Took my Springfield Trapdoor (mfg. 1891) to the range today, and couldn't be more pleased with the results. The rifle is in great shape, with a good clean bore, but until recently I have never got it to shoot worth a hoot. I tried all sorts of factory Cowboy loads, keyholing with everything at 25 yards. I bought a set of dies for .45-70 to reload, got the Lee 405 gr. HB and 500 gr. bullet molds, got "The Book" everyone recommends, and tried every powder (real black, substitutes and smokeless), and wad combination imaginable. Best it ever shot was about an 8" "group" at 100 yards, using the Lee 405 HB and 65 grains of Goex Fffg. I wished I had never seen this rifle, hated it, but I like history and relics, so I couldn't part with it. Of course, I slugged the bore, and like a lot of Trapdoors, it was way oversize at .4625. A while back I picked up a box Winchester. 45-70 ammo loaded with a 300 JHP. I never considered it before, because I bought into the popular notion that I would ruin my barrel with jacketed ammo, and didn't figure a .458 bullet would shoot at all in my oversize bore. I took it to the range with low expectations, and proceeded to shoot a 3 shot cloverleaf at 50 yards, albeit 18" high with original sights all the way down. Was pretty excited about that, so increased the distance to 200 yards to see if there was any bullet tumble or loss of accuracy. The rifle shot a 6 shot, 5" group at 200 yards (as good as I can do with 6 decade old eyes), still very high above point of aim. Well, now I'm stoked! So I sent off for a much taller replacement sight blade, and upon receiving and installing it, headed for the range today to sight it in by filing down to get point of aim and impact where I wanted it. I brought Winchester. 45-70 300 grain JHP, and Federal Powershock 300 SP. The pictures I attached are self-explanatory. 2" groups or so at 100 yards, just about 4" high, which is where I like it. I can't shoot better with open sights. The first two groups with Federal were slightly left, a tiny adjustment on the Buffington rear sight brought them dead center. Amazingly, the two types of ammo shot to the exact same point of impact, really happy about that! The Federal 300 SP avg. 1960 fps, which is 112 fps more than advertised, the Winchester did 1862 fps, both boxes stating velocity was 1850 fps.
Before anyone gets all excited about these loads being "Too hot for a Trapdoor!", I did contact both Federal and Winchester to verify that they are safe for Trapdoor use, and they affirmed they indeed were. The guy at the gunshop said I was "gonna blow myself up", they should have a little more knowledge about the products they sell. As far as ruining my barrel with jacketed ammo, I will not be shooting more than a box or two a year, so not worried about that at all. Even if jacketed ammo will eventually ruin my barrel, which I have my doubts about, it will not be in my lifetime. I now have a good, usable rifle, whereas before by following the conventional wisdom, it was just collecting dust on the gun rack. It's going deer hunting next year!