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Cavalry load

3096 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  M700
Can the US cavalry load of 45-55-405 be reproduced or is it factory loaded today?
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I believe the Remington factory 405 grain load is a near duplicate of that. Hopefully someone that knows more than I do will chime in.

roughrider – :)

The .45-55-405 Calvary load produced a MV of ~1100fps from the short 22”bbl.
I have not run the Rem 405 load over the chronograph, so don’t know for sure on it…But I do have some experience using a 405 bullet at 1100fps loads…

It’s said that the Lee 459-405 is the closest copy of the original – and it’s the one I shoot…

Two powders that I use for it are – 13.0grs IMR Trail Boss at 1050fps; and 13.0grs Alliant Unique at 1100fps….These are from my 1895CB so YMMV…
It's been a long time since I read about this cartridge but I think it was a shortened 45-70 case that could be shot in a 45-70 govt chamber, for less recoil while on a horse. It didn't get popular because the velocity was only 800-900 fps and was discontinued. I believe, but not sure, the case was 1.870" Back then, the case capacity was a volumn measurement because they didn't have fancy digital scales. Try cutting a case back until it holds 55 grains of black powder and try it. At 1.870, or close to that, the case should still be able to hold the bullet. You will have to grind close to .300-400" inch off the crimp die to crimp this bullet. I've been shooting a 45-70 shortened to 1.625" for 2-3 years but not with black powder. There was also a 45-60 cartridge made for the 1876 Winchester. The brass length was 1 7/8" with a 300 g bullet.
Hank – :)
Scroll down to .45-70 Govt.

With a case 2.1” I’m guessing some kind of filler wad would be needed – no air space in BP.
MontanaMan said:
I believe the Remington factory 405 grain load is a near duplicate of that.

Looks like its about 1300 fps. A tad bid more.

I cast Lyman's 405 mold. When I used CCI mag primer, 52gr Pyrodex (70gr by volume compressed) and a veggie wad. I was getting 1120-1135fps. It gave a 6 inch pattern at 50 yards, so I junked it.

I since have modified my load with 55gr 2f, and 5gr green dot against the primer. I saw this load used by comp shooters and it brought the speed up.

I shoot this load out of a 22 inch barreled Handi Rifle.
If you're looking for the closest match for the bullet, use the Lyman 457124 mould and cast soft. You'll get a 405 gr. RN that is as close to the one used in the original load. 55 gr. of 2F with enough filler and a veggi wad will keep things in place. You'll have to test a bit until you find the right combination that suits your weapon, but you'll find it in time. My mould is an old Ideal I bought new and have used it for decades and it still casts them just right! And as a matter of interest, it is a KILLER on hogs with BP loads! Deer offer no challenge and Buffalo have fallen to my loads with this bullet. I see why the Govt went to this round. It will fly well and many different ranges with ease.

Hope that this helps,

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You guys keep pouring those Lyman 405’s.

I just finished casting some more Lee 459-405’s - because the Lee is a nose-pour mold and they are way more accurate… :p :D :D
Shucks Rowdy, I like iron sights and iron moulds ;)
Gotta admit, I do have a Lee 340 gr. that fills out to 350 with my mix. Up to about 1350 fps it is unbelievable as to how well it prints and slaughters hogs! But I still cling to my old Ideal......We started out with the 45-70 together way back when ;D

Happy tails ya'll!

Thank you gentlemen for the advice and tips however I don't reload and I don't own a 45-70 yet, my current firearms procurement budget for 2011 is allot for a 22lr and a 338MX, ;) however depending on how things work out that could be added if the price is right. But it not something I am looking for yet. I was mainly curious about that since I am a history and cavalry bluff.

about the 1873 Cavalry carbine, it had the same camber as the 1873 infantry rifle amd could handle the same rounds, a common joke of the era was giving a green trooper a infantry round (45-70-405) aka the long tom, amd what him fire it. The way I understand it, there was a filler used liked Wade505 said.
The 45-55-405 aka cavalry carbine load used a stack of cardboard wads to fill the space between powder and the boolit. If you go to or, look for reloading posts by Kenny Wasserberger....he is a national champion black powder shooter who uses a similar set up in his match ammo.

The government was smart enough to use the same casing for both loads...just less powder in the carbines. Cavalry troopers were supposed to be smaller men...around 150 pounds?

John Ryan was sergeant in the 7th Cavalry at the Custer battle. He had a privately owned Sharps 45/70 with a telescopic sight AND had traded a CASE of carbine ammo for issue rifle ammo. When the survivors were surrounded at the south end of the battle field and receiving sniper fire from the indians, he returned accurate fire that convinced the hostiles to move back out of effective range.
Now that's an interesting chunk of history! Thanks for the info.
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