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45-70 ammunition for my new rifle

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by jgh4445, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    As I posted in another thread, I just ordered a Lyman Model of 1878 in 45-70 and I want to get opinions on what to shoot in it. I have never owned a sharps type rifle nor have I owned a 45-70. This should be fun. I want to shoot BP cartridges and I do already cast all of my own bullets. I don't own a mold for 45-70 yet, hence this post. A 500 yard shot at a gong or plate would be a rarity but will present itself from time to time. 300 yard shots at 6, 12, and 20 inch gongs will be common for me to play with. Primarily, I'll deer hunt with it. On my lease, shots will be from 200 yds and closer. Usually from a shooting house so a good rest will be available. I am guessing that the bullet I'll want to use will be from about 350 to 425 grains and will be a flat nose. ( the rifle has a 1-18 twist) I'd appreciate any mold suggestions and/or advice. I'll be using Goex and Swiss. I have 2 and 3 F of each. I also have an ample supply of Gatefeo's Best lube. I'm also wondering about the lead. Pure? Wheel weights? Alloy of some type?
  2. Don McDowell

    Don McDowell Well-Known Member

    Bullets under 400 gr may not stabilize to well in that barrel. Start with the 405 gr government bullet cast from 20-1, large rifle primer, 70 grs of 2f, a .030 fiber wad stuffed into your favored brand of case.
    When BACO lets you know they have the rifle to ship, have them include a compression die, so you can compress the powder before seating the bullet.
    If you get the burning desire to shoot longer distances the saeco 645 bullet is good to 1000 yds in the 45-70, another bullet is the 500 gr government bullet , it'll shoot to long distance and it's killing ability is without peer.
  3. Oyvind

    Oyvind Well-Known Member

    I use Steve Brooks' copy of the Paul Jones Creedmoor bullet in my Shiloh .45–70 with the same twist. It drops out of the mould at 541 grains and .459in. Another bullet that performs well is Buffalo Arms' .446" paper patch bullet. The Lymans Postell or 500 grain government bullets are good alternatives.

    I wrote up a piece on the experiences based on the first 150 shots with my .45–70 Sharps here: http://www.svartkrutt.net/articles/vis.php?id=20

    Although heavier loads perform equally well, I have settled on the following load for target shooting:

    • Winchester brass.
    • No. 215 Federal Large Magnum Rifle primer with newspaper wad in the primer pocket.
    • 61.5 grains of Swiss No. 4.
    • .059in thick cardboard wad with a newspaper wad on top.
    • The above mentioned Steve Brooks bullet sized and lubricated with SPG in a .459in lubrisizer die.

    The powder is poured through a 24in drop tube and compressed mechanically in a compression die. I usually use a blow tube between each shot.

    Accuracy: 1" at 100m
  4. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. Great info Oyvind! 500+ gr bullets. Not so sure I want that kind of punishment on my shoulder!
  5. Don McDowell

    Don McDowell Well-Known Member

    You may want to not get real carried away with the bullets until you get the gun in hand and either slug the bore or do a chamber cast. Pedersoli chambers tend to prefer bullets at .460 diameter.
    Recoil with that rifle (if they gave it real 77 demensions) will be more muzzle climb than with a 74. That came about from the original longrange match days when a rifle could not weigh more than 10 lbs, and there were no artificial rests allowed so they either shot face forward prone or back position, and having the barrel climb instead of coming straight back on you was a bonus.
    Recoil with black and the heavy bullets isn't all that bad, but the powder capacity of a 45-70 almost makes you hamstrung with the heavier bullets.. 480-500 grs work very well in the 2.1 case.
    Take some note from the Old deadguys ammo, and in particular note that seldom did they load a bullet heavier than 500 grs unless the powder charge exceeded 100 grs.
  6. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    Makes sense Don. I think the rifle weighs in at 9 lbs. Light for a sharps. I will slug the barrel first thing before I go on a buying spree. Have to have some brass anyway, so I'll get some factory ammo to play with. I'm hoping to use the 405's to 425's. Maybe they will stabilize. Don't see the need for anything a lot heavier for m intended use. At first anyway.
  7. Don McDowell

    Don McDowell Well-Known Member

    Depends on the chamber they cut in the thing, and the 18 twist, it may or may not work well with the light bullets. Only one way to know for sure...
  8. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Well-Known Member

    The 45-70 is a unique and versatile round. It can be loaded up for dangerous game and loaded down for small game. I have 7 or 8 molds that go from 192 grain bullets up to 525 grains. The original 457125 Ideal Lyman is my favorite for anything from 100 yds to 500 meter rams. To load them down simply requires finding other things than powder to fill the case. Grease cookie or wads, even cream of wheat. referred to as COW in the BPCR forums. hs been some time since my last competition maych, but I was winning using an old hand held Ideal nut cracker tool to load my cartridges. Tha machinations some go through to load up, with drop tubes and compression dies sounds kind of alien to newbies. Some of these strange things work, some only marginally. Some give the shooter the mental impression he has loaded better. Whatever floats your boat. Buying $500 worth of loading equipment would be excessive at this point. I reload regularly, and it has been a decade siince I used a bench mo
  9. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Well-Known Member

    sorry abou the mispellings etc, learning the ropes to use my television to surf the net. Haven't quite got the keyboard and tv fully on speaking terms yet. It seems strange sitting in the easy chair and typing for the large screen across the room.
  10. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    While I do not have (nor have I ever shot) a Sharps styled rifle, I have used most other rifles available in 45-70. For hunting, epecially under 200 yards, I like the Lyman 458122 Gould HP bullet. For target stuff, the Lyman 458125 is a good one but so are any of the other "target" bullets used by those who win the competitions.

    Another good general purpose bullet is the one that the Armory used in 1873, a close copy of that is avaible in the Lee 459-405HB or equivalent.

    Of the maybe 12-16 bullet molds I own for the 45-70, the Gould and Armory bullet are the two I use most.
  11. MBB

    MBB Member

    If your intent is 200 yards or less when whacking deer in the Alabama pines then the lighter bullet will suffice. The 18" twist is designed to stabize the heavier 500+ grain bullets which is a nice option. If you don't intend to cast then the Speer 405 jacketed SP will flatten a southern whitetail and give some expansion as well. I have found some reasonable accuracy with the Hornady 350 gr RN and the 300 gr hollow point. Buy a box and see how your rifle likes the bullet. The orginal 1881 government bullet is an excellent design. It is three groove and not a bore riding design. They weighed 500 grains. My own drop out of the mold at 535 grains. The Lyman 457125 is close, but not quite. Better option would be to buy the NEI mold or get one from Dave Gullo at Buffalo Arms.
  12. MEHavey

    MEHavey Well-Known Member

    My Pedersoli John Bodine Rolling Block (1:18) did not like 400gr bullets. Period.
    It did (really did) like the Paul Jones 540gr Creedmore (1:30 mix) as well as the
    Lyman 535gr Postell (also 1:30)

    Swiss 1½ with ~0.2" compression under a 0.062" veg/card wad.
  13. MBB

    MBB Member

    Yep, agreed. My older Farmingdale liked the 405 but it also has a 20" twist. Same is true for my Browning '86. The Lyman Sharps should be loaded with at least 500 gr bullets. Then shoot with confidence from here next Sunday.
  14. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    From my reading, I am understanding that round nose bullets are great for paper and steel targets and such, but not so great for deer etc. Is there a heavy flat nosed bullet that would be heavy enough to stabilize and be suitable for hunting? I do plan on casting all my own bullets.
  15. Don McDowell

    Don McDowell Well-Known Member

    The 500 gr government bullet, or copies there of from Lyman,Saeco, BACO and others is a time proven killer bullet, it was designed to smash through charging cavalry horses and punch holes thru on coming foot soldiers. It proved more than capable of both tasks, and has accounted for no small amount of game taken.
    The 405 gr will work quite well also, but with the twist in that rifle barrel, they may or may not shoot worth a crap.
    Might get some factory cast bullets, then buy the mould once you see what your rifle will shoot.
  16. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  17. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    BACO called Friday. The rifle was in. They shipped either Friday PM or this morning to my LGS. Excited!
  18. RClem

    RClem Member

    Interesting reading

    I haven't been here very long this time, used to spend a lot of time on THR, but work and moving around made that less possible, but I'm here again.
    Got a Sharps in 45-70 from BACO 5 years ago, have only got about 500 rounds through it with heavy (550 gr.) grease groove slugs.
    Now I am going to try some 500 gr. paper patch.
    You might want to try some interesting reading by Paul Mathews, the ones I suggest are 40 Years with the 45-70and Loading the Black Powder Rifle Cartridge. Paul used a lot of smokeless powder but also black.

  19. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Well-Known Member

    OK I made a cerrosafe cast of the chamber today. Looks to me like the rifling starts at the mouth of the case. Measurements are
    Length 2.119
    Base dia .505
    Mouth Dia .480
    Bore measures .458 at the chamber and also at the muzzle.

    Attached Files:

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