45-70 Gov smokeless loads for Sharps

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by TUCO-the-ratt, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. TUCO-the-ratt

    TUCO-the-ratt New Member

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    Hello to all this is my first post.

    My latest foray into the hobby of shooting is developing an accurate smokeless load for my new Pedersoli Sharps rifle in 45-70. I will go the black powder rout eventually but for now to save money (BP is expensive) and the extra case cleaning requirements for black powder I'm trying to more or less duplicate the ballistics of a black powder load while using one of the smokeless rifle powders I have on hand. IMR 4895, H4895, Varget or Trailboss.

    The bullet I'm using is 515-520 grains depending on how I mix my alloy 20-1 lead/tin to 30-1 Lead/tin. I'm looking for an accurate load not just something that's safe too shoot.

    I have found very little smokeless loading data for the 45-70 in this bullet weight and pressures of 29000 or less.

    To get help I've tried registering on the Shiloh Sharps and BPCR.net message boards two months ago and am still waiting to be "approved/activated"

    Any body have a source for this loading data?
  2. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    For my loading the BP is only $9.00 per pound here much less expensive than smokless. I shoot BP paper patch in my Sharps rifles. I use smokless in my 86' lever gun. You are right on the BP cleaning. I like using loads with Reloader 7 it seems to do well in the 45-70. Check this one out it is a good 45-70 powder. good luck

    RC
  3. TUCO-the-ratt

    TUCO-the-ratt New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Where do you get black powder for $9 a pound? Everywhere I look it's $25 a pound minimum order 5 pounds plus shipping and hazmat.
  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    TUCO, welcome to The Firearms Forum.

    I have never loaded any thing larger than a 405 grain bullet in my 45-70, but Lyman #49 manual shows some loads using IMR-4895 and Varget in a 500 and 535 grain bullet. The Hornady manual doesn't show any 500 grain info and the Speer manual shows one for Varget that is pretty close to what the Lyman one shows.

    Please check your PM to see the information.
  5. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Well-Known Member

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    check the Hodgdon website for trailboss recommendations for your load they list for both lever action and trapdoor rifles!
  6. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    Tuco, We have a Goex Dist warehouse 7 miles from town on the Bear River. I pick it up no Frt. or Hasmat. Case price$9.00 or bulk powder in a bag is $8.00. I had some 45-70s rechambered to 45-90 and 45-110 for the big 500 grs and 600 grs bullets. They work great with BP shooting at long range gongs. good luck:)

    RC
  7. TUCO-the-ratt

    TUCO-the-ratt New Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    Ahhh..... to live in Wyoming seven miles from a Goex warehouse, what a dream. We lived in Billings Montana for 14 years before my wife talked me into moving to Florida. Yes, I kick my own ass everyday in regret over it. I'm making it back out west for good within a couple of years.

    hunter29180,

    About the trailboss. I have five pounds of it. I started out with a Shiloh Sharps in 45-120 that I bought at a gun show a couple of months ago. BP was like 50 cents a shot just for powder and a hell'v-a recoil so I went the trailboss route. I worked up every possible trailboss load (as well as setting bullets on the rifling using a drop tube and keeping cartridges vertical until firing) The best it got was three leaf clovers and two flyers at a hundred yards. I have four targets with this pattern. There was a lot of vertical strings in my groups (a sign of pressure variations I've read.) I was afraid to try another powder in the 45-120 because of the case volume and I read that the 45-120 is basically one of the those inherently inaccurate cartridges. Too bad I bought first and researched later. So, after I learned a lot about Sharps profile rifles I bought a Pedersoli in 45-70 so at least I've got the versatility of using several smokeless powders as well as BP. I'll try trailboss after the other powders because I've heard from several people that it produces inconsistent pressures and it seems that's been my experience though it works very well in my 44-40 lever gun and 45 colt.

    gmoody, I'm going to try 39 grains of varget behind my 515 gr 20-1 lead/tin bullet based on that data from Lymon. I think that'l put me in the 12-13 hundred fps range also I'm going to try a few BP loads. (I've got one can of pyrodex RS/FFG equivalent)
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    When I had my rolling block .45/70 i liked 38 grs of reloder 7 under a 500 gr cast bullet. I also played with varget and had decent results, cant remember the loads tho...
  9. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    TUCO I am sure the "Big Sky Country", lost a good man when you moved back east. It is not so strange to get flyers with these shoulder morters. I think a good bullet lubed with SPG or a paper patch works well with BP. TUCO unless you have a Paper Patch Chamber stay with the "Greasers', good luck:)

    RC
  10. TUCO-the-ratt

    TUCO-the-ratt New Member

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    Here's the results of my latest test using powder and lead that I have on hand since I'm broke after buying these two Sharps rifles. I cast 30 to 1 lead/tin, 20 to 1 lead/tin and 5% antimony/lead. The bullet is a pointed type and weighs 515 -520 grains depending on the alloy with the 30 to 1 being the heaviest.

    I tried some Pyrodex RS (FFG equivalent) in several loadings and compressions with the 30 to 1 bullet. I tried the Varget in loadings of 37.5 grains and 40 grains in all three lead alloys.Test were at 100 yards with tang and globe sights.

    The best Pyrodex 5 shot group was 3.700.

    The best Varget 5 shot group was 2.093. That was with the 30 to 1 bullet.

    I had another Varget load that was 1.958 with 20 to 1 but a sixth shot wasn't even on the paper so I don't know what to think of it.

    The 5% antimony/lead bullets were wild and even some key holing. One printed perfectly sideways on the paper.

    I think I'm on my way to a decent cheap load. I was thinking of trying a slower powder since the barrel is 34 inches long.
  11. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    Is there a possibility that there was two shots through one hole? Sounds like this was your best grouping.
  12. TUCO-the-ratt

    TUCO-the-ratt New Member

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    I looked real hard for that but couldn't find any evidence of two going through the same hole. Also all of the other groups in that powder charge and alloy were not very good while the other had the second best group and another that was a bit bigger but still very good. I'm going to try them both again to see what's going on.
  13. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I have been loading and shooting a Pedersoli Sharps (Billy Dixon) for three years now. I have NO intention of loading BP in it as I've BTDT and it is not my cup of tea.

    I cast, load and shoot the 500 gr bullet in my rifle and am getting great accuracy. Allow me to pass along what I am doing.

    The two bullets are: Lyman Creedmore round nose (don't have the number at my fingertips) and the RCBS Creedmore pointed (again, no numbers). The Lyman casts with wheelweights and 2% tin to 518 gr. and the RCBS to 510 gr. These bullets are run through a Star Luber/sizer to .4580 using Red Rooster, and then frozen for 48 hours to increase their hardness (arsenic in the wheelweights). I do weigh and sort on a bell curve.

    My experience has been that you can not achieve max velocities with these two bullets. It isn't going to happen. If you creep up to 1,300 fps the bullet starts to keyhole. Keep your loads below 1,200 fps and you will see your best accuracy.

    The powders that have worked best for me are: IMR 4198, 27.5 gr. with a Federal 210M. IMR 4895, 35.0 gr. with the same primer. These two loads shoot in the 1.2--1.4" range with my rifle, at 100 yards. Recoil is mild, but the load "feels" substantial: it's not a pussycat.

    For pure "D" great accuracy, load the Remington 405 gr. JSN with IMR 4895. One of my favorite loads, and it shoots in the 1/2" range at 100 yards.

    Hope this helps. I have to say the Sharps is my number one go-to rifle for a range session. I've even loaded copper (I'm in the Condor zone) and killed a couple of nice hogs with it.
  14. TUCO-the-ratt

    TUCO-the-ratt New Member

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    Thanks for the advise.

    Since my last post I had a breakthrough (not the kind an emotional basket case has) I mean a reloading breakthrough. I retried the same loads as before except for the last few rounds I had I tried letting the barrel get very warm and I got a 1.1 and a.98 group. It seemed like the warmer the barrel got the better it shot. I'm wondering if that is unique to extra heavy barrels. Any body else experience better accuracy with a warmer barrel?
  15. old semperfi

    old semperfi Active Member

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    i live in southern indiana,old country boy at hear
    yes,to the warmer barrel at times but..................do not use any load recommennded by anybody unless you can verify it in a reloading publication,the fingers and face you save,may be your own. old semperfi
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