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You're going to feel
a little pressure...
posted
Hey all-

I finally got my bear gun. It's expensive to buy factory ammo for it so reloading makes sense. I want to do more shooting than just sighting it in so I need to develop some softer shooting loads.

Where should I start? Brass seems hard to come by. $60/box for factory ammo seems like an expensive way to get some but it may be my only option.

Cast my own bullets or buy them? I don't have any experience casting lead or testing it for hardness. I expect that casting plinking lead isn't as crucial as for meat. I would still buy factory ammo for bear defense, for now.

Favorite powders? I have Varget and IMR 4064 and Win 748 handy.I want to load to medium velocities for practice so full power isn't such a shock.

Thoughts?

Bruce






"The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with." -Douglas Adams

“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4245 | Location: AK-49 | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Non-Miscreant
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Getting a bunch of answers, I see.

I've been reloading in the caliber for over 50 years now. You have different goals than I had back in the beginning. Back in the mid 1960s when I started, It was for my 1884 Springfield. That was a variant of the 1873. I wasn't going bear hunting, I just wanted light shooting and recoiling loads that wouldn't stress my shoulder or the old gun. It could handle factory stuff that was expensive at maybe $5 a box, but that was big Bucks to me back then. Just like the $60 is to you today. I also didn't want to wear out the brass as the only way to get it was factory ammo. I still have some of the stuff from back then.

I've since given away the gun to my younger son to pass along to his youngest. It was the family gun used to kill beef (now they use a 22). Regardless, I don't use lead bullets but prefer jacketed loads at very light levels. My gun is a Browning 1776 model with a scope. At 100 yards it has no trouble keeping 3 shot in a Miller Lite can shield. Its my accuracy standard. Been that way for a long time now, like maybe 30 or so years. I have 2 others, a Centennial version of the Browning 1776 and a Montana 1886 (I think). Both are ornamented with way too much gold leaf. I don't shoot either.

We went to a gun show down in Lexington, KY and a guy had maybe a dozen boxes of factory ammo he wanted $2.50 a box for. So of course I bought him out. A little farther along, a guy had 5 or 6 more boxes and wanted $3.50 a box. I talked him down to $3.00 a box and bought them all. Still got almost all of it, preferring handloads. Some 300 gr and some 405s. Don't plan on ever shooting any of it. Handloads work just fine.

Some of us have different goals, with mine being just to hit the beer can.

My gun has a steel recoil shield, and its just fine.


Unhappy ammo seeker
 
Posts: 18377 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: February 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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I reload for two, an older ‘Trapdoor’ then a modern Henry lever gun. Of course only mild loads for the trapdoor.

Many reloading manuals have 3 load levels/ranges with the 45-70, starting with light loads for the trapdoor. I do have a relative that does light guiding for a few black bear hunters, I occasionally assist. There’s usually not a whole lot of tracking wounded bears, but thought about the 18.6” barreled Henry in that role.

Most ‘average’ and + loads call for a faster rifle powder. The powder I’ve used the most is IMR-4198. It offers a wide range of adjustments, I’ve not seen a reason to go to max charges listed in most manuals. In my research, the Henry is on par with Marlin for action strength.

The Ruger #1 has a further range of loads, listed as ‘unshootable’ by some due to recoil.

Even looking at the common manuals, load data varies more than most cartridges. One needs to evaluate based on gun then planned use for the loads. I made a fair number of powder puff loads with IMR-4227 powder. I have a bunch I was given, it’s older, trying to use it up. I also used some Dacron as filler with those loads, not compressed. The use of filler with similar loads can be controversial, I’ve had no adverse issues.

Most of my bullets are cast, but mail ordered, 300-350 grain. They say loading the big case of the 45-70 is almost as fun as shooting it. I think this is one where I’ve used my Lee ‘universal expander’ die to get just enough ‘bell’ to accept the bullet.

Even if your gun is intended as ‘bear medicine’ I’d still want some mild loads for casual shooting. I’m under 2 years into 45-70 loading, but again, there is such a range in loads & data. I’d do some reading before setting up to load.

I have mostly Starline brass, check their website. In the past I’ve backordered if allowed, often got the brass before long, even if not shown in stock.

I don’t think you do a strong 45-70 justice with most weak commercial ammo, expensive at that.
 
Posts: 6088 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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Here’s another idea, buy 45-90 brass(in stock) and trim it down. Don’t laugh, I bought some 414 handgun brass a few years ago & trimmed it all shorter for my 41 mag loading. At the time, this 414 brass was available and cheaper.

https://www.starlinebrass.com/45-90-brass-45-24
 
Posts: 6088 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Staring back
from the abyss
Picture of Gustofer
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I load for two rifles. Marlin I shoot 405 cast (and 400 soft points for hunting) and I use 500s in the Sharps.

The bullets I get from Rimrock Bullets out of Polson, MT (except the 400s and I can't remember exactly where I got those). I've considered casting my own and likely will at some point, but too many projects and other hobbies on my plate at this point.

Brass I got from both factory loads and several years back was able to get 500 or so from Starline.

I use 4198 as well. I'd have to go out and check my journal, but as I recall, 32ish gr for the 400/405 and 30ish for the 500s. I came up with the loads to have good even numbers for the drops at distance (12, 24, 36, etc...) so that it's easy to remember. Soft enough to shoot all day and still pack a whallop large enough to stop a truck.

Fun to load and fun to shoot. Enjoy.


________________________________________________________
"Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil." Doug Patton.
 
Posts: 19841 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You're going to feel
a little pressure...
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One member is sending me some once fired brass and another is trading me some new PPU brass and a couple of hundred cast 300 gr pills. All together, I should have about 200 pieces of brass to load. Not a bad start.
I see some 3031 and 4064 loads. I need to find some of the other powders mentioned.






"The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with." -Douglas Adams

“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4245 | Location: AK-49 | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by rburg:
Regardless, I don't use lead bullets but prefer jacketed loads at very light levels. My gun is a Browning 1776 model with a scope. At 100 yards it has no trouble keeping 3 shot in a Miller Lite can shield. Its my accuracy standard. Been that way for a long time now, like maybe 30 or so years. I have 2 others, a Centennial version of the Browning 1776 and a Montana 1886 (I think). Both are ornamented with way too much gold leaf. I don't shoot either.


Yowsa, did I read that right, was John Browning actually building lever actions back in 1776? Seems to me you either have a bit of editing to do or George Washington had access to rifles that were never mentioned in an History class I've taken. BTW, I've made similar mistakes. Blame it on your keyboard, there are times what I see mine typing bears no resemblance to any written language.


I've stopped counting.
 
Posts: 5525 | Location: Michigan | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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I think he’s referring to a ‘Bicentennial’ 1776-1976 single shot Browning rifle.

That rifle is often shown in 45-70.

Just a little keyboard shorthand.
 
Posts: 6088 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Expert308
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Watching this thread along with a couple older (inactive) ones that I have bookmarked. I bought a used Miroku 1886 in .45-70 a year or so back. Haven't shot it much but I plan to now that I've retired. The factory 405's are a little stiff to be really fun, although they are impressive when they hit something. I've got a couple boxes of 300 or 350gr JSP's too, that I haven't shot any of yet. I expect they'll be just about as potent as the 405's.

So between the factory power levels and the $2 to $4 per round cost, I'll definitely be reloading for that gun. I just moved 3 months ago and don't have a loading bench set up yet, but when I do I'll be working on the .45-70 first. I've got about 400 new Starline cases and small quantities of a selection of 350 to 415gr or so lead bullets, also some Accurate 5744 powder, dies & shellholder, etc. Now all I need is a bench. Smile
 
Posts: 7218 | Location: Idaho | Registered: February 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Being rather tender as to recoil, I do not have a .45-70 but can say my .38-55's best smokeless load was with AA5744. Not as good as Swiss 1 1/2 though.

https://www.hodgdonreloading.c...urate/accurate-5744r
 
Posts: 3266 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
Picture of jhe888
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I used a lot of Reloder 7 in 45-70. Mostly 300 grain bullets for just shooting and jacketed 350 grainers for hunting. I loaded them moderately hot for a Marlin, but not converted Mauser hot.




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 53096 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You're going to feel
a little pressure...
posted Hide Post
I picked up a couple of pounds of H335 before I noticed that the Speer book calls for magnum LR primers for that powder. Has anyone worked up a load with this powder? Did you use magnum primers?
Other powders I have on hand:
Varget
Win 748
IMR 4895
IMR 4064






"The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with." -Douglas Adams

“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. -Mencken
 
Posts: 4245 | Location: AK-49 | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Staring back
from the abyss
Picture of Gustofer
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Watson:
Being rather tender as to recoil, I do not have a .45-70

I think that you'd be surprised at how pleasant a 45-70 can be to shoot. The first time I shot one, a buddy of mine let me shoot his with nuclear loads and it really hurt my shoulder...and cheek. It scared me.

Once I got one and started loading for it, I realized that it doesn't need to be anywhere near that hot to be effective.

Loaded down, you'll giggle like a schoolgirl when launching them big old rounds. There's few things I enjoy more than putting 500gr slugs on a target.


________________________________________________________
"Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil." Doug Patton.
 
Posts: 19841 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Can't help with bear loads but I have done a lot of plinking with .45-70 over the years. I stepped back in time to old Lyman manuals for my loads. Some Unique will spit a 405gr coated bullet just about 1050 fps out my 18" Marlin. Good enough for plinking and still makes a satisfying whack when it hits something.

I've had great luck with SNS cast/coated bullets, both in my .38-55 and .45-70.


Cliff
FPD ret., USN ret., NRA Lifer
 
Posts: 45 | Location: Northern Nevada | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like my 45/70 loads around the original load of 405 grains at 1360ish. Really pleasant to shoot and seems to have been effective. I can load it up if I want but that's a nice one that most could shoot all day. If I was out looking for a bear I'd load it up for my 1895 or look at the buffalo bore load which is apparently a good one but its also supposed to kill on both ends from what I've read.

I have starline brass, 405 grn Acme coated lead.
 
Posts: 3012 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Delta-3
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One nice thing about the 45/70 is you can load them from one end to the other, depending on your need or use.
I like mine in the medium loads. 405g's around 1500-1600 fps. They have some kick but doesn't give your body the shock wave that hot loads do. They are good for anything that walks this continent or just a fun day at the range.
If just plinking, 1100-1200 is quite pleasant to shoot.


Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
 
Posts: 699 | Location: NW Ohio but Montana is always home. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:

I think that you'd be surprised at how pleasant a 45-70 can be to shoot.


Why do you think I did not shoot .45-70 before settling on .40-65? It is a lot more fun sending 400 grains than 500, and I needed more than 335 out of my .38-55.
Loading down is not in the cards when the target is a 46 lb steel ram at 500 meters.
 
Posts: 3266 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Pyker
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How many times do you guys reload the brass? I have some that I would guess are on their 3rd or 4th time through.
 
Posts: 2763 | Location: Lake Country, Minnesota | Registered: September 06, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Picture of 92fstech
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quote:
kill on both ends

Big Grin that's a good way to describe it. I bought a box of factory Hornady Leverevoltion when I bought my 1895G...that stuff was brutal. Usually I load 405gr cast over trailboss for a nice plinking load. I've used Unique as well.

For "working" loads, I've used IMR 4198.

quote:
How many times do you guys reload the brass? I have some that I would guess are on their 3rd or 4th time through.


Lots. It's straight wall and headspaces off the rim, so it'll last a long time, especially with light plinking loads. I only get rid of cases when they show physical damage.
 
Posts: 8156 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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