Hornady .45-70 brass


March 7, 2010, 10:45 AM
It might be a little early in my reloading career to try this, but I'm gonna reload some 45-70 Gov't. I didn't do all my homework and have 60 cases from Hornady LeveRevolution. Now I anticipate the same problems mentioned here http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=480152&highlight=45-70+dies . I'll be shooting an 1885 High Wall. I have not purchased my dies yet so here are my questions:

1) Is there a set of dies or combination of dies to deal with this problem that does not require any grinding or modification?
2) Being single shot, is a strong crimp even a relevant concern?
3) Would it be easier to just forget about these cases and get standard length cases?

As always, thanks for any and all help.

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March 7, 2010, 11:08 AM
Ep: I have reloaded 45-70 brass quite a few times, but have never reloaded Hornady brass in this caliber and am surprised that these cases would be shorter than normal cases. In my experience, Hornady makes good brass. Having said that, the 45-70 cartridge headspaces on its rim, so if all your cases are of uniform length you will have no problem reloading them. Being a single shot rifle, a crimp is not necessary, however a very slight crimp would aid in ballistic unifomity. I collect and shoot Ruger#1's and never crimp using jacketed bullets. I would assume that most quality dies will allow you to crimp, if not a separate crimp die is inexpensive. However, if you are going to be loading lead bullets, I would strongly suggest purchasing a Lyman "M" die to slightly bell your case mouth to easily start your lead bullet in w/o shaving lead. I have to do this with both my 375 H&H and 45-70 using lead bullets.
Good luck with Your High Wall.

David Wile
March 7, 2010, 12:17 PM
Hey Epicurean,

I have a Marlin Cowboy in 45-70 and use standard length cases, standard dies, and standard flat nosed bullets. Hornady came out with the short "45-70" cases to accomodate the longer spitzer nosed bullets (LeveRevolution or whatever) that can be safely shot in rifles with tubular magazines.

If you want to shoot the LeveRevolution bullets, you will need to use shorter cases, and you will have to get a die to crimp the bullet if you want to crimp them. If you want to shoot a much larger variety of cast as well as other jacketed bullets, I think it is a lot easier to use standard length cases.

I have no use for the LeveRevolution bullets, so I have no use for the Hornady short cases. There are, however, a lot of folks who do use the Hornady cases, and you ought to be able to trade off your short cases for something they have that you need.

Shooting your single shot rifle, you really have no need to crimp any bullet. If your sizing die is standard, it should provide enough neck tension to hold jacketed or cast bullets properly. Given the idea that you do not need to crimp a bullet for your rifle, you should be able to load the short cases OK. However, if you buy more regular 45-70 cases, then you have the problem of them always having to be segregated, and that seems a pain to me. I woud rather have all my cases the standard length.

With my lever action Marlin Cowboy, I barely put any crimp whatsoever on my bullets, and they do not move in the case as they work their way along the tube magazine to the chamber.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

March 7, 2010, 12:37 PM
Thanks loaded and David. I had not considered that I will have to segregate cases - bummer! Given the multitudinous problems, I think I'll just shoot up the ammo and try to trade off the cases. I think Hornady screwed the pooch when they shortened their cases just for this one bullet. :cuss:

David Wile
March 8, 2010, 12:03 AM
Hey Epicurean,

I happen to agree with you about Hornady's short case ammo being a bad decision, but there are a bunch of folks out there who would disagree with us. The whole idea of being able to use a spitzer bullet in a tube magazine rifle seems to appeal to some folks who expect the better balistic coeffecient of the spitzer bullet to be worth the trouble. In the 45-70, however, shortening the case to accomodate a spitzer bullet just seems un-American to me. The cases can be crimped if you have the right die, and they don't need to be crimped at all for single shot, but I just can't see messing around with some cases short and other cases standard.

I think you have the right idea of trading them off when you have shot them, unless you really like your results with the ammo. If you decide to trade them, you can do it on Sale & Trade section of this forum.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

March 10, 2010, 06:39 PM
I can load regular 45-70 brass and Hornady brass without any problems with the Hornady Dies I bought from a fellow member. I normally buy RCBS, but the Hornadys are just fine, esp for this application.

Ranger J
March 11, 2010, 09:47 AM
Someone left me about 50 or so of these cases at the range a couple of years ago and when I set about to reload them I was surprised to find that they were noticeably shorter than my usual WW cases. I have over time reloaded these cases many times with no problems. I shoot only trapdoor loads in my rifles and do shoot the Hornady rounds only in my Handi rifle. I have loaded hard cast and jacketed bullets, again with no problems. I don't shoot them in my Marlin though???


David Wile
March 11, 2010, 10:45 AM
Hey folks,

When I first started reloading back in the 1950s, like most other younger folks, I did not have an excess of money to buy everything at once. The first caliber I loaded was for a 30-40 Krag. I had only about one and a half boxes of Rem-Peters brass to get started, so I was very happy when a friend who was teaching me to load gave me about 50 .303 British cases to fireform and use in my Krag.

He showed me how to fireform the cases, and soon I had about 75 cases to use in my Krag. The .303 British cases were 1/8 inch or so shorter than the regular R-P cases, but it really did not matter since I did not need to crimp any of my bullits whether they were jacketed or cast. The important thing to me at that time was simply that they worked, and did not have to buy them. They just looked a little funny if you happened to line them up and see some bullets seemed to be longer and others seemed to be shorter. If there was any difference in accuracy between the two cartridge lengths, I wasn't good enough to tell. To me, they both seemed to shoot the same.

As a few years went by, I got a few more guns and dies to load each of them. With the new guns, all my brass was the correct brass for each gun, but I was still using the same old mix of .303 Brit and regular 30-40 Krag brass in that gun. I finally got to the point where I went out and bought 100 R-P cases for the 30-40 Krag, and as I used the fireformed .303 cases, I took them home and smashed them with a hammer so they could not be used again.

I had come to the point where I simply did not like the idea of using fireformed cases in a gun that was a different caliber than the caliber stamped on the head of the case. I am not suggesting that no cases should ever be fireformed for use when cases are not easily available. I just got the point where it seemed foolish to fireform other cases when the correct cases are readily available.

The last cases I fireformed were 45-70 cases which I made into 40-60 Winchester cases, and that was nearly 20 years ago. At that time, there were no new 40-60 cases to be bought, so I made them from 45-70 cases. I was bothered by the idea of a 40-60 case with "45-70" on the case head, so I used a pointed punch to obliterate the "5" and the "7" one each case head. I know the 40-60 and the 45-70 are obviously different in their sizes and appearance, but I just felt more comfortable with the two numbers marred so that no one would look at the case head and mistake the case for a 45-70.

Of course this thread is about 45-70 cases in standard length and Hornady's short version. Coming back to that particular point, the whole idea of 45-70 "long and short" versions made me think of my "long and short" cases I used in my 30-40 Krag so long ago. They worked in my 30-40 Krag rifle OK, but I just did not like the look and idea of the short ones.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

March 11, 2010, 11:58 AM
Not a 45-70 but, I have thrown away handfuls of hornady 357 mag brass, as it was all way to short.

March 11, 2010, 03:57 PM
I've reloaded using 45-70 brass that started life as factory loaded leverevolution ammo. I had no problem with it.

March 11, 2010, 04:34 PM
I've also handloaded .450 Marlin short brass with few problems. The only issue is it lack capacity when loaded with a heavy bullet due to the location of the crimp groove. But I use them for roundball plinkers a lot and just roll crimp the top. They're growing longer the more I use them ;-)

March 12, 2010, 04:54 AM
Does length even matter? Just load to the normal COAL and the volume under the bullet (the powder capacity) will be exactly the same as any other .45-70 case. That's all that really matters.

Would be a different story if this was a for a magazine fed rifle where the bullet needed to be crimped to a cantalure. THEN it would make a difference to the powder capacity. Just out of curiosity, how much shorter is the Hornady case?

March 12, 2010, 07:14 AM
++ what kernel said.

March 12, 2010, 07:56 AM
Hornady recommends that the cases be trimed about .050 shorter for the 45/70 and .450. They also states that is "may" be necessary to do so in case. I doubt that would be necessary for all rifles. However, I would want to know where I am seating the bullet in relation to the lands if I didn't trim the brass. For a Marlin .450 the longer case will not feed properly. Also, some dies are too long with the shorter case to crimp the round. With the 45/70 you can have the die shortened. That will not work with the .450 Marlin and its belted case. I loaded some for the .450 without a crimp and got fairly significant velocity flunctuations-up to 150 fps. Hornady states that their dies will load and crimp the shorter cases.

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