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Thread: Reloading 45-70

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Reloading 45-70

    Hey,

    So far I'm very new to reloading and under my belt I have the infinitesimally small amount of 50 rounds of .357 magnum loaded, and 50 rounds of .44 magnum loaded.

    I intend to keep reloading these at the same start loads for the foreseeable future.

    In the meantime i also want to start buying supplies to feed my 45-70 lever guns (a Chiappa 1886 and a Winchester/Miroku 1886).

    Is there anything about this that seems like a bad idea to start this now, or should I wait until I have reloaded handgun calibers for several months? I'm hoping 45-70 is "forgiving" as 357/44 magnum, which so far have been a delight.

    Are there any extra or additional points I must be made aware of when loading 45-70?

    Here are my questions so far...

    1. I understand there's 3 levels to it. I was intending to look only at the "Trapdoor" level, level 1. As a side question, I often see level 2, the middle level, labeled as "lever guns", but then in other loading books it will show "for 1895 only" which is a lever gun, but without listing an 1886. Ive also seen 1886 mentioned in the trap door section. So I'm confused if the trapdoor level is actually the highest level my guns are capable of (which would mean I don't have as much of a buffer as I would like). I was hoping 1886 can support up to level 2 max pressure, which means if I stay at the trapdoor level I have room for beginner variations.

    2. Why arent carbide dies available for 45-70? Is it because it's just too big, despite being straight walled?

    3. From what I gather, the only real difference in reloading is that I need to lube the case and wipe it off because it's a steel die. Is there any other changes to the loading process from 44 magnum?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Contact the gun maker and ask safe pressures or Stay is the trapdoor region, and you will be ok. I do not resize my 45/70 when they are shot in the same gun. I bell the mouth every load to keep from shaving lead off the bullet. I only crimp if I am loading more than one in gun, brass lasts longer the less you work it. Brass lasts longer with light loads. Flat nose bullets with a wide face for lever guns. We all started some ware at one point, keep good Reckords. Keep primers seated well, flush or below flush. Try different weight bullets, different charge weights, your gun will tell you what load it likes. I use pure lead in all my .45 guns. I keep my loads at about 1200FPS, very accurate in my guns. If you are casting your own, you will need to find a lube that your gun likes, fatter Bullets like .460 - .461 work best in mine. It' all about learning. Having fun, small groups, for me, the only interesting gun, is a very accurate one.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAHUT View Post
    Contact the gun maker and ask safe pressures or Stay is the trapdoor region, and you will be ok. I do not resize my 45/70 when they are shot in the same gun. I bell the mouth every load to keep from shaving lead off the bullet. I only crimp if I am loading more than one in gun, brass lasts longer the less you work it. Brass lasts longer with light loads. Flat nose bullets with a wide face for lever guns. We all started some ware at one point, keep good Reckords. Keep primers seated well, flush or below flush. Try different weight bullets, different charge weights, your gun will tell you what load it likes. I use pure lead in all my .45 guns. I keep my loads at about 1200FPS, very accurate in my guns. If you are casting your own, you will need to find a lube that your gun likes, fatter Bullets like .460 - .461 work best in mine. It' all about learning. Having fun, small groups, for me, the only interesting gun, is a very accurate one.
    Awesome advice, thanks. All makes sense.

    I called them and they just said the gun is designed for SAAMI spec without much detail. So that would appear to be trapdoor level loads.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    It’s an easy caliber.
    Before buying once-fired brass check the length. Hornady uses a short version for their ftx bullets, you’ll want to avoid it early in your reloading experience.

    45-70 is a rifle caliber, lube it up before resizing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    It will be just like the others you are loading just a lot larger and just as versatile in the range of bullets you can load 180gr collar button up to a 540gr postell. Another thing is you don't need to go above the trapdoor loading data to enjoy them.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    It’s an easy caliber.
    Before buying once-fired brass check the length. Hornady uses a short version for their ftx bullets, you’ll want to avoid it early in your reloading experience.

    45-70 is a rifle caliber, lube it up before resizing.
    Ok cool. I don't plan to use FTX bullet just lead RNFP bullets.

    Also I bought 300 new starline brass, so no once fired.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    My go to loads are all 405 grain cast bullets both for low recoil plinking and for hunting. As noted above if you lube the brass and bell the case mouths and 45-70 is a very easy to load cartridge. For stocking up, my advice is to look for large rifle primers, 405 grain bullets and IMR3031 powder for hunting loads or H322 for zero recoil plinking loads. No need to hurt yourself with recoil on target loads. Have fun!

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by groovy mike View Post
    My go to loads are all 405 grain cast bullets both for low recoil plinking and for hunting. As noted above if you lube the brass and bell the case mouths and 45-70 is a very easy to load cartridge. For stocking up, my advice is to look for large rifle primers, 405 grain bullets and IMR3031 powder for hunting loads or H322 for zero recoil plinking loads. No need to hurt yourself with recoil on target loads. Have fun!
    How much H322 do you use? All of my loads will be for plinking, as I don't do any hunting

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    EDIT I just realized this below is not correct because the cast boolit book is CUP not PSI. However there still is some confusion which I will look at again after I eat breakfast. I did find this which I'm going to read https://www.shootingsoftware.com/ftp/psicuparticle2.pdf

    One interesting note in studying 45-70 load data further, these "3 levels" actually don't correspond to the same pressure levels, which seems surprising

    In my cast boolit book:

    Level 1 PSI ("Trapdoor") ~ 18K max pressure - correction 18K CUP
    Level 2 PSI ("1886/1895") ~ 28K max pressure - correction 28K CUP
    Level 3 ... doesnt matter

    But on Hodgdon:

    Level 1 PSI ("Trapdoor") ~ 27.6K max pressure
    Level 2 PSI ("Lever guns") ~ 38K max pressure
    Level 3 ... doesnt matter
    Last edited by Mint; 11-15-2022 at 04:25 PM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint View Post
    EDIT I just realized this below is not correct because the cast boolit book is CUP not PSI. However there still is some confusion which I will look at again after I eat breakfast. I did find this which I'm going to read https://www.shootingsoftware.com/ftp/psicuparticle2.pdf

    One interesting note in studying 45-70 load data further, these "3 levels" actually don't correspond to the same pressure levels, which seems surprising

    In my cast boolit book:

    Level 1 PSI ("Trapdoor") ~ 18K max pressure - correction 18K CUP
    Level 2 PSI ("1886/1895") ~ 28K max pressure - correction 28K CUP
    Level 3 ... doesnt matter

    But on Hodgdon:

    Level 1 PSI ("Trapdoor") ~ 27.6K max pressure
    Level 2 PSI ("Lever guns") ~ 38K max pressure
    Level 3 ... doesnt matter
    If you believe https://www.shootingsoftware.com/ftp/psicuparticle2.pdf then 18k CUP is about 9k PSI. I would guess that your cast bullet number are based on CUP measurements but already converted to PSI. I'm guessing.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    If you believe https://www.shootingsoftware.com/ftp/psicuparticle2.pdf then 18k CUP is about 9k PSI. I would guess that your cast bullet number are based on CUP measurements but already converted to PSI. I'm guessing.
    I definitely need to read about it a whole lot more later today when Im' done working, because I also found castboolits thread where PSI = CUP but only for 45-70

    Larry gibson had great info about it

    The variation is from "psi's" determined from C.U.P. and from peizo-transducer/strain gauge measurements. The two "psi's" are not the same and one can not be reliably converted from the other. The 45-70 Gvmt cartridge is one of those rare exceptions where the SAAMI C.U.P. and peizo-transducer MAP (Maximum Average Pressure) is the same; 28,000 psi. Where the afformentioned 18,000 psi comes from is a good question, perhaps Hodgdon can explain? Most BP and smokeless powder "trapdoor" level loads, including factory loads, for the 45-70 run 20,000 - 28,000 psi(M43) as per my own pressure measurements. Interestingly though a recent test of Remington 405 j bullet loads showed a psi of less than 11,000 with a correspondingly low velocity (1038 fps from 24" test barrel). A handload of 28 gr 5744 under a 405 - 415 gr cast will push 28,000 psi from the same test barrel.

    Larry Gibson
    More info Ive saved to read later https://www.garrettcartridges.com/chamberpressure.html

    Here it mentions 1886 can handle up to 50,000 PSI. If thats true, that is comforting to know I have a bit of a higher "learning buffer" than 28K

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Had a Browning 1886 used Marlin 1805 loads. Biggest bullet I could use was 450 gr anything bigger had to be seated pretty deeply. I can tell you one thing with heavy loads that curved steel butt plate will beat you senseless,hurts just to think about it.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    If, as you say, you're probably not going hunting with this set up, I'd suggest you stay down in the "trapdoor" levels of loading. Top end trapdoor loads are a handful all their own. It almost made the American Bison extinct! Ha, ha. So punching paper doesn't require real heavy bullets and super fast performance. Load from a good, printed, re-load manual and always be suspicious of info from the internet. Some of the info is very insightful and some is just crazy. With experience, you'll see the difference soon. Enjoy your .45-70. It is a very easy one to load for and has a very, very wide utility range. Personally, I prefer the boolits I cast to be in the 350 to 400ish grain weight range, but that's me. I have cast & shot the 535's down to about 200's. Every gun is different and has a different design goal and every shooter has their own preferences. The fun is in experimenting to find what winds your clock. Stay safe.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocSavage View Post
    Had a Browning 1886 used Marlin 1805 loads. Biggest bullet I could use was 450 gr anything bigger had to be seated pretty deeply. I can tell you one thing with heavy loads that curved steel butt plate will beat you senseless,hurts just to think about it.
    Lol! That is funny. Yes... I can imagine. I remember when I first got the Chiappa I used 20 factory loads that were rated 27.8K PSI and those were rough (but fun!!!) I imagine going higher than that can get pretty intense.

  15. #15
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    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.
    Last edited by Mint; 11-15-2022 at 05:31 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have been reloading 45-70 for over 40 years and it is an easy round to load for. A wide variety of powders and bullets are usable. The 45-70 is actually not a "straight wall" but tapers from the base to the case mouth, thus no carbide dies. If your purpose is plinking/target loads I would not advise powders like 3031 and H322. I have found through testing that the single base extruded powders with a burn rate of 4198 or slower do not work well in light loads. 3031 and H322 both fit in this category. These powders do not burn well until the pressure gets to 25-28000psi which takes you out of the lower velocity plinking/target range. While the slower powders are usable at low pressures I have found extreme velocity spreads of 100fps or more. While you can still get decent accuracy at closer ranges (100 yards and under) the extreme velocity spreads cause too much vertical dispersion at long range. I shoot cowboy long range gong matches twice a month. Nobody I shoot with loads with any powder slower than 2400 or AA5744. Favorite powders among the group are Red Dot, Unique, 2400 and AA5744 in a variety of calibers to include 30-30, 38-55, 40-65 and 45-70 all with cast boolits. These powders are all double base and are easier to ignite and burn better at lower pressures yielding lower extreme spreads. Important when engaging targets at 400+ yards. Just as an example the difference in drop at 400 yards between a 400 grain 45-70 at 1200fps vs 1300fps is around 26 inches. I strive to get the velocity extreme spreads of my loads down to 30-40 fps which equates to a vertical dispersion of about 7 inches at 400 yards.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt H View Post
    I have been reloading 45-70 for over 40 years and it is an easy round to load for. A wide variety of powders and bullets are usable. The 45-70 is actually not a "straight wall" but tapers from the base to the case mouth, thus no carbide dies. If your purpose is plinking/target loads I would not advise powders like 3031 and H322. I have found through testing that the single base extruded powders with a burn rate of 4198 or slower do not work well in light loads. 3031 and H322 both fit in this category. These powders do not burn well until the pressure gets to 25-28000psi which takes you out of the lower velocity plinking/target range. While the slower powders are usable at low pressures I have found extreme velocity spreads of 100fps or more. While you can still get decent accuracy at closer ranges (100 yards and under) the extreme velocity spreads cause too much vertical dispersion at long range. I shoot cowboy long range gong matches twice a month. Nobody I shoot with loads with any powder slower than 2400 or AA5744. Favorite powders among the group are Red Dot, Unique, 2400 and AA5744 in a variety of calibers to include 30-30, 38-55, 40-65 and 45-70 all with cast boolits. These powders are all double base and are easier to ignite and burn better at lower pressures yielding lower extreme spreads. Important when engaging targets at 400+ yards. Just as an example the difference in drop at 400 yards between a 400 grain 45-70 at 1200fps vs 1300fps is around 26 inches. I strive to get the velocity extreme spreads of my loads down to 30-40 fps which equates to a vertical dispersion of about 7 inches at 400 yards.
    Wow, awesome, that's just what I was looking for. Thank you!

    For AA5744 I have heard many people talk about unburned powder. Is that something that can be solved, or is this something I just "deal with"?

    If you were to pick a powder *only* for 45-70 (and not those other calibers) which of those powders you mentioned would be most flexible/most preferable?

    I have 2400 currently, but I am more than glad to buy a different one if it's more optimal.

    Actually, your purpose for shooting is very similar to what I want to do. 50/100/200 range paper targets and gongs. I'd love to shoot further but our range is limited

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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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.
    I load a Lee 515gr bullet with 27grs of 5744 for my bear load, in my guide gun. Hurts on both ends, 5 shot touching at 100yds. I load a Lee 500 3R+ bullet in my roler with 42grs of blackhorn209, accurate out and beyond 1000yds.at about 1200FPS. Blackhorn209 has gotten crazy expensive now, about $140.00 a lp. I am looking at multi purpose FFF black substitute, about $29.00 lb. have not gotten any yet, but will soon, only have about 10 or so lbs of blackhorn209 left.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAHUT View Post
    I load a Lee 515gr bullet with 27grs of 5744 for my bear load, in my guide gun. Hurts on both ends, 5 shot touching at 100yds. I load a Lee 500 3R+ bullet in my roler with 42grs of blackhorn209, accurate out and beyond 1000yds.at about 1200FPS. Blackhorn209 has gotten crazy expensive now, about $140.00 a lp. I am looking at multi purpose FFF black substitute, about $29.00 lb. have not gotten any yet, but will soon, only have about 10 or so lbs of blackhorn209 left.
    Wow, I wish I could shoot out to 1000+ yards...

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Mint's Avatar
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    BTW regarding PSI/CUP I found this more helpful than that PDF. This is some very good info regarding the difference that I couldn't really find after a significant amount of googling.

    https://reloadbench.freeforums.net/thread/5134/cup-psi

    I'm more just saving this for myself for later because no doubt I will lose this link

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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