Reloading for 45-70/500 gr

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by okiefired, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. okiefired

    okiefired New Member

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    OK guys and gals, looking for advice. Got a buddy with two rifles chambered in 45-70 he's wanting me to reload for useing his 500 gr cast bullets. The rifles are a Sharps repro. and a modern double that can handle modern charges WITHOUT getting into the likes of Ruger No. 1 pressures. I've done quite a bit of online research and looked at the four manuals I have and have not found much data on the 500 gr. bullet loads......some but not much. The only powders I've seen used that I have are Varget and IMR 4064 but I'm certainly not opposed to buying something else if the situation dictates. From an online source I got data for 4064 at 48.0 gr (1429 fps) to 51.0 gr (1610 fps) that came from the Hodgdon #46 manual. I loaded one @ 48.0 and it was compressed. Does this sound right to you? I know OAL is important in the likes of the Marlin lever guns but how importand is it in these rifles, should I stick to 2.550 or can I go substancially longer? I havn't measured the chambers and dont intend to. He's wanting to get around 1500 fps. TIA for any help.

    okie
  2. Hedge

    Hedge New Member

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    I use 5744 with 405 gr cast bullets at about 1200 fps. Very accurate. Tried it with 500 gr cast...OUCH! If your friend wants to kick 'em out at 1500 fps, it won't be a plinking round. ;)

    Here's some data from Accurate Powder:
    5744 500 LC FP
    min. 25.2 gr. 1,265 fps
    max 28.0 gr. 1,400 fps 27,900 psi 2.550 col

    As far as OAL, I always make it a practice to measure the distance to lands for the bullets I use. That tells me just how far out I can actually seat the bullet.
    With the 500 gr cast I used, all of the bullet tip was inside the bore. OAL had to be measured from the drive band and not from cartridge base to bullet tip.
  3. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    In Speer #14 Trapdoor load for 500gr Varget start 41g 1337fps Max 45g 1466fps.
    Lyman #49 Trapdoor load Varget start 40.5g 1150 fps Max 45g 1356 fps

    Thats all the 500g listing I got in my manuals. There are other powder options however.
  4. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I have a Sharps reproduction made by Pedersoli that I have been casting and loading for several years. My cast bullet load uses the Lyman 500 gr. round nose that casts at 518 gr. using wheel weights. Here is what I learned:

    Disclaimer: Do not trust any load data not verified through a reputable loading manual. These loads are for MY gun and I am responsible for them in MY gun only. All groups are five shot, shot over a Chrony.

    Probably the best powder is IMR4198. A load using 27.2 gr. sized to .4580" and seated at the lands develops a velocity of 1,250 fps and one hole accuracy at 100 yards. This load can be bumped up to 34.0 gr. and still stay under the peak allowable pressure of 29,200 cup, but accuracy suffered over 1,300 fps. I am playing with RL7 as I've heard good reports on it, but have no definitive data on it yet (32.0 to 34.0 gr.). I have used Benchmark and IMR4895 as well; up to 43.0 gr. for both with 1 1/2" to 2" groups at 100 yards. Currently I have been working with paper patching this same bullet and am getting velocities approaching 1,600 fps with 2" groups at 100 yards. IMO you will not be able to produce loads that will work well in BOTH rifles using the same load data. Only trial and experimentation will tell.

    Cases are annealed, the brass is neck-sized only, with a mild taper crimp to just hold the bullet. Loads at the higher end are compressed slightly. Primer is the Federal 210 Match and brass is either WW or R-P. The bullet is cast from WW and tin, heat treated and sized to .4580" and lubed with my own recipe in a Star. Lube is critical to developing a load that won't keyhole so some attention should be maintained in finding a lube that works for you.

    The paper patched bullets are sized to .4520" and wrapped up using tracing paper to .460" and lubed with Johnson's Paste Wax. Wrap is high up the ogive to start into the leade of the barrel.

    Recoil is stout in a 12 lb. rifle, a full day of shooting is 10-20 rounds.

    Work up to these loads carefully. I actually ran an experiment where I used a number of slow burning powders up to and including H4831. When you get past IMR4895 in burn rate (slower), you start to lose velocity with compressed loads and leave a significant amount of unburned powder in the barrel. If you stay within the range of the powders listed, you should be fine. Powders I've tried in this range include IMR3031 and Accurate 2230 as well (with mediocre accuracy).

    Hope this helps. Let us know how you do.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  5. okiefired

    okiefired New Member

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    Good info guys, thanks for all of it.

    myfriend, I believe that Pedersoli Sharps repro is the gun he has, dont remember the make of the DR. The 4198 and RL-7 are two of the powders I was concidering, I've read good things about both in this cartraige and I think I may also have other uses for them. My pard hog hunts in TX quite a bit and thats what these rifles are mostly used for, 2 moa or better with good velocity shoud make him happy. BTW, whats your COAL when you're kissing the lands in that Sharps? Just curious. Thanks again for the info.

    okie
  6. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I don't have that information in front of me, but will measure and report. I have to tell you; you hit anything with that bullet at anything over 1,000 fps and it WILL notice! That is one wicked piece of metal (think of shooting a bullet that looks like your thumb). The chamber is a little on the "tight" side--not a bad thing! (I keep threatening to take a chamber cast but haven't done so yet)

    This rifle was a gift from my best friend. It's the "Billy Dixon". I was really gratified to find out that this rifle is very well made, with near match grade barrels used in the manufacture. I recently disassembled it for a thorough cleaning and saw absolutely zero wear on any of the action parts. The rifling is deep cut enough to engrave a lead bullet, but watch your alloy, and watch your size. I am really excited about the paper patching because it covers both worlds: home cast with jacketed velocity. The accuracy has not come up to the level of my as-cast, but I am getting pretty close. Of course I am shooting this with a tang sight from sandbags so some variation is to be expected.

    I would probably concentrate on the Sharps for accuracy. The double (if it's regulated like an African double) should cross at about 80 yards. Basically; if you can hit a pie plate at 100 yards with both barrels you are good.
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    My advice is to step away from the medium speed powders, the straightwall case isnt especially suited to the burn curve unless youre pushing for ruger #1 pressures. Try 35 gr reloder 7. That was my go to load when i cast 500 gr Spitzers for my Rolling block. No probs at all ringng the 250 yd steel from the offhand position. Velocity was about 1250 from the 28" barrel.
  8. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I ran some 500 grainers last week with 34.0 gr. RL7 and the velocity ten feet from the muzzle was 1,510 fps average. That load was too fast for the as-cast bullets which keyholed. Just an FYI.
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