BP and the .45-70


April 24, 2010, 10:08 AM
I know I am supposed to FFG in rifles. However all I have on hand is FFFG specifically Swiss FFFG for my cap and ball revolvers on hand.
So what will happen if I load up 70 grains of FFFG under a 500 grain lead bullet?

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April 24, 2010, 10:31 AM
You probably won't be able to get 70 grs in a modern case. I use a smidge of smokeless powder and 50 gr of 3fg behind a 530 paper patch bullet with no problems.

April 24, 2010, 10:34 AM
OK, that is good to know. For a newbie like me could you define a smidge and type of powder please.

April 24, 2010, 10:41 AM
I just loaded out some 45-70 with 500 gr bullets I used 66 grs of FFg which came to maybe .08 from the top of the case mouth, added a .062 veggie wad, compressed powder to .5 from case mouth and loaded bullet.
I then bumped to 70 grs FFg then using a drop tube it filled case the same as the 66 gr charge not using a drop tube, I finished the 70 gr charges same as the 66gr from there on. I think 70gr would fit just by pouring slow.

Jim Watson
April 24, 2010, 04:40 PM
Modern gun?
FFFg is ok. Some shooters use it to gain velocity, some to help accuracy.

I'd avoid that smidge of smokeless until you have studied duplex loading a bit.

April 24, 2010, 06:58 PM
I'd avoid that smidge of smokeless until you have studied duplex loading a bit.

That is why I used the terminology I did. :)

April 25, 2010, 06:10 AM
Ok will go all smokeless or all BP. While I do reload I am certainly not knowledgable for duplex loads.

April 25, 2010, 11:12 AM
I have no problem loading 70 grains of any BP, (except Fg) in a modern case, (Remington). These are heavier than most other cases.
The only difference between FFg and FFFg, is granual size, meaning the FFFg burns faster. (Avoid using FFFFg in anything other than flash pans or fire works) Sieving your can of powder will also remove the very fine stuff, this has proven to increase accuracy in BPC loads.
I use a 34" aluminum arrow shaft with a funnel attached as a drop tube and trickle the powder in (takes about 10 seconds). The powder is about .375" from the mouth when I'm done, then compress to about .625" from the mouth with a .030" to .065" card on most loadings.
I use a JIM459545C1 mold with 1:40 lead to end up with a 555 grain bullet.
At the present, I am working on putting in a little more powder (BP), upwards of 72 gr., so far no problems, the recoil is getting a little more extreme, but they still fall from the chamber and haven't flattened the primer any more than a 70 gr. charge. I haven't chrongraphed any of the heavier charges yet, but it has changed the point of impact by as much as a foot at 500 yds.
Avoid the use of smokeless under BP until you have a lot more information. Reading BPCR forums will give you a better idea of the different loading techniques and why you might use a smokeless duplex loads in a BP case, you don't need it to ignite BP.


April 25, 2010, 02:14 PM
Ok will go all smokeless or all BP. While I do reload I am certainly not knowledgable for duplex loads.

Alfy look at Hodgdon's website site for Varget powder and Trapdoor loads, good smokless loads. Also IMR 3031, AA 5477 & 4759.
BP is fun just take your time and make sure you are getting compression on the powder.
I actually use a total of 5 dies to load BP and 3 to load smokless.

April 25, 2010, 04:08 PM
Tom: Have you had any real good accuracy with smokeless over the 300 meter mark?
I too use 5 dies for BP, that is minus the universal de-capper die.


April 25, 2010, 05:34 PM
Ray not really, I actually loaded smokeless just to get the feel of the rifle but BP is where it is at! I was thinking of running a few smokeless thru the rifle after I was done with BP, maybe run a swab or two down the barrel then a few smokless rounds after.

April 25, 2010, 09:18 PM
On one of the BPCR forums I read, there was some reference to using a smokeless powder charge for removing the fowling, I never did follow it long enough to find out how it worked. I was always afraid of the pressure being to much for something, so I never tried it. I use the weed sprayer with water and a couple of swabs.
I did some testing last year with smokeless and the 500 yard gong, had to elevate so far that it was uncomfortable to shoot, (was nice to clean tho). Left the scope cranked up to where I had hit the gong and over shot it about 20' with BP. So I pretty much discarded the thought of smokeless in a .45-70, especially for longer ranges.
I am still trying to understand the physics of why BP will carry a heavy bullet with a flatter trajectory, than smokeless, I just know it to be a fact.


Jim Watson
April 26, 2010, 07:54 PM
Doesn't mean it had a flatter trajectory, just that the bullet exited when the barrel was at the top of its firing vibration cycle with black and not with white.

April 27, 2010, 04:19 AM
99% of my shooting is going to be at 300 meters or less. Most of it at 100.
The heaviest bullets I can find at an affoardable price at 475 grain ones, flat nosed with and without gas checks. So ahve ordered a 100 of each. I have asked that they be shipped unlubed, so that I can pan lube them with the BP lube I make.

April 27, 2010, 09:52 AM
Afy, that sounds to me like you are on the right track. Good Luck!

April 27, 2010, 02:54 PM
Ok another question. Say I load up a cartridge with 60 grains of BP, a paper wad, lube pill and non gas checked bullet. So we have compression et al. Also have gone with Starline brass since it has decent reviews and is cheaper than Win or Rem.

How long can I actually store that cartridge, knowing it will go off reliably. Assuming no crimp, since I have a single shot.

April 27, 2010, 04:55 PM
I don't use a lube pill but do use a .062 veggie wad, bullet is lubed and I'm not sure the lube pill is needed. So far I don't see a need for one. In my Starline cases 66 grs of FFg & a .062 veggie wad fill my case, I then use my powder compresor tool. 60 grs & veggie wad you should be close to case mouth and have powder compression.

April 27, 2010, 07:11 PM
So how long can I store the ammo?

April 27, 2010, 09:49 PM
Same as smokeless, no reason for it to go bad unless you put something in there that will attack the powder.
I have a can of BP over 25 + years old it was stored properly and still shoots great.

April 28, 2010, 03:49 AM
Tom, that is good to know. So I can safely load up ammo and store it until required.

May 8, 2010, 08:02 AM
More newbie questions...
Does the powder load for BP vary with bullet wieght? I have finally recieved 200 bullets, half are gas checked, and all are 475 grain.
In terms of smokeless I have Tubal and VV primarily. A little bit of Varget with no means to get more, would like to conserve that for my 6 BR. Any recipies?

May 8, 2010, 01:52 PM
Does the powder load for BP vary with bullet wieght?

It can, but it doesn't need to. Generally one simply loads enough BP in these old rounds so that there is NO airspace in the case.

For example, I load for my Dutch Beaumont-Vitali rifle, .43 Beaumont cartridge. I load a 365gr bullet and as much FFg as will fit in the case to the top, which I then compress down and add a wad to. I did this same procedure (same approximate powder volume) when I used 300gr bullets, and when I used 400gr bullets. Only the 365gr bullets produce fair accuracy, though. :)

So how long can I store the ammo?

Regarding stored BP cartridges, I just fired off the very last of the 12ga BP loads I loaded into paper hulls with my granddad when he was still alive... in 1994. The BP used was DuPont FFg, if that gives you an idea of the age of the powder! No part of those shells was newer than 1970, as far as I know. After loading, they were stored in a basement this whole time, just in a cardboard shell box. The trick is to remember to seal around the primer with clear nailpolish "top coat" and also seal (in the case of shotshells) around the top wad.

May 9, 2010, 09:43 AM
So since viggie wads are not available in wonderful France.. this is my initial gameplan:
BP: 65 grains of FFFG Swiss. A disc cut from notebook paper dipped in my blend of Bees wax, parafin and crisco. And a 475 grain lead bullet. CCI LR primer.

Smokeless: 30 grains of N-120 and the same bullet with a GC and CCI LR Primer. Might try 35 grains of Varget as well. Though QL is telling me that Varget will not burn completely.

Anyhow when I do get home at the end of the month, I can go test.
Another newbie question..
How do I zero a Verner Sight. Have the Pedersoli 406 mounted.

May 9, 2010, 09:07 PM
Here's a link to using a vernier tang sight from a previous thread:


And the relevant thread:


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