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"working up" 45-70 loads

Before I start working loads in my 1895 guide gun, I wanted to get some opinions on working up loads. If I were to follow my speer manual, I would have to load nearly 100 rounds of various charges from minimum to maximum to get a snapshot of my loads accuracy. My questions to the fellow 45-70 Reloaders are:

What kind of shot groups do you fire? 2 three shot, 1 five shot, 2 five shot etc. etc. etc.

How much do you guys actually increase your powder charges for each batch? .5 grains, 1 grain, 10% etc. etc.

Long story short, I wanna know everybody's protocol for new load development
 

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Re: "working up" 45-70 loads

we load 3 of any given shell Normally we go up 1/2 gr till we get close to what were looking for then up just a few 1/10th.When we go to the range we take 4 groups of 3 shells of each Powder/bullet where working with, bullets make as big a difference as powder load and type and primers... I like my shells on the hot side if I can ,so we will start in the middle of Hi/lo. but if the group starts to fall apart we go down . On a 3 shot set if two are WAY off we won't shoot the last on but most the time it get chocked up to shooter and we have to see with the last shot. We do all our shooting at 100 yards, iron sight we will drop to 75 if we need to. When all is said and dune I always try a 200 and 300 group, just for fun.If we are looking for "same hole " shooting we will clean the gun after each 3 shoot set and use a fouling shot before the next set. Makes no difference what were working up.
 

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Re: "working up" 45-70 loads

My process is as follows.
1. Pick favoured bullet from from your manual.
2. Use starting loads, load 5 rounds.
3. Go up in 1/2 grain loads to about 5% below max loads, again load 5.
4. Take to range and test for velocity using chrono and watching closely for pressure signs..
5. Select loads required, those that you think you like.
6. Again load 5 rounds at a time from 5% below max at 1/4 grs at a time.
7. Back to the range. This time I sight in at 100 yards.
8. I will shoot 1 shot from each 5 round batch. AGAIN watching for pressure signs. If satisfied with these signs I shoot 4 shot groups, cleaning the barrel between each group.
From the above you can decide which load you like best.
Once that is done if you want even better groups you can fine tune these even further.
 

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El Kabong
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Re: "working up" 45-70 loads

3 shot groups, 2 shots through the chrony

I start at one grain below max, then one grain down to mid range.
After finding which is smallest group. I go 1/2 grain until it tightens up even more.
If I find the one grain below is the tightest group. I go up 1/2 grain and see how that goes.
Within 1/2 grain of max, always check from stress.

I no long use the IMR/Hodgen website for load data. Per them, unless you use their formula exactly.
You may damage you or your firearm. Ive seen mid range loads damage cases not using the primers and or bullets they say to.

The 45-70 Complete load book is the best source out there. Lyman's cast load book works for cast loads
 

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Re: "working up" 45-70 loads

I like to document my progress. This means I bring permanent markers, plastic zip bags, and lots of targets. Six shots for each loading go in the bag and stay labeled as to what they are and get attached to the target. This way I can stay focused on just shooting and watching for pressure signs, while making my final judgments later. It also means if I want a second opinion then that's still an option.
 

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Re: "working up" 45-70 loads

I kind of took the easy way out with my reloading for the 45/70, went thru the manuals picked a load that was giving me the velocity I wanted for a half reasonable trajectory. Loaded up 20 at that, first 2 sighters at 50m almost touched, dialed in the scope at 50, moved out to 100 first two shots at 100 were spot on for height above the bull (where I wanted) and directly above and 1" overall the 2 holes. That'll do packed up and went home to load up the remainder of pills I had.
I'm not a benchrest shooter by any stretch but if I've got a good two shot group (and in this case the 50m group was similar to the 100 but closer) I wasn't going to push for a 3 shot or 5 shot group as it may shake my confidence?
Cheers,
Waldo
 

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Re: "working up" 45-70 loads

I load for accuracy first, velocity second. I also use a chronograph as I strive low low ES and SD.

I usually load up some proof loads to quickly get to where I want to be. Example a Max load is 60.0 grs. I will load 1 shell at 57.0, 58.0, 59.0, 59.5 and 60.0 grs. Large case volumes usually go up 1 gr and then I fine tune by .3 gr increments.

JD338
 
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