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.45-70 loads for 1884 Trapdoor

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Visionz45, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Visionz45

    Visionz45 Well-Known Member

    My family has owned an 1884 Cadet model for a very long time. My dad at one point loaded with a lee handloading outfit and black powder. I was always under the assumption that black powder was the only avenue of approuch for loading such a weapon until I watched a firearms show that mentioned the use to smokeless, low pressure, loads for this rifle. I'm considering loading for this nice old rifle and would like to avoid black powder. The bore is excellent as well as overall condition. Any hints on safe smokeless loads for such a rifle? I own about 40 pieces of starline brass and have every primer/powder imaginable.
  2. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    With rifles of that age and history I would always start with the caveat of: have it professionally checked for function and fitness.

    With that done, I've attached a load data sheet from Accurate Powder of what they consider Trapdoor appropriate loads. Cross confirm with other data or contact Accurate with any questions, of course.

    Post a picture of the Cadet if you can, would love to see it.

    Good Luck!

    Attached Files:

  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Three suggestions.
    1. Lead bullets, always.
    2. Trail Boss powder.
    3. Starting loads only.

    You can't hardly get in trouble, or kicked too hard that way.

  4. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    I mean this conversationally, not belligerantly, RC...but I've attached my own print of Hodgdon's 45-70/cast bullet loads from their online data center for Trailboss.

    The 405g cast LFP top end of the load range peaks at 25,600 CUP. Not sure if I would want to take an original to those pressures. Fill me in if if I'm talking through my hat.

    [Edit]Hah! I guess your edit addition of point #3 answers that question

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I was thinking #3 in my post covered those max load peak pressures.

    Anyway, a trapdoor carbine will not be a pleasent shooting experiance with max loads of any powder. I don't recommend you do it.

  6. Visionz45

    Visionz45 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  7. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it does. Good thing you edited that in before my questioning post landed. Quick fingers, bud.

    I'll disagree with you on a 18k psi load in an 8 lb. rifle in this cartridge being too much recoil, even with that nasty sliver of a butt stock, but recoil is subjective so the OP can start low and work up anyways.
  8. Visionz45

    Visionz45 Well-Known Member

    Ive just found a load on the WWW that used the bullet that I was looking at:
    405 gr Lead FN
    24.4 grs. of AAC 5744
    CCI 200

    I'm sure this load came from that accurate data. I'm just throwing it out there to see if anyone screams no.
  9. Visionz45

    Visionz45 Well-Known Member


    Some pictures, I'm having problems resizing images. I believe the sight is a buckhorn model that would be correct for an earlier model, this came with it instead of a Buffington model.

    Attached Files:

  10. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    I think that is exactly what XMP-5744 is made for. Thanks for the pictures, it looks like it'll be a hoot and a half.
  11. Kernel

    Kernel Well-Known Member

    No fillers are needed with Trailboss. Not sure about 5744 in a .45-70 case with light load density. It's bulky, but not as bulky as TB.

    Nice old Trapdoor. I'd take off that leather sling and set it aside so as to preseve it's historical value. Use it for display only. It looks like it might be prone to breakage due to age and leather rot. Many suppliers still make perfect copies of those old military slings for around $30.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I won't give numbers I have not tried myself, but 5744 worked pretty well in my .38-55 back when I put them newfangled nitro powders in my Highwall. But it has not been sullied with that nasty stuff for at least 10 years. Black is best.

    Be careful with Trail Boss. It is bulky enough to prevent double charging but it is very fast burning, between Green Dot and International Clays on one chart, substantially faster than 231 or Unique. The pressure rise could shock a weak action.

    Ken Waters liked 3031 for .45-70.
  13. Asherdan

    Asherdan Well-Known Member

    5744 needs no filler. What we're talking about here is what it's made for. IMR 3031 is good stuff as mentioned and Hodgdon has Trapdoor data online from the horses mouth. I still maintain that if you can procure it, 5744 is the right fit here.
  14. Mule

    Mule Well-Known Member

    5744 with a 405gr lead bullet is what I shoot in my model 1873. Not too hard on the shoulder. Enough power to lung punch a whitetail.
  15. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I usually use IMR4198 in my 45-70 ammo. It works very well for me when shot from a Trapdoor...
  16. Guncollector1982

    Guncollector1982 Well-Known Member

    Looks like a 1879 sight. MY 84/73/79 has one just like it. Ive been using 777 black substitute, IMR 4198, and i tried some 2400 powder loads that seemed to work good once.
  17. Visionz45

    Visionz45 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info gentleman. I'm going try some trailboss, h4198 and 5477 tommorrow. Dies were easier to procure than I expected and .45 caliber cast bullets were an easy find as well. I removed the sling and stored it in my collection.
  18. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Well-Known Member

    13grs of a Trailboss under a 350gr cast bullet is one of my favorite extra light plinking loads. Its just plain fun!
  19. Visionz45

    Visionz45 Well-Known Member

    This trapdoor shooting is really fun + I'm now hooked on casting bullets. These 5744 loads have been pleasant shooting so far, except, there is unburnt powder left in the barrel. I haven't used any fillers but was told that a cotton ball placed above the load could help the charge ignite more evenly.
  20. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    DO NOT use cotton balls.

    What you need is Dacron pillow stuffing from the fabric shop.
    A buck two ninety-eights worth is a lifetime supply!

    Unlike cotton balls, Dacron will completely burn up with the powder charge and leave no bore obstruction or smoldering bits of cotton in the dry grass.


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