Resizing 45-70 cases.


May 9, 2013, 08:42 PM
I have read and heard from other good shooters that they do not resize the brass or crimp them, OK, How do you deprime the brass without using the resizer?

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Jim Watson
May 9, 2013, 08:51 PM
There are readily available "universal decapping dies" with a large enough ID to accept about anything, nothing touches the empty except the decapping pin.

May 9, 2013, 09:10 PM
You can also do it with a 1/16" pin punch and a block of wood to set the case on.


May 9, 2013, 10:13 PM
A universal decapper costs about $25 and should be part of every reloader's kit.

Don McDowell
May 9, 2013, 11:29 PM
I use a lee hand press with a universal decapping die to knock the primers out. You need to do that before cleaning the cases . There are also simple decapping tools available from a variety of places, that are basically a pair of pliers with a decapping stem in place of the jaws.

Ron T.
May 10, 2013, 07:42 AM
If I had a .45/70 (which I don't), I'd have a "tungsten-carbide" ("T-C") resizing die for it since it's a "straight-walled" case. This would eliminate having to lube the case prior to resizing it and wipe all the lube off after resizing it... saving quite a bit of time and hassle.

I have several T-C resizing dies for the various straight-walled calibers I reload. However, they are handgun cartridges rather than rifle cartridges... so there may be some "problem" using T-C resizing dies with the longer rifle cases.

A carbide die not only considerably shortens the time involved in the complete reloading operation, but shines up the case nicely as well and totally eliminates the hassle of having to lube, then wipe off the lube after resizing.

Yes, those T-C dies aren't cheap, but they last a life-time and the time you save and the elimination of the hassle of getting all the lube off the cases is well worth it in my humble opinion.

When Fred Huntington first started RCBS, he use to offer "custom-made" resizing dies as a "service" FREE-OF-CHARGE if you sent him 3 fired cases (not resized)... and he'd return the 3 cases along with the T-C die charging ONLY his standard price for the T-C resizing die.

Since Fred sold out, I dunno if RCBS still offers such a "deal", but given their excellent customer service, RCBS may still offer such a "service"... possibly at an extra charge. You can "Google" their phone number. I have it, but it's downstairs in one of my reloading manuals.

Therefore, I suggest you check into it since such a "custom" die would NOT resize a fired case down to smaller than your rifle's chamber. but make the case a perfect fit for your individual rifle's chamber.

This would give you 3 advantages:
1) You could leave the de-capping pin in place when resizing the case.
2) You could entirely eliminate lubricating the case for resizing and thus eliminate the time-consuming hassle of having to lube the case prior to resizing, then having to remove the lube after resizing which is always a "pain".
3) You'd end up with clean, shiny, "dry" cartridge cases without having to tumble 'em. Then it is a simple matter of cleaning out the prime pocket, recapping the cases, dropping the powder in the case & seating the bullet.

As concerns "crimping"... there's no need to crimp the bullet if it is being fired in a single-shot rifle. The resizing operation will "tighten" the neck of the case enough to securely "hold" the bullet in place. However, crimping IS necessary for cartridges used in a rifle which has a magazine for additional cartridges due to the possibility that the recoil from firing a cartridge will cause the bullets in the cartridges in the magazine to tend to "back out".

Jus' my 2... ;)

Strength & Honor...

Ron T.

highlander 5
May 10, 2013, 08:15 AM
45/70 cases are tapered not straight walled so a carbide die is out of the question and if it were straight walled to have it made would be expensive as all get out. And just because it's carbide doesn't mean no lube,carbide dies are made for 30 carbine and 223 and they still need to be lubed. Easiest way out is to use a 45 Colt carbide die and neck size the case and yes it will work is I've tried it for laughs. The loaded cases look ridiculous but they will work.

May 10, 2013, 08:15 AM
I have the Lee Universal decapping die that I use from 9mm to 45-70 without a problem. It decaps dirty cases without a problem, tumble and ready to go with reloading. Worth every cent of the cost and even carry it on a Lee Hand press when shooting black powder due to how fast the brass starts to turn black.

Ron T.
May 10, 2013, 08:50 AM
My mistake! The .45/70 cases I've seen looked "straight-walled" to me. :banghead:

HIGHLANDER 5 may be correct in indicating that the .45/70 isn't a "straight" case. I don't have a rifle in that caliber and don't load for the caliber as I mentioned previous... sooooo if it is a "tapered case", then I agree that a tungsten-carbine die would not work.

However, I do load for 9x19mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 ACP calibers... all "straight cases" and I use tungsten-carbide resizing dies... and I have never had to use any lubrication on the cases for these calibers during the 50+ years I've been reloading.

The .223 is a "bottle-neck" case and the .30 caliber Carbine may be a tapered case (I dunno)... which may be the reason why HIGHLANDER 5 must use lubrication on them when reloading 'em. Since I don't own or shoot either caliber, I couldn't say. I'm not "into" military caliber semi-auto rifles.

Normally, tungsten-carbine dies can not be used on "bottle-necked" or tapered cases. I reload for a good many pistol and rifle cartridges, but with the exception of my Ruger #1 International (aka "RSI") in 7x57mm and my 1911A1s in .45 ACP, I have no other current or past military caliber firearms.

If it doesn't have a blued or browned barrel and a wooden stock, you won't find it in my gun-safe.

I.E., I'm not "into" the so-called "black rifles" and so, you'll have to forgive my ignorance concerning them, and to some extent, their cartridges. :)

Strength & Honor...

Ron T.

May 10, 2013, 08:58 AM
Depends on what you are shooting them in. If you're using a Marlin lever action, then they most likely need resizing and crimping. If you're using a single shot, then resizing and crimping MAY not be necessary.

May 10, 2013, 10:09 AM
Ditto on the universal decapping die.

May 10, 2013, 11:53 AM
I have an original, and a H&R Trapdoor, and I mostly shoot the original, so I mostly don't need to resize, but when I want to shoot the H&R, I do have to resize.

May 10, 2013, 12:06 PM
I reload 45-70 BP cartridges for a Trapdoor, I simply screw the resizing die out as far as I can and the decapping pin in as far as I can, this does resize the case mouth slightly but that gets belled out when I flare the case for the bullets. I don't crimp after loading, the powder stays compressed and the neck tension holds the bullets in pretty well.

I don't have a universal decapper but do like the idea of a lee hand press with decapper for the range.

Don McDowell
May 10, 2013, 12:19 PM
Stormin, I also take a set of dies, and all the fixins to load more ammo if I need practice ammo, when going to shoots like the Quigley and others where a fella might be there shooting a few days before the actual match starts.
That lee hand press is handy thing for the bpcr shooter to keep in his equipment box.

May 10, 2013, 02:55 PM
You can also do it with a 1/16" pin punch and a block of wood to set the case on.

That's what I do too, rc. It works a treat and it's cheap.

Driftwood Johnson
May 10, 2013, 08:17 PM

Here is the deal. If you are shooting them in a repeater, like a Marlin Model 1895 or a Winchester Model 1886, it is necessary to crimp the bullets, because bullets may shift or get damaged when run through the mechanism. Recoil can cause them to jump out a bit, and the action of slamming them in a tubular magazine can tend to telescope bullets further into the case, however a solid plug of Black Powder will probably stop that from happening.

In a single shot, like a Sharps or a Trapdoor, this is not a concern. So some of the top shooters in BPCR competitions do not crimp the bullet in place, they simply insert it with neck tension. The theory is this will disturb the shape of the bullet less than crimping, achieving top accuracy. However, if one does not resize one's cases, they will be fireformed to fit the chamber of the rifle they were fired from. They may not fit perfectly in another rifle.

Personally, when I load 45-70 for my Sharps, I bell out the mouth of the cases just a tiny bit, to seat a lead bullet without shaving any lead. Then after seating a primer, charging with powder, adding a wad and compressing the powder with a compression die I seat the bullet, then give it just enough crimp to fold the 'belled' case mouth back, without putting on any real crimp.

That's what works for me.

45-70 cases appear straight, but they have a slight taper to them.

Conventional carbide dies use a short insert of carbide, like a thick washer. The hole in the center is one diameter through, so cases shoved through the hole will only have one diameter for their entire length. Producing a carbide die for tapered cases like this would be cost prohibitive because of the dimensions needed for the carbide, and the cost to machine it to shape. So there are no commercially available carbide dies for 45-70.

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