Everything old is new again. (.45-70 loads)

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Dec 24, 2002
I bumped into a friend with a C. Sharps .45-90, who had been shooting some beautifully-made 450 and 500gr swaged lead bullets ahead of card wads and a bunch of FFg. His accuracy at 100 yards made me sit up and take notice, several of his groups were downright impressive, 3 shots into an inch and a half, or tighter!

So I find out that the bullets are swaged from lead wire, and the lube grooves are lathe-turned afterwards. The gentleman who makes them visits Florida from Canada every year during the winter, and makes his bullets available through a store called Buffalo Bill's Shooting Store in Orlando. I have my friend snag me 100 of the 450gr round-nose flat points, and I scrounge a bunch of OxYoke Wonder Wads, as well as the wife's can of Crisco.

Mrs. G-98 and myself spent a relaxing evening in front of the TV, smearing the lube grooves on those big 450's with Crisco. (kinky, eh?) The action moved to the family room, as she finished dropping 5.0 grains of WW231 in the bottom of the case, she handed the case to me, in order to drop-tube 55.0 grains of FFg Goex on top, using an old aluminum ski pole as the drop tube. I used a bunch of Remington-UMC balloon-head brass, so it all fit nicely, the Wonder Wads pressed into place, then the slippery Crisco-lubed 450 were seated until the top lube groove was no longer visible. A light pass through the Lee Factory Crimp die removed the case belling and prevented the bullet from backing out against the compressed blackpowder charge. In the pic below, the 450gr swaged bullet is on the right, with a completed round at the far right.


From my Ruger #1S, these rounds are a delight to shoot, lots of wonderful Crisco-smelling white smoke, and I have no problem keeping the rounds grouping between 1 and 1.5" at 100 yards. Of course, I cheated by dropping that 5.0 grains of 231 into the case before the main BP charge, but the clean bore after each shot is it's own reward. These have become my favorite .45-70 target load. But I should've bought more than 100 of those bullets, because I have to wait until Mr. Canadian craftsman comes back this winter. :(

The bullet on the left? It's a Beartooth 405gr hard-cast gas-checked flat nose. The completed round is on the far left. Harder than the hubs of HeII, it's also one heck of a bullet. Using a case full of Reloder 7 in new Winchester brass, I've chronographed it moving over 2000fps out of my Ruger #1S, but like Old Man Newton said, for every action there's an equal and opposite equal reaction. I can shoot 10 of them, maybe 20 of them, per day, but then I have to call it quits. Accuracy is quite good with the Beartooth bullets, but the flinch tends to crop up on the shooter rather quickly. The important thing is that the first several shots go where they're supposed to, so if I can ever save up for a bison or Cape Buffalo hunt someday...
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