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My 14" 45-70 contender barrel likes .458" . My 45-70 bolt rifle likes them at .459 or a bit more. You have to slug the bore then you will know. Let the gun tell you what it likes! One of my grand dads rifles had a .463" bore. It shot best with .465" 500 grain slugs.
I find the bigger bores work better with medium soft alloy and down to 25:1 or 30:1, that is; 12-9 Bhn. This is with velocities around 1,250 - 1,400fps. If you want to try to shoot a 500gr cb at 2,000fps you would probably need a harder alloy...................Dan
I do not like to size 45 rifle bullets, it is hard work and broke a couple of Lyman sizers.in that futile effort.
Hone out a 459 sizer die until he no more touches the sides of your fattest bullet.
I have a Armisport,now Chiappa firearms sharps,an Uberti highwall,two Marlin leverguns and a ruger 77 .458 Lott and they love bullets lubed ,not szed they cast from 459 to 462,as long as they chamber without effort they shoot very well.
Always used old wheel weights,now I have access to soft range scrap ,put in a pinch of type metal as a sorcier's ritual.
Killing boars and placing well in local cowboy matches ,without too much trouble at the loading bench,that is my philosophy.
____________________ Giorgio de Galleani,alias Buffalo George Dega
What barrel are you shooting and what does it slug ? I do not have one that shoots the same size bullet .
My Marlin likes 458 bullets ; my C Sharps Arms likes 459 or 460 ; my older sharps likes 460 or un sized, which from one mold puts them out at 461 ; my H&R Handi does not like most cast bullets BUT iwll shoot the Lyman 385 RN if hard cast and sized to 459 .
I have owned several others over the years all have had to be slugged. MY first 45/70 was an older Numrich Arms Rolling Block bought in the very early 70s. It would not even chamber any round where the bullet was sized over 457 . Got my best accuracy from that gun using 456 bullets .
LeadHead wrote: I know different guns (barrels) will work better with .458 or .459, but....Which diameter do you size your 45-70 lead bullets to, and which guns do you shoot the bullets in? Are you using straight wheel weights, or adding a little linotype or solder to harden the bullets? Thanks in advance for your help...
I don't shoot .45-70 anymore, because it is too hungry for powder and lead. My advice in any .45-70 is to cast your chamber and load the largest diameter bullet, which will chamber and extract freely. As long as they chamber freely bullets should be "fat" .460 or more, soft, not harder than 12BHN, 10 BHN being better and 8 BHN best., and for best accuracy in original Trapdoors keep velocities under 1000 fps.
When I did, I shot about 100 rds. a week through an original Springfield 1884 trapdoor for 200 meter "Ram Bash" and military style prone and standing 200 yard matches and did it steady for about 10 years. While I shot a few blackpowder loads, the vast majority were smokeless. Best results at 200 yards were with subsonic loads, just under 1000 fps, loaded with fast-burning pistol or shotshell powders and standard primers. No fillers are needed for this with the correct powders. Velocity standard deviations should be in single-digits. With proper bore conditioning and quality bullets you should be able to maintain 3 moa or less with iron sights.
My best loads used the NEI #342 cut without the GC heel to produce a 370-gr. plainbased bullet cast 1:20 and loaded wiith either 11 grs. of 700-X or Bullseye, or 14 grs. of Unique, PB or SR-4625. Bullets were loaded as-cast and unsized at .462", LIGHTLY lubricated with Lee Liquid Alox and if necessary loaded rounds were run through a sizing ring lapped to -0.0015" less than the chamber cast diameter. A .485" sizing ring is good for most Trapdoors with Winchester brass.
Last edited on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 11:03 am by Ed Harris
____________________ In Home Mix We Trust
From the Home of Ed's Red
In Almost Heaven, West Virginia
73 de KE4SKY
PawPaw wrote: ...I just bought a new Handi-Rifle in .45-70, and haven't fired it yet. No one knows what it might like because new rifles follow rules unto themselves.
Handi-rifles are stronger than Trapdoors and will handle the 1886 Winchester loads. Ones I've examined had chambers large enough to accept a .460-.462 bullet in Winchester brass. That suggests a BHN12 bullet from 360-420 grs. lightly lubed in LLA on top of 13 grs. of Red Dot, 14 grs. of Unique or PB etc. or 16 grs. of Herco for 1050+/- 30 f.p.s. or so in the short barrel.
____________________ In Home Mix We Trust
From the Home of Ed's Red
In Almost Heaven, West Virginia
73 de KE4SKY
My Browning BPCR has a bore a little over .459. I found I can chamber a round with .464 boolits so that is what I use. I had to make my own mold. So far it shoots the best.
Most store bought molds run .457 and if you are lucky, .459. Rapine makes larger molds and I have had good luck with them.
Accuracy with Lyman and RCBS molds is dismal as they are all undersize. With so many variations in bore sizes, I don't know why they stick to small boolits, after all, they can be sized to fit what we have. If your bore is tight, they will work as is but that is rare. A lot of bores go to .460.
I do not believe in "BUMP UP" at all in any gun or caliber. Even a .58 Minie' ball has to fit snug for accuracy. I have taken a Zouave that would not put a single shot on paper and lapped the mold to give us 2" or less at 50 yd's. I have done this for numerous guns.
My BFR 45-70 revolver has .458 bore and .4595 throats. I use .459 to .460 boolits and it will shoot 1" at 100 yd's. It shoots better then any 45-70 rifle I ever shot. The twist rate is 1 in 14" and it will shoot any boolit I stick in it. I have kept it on steel to 500 meters.
Don't be afraid to go oversize with lead boolits as long as they chamber.
I have a RCBS 45-300-FN which drops a bullet at 317 grain bullet at .462. It will chamber in my Marlin 1895 purchased new in the past year. If I am reading this thread correctly, a few of you advise me to shoot this unsized? Is that correct?
Would it make a difference if I told you I will be working up a load using Unique and wax gas checks? Looks like many of the loads for this bullet are below 1200 and might not even need a gas check.
Lyman Cast Bullet handbook list a 393 grain FP and a 322 Grain FP. I will use the 322 data with a range of 935 grains of Unique to max 14.5. Sound about right?
I have not slugged the bore. Admittedly I am a little apprehensive about using a mallet and dowel to pound a lead sinker down my nice barrel. I know I will have to get over this. Any suggestions?
I just re-read the post and realized Ed Harris recommends LLA. That should make things easy.
As long as the load will chamber, try it for accuracy. Being that large you can try different sizes too, Maybe the gun would like another size better. Be sure to work powder charges for each change in boolit size, don't just grab the highest load.
I would not use any kind of loose checks or wads with fast powder or a powder that does not reach the boolit because there is a gap below the boolit that the check can slip down into. I use a pinch of dacron over 4759 in my revolver, seems to be more accurate then without it.
The only safe way to use a loose wad is if it is on the powder and against the boolit, like a compressed load of BP.
You can ring the chamber if a wad slips.
With dacron, you just push it in with a dowel or pencil but don't compress it. I let the boolit push it down when I seat. Maybe 1/4" is all. It weighs nothing, doesn't burn or melt and compresses to almost nothing. All I use it for is to hold the powder down in the case. Powders like Unique should not need it. Just load with nothing under the boolit.
By the way, I use a Federal 155 LP mag primer in my revolver. More accurate then the LR primer. For my BPCR I use the Federal 150 LP primer and a newspaper disk inside the case over the flash hole. It keeps BP from plugging the hole.
Feel free to experiment with all primers in the 45-70 as long as you are not loading near the top of the load charts with slow powders.
I would not use LP primers in old, soft guns either because they can peen the firing pin hole when they set back. But very light, low pressure loads should not hurt.
I love the 45-70, you can do anything with it from mild to wild.
Try 3031. About 38-38.5 gr. It was extremely accurate in a friends original rifle. It had far less recoil then 4198 and the stock no longer beat my cheek.
You should make that boolit softer if you plan on hunting.
thanks bfr you are right i need to soften it up for hunting but i just got the mold and had some in my pot and i was curious so i cast a couple ,i usually shoot 405grn so your 3031(i have, i also have 4198,)at 38gr will be going to the range next week ,my shoulders cant take that thump anymore it's for the young-uns.thx take care ..
3031 has a mild pressure rise and with the twist in your rifle, pure lead with some tin will work nicely. Use the harder boolits for targets.
My BFR revolver needs hard lead because of boolit jump and a 1 in 14" twist. I have to stop boolit skid, velocity is 1631 fps. It comes together though and I never shot any 45-70 that has the accuracy with 300 to 450 gr boolits. I have not tried heavier.
The big problem is that it is too fast for a hard boolit and zips a pencil hole in deer. Even my WFN does almost no internal damage. I lost s few deer and some went 200 yards, lungs intact except for a hole.
I switched to a 420 gr hollow point made from 50-50, WW's and pure, oven hardened and it was very destructive, taking out most of the meat on the off shoulder. A bit much so I am still working on the alloy.
These are some 50 yard groups, one is 5 shots in 5/16". The twist keeps boolits stable to as far as I shoot and I can still hit tin cans at 200 yards.
I've been shooting a number of different Marlin 1895's in 45-70 over the last 9 or 10 years .
I started out shooting bullets that were unsized that worked well .
Then later I went to sizing them with a .459" die and that worked very well .
But here in the past 6 months I purchased a .461" die from Buffalo Arms and have been having very nice results with it . Mostly with the BRP 462-465GC and Ballisti Cast 462-550GC . Although I also use it with both Ranch Dog bullets and it works very nicely with them also !
Doubles , 444 Marlin with cast bullets , 6.5mm's , Sika deer and "The Philippines" !