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Thread: New to handloading 45-70; need suggestions



  1. #1
    Sidewinder
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    New to handloading 45-70; need suggestions

    I've been reloading for numerous rifle and pistol calibers for years, but just got started with the 45-70 for a new to me 1895XLR and 1895GS. On my first outing I made up a sellection of handloads using 45.5 grs of IMR 4198 and 300gr. jacketed bullets from Hornady, Speer and Sierra, Starline cases and Fed 210 primers. Accuracy was around 1-1/2" to 2" at 100 yds with the scoped xlr and 2" to 2-1/2" with the un-scoped GS. I know 45.5 grs of IMR 4198 is a low end starting load. Also tried some rounds with the same bullets using 56.0 grs of H4895 and 58.0 grs. of Varget with about the same accuracy results. I'm more interested in accuracy rather than performance as I don't hunt. Basically wanted to know what other shooters are using with these combinations ( or other powders and bullets) for accurate loads. Prehaps higher velocities will do better with the rate of twist in the 1895 barrel. I've always stayed away from lead bullets because I hate cleaning lead fouling, however been considering lead for economy ( as these jacketed 45-70 bullets are pretty pricey ). Anybody use Berry's hard cast 405 gr round nose? I'd be interested to know what some of you are using for accurate loads with lead bullets.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Site Contributor Contributing Member
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    Leading "issues" can be eliminated by:
    1) useing a proper fitting bullet (boolit) and/or...
    2) a gas check and/or...
    3) a good bullet (boolit) lube
    shooting cast is much more affordable, and a more accurate load is highly possible.
    U.S. Marine Corps (Grunt) Retired
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  3. #3
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    Leading can be cleaned in a couple of movements of a copper brush when you attach a few strands of Copper Chore boy. Its really not a worry at all with me and I shoot 30 or so lead shooting guns. I did have leading within the last couple of weeks, and I'll put a quick stop to it with Firelapping this weekend. On a more productive note, your target shooting will be greatly enhanced by decreasing your recoil. For me that is managing low pressure loads with Pistol powders (trail boss and Unique). My fav. load is 13gr. of Unique with 405gr. self cast or Oregon trail or what have you. Even with leading, it'll be mild, and easily removed. Make sure your bullet is sized to .459 or bigger!
    msharley likes this.

  4. #4
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    Here is Greg Mushial's excellent and well tested pistol data, that enables one to shoot low pressure cowboy loads or even just plinking rounds for a kid (and us). Here's mine shooting away with one of my 45-70's. He is 12 in this pic and can hit 8 inch steel free standing at 100 yards very easily!

    Lever Gun Performance Studies

    msharley likes this.

  5. #5
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    I shoot about the same load in my 45-70 Ruger #1 with about the same results. Seems to me you are getting about the same results as everyone else. 2 to 2.5 inch groups is very respectable at 100 yards with open sights. You might be able to tighten up your groups some by changing powders or bullets. What kind of Accuracy are you after?

  6. #6
    Wrangler
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    I've been cast my own lead bullets from Wheel Weights and a small amount of 95/5 solder using Ranch Dog Moulds, which, while good, are not the best for a newer 1895GBL because of a tight throat.
    I've seen 3 things that cause bad leading.
    1) A Dirty Copper Fouled Bore causes brutal leading. Lead before jacket, it's a good racket, jacket before lead, you'll clean 'till you're dead.
    2) Undersized bullets - this is why I went to ranch dog - I size to 0.460"
    3) Er, see #1 and #2.

    For jacketed rounds I have had good accuracy with Hornady 350gr FP with 46.5gr of IMR4198 for 1900fps - this is a stout hunting load and is only for modern guns in good condition, but it will give me 1.5" groups at 100 yds if I don't flinch.
    I find the heavy slow bullets generally do better than light fast ones. I've tried 59.5gr of Varget and the 300gr Speer for 1900fps - accuracy at best is maybe 2"-2 1/2" at 100 yds.

    My #1 accuracy load to date is the Ranch Dog 350gr, gas check sized to 0.460 over 49(c)gr of IMR3031 in Remington Brass, Winchester LR Primers, seated deep (required for my rifle's tight throat) for an OAL of 2.44" chronied to avg 1782fps with a SD of 13fps, cloverleafs at 65yds with a scope.
    I don't think I'll ever match my old .222 for accuracy but I'm pretty darned happy with that result. After some stout 425gr loads my scope is now dead as can be and on its way in for (hopefully) warranty service so I haven't had a chance to try this load at 100 or 200 yds yet... I'll give it a go with the peep but the accuracy will come down to me, not the ammo/gun combo.
    Est. Circa 1971

  7. #7
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    +1 for IMR 3031. I've been shooting mostly 300 gr JHPs, some 405's till Remington ran out. 3031 has been working VERY well for me.
    "We don't rent pigs"

  8. #8
    Wrangler
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    I have been casting Lee's 405gr RNFP, using Wheel Weights and loading them over 24gr's of A2400, using WW Brass and CCI Primers! Accurate load, printing cloverleaf at 50 yd's and a pleasure to shoot! No leading, what some ever! Will put any deer I shoot on the ground and can eat all the way to the hole! Haven't shot any Copper jacket or Factory, and don't intend to! Not my load, these good men told me about it and it is Good!......tnpaw!
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  9. #9
    Tinhorn
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    Slug your barrel, size or order your lead bullets .001", preferably .002" over groove diameter and you won't have leading. Slower powders that pretty much fill the case are to be recommended. A lot of cast shooters also recommend ball powders over stick types. GW

  10. #10
    Sidewinder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goatwhiskers View Post
    Slug your barrel, size or order your lead bullets .001", preferably .002" over groove diameter and you won't have leading. Slower powders that pretty much fill the case are to be recommended. A lot of cast shooters also recommend ball powders over stick types. GW
    If you were not set up to cast your own bullets and instead were to buy your cast lead bullets what brand and weights would you recommend? Also is it necessary to use gas checks with factory produced lead bullets?


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