pushing them in by hand. I size .458" for the 1886, my Sharps likes .459" seated out far enough to contact the lands when chambered. You mentioned having 2400, 22-24 grains under a 400 grain boolit pretty much duplicates the original 45-70-405 service load. To shoot long range you will need a vernier tang sight with enough vertical adjustment. A ballistic calculator such as JBM calculations will get you your trajectory and wind drift for long range so you can get a base sight setting. You need to know your boolits weight, BC and muzzle velocity. Another factor at long range is spin drift. A 45-70 with a 1 in 20 RH twist rifling can have 2.5-4 MOA drift to the right at 800-1000 yards. The Buffington sights on Trapdoors had compensation for this built in.

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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