Devoloping a favorite load 45-70 this time


February 26, 2010, 01:27 PM
So what do you do start low on the chart and work up in one grain at a time? I've never load close to maximum since I'm mainly a paper puncher.
Whats a good case lot 5, 10 or?
I'm going to load some smokless using IMR 3031 & Varget and some BP loads using Goex FFg.
Any favorite 45-70 loads you'd like to share? Keeping in mind these will go thru a Trapdoor & Sharps.

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February 26, 2010, 02:54 PM
you can't go wrong with 5744

February 26, 2010, 05:01 PM
I should have added the bullets I have on hand are: all are .458
Lyman 457191 300 gr LFN
RCBS 45-300-FNGC 300gr
Magma 4570405 405 gr FN

February 26, 2010, 05:22 PM
60 gr. 2f Goex,and any of your above listed bullets,but I prefer .458/.459. I'd guess with that small a difference,it'll just ''bump up'' anyways.

February 26, 2010, 06:09 PM
for smokeless, M.D. Smith lists IMR 3031 minimum 34 gr ,max 45 gr with a 400 grain jacketed soft point, 34 gr min, and 38.5 gr max for a lead 405. These are Trapdoor specific loads, so you should be good to go.

February 26, 2010, 08:14 PM
I load 58 grains of 3fg holy black an 1/8th inch grease cookie and a 500 grain Ideal 457125 bullet for my 1884 trapdoor. Now keep in mind that this is a very long cartridge. In fact, too long. I load to the same length as a 45-90. It happens to work out that when used in the trapdoor, when I close the breech block, the big nose of the bullet is pushed into the rifling. For that reason I use pure lead bullets. I have done very well with distance shots. Once knocked 9 out of ten 500 meter rams down with that load.

February 26, 2010, 08:55 PM
I use 60 grains of Swiss 1.5, a 540 grain bullet from a Brooks mould, Remington primers, and a .030 cardboard wad. The powder is compressed just enough to allow the bullet to seat to where it's a couple thousandths off the lands when chambered in my Pedersoli Sharps. I've shot near MOA with it before, probably could be consistently around 1.5 with a good shooter and a scope. With my lack of talent and a Pedersoli mid range tang sight it's about a 2 MOA load consistently. Our range only goes out to 300 yards but as long as I'm doing my job it will consistently knock them over at that range. When I miss (which is often) it's because of the shooter, not the gun or the load.

When I used to shoot smokeless in it I had very good results with 28 grains of AA 5744 and a 405 hard cast bullet.

Jefferson Herb
February 27, 2010, 01:02 AM
I don't know if the pressure is low enough,but 28 gr 4759 is factory duplication load.With a lyman 405 as cast shoots well in browning 1886.
Handloader listed loads in trapdoor that will shock you using Varget, ie 50 gr w 405 @ 1800 in 32in bl if memory serves me correctly;28,000 psi or something like that,pressure was low for velocity.
I use 65 gr ffg or fffg,Goex,with a .030 or .060 over powder card,1000+ for lube[thickened w/beeswax if in hot weather],and a 405 lyman fn or a 413 spitzer[old lyman mold for sharps? No longer made];be sure to use lead softer than wheel weights so they bump up, unsized. BHP has watched me use this bp load at range,in 1886 is minute of deer neck at 100yds.

February 27, 2010, 05:37 AM
I have indeed watched ol' Herb shooting his crusty old rifle-guns,and he's even been gentleman enough to let me take a crack with 'em.What I can do at two hundred,he can do at three.Of course,I have a carbine,and he has rifles:neener:

February 27, 2010, 11:12 AM
For smokeless powder this is the chart I've been looking at:
I saw some loads using Unique powder but they use 13.0 to 16.5c for a 405 gr bullet & that smae charge in that big case bothers me.
Did not know I could use a wad over BP in a cartridge case..
Alemonkey that load shoots great what about recoil?

Cartridge: 45-70 Government (Trapdoor Rifles)*
Load Type: Rifle
Starting Loads

Maximum Loads


Bullet Weight (Gr.) Manufacturer Powder Bullet Diam. C.O.L. Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure


300 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Varget .458" 2.465" 45.0 1599 17,800 CUP 55.0 1880 20,600 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4064 .458" 2.465" 49.8 1685 19,400 CUP 53.0 1813 21,800 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4895 .458" 2.465" 47.5 1590 16,500 CUP 50.5 1703 20,400 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4895 .458" 2.465" 45.0 1572 14,400 CUP 51.0 1703 15,500 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 8208 XBR .458" 2.465" 51.2 1723 19,500 CUP 55.0 1924 24,700 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 3031 .458" 2.465" 51.7 1839 18,700 CUP 55.0 1995 24,900 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Benchmark .458" 2.465" 54.0 1788 18,300 CUP 58.0 1940 21,900 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4198 .458" 2.465" 33.8 1649 15,500 CUP 36.0 1752 20,200 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4198 .458" 2.465" 30.0 1390 14,400 CUP 35.5 1641 16,100 CUP
300 GR. CAST LFP IMR Trail Boss .458" 2.465" 14.0 1199 19,400 CUP 16.5 1285 20,900 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP Hodgdon Varget .458" 2.525" 57.0 1770 16,300 CUP 63.0C 2020 23,800 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP IMR IMR 4064 .458" 2.525" 57.0 1865 22,500 CUP 60.5C 1992 25,100 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP IMR IMR 4895 .458" 2.525" 57.0 1826 21,700 CUP 61.0C 1968 23,900 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP Hodgdon H335 .458" 2.525" 57.0 1901 17,500 CUP 63.5 2143 27,400 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP Hodgdon H4895 .458" 2.525" 58.0 1805 16,500 CUP 62.0C 1974 21,000 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP IMR IMR 8208 XBR .458" 2.525" 54.0 1728 18,800 CUP 60.0 2023 25,400 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP IMR IMR 3031 .458" 2.525" 56.0 1884 21,100 CUP 59.5C 2021 22,000 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP Hodgdon Benchmark .458" 2.525" 59.5 1907 19,400 CUP 63.5C 2113 27,400 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP Hodgdon H322 .458" 2.525" 54.0 1850 18,100 CUP 60.0 2142 28,000 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP IMR IMR 4198 .458" 2.525" 45.0 2008 23,500 CUP 48.0 2138 27,800 CUP
300 GR. SIE HP Hodgdon H4198 .458" 2.525" 45.0 1807 16,700 CUP 55.0 2221 27,600 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Varget .458" 2.505" 42.5 1537 15,400 CUP 52.5 1805 21,800 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4064 .458" 2.505" 47.0 1545 18,800 CUP 50.0 1661 24,000 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4895 .458" 2.505" 44.2 1412 16,200 CUP 47.0 1486 18,100 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4895 .458" 2.505" 35.0 1280 11,900 CUP 42.0 1526 23,100 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 3031 .458" 2.505" 49.0 1684 22,300 CUP 52.0 1819 25,900 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Benchmark .458" 2.505" 50.0 1621 16,300 CUP 53.0 1779 21,300 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4198 .458" 2.505" 31.0 1405 15,000 CUP 33.0 1491 17,400 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4198 .458" 2.505" 28.0 1302 13,300 CUP 32.0 1483 14,700 CUP
385 GR. CAST LFP IMR Trail Boss .458" 2.505" 14.0 1075 19,400 CUP 16.0 1142 23,200 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Varget .458" 2.540" 40.0 1392 15,600 CUP 50.0 1718 20,900 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4064 .458" 2.540" 46.0 1534 17,900 CUP 49.5 1660 23,200 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4895 .458" 2.540" 45.6 1496 18,900 CUP 48.5 1598 23,000 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4895 .458" 2.540" 40.0 1424 14,900 CUP 48.0 1645 18,900 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 8208 XBR .458" 2.540" 47.9 1637 21,800 CUP 51.0 1727 23,600 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 3031 .458" 2.540" 45.5 1597 17,300 CUP 48.5 1706 21,100 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Benchmark .458" 2.540" 47.0 1564 17,100 CUP 50.0 1695 22,600 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4198 .458" 2.540" 30.0 1370 17,000 CUP 32.0 1462 19,000 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4198 .458" 2.540" 27.0 1251 14,200 CUP 31.0 1459 17,100 CUP
405 GR. CAST LFP IMR Trail Boss .458" 2.540" 12.0 971 24,500 CUP 13.0 1007 25,600 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4064 .458" 2.540" 38.5 1280 17,400 CUP 41.0 1372 21,300 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4895 .458" 2.540" 40.0 1294 19,700 CUP 43.0 1435 25,300 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 3031 .458" 2.540" 39.5 1406 20,500 CUP 42.0 1488 22,600 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon Benchmark .458" 2.540" 38.0 1290 15,600 CUP 43.0 1503 23,400 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP IMR IMR 4198 .458" 2.540" 30.5 1364 17,500 CUP 32.5 1439 21,600 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP Hodgdon H4198 .458" 2.540" 28.0 1279 16,400 CUP 32.0 1434 20,400 CUP
485 GR. CAST LFP IMR Trail Boss .458" 2.540" 8.0 699 17,100 CUP 10.0 804 23,300 CUP


February 27, 2010, 11:16 AM
I should have asked do you load 5-10 to get an idea if you have got a good or notso good load?

February 27, 2010, 12:56 PM
I wouldn`t load any more than 6 or 10 before trying them ..
I`ve loaded some with TrailBoss and always enjoyed them even with the max loading they are easy on the gun and the shooter ..and I`ve had good luck in the accuracy dept also .
Not enough for hunting loads ...but good paper punching loadings .

February 27, 2010, 03:18 PM
If you want to load original style cartridges for those two rifles, read this book.

Another good book is Forty Years with the 45-70 by Paul Matthews.

Both have lots of information and good tips for making older rifles shoot well.

February 27, 2010, 04:11 PM
I just got that book in the mail today, someone on another site turned me on to it.
Also I was sent this like mainly for Trapdoors

February 27, 2010, 06:12 PM

Recoil isn't too bad, I usually shoot 50-60 rounds in a session and it doesn't bother me too much. When I first started shooting this particular bullet I thought it packed a pretty good thump but I've gotten used to it. Black powder has more of a shove than a kick. I'd like to try my hand at some longer range stuff (1000 or so yards) so I assume I'd need to really compress the powder and get 70 or so grains in there. I imagine that will make it kick quite a bit more.

February 28, 2010, 11:46 AM

Using a drop tube will help settle the powder and get the charge in with out the need to crush the grains.

February 28, 2010, 02:52 PM
I actually do use a drop tube, but the bullet I shoot is so long that I still need to compress just a little to get the proper overall length. The bullet wouldn't work in lever guns but it's great for single shots.

February 28, 2010, 10:47 PM
This is good information........if you understand it. I don't. But I will have to try. I'm picking up my trapdoor 45-70 tomorrow. It is an original and in excellent shape. The back sight works perfect and the door. It didn't come with a cleaning rod. I will pick that up later. I have a lot of questions before I can shoot it.
I don't think I can shoot 45-70 government. some say I can.
Where would I buy BP 45-70 bullets or casings?
I will learn how to load. First I think it would be fun. And also cheaper.
I have a friend who loads his own cowboy loads. He will teach me how to do it. The muzzle loading club I belong to. We have our monthly shoots at one of the oldest members property. Not only an FFL dealer also a cowboy re-loader.
He will also help in teaching me. He told me that I might not find BP 45-70 online. Maybe somebody can help me find them. As I said before at the least I need the casings. Looking forward to shooting the trap door. I know it will take time. I fell in love with BP a few years ago. I hardly ever shoot my modern guns. I have a few of them. Now my black powder gun out number them almost two to one. As you all know this is cheaper then modern guns. As far as can spend all day shooting. And don't spend much on it. Once you get by the expense of buy all the guns and things that go with it. I now make my own lead balls. So it wont be hard to get another mold. I'm retired so I have lots of time for this hobby. Any help you all can give will be greatly appreciated.
Since I have been into BP, I have learned a lot from you guys on THR. I thank the people of THR and all of you. :D

February 28, 2010, 11:03 PM
Campbell49T the book noted above is all about the trapdoor and loads for it they lean toward staying original.
I bought BP 45-70 from these people, I got both BP & Pinnicle rounds from them.

March 1, 2010, 12:26 AM

What one of these do you suggest, as far as which ones to buy. Man they sure aren't cheap. I got to start somewhere, I need casings.
Can I use the BP government? Do you shoot with an original or reproduction?

March 1, 2010, 07:43 AM
I would only shoot BP in an original trapdoor. You don't need special cases, they're all the same for BP and smokeless, although the originals had more case capacity due to a "balloon head" design.

March 1, 2010, 09:35 AM
I bought the BP 45-70 350 gr & 405gr but they were $20 a box then. the Pinnicle BP substitute are as cheap as you'll find right now.
Why not get a box or two to try out and just buy components from there. BTW if you can't find BP in your area buy from them also 5 lb minimum but in a 45-70 that won't last long.
I'd shoot these in my trapdoor or sharps but they are new not original maybe somebody will speak up.

Goex 45-70 Govt. 405 gr. RNFP, Pinnacle
60 boxes on hand
20 rounds per box
$20.00 per box


Goex 45-70 Govt. 500 gr. RNFP, Pinnacle
2 boxes on hand
20 rounds per box
$20.00 per

March 1, 2010, 09:39 AM
I bought 250 rounds of brass from these people new unprimed it says back order but I got all of mine last week.

March 3, 2010, 01:58 AM

Here is my Springfield model 1878. It is in very good shape. I found some black powder 45-70s here. Warm tomorrow and going to the range. Let you all know how it shoots.

March 3, 2010, 09:41 AM
Campbell49T that's a shooting iron for sure, mines a repo would like to find a good buy on a original.

I'm doing up some smokeless rounds using Varget & IMR 3031 but when I compare the data between Lymans book and Hodgdons website I wouldn't shoot them in my trapdoor but will in my Sharps.

March 5, 2010, 05:22 AM
Tom, Went out yesterday and went to the range. with to bad results. I fired the trap door 10 times. I had it benched at 25 yards. I started off high, the one bullet missed. I really enjoyed shooting it. After I finished, spent the rest of the day.
Now I got to learn how to load......117016


March 5, 2010, 09:44 AM
What were the bullet weights you were using? That isn't bad and at 50 or 100 may have been better.
The book I'm reading says at 200 yds the 1st round should held at 175, the 2nd at 185 and the 3rd at 200. They shoot better after 3 rounds.
But that said you have a fun day I got rained out.

March 6, 2010, 12:31 AM
Tom, I just went out and bought some BP 45-70. Don't know what the weight was. The came in a plastic bag that said Black Powder 45-70. You know how it is. Just got it had to shoot it. I will learn more Sunday as far as reloading and bullet weight. We have a BP shoot and that is when, I will get help. And may add much needed help. Don't know a thing about reloading. This is just a cool fun gun. I shoot BP and ball in at the club. Pretty good at it ...but my Honey beats me a lot. For me 25yd is good, I have a Cadillac in my shooting eye. The VA already did my left eye. Waiting for them to do my right. Then I'll try 100yd. Most likely order a press and things to go with it. Any suggestion.......

March 6, 2010, 09:24 AM
First thing I do when I get home is soak my cases in hot soapy water then riase in hot and let dry best if you can deprime first but still works if you don't.
Midway USA has a Lee Challenger press on sale for $82.00 put in product # 423-081. I use the Lee dies also got a great price on them.
Don't buy the the onebook/one caliber manual for the 45-70 every load un it can be found on line free. All smokless anyway.

March 6, 2010, 03:33 PM
I just loaded up 10 each 300 gr RCBS FPGC with Federal 210 primer & 43.5 Grs of Varget powder.
And 405 gr Magma cast FP Federal 210 primer with 40.0 grs of Varget.
I'll shoot these in my Sharps but not my trapdoor.
Range report coming.

Jefferson Herb
March 7, 2010, 02:21 AM
We had a Gentleman,now deceased,who found an old load for Guard Loads.
They were used by guards for prisoners,3 .457 round balls with a charge of fffg,the last ball was crimped to hold load togather.It was supposed to put the balls into prisoner at 50 yds.

March 7, 2010, 03:07 AM
Nice!Did he let you try any?

March 7, 2010, 11:13 AM
I've heard of that guard load. IIRC it was issued along with trapdoors to POW guards up until WWI or so.

Jefferson Herb
March 8, 2010, 12:49 AM
BHP , Yep! they were fun.You must have ran into Robert Chedwiggen [SP is wrong],He had some neet stuff,and the most modern rifle He had was a bolt

March 8, 2010, 02:34 AM
I shot that .223 mini Mauser...what a sweet gun!And what a sweet old guy Mr.Chegwidden was.My boy was lucky enough to have him as a substitute [history] teacher a coupla times.First time I ever fired at the two hundred yard gong [and hit it] was with ol' Bob's .45-70 Lee rifle. Darn, I think I got somethin' in my eye...darn computer screen's all blurry.

Jefferson Herb
March 9, 2010, 01:03 AM
Come Children,It's time to try out something new! Yeah BHP I know.

March 9, 2010, 12:31 PM
I have the book "Loading 45-70 by Spence" I'll have to check it but I think he has a load available for it. If its there I'll post it, right now I'm at a RV campground and book is at the house.

Jefferson Herb
March 10, 2010, 01:39 AM
In discussing loads,we hav'nt touched bullet dia or alloy.These issues don't mean much with a ruger using jacketed bullets,but is important in antiques.
I only have two molds,a Lyman fn 405 gr,and an old Ideal 417gr 457 dia w two grease grooves in spitzer form;[for it's day].I have to use soft enough lead to bump up in trapdoor. BHP has some Hollow base molds and I'm sure we can get Him to post some info when He checks in.
For the record,I use Lyman 405's as cast from wheel weights in Browning 1886,w 28 gr 4759,or if I want to damage tissue[mine],I use 50 gr 30-31.

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