New to Reloading....have questions...45/70


March 30, 2010, 08:40 PM
Ok so I am a newbie reloader....I dont have much equipment bought yet and I havent even loaded a single shell... I am purchasing a Marlin 1895 Cowboy in a 45/70 so thats what I will be reloading. I have ordered a RCBS Partner press...not "the best" but should be sufficient to load a few hundred rounds every now and then...Does anybody know if this press will automatically prime the cartridge? From what I gathered I have to buy an attachment "ram prime unit" to attach to the press to get this done...right?? Also I have noticed by looking online there are different dies for the 45/70 cartridge...I want to buy the complete set of 3, but do I get the "cowboy" dies or just the regular dies? It says the "cowboy" dies are a shade larger for easier bullet seating when using cast lead bullets...I will not be casting bullets for a while but if I buy the "cowboy" dies will it do the job for "regular" bullets? Sorry for all the questions but I figured if nobody here can help me then, theres no help available...LOL....thanks in advance! Oh, I also ordered RCBS case trimmer, uniflow powder measure, 502 scale....hope they make good products i dont wanna have to buy these things over again in 5 months ....:D

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March 30, 2010, 08:47 PM
My favorite subject...45-70.

I have no experience with the press you mention...I use a Rockchucker.

Dies...I use plain old RCBS dies, not the cowboy set. Mine load cast bullets just fine.

I can tell you that the plain RCBS dies don't come with a seater plug for flat nosed bullets though...I use the seater plug for my 45acp dies, it fits right in there and works like a charm.

RCBS makes top notch stuff...and have a bullet proof warranty.

March 30, 2010, 09:12 PM
Can you fill me in??... lol....what is a seater plug? <------newbie question
Also what should I order for bullets....I like the idea of BIG bullets...Hornandy makes a 500 grain round nose interlock (.45 cal/.458 dia) for the 45-70....thats what I was thinking on getting but I dont really know enough about this to know if thats a good choice...any ideas

March 30, 2010, 09:14 PM
Im guessing .45 cal- .458 diameter is a 45-70 bullet....

March 30, 2010, 09:26 PM
If you want BIG bullets... and

Either if those are awesome...I use the Beartooth 405 LFN/GC (long flat nose, gas check).

You have to be careful with 500 grain jacketed bullets...NONE OF THEM are made for a 45-70. They are the right size (.458), but there are length and crimp issues. These isues can be dealt with...but start slow my friend....shoot lead (its better anyway)

If you order cast bullets...order them either .459" or .460"...This is well proven to be the best in Marlin rifles.

Seater plug...the thing that screws into the top of the seater die. It is what you adjust for bullet seating depth. They are made for either round, pointy, or flat nose bullets...

March 30, 2010, 09:31 PM
My load: and it kicks like a mad mule.

405 grain Beartooth LFN/GC
50 grains of H322
CCI BR2 primer
Remington brass (trimmed after sizing and flaring to 2.095")
OAL 2.555" (seated to 2.558" then crimped on an RCBS seater die in a separate operation, heavily crimped)
Muzzle velocity = 1,886 fps (chrono'd)

100 yards...Skinner peep sights

March 30, 2010, 09:42 PM
Hey thanks for your bullet recipe!! I need all the help I can get to start me reloading excited and cant wait....i dunno bout the beartooth bullets tho....they look and perform great no doubt, but i live in canada and the hassle to get them from idaho would probably be outrageous....maybe i will try cabelas canada and go with regular winchester 405gr and see what happens

March 30, 2010, 09:47 PM
I don't "think" it would be any hassle to get those bullets up there...shouldn't be anyway.

Call or email Marshall (the owner of Beartooth bullets) and ask him...he is a SUPER nice guy.

March 30, 2010, 09:50 PM
Have you ever tried using that nasty looking 525 gr they have on the website....holy crap....

March 30, 2010, 09:57 PM
I have a box of them, but haven't loaded any yet...there is a video of that bullet being fired through (yes, through) 12 hard plastic water jugs...and it kept on going.

Here is a video of it in action...

March 30, 2010, 10:11 PM
Thats just plain crazy....I just emailed beartooth to see if he could get me a shipping quote for 2 boxes....hopefully he can get them here...I will all set after that any other manufacturers make just a plain lead 400gr bullet? All I see online are jacketed bullets, noslers, hornandy, blah blah....So if the .458 isnt made for the 45-70, how do you know exactly what bullets will work? Does it have to say specifically "for 45-70"?

March 30, 2010, 10:17 PM
45-70's are .458" caliber...but with lead bullets you want a couple thousandths bigger.

There are jacketed bullets for the 45-70 (made for it, and are often labeled as such), but none are heavier than 405 grains.

There are plenty of other options for cast lead 45-70 bullets...but they are not much cheaper and if you're gonna load the 45-70 to its potential, the better cast bullets are most suited to that task (plenty of heavy lube and they are HARD cast...antimony)

Go to MidwayUSA website and look up .458" bullets...they will be labeled 45-70, and there are several options for cast as well.

March 30, 2010, 10:19 PM
These are the dies I am going to get....I have searched their website but cant find anything called a seater plug...

March 30, 2010, 10:21 PM
You're gonna need a Lee Factory Crimp die to load most of the 405 grain jacketed bullets, because of the lack of or location of the crimp groove in most of those bullets...and any load fired in a Marlin needs a HEAVY crimp.

The RCBS or similar dies are the best for cast bullets long as you make sure of brass length (they all have to be the same)

March 30, 2010, 10:22 PM
Call RCBS...they'll send you a flat seater plug, maybe even free. They have been known to do it before...but sometimes they want you to buy it. Just depends on who you talk to and the mood they are in.

March 30, 2010, 10:24 PM
I gotta go for now...past my bedtime.

I'm on here everyday though....any questions you have, just ask and i'll give the best answer I can.

There are a few others here as well that can help...

March 30, 2010, 10:35 PM
+1 on the Beartooth Bullets - heat treated to 21 to 22 BHN their LBT bullets have max meplats for destruction and the penetration is awesome.

March 31, 2010, 09:04 PM
This might help answer some questions.

April 2, 2010, 02:47 AM
Missouri Bullets has a 405gr bullet ( for the 45-70 at a very good price. ($36/200)

Tennessee Valley Bullets ( also has 300gr, 350gr and 405gr bullets for the 45-70 ate a good price too.. ($35/250, $39/250 and $43/250 respectively)

Both companies make an outstanding product and both owners are good men to deal with. You can't go wrong with either IMO...

April 2, 2010, 03:04 AM
I know a lot of folks view the 405 as the upper limit for the .45-70, but it isn't. Check out the Cast Performance 420 and 460 grain slugs. Lots of fun to be had with them.

April 2, 2010, 09:03 AM
Good point Cosmoline...

I chose the 405 for a reason though...trajectory. I want a "usable" 300 yard trajectory and the 405 has it as long as its pushed hard enough (1,850 fps or so). The 420 would also do the trick...but the 460/500/525/550 and the like are 200 yard bullets....

David Wile
April 2, 2010, 10:16 AM
Hey folks,

Please note that Mullins initially said he was planning on loading 45-70 for a Marlin 1895 Cowboy leveraction rifle. The reason a 405 grain bullet is usually considered the largest bullet to use is because the action on the 1895 Marlin will not accomodate bullets longer than most 405 grain bullets. You can load a whole bunch of 500 grain bullets in the magazine tube, but they will jam when you operate the lever action and try to feed a cartridge from the tube to the chamber.

Mullins - do not worry about the seater plug. It is part of the seater/crimper die and comes with all die sets. On your other thread about seating and crimping in one operation, I made a response as follows:

Hey Mullins81,

Yes, you can seat and crimp a bullet with one cycle of the press handle. This is true whether you are using a single stage press or a progressive press, so let's go through these steps with the assumption we are using my old single stage RCBS Rockchucker press. We will also assume we are loading fifty .357 Mag cases that are now sitting in a wood block already sized, reprimed, case mouth expanded and slightly belled (remember, any time you bell the mouth of a case, it should never be belled any more than necessary to just barely allow the bullet to slip slightly into the case mouth), and all the cases have been charged.

At this point you will now seat and crimp the bullet in one operation of the press handle. The trick to doing this is to adjust the seating/crimping die properly. So, you place a charged .357 case in the shellholder, raise the ram to its top. Now screw the seating/crimping die into the press until you first feel the die touch the case mouth (if you have difficulty in getting the belled case mouth into the seating/crimping die, you have way too much bell in the mouth, and this cannot be stressed too much).

When you feel the die touch the case mouth, back the die back out a half turn and turn the locking ring down hand tight on the top of the press. Also backe the bullet seater plug back out a half dozen or so turns. Then lower the ram, place a bullet in place on the case mouth and hold it in place as you raise the ram and the bullet enters the die body. As the ram tops out, you should be able to feel if the bullet touches the seater plug. If the bullet does not touch the plug, it will not enter the case. In that event, screw the plug down until you feel the plug touch the top of the bullet (let's also assume the bullet you are using is supposed to enter the case about 1/4 inch when the cartridge is finished). Lower the ram perhaps 1/8 of an inch, screw the plug down to the top of the bullet again, and then raise the ram to its top. At this point the bullet should be inserted about halfway into the case to where the case mouth will eventually be crimped into the crimp groove.

Screw the plug down a little bit more and raise the ram again, thus seating the bullet a bit deeper. Continue adjusting the seating plug and seating the bullet deeper until the top of the case mouth is just at the bottom of the ring above the crimp groove. At this point your bullet should be seated at or very near the correct depth, but it is of course not crimped.

Now is the time to completely reset the die settings to crimp the bullet. First, back out the seating plug maybe a half dozen turns so it does not seat the bullet any further during our next steps. Raise the ram with the seated bullet to the top. Then loosen the die locking ring and screw the die down until it toouches the case mouth again. Lower the ram and screw the die down perhaps a 1/4 turn, hand tighten the locking ring again, and then raise the ram to its top. This will force the case bell out of the case mouth and start the case mouth to crimp into the crimp groove of the bullet. Lower the ram and examine the cartridge. What does the crimp look like? If it needs more crimp, repeat the previous procedure in very small increments until you get the correct crimp. How much crimp? The least that is necessary to do the required job. If you set the crimp too hard and deep, you will buckle the case.

Let's assume at this point you examine the cartridge, and it is seated to the correct depth and crimped just right. Put it back in the shellholder, loosen the locking ring, raise the die a few turns, and then raise the ram to its top (this is the most important key to seating and crimping in one operation). With the cartridge in the shellholder and the ram at its top position, you now screw the die down until the die contacts the finished cartridge on its crimped mouth. Then do a little more than finger tighten the die to insure it is firmly seated on the case mouth crimp. At this point, tighten the locking ring in place. Now you must screw the seating plug down and do a little more than finger tighten it on the top of the seated bullet. Lock the seating plug in place. Your die should now be set to properly seat and crimp the next forty-nine cases sitting in your loading block.

Simply put the next case in the shellholder, hold bullet in place as you raise the ram to its very top, and when you lower the ram, you should have a second cartridge finished just like the first one.

Be very aware that all fifty cases must be the same length and should have their case mouths chamfered. If the cases are different lengths, you cannot get them to crimp at the same spot on the bullet. Keep in mind, once you trim all the cases to the same length and you have chamfered the case mouths, you should not have to do this to these cases again.

I hope I have described how to successfully seat and crimp bullets so most folks can understand the process. If I have missed something, please ask.

So, in final answer to your question, you can seat and crimp your bullets in one operation or cycle of the handle. You do not have to lower the handle twice. You just need to spend a bit of time to properly adjust your seater/crimper die to fit your case and bullet. Once you make the adjustment properly, all the following cases (of the same length) and bullets will seat and crimp in a breeze.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

You do not need a Lee Factory Crimp Die for either cast or jacketed bullets. your regular 3-die set will work perfectly if you learn to adjust the seater/crimper die properly and make sure all your cases are the same length and chamfered.

If you happen to load the 405 jacketed bullet, it will be too long for the 1895 Marlin action. However, it can still be crimped just over the shoulder where the nose starts to round off, and it will fit the action just fine. Again no Lee FC die is needed.

Check an internet seach for cast bullet suppliers. Beartooth is not the only game in town, and you may find other fine bullets at a much lower price. Instead of ordering 1,000 bullets of one type at a time, you can often order different bullets in quantities of 250 or 500 and not have to pay a premium price that locks you into 1,000 bullets you end up not liking. I cast my own gas checked bullets in both 300 and 405 grains, and I prefer them over any of the commercially cast bullets I used at first.

In any case, remember that virtually all cast bullets over 405 grains will not function in the Marlin 1895 action. I know there are a couple that will with some special work, but generally speaking, the Marlin 1895 should be considered as being limited to 405 grains as the upper limit.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

April 2, 2010, 10:52 AM
For someone just starting to reload,a seperate crimp die is THE way to go..trying to adjust 2 settings on one die isn't rocket science,but every time you change bullets for experimenting...and you have to fine tune the seat/crimp die again usually.Seating with one die and crimping with another adds a step,but to me it is THE way to go on ALL my rounds I reload for.

As to heavy bullets with large powder charges,it's gonna KICK THE CRAP OUT OF YOU when shooting from the me.

but they sure do ring steel !!!!!!!!!!! :)

April 2, 2010, 11:20 AM
I noticed that no one has addressed the issue of whether the Partner press was adequate or not. Rest assured that it will serve you well as does most anything that RCBS puts out there. I used one for a good number of years; it came with the primer seater attachment. Personally I quit using that primer seater and went to a bench mounted primer seater which I absolutely love.

David Wile
April 2, 2010, 12:02 PM
Hey Sass,

For someone just starting to reload, learning the proper way to adjust their seating/crimping die is the correct way to go. I agree that every time you change bullets you have to readjust the die, but that is what reloading is. What are you going to do, have a seating die and a crimping die for every bullet you use in every caliber? Get serious. That is what is wrong with so many new folks to reloading. They never learn the basics of reloading.

Also, his Marlin 1895 cowboy will not cycle cartridges with bullets bigger than 405 grains because they cause the overall cartridge length to be too long to get from the tube magazine and lifted to the chamber. When you have that happen, you have to disassemble the tube magazine and lever action to remove such cartridges.

Believe me, 405 grain bullets will ring the steel also, and so will my 300 grain bullets.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

April 2, 2010, 12:07 PM
There are 500+ grain bullets that will feed through a Marlin 1895...2 kinds are made just for the 1895 (525 Piledriver and 550 Crater)

April 2, 2010, 03:30 PM
Moosie, I was wondering about the priming unit on the Partner Press. I didnt know if it came with any kind of priming mechanism or not so I ordered a LEE Ram prime....i dont really know how it works yet but it ha good reviews....Also....I WANTED TO USE 420 GRAIN BULLETS!!! WWWANNNHHH!!!!

April 2, 2010, 03:32 PM
Ridgerunner you looked at those gas checked 420 grains i planned on getting....i hope they will still work in the 1895....

April 2, 2010, 07:39 PM
They look like they will...but no way to know for sure until you load one.

April 3, 2010, 01:02 PM
For cowboy action, you want light recoil. I'd stick with a 300 grain bullet. :D

April 3, 2010, 01:41 PM
the cowboy action is the same as any other marlin isnt it?

April 3, 2010, 01:43 PM
I'm not a cowboy action shooter if thats what you mean my rifle will be used for general range shooting and deer hunting maybe some bear hunting

April 3, 2010, 03:12 PM
I think the question is - the action, the lever loading mechanism, is the same for the Cowboy model as it is for other models like the Guide Gun.

April 3, 2010, 03:29 PM is the same.

April 3, 2010, 03:36 PM
Ridgerunner, I'm really impressed! Your 100 yard 5-shot group is great. But even more impressive is that you could even see the little target with the Skinner peep sights. I'd have to use a scope to see it at all. You must have marvelous eyesight to be able to aim at that tiny square.

April 3, 2010, 03:41 PM
LOL...nobody gets it.

I cant see the tiny square...but I can see the sheet of paper. And I can tell where the middle of it is...SIGHT PICTURE, that is the critical thing...regardless of what you can or cannot see

100 yards...thats only 300 feet people.

And...that is only a 4 shot group.

April 3, 2010, 03:48 PM
I should have posted the 50 yard target (where I can see the lil black square)...1 ragged hole.

April 3, 2010, 05:29 PM
I've had an 1895 Marlin since the new ones came out in the eighties.

For general hunting in North America, the 350 grain Hornady loaded to about 1750 with 4895 or 4064 is hard to beat.

I've also taken mule deer with 385 gr cast bullets and 3031 powder at about 1600 FPS.

April 4, 2010, 08:38 AM
Thanks for explaination Ridgerunner. I thought you must be superman with X-ray vision. But still admire your imagination, are you a gun writer by chance?

April 5, 2010, 06:37 AM
But even more impressive is that you could even see the little target with the Skinner peep sights. I'd have to use a scope to see it at all. You must have marvelous eyesight to be able to aim at that tiny square.

Offfhand, maybe I'm misunderstanding your point but are you familiar with iron-sight shooting at long range (or in this case, short range as it's only 100 yds)? You seem to be implying that tight groups at 100 yds. are impossible with aperture sights.

Obviously you can't SEE a 1/2" square target dot at 100 yds, but you can HIT it, (and certainly can print a nice tight group NEAR it like Ridgerunner did) if you set up the right sight picture of the target and your load, rifle, trajectory data, and technique are correct.

Why am I reading condescending disbelief in your comments?

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