light and fast 45/70 loads


January 24, 2012, 04:09 PM
Ordered a 45acp/45 colt lead mold for my ssa and 1911 and i thought it would be oh so cool if i could use the same 230 grain bullets that i use in my pistols in the sharps 45/70 I plan on getting to make some faster, flatter shooting loads, and i suppose it would be nice if this worked well enough to use copper jackets as to avoid leading. I don't care much for leading in rifles.
Evidence has been convincing me that this will not work, but i still plan on trying it with at least the lead 250 grainers. I know hornady makes some light, elongated 45/70 conicals but no thanks.
Has anyone here tried using all lead or copper jacket pistol bullets in their 45/70 or similar caliber rifles? just how inaccurate is it? I've heard the frisbee/pie plate analogy and enough ballistic coefficients already.

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January 24, 2012, 04:23 PM
Just so we know you are starting from the right spot... You do know that .45/70 and .45acp use different diameter bullets right?

January 24, 2012, 04:27 PM
And also, 230 grain pistol bullets have about the same ballistics coefficient as a ping-pong ball.

You can start them out as fast as you like, but they will still slow down faster and drop like a rock compared to a heavier 45-70 rifle bullet at much past 150-200 yards.


January 24, 2012, 04:37 PM
45-70 uses .458 -.460 bullets (especially if they are lead).

45 acp uses .451-.452 bullets

it may work, but you are not going to get any sealing of the bore, leading is going to be severe.

January 24, 2012, 04:40 PM
Leading is not a major problem if you match the alloy to the load. Also you can use paper jackets with the Sharps and BP loads, as it was intended. Those are astonishingly accurate. And if you're set on modern powders there are a number of semi-spitzer style .458" jacketed bullets around for use in single shot rifles.

You'll have a much bigger problem with copper fouling interacting with the lead. They don't mix well, and I've found it very useful to keep rifles that I'm shooting cast in free from copper and visa versa.

Jim Watson
January 24, 2012, 05:49 PM
The American Rifleman once had an article about the Gould Express, a 330 grain cast hollowpoint for the .45-70. The original blurb for the mould went "With 85 grains of Hazard's Ducking Powder, the Gould Express will shoot practically as flat as a .45-90-300 and with greater accuracy."

The early loads for the British .450 Black Powder Express had bullets as light as 270 grains. Bullet weight was increased as people realized that penetration was poor with such a light fast (by 19th century standards) bullet and it ended up around 365 grains. Which is still a lot less than the Rigby .450 Nitro Express at 480 grains.

So it has been done and you can do it if you want to. But not with a pistol bullet.

January 24, 2012, 05:50 PM
yes, i was aware of the diameter difference. I had planned on patches. rcmodel, thank you for a good example there, that actually makes some sense. I hear 300-400 grains is ideal for 45-70, what about 250? has anyone here actually tried it?

January 24, 2012, 06:40 PM
Why? The 45-70 is not about fast and light. There are much better platforms for fast and light. Try the 525 grain Pile Driver on top of A healthy charge. Thats what the 45-70 is about.

January 24, 2012, 07:27 PM
I have not tried a 250gr but I push a hard cast 405gr at around 2000fps for hunting. Now that is a fun round to shoot.

That would be a fair amount of patching to get it up to 458 or so. And I am no expert on paper patching, though I very much want to get in to it, but I am not sure you can paper patch just any old bullet. Doesn't the bullet need to be a paper patched type bullet?

January 25, 2012, 12:25 AM
I mean a cloth patch like a muzzle loader. I hear about a lot of experimenting with 45/70 rounds and it sounds like fun. It would be economically convenient for me if 250 gr cloth patched slugs with smokeless would preform good at long ranges but i'll probably just get a 300gr mold after some experimenting of my own.

hang fire
January 25, 2012, 12:38 AM
light and fast 45/70 loads

In late 1800s when they came out with big bore express cartridges (read as light bullets) the rifle makers had to change the rifling twists for the express rounds. And some of the twists were very, very slow, like 1 in 50 or slower.

Green Mountain makes .50-90---110 express barrels for the Win 1886 and the twist is 1 in 54.

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