Crimping 45-70 with Hornady FTX bullets


December 8, 2009, 08:21 PM
I'm loading 45-70s with Hornady 325 gr FTX bullets. Hornady recommends that cases be trimmed to 2.04 (rather than normal 2.095) because of the nose length of the bullet. However, when I try to crimp, it appears that my RCBS seat/crimp die bottoms out before the case mouth hits the crimping part of the die. Anyone else have this problem? Solution? Thanks.

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December 8, 2009, 09:15 PM
Perhaps a 45-70 profile crimp die from Redding would be the answser, or an Hornady Taper Crimp die for 45 ACP/AR/LC Gotta ask have you tried backing off seating stem and then screwing the seater die down further?

December 8, 2009, 09:22 PM
I'd try the Lee Factory Crimp Die:

And if it bottoms out, start grinding off the base of the die until it works. That way you are grinding on a $12.00 die rather than your much more expensive RCBS.

December 8, 2009, 09:37 PM
++1 for the collet style FCD for rifle and bottleneck pistol cartridges.


December 9, 2009, 02:54 AM
I agree the Lee FCD will solve your problem. They specifically mention trim length is not critical when using that die. Read about it Here (

December 9, 2009, 07:31 PM
Thanks. I'll try the Lee FCD. As to 45ACP's response, I'm not exactly sure what you're saying. The base of the die hits the shell holder before any crimp occurs. To verify, I set the dies so that it hits the holder with the shorter case inserted and then remove that case and put in a regular 2.095. The die starts to crimp (hits the case mouth) with the handle about 1/4 way down so it's clearly a "die too long" problem.

george d dennis
December 9, 2009, 07:53 PM
the marlin forum. there is alot on reloading hornady 45/70

David Wile
December 9, 2009, 08:28 PM
Hey folks,

I use plenty of Hornady equipment and Hornady bullets, but when they take an old standard caliber (45-70) and start selling a bullet for it that requires non-standard cases, and then loading the non-standard cases requires the use of non-standard dies, I have to wonder whether I really need what is essentially a non-standard bullet for a perfectly standard caliber with perfectly standard cases. Of all the many different bullets available for 45-70, what is the necessity for the FTX bullet that brings with it so much baggage for the reloader? I guess if you really must have the FTX bullet, then you might as well spend the extra money to get whatever you have to have to reload the things. If other bullets will meet your needs, why bother with the non-standard bullets?

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

December 10, 2009, 07:59 AM
Thanks all. David, I agree with you. I just didn't realize what a pain this would be until after I already bought 100 FTX bullets and loaded them in the shortened case. Had I known, then I wouldn't have purchased FTX bullets.

Jim Watson
December 10, 2009, 11:50 AM
What gun?
If for a lever action, you need a real crimp or shoot up those 100 one at a time.
If for a single shot, just bump the case mouth back into the sizing die about one turn worth to remove the flare.

If I really liked the gimmick bullets, I would have my seating die shortened enough to get the crimp ring in reach of the trimmed back brass.

December 10, 2009, 01:17 PM
I would shorten the die.

It's harder then it sounds though, as RCBS dies are harder then woodpecker lips.
They are so hard a carbide lathe bit will barely cut them.

I have done several by spinning them in a small lathe and grinding off whatever is needed with an angle grinder.

Works like a charm.

With a seating die, there are no ramifications to shortening them as you have to adjust them to crimp anyway.


December 11, 2009, 12:49 AM
Shortening the die is the best way that I've found (loaded 444 Marlin). You can also use a Lee FCD with the bullet upside down in the top of the die, but it's not all that easy and is pretty annoying. You can also check with Hornady, they may have a custom crimp die for the round (or can make one if not, Lee also makes custom dies if you ask from what I've heard). Otherwise, careful use of a grinder with a normal FCD may be the way to go.

Just a side note, as I have a single-shot, I don't need to trim to the shorter length (fits fine in my handi rifle using normal 444 length instead of LE 444 length), so I only have to deal with this on reloaded factory cases for FTX loads... Depending on your gun, you may want to try loading a couple to normal 45/70 length and see if it works for your gun. Lever guns probably won't cycle. The pressure would decrease from their posted powder weights, so you may be able to squeeze a little more out of them with the longer shells as well, but you'd have to work up carefully.

Good luck!

December 12, 2009, 04:36 AM
I'd try loading one in a case trimmed to min. STANDARD spec. and see if it will feed from you L.E.rifle. I haven't had any problems.

I've not tried any of the .45/70 FTX but I have loaded some of the .452" 250gr in a .45LC for my Redhawk, and M94 Winny. I've also loaded some .358" 200gr FTX in my .35Rem. Ditto the 160gr .308" in the .30/30.

I didn't trim the brass in the .35Rem or .30/30 per Hornady's recommendation. I even loaded them over my usual over "book max" load of H4895 w/.35 and RL15 w/30-30. They feed fine, and shoot wonderful (just as accurate as the Remington 170/200gr Corlokts).

The .452" in the .45lc shot fine over 20.0gr of #2400, also.
(Don't do this in your Colt SA or clone..... TOO HOT!!!)
However, Hornady may have encountered some rifles that weren't as tolerant as mine.........

The only problem I've encountered is the some Nickle plated Starline .45lc brass didn't allow proper seating of the FTX or SST .452" 250's. However, some MagTech brass and un-plated Starline was just fine with the bullets.

December 12, 2009, 05:14 AM
i load for 1876 win in 45-60 and after seating the bullet in 45-70 dies,i crimp useing a lee 45 long colt seating, taking the bullet seating stem out. it works well. eastbank.

December 13, 2009, 12:32 PM
Thanks again. I'll buy a lee die and grind it down for my next try. For whomever asked, I shoot a Marlin 1895 Cowboy lever action and I'm not loading one at a time so I need a good crimp.

David Wile
December 13, 2009, 05:18 PM
Hey Franco,

Isn't that Marlin 1895 Cowboy just the prettiest thing you ever saw? It's so good looking, you could take to the dance on Saturday night.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

December 14, 2009, 11:15 AM
You're absolutely right Dave. I actually bought the 1894 Cowboy 44 mag lever action for my son's birthday this summer (fun little gun) and when I saw the 45-70, I couldn't resist. It's quite the gun. I also love the recoil -- it has heavy recoil but more of a blackpowder type "shove" than a kick. Hit a 6 pt 2 weeks ago right behind the shoulder at 75yds and the damn thing literally flipped upside down and was dead still. My son hit a doe with the 44 mag and it didn't go 20 yds. Very nice guns.

December 14, 2009, 11:23 AM
Also wanted the group to know that I sent an e-mail to RCBS technical support (using their online form) on December 8th and haven't heard a word from them.

David Wile
December 14, 2009, 11:59 AM
Hey Franco,

Maybe we are related. I first bought the Marlin 1894 Cowboy in 44 Mag. I would have rather had a 45-70, but Marlin was not making their 1895 in the Cowboy model at that time. I really wanted the look of the Cowboy gun, so I never really considered getting any of the 1895 models. About a year after I bought the 1894, Marlin came out with the Cowboy model in their 1895. I had to get the 1895 Cowboy in 45-70, so now I also have both.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

December 14, 2009, 02:33 PM
I go with David Wile and rcmodel
But I shoot single shot so the sizing die works fine.

December 14, 2009, 04:42 PM
I started loading this caliber for an 1895G last year and while I normally stick with RCBS dies, I happened upon a good deal on a brand new Hornady set. It works for standard length 45-70 brass and Hornady's "revised" size. I didn't even realize that Hornady made shorter brass until I got some in a trade.

If you're going to keep loading Hornady bullets/brass, you might consider selling your current 45-70 dies and buying a set of Hornady.

December 14, 2009, 05:15 PM
Thanks. I just ordered a Lee crimping die ($11) so I'll give that a shot. If it doesn't work and/or I'm not successful in grinding it, I may get the Hornady die. However, I'm actually considering not loading any more Hornady ammo, maybe. My son shot a doe recently with a 44 mag Hornady LeverRevolution bullet and it looked like a shotgun exit wound where the bits of bullet (likely the pieces gripping the rubber center piece) broke off. The doe died pretty quickly (20yds or so) but what a mess it left. I think I might just stick with my Speer or Sierra bullets and get cleaner wounds in and out.

fireman 9731
December 15, 2009, 09:42 AM
Why not reduce your load a tad, trim the brass to its normal spec, and seat the bullet a little deeper. It should still feed, and you can crimp with normal length brass.... or am I crazy?

December 15, 2009, 05:05 PM
Fireman, it wouldn't seat to the crimp grove then, but I guess the Lee FCD would maybe work with it (I think they advertise it will crimp to a bullet with no crimp groove).

I've also seen the flex tip ammo's jacket fragment quite a bit on impact. Not sure if it wants to go slower, or if that's how the design works. I too prefer a bullet that holds together, but it's hard to argue with the better ballistics of the ftx in a lever gun.

December 16, 2009, 09:28 AM
Thanks everyone but I've been beat into submission by Hornady. They recommend, of couse, that I buy a set of Hornady dies. RCBS said "ask Hornady." That was helpful. So, I cancelled by Lee die order and broke down and just bought a set of Hornady 45-70 dies for $29 (on sale at Cabelas).

As for fragmentation, I am less concerned with the 45-70 FTX because there's enough bullet mass left without the fragments and enough enertia that a serious exit hole will still result. My concern was over my son's 44 mag lever action where there was less mass (240g bullet) left after fragmentation and less kinetic energy with that caliber. Having said all that, I'm spending the $29 so I don't waste 100 FTX bullets -- I'll probably stick with Speer 300gr UCSP going forward.

Thanks again for your help.

June 7, 2010, 01:48 PM
I do not have my info here at the office but if I remember correctly the 45-70 case is 2.105, so SAAMI trim to would be 2.10 to 2.095. Hornady lists the max case length of 2.050 and case trim lenght 2.040 both of which appear to be wrong. Since I plan on loading some 45-70 using the Hornady FTX # 45015, I am going to contact Hornady about this.

October 5, 2010, 05:57 AM
Just seeing this post months later, sorry. I don't think that Hornady is wrong. Their FTX bullets are very long so the case must be shortened. I actually have to different drawers for my 45-70 cases -- one for Hornady FTX loads and one for all other bullets.

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