The Miroku Winchester/Browning highwall .45-70 is ranked right up there with the Ruger No. 1 in terms of its ability to handle high pressure loads. According to the information at http://www.chuckhawks.com/45-70Govt.htm: "The owners of modern single shot rifles, such as the Ruger No. 1 and Browning 1885 High Wall, can safely take the pressure limit even higher, and can use 500 grain bullets. The result is loads that tread on the heels of some African safari cartridges." and "The final selection of .45-70 reloads are for strong bolt action or single shot rifles that can take pressures running up to 50,000 cup. In such rifles 55.4 grains of IMR 3031 can give the Hornady 350 grain bullets a MV of 2000 fps, and 59.6 grains a MV of 2200 fps. These loads were chronographed in the 22" barrel of a Ruger No.1 rifle." From a practical standpoint the Winchester/Browning highwall design .45-70 rifle is capable of safely handling loads that can hurt the shooter almost as much as the intended target. I would seriously suggest starting out with mid pressure/velocity loads and work up to your recoil tolerance level.
He didn't ask about the 1885 High Wall. He said the 1886. That's the Winchester lever action repeater.
One of my books (and I don't recall which it is, right at the moment) had three sections for 45/70. Trapdoor loads. Lever action loads (that would be the Marlin 95 and the Browning 86) and Ruger/Mauser loads.
I must agree with the "work up to your tolerance level". I made some loads, using 300 JHP and 2400, in the Marlin 95, that were perfectly safe to shoot, and hurt like a mother.
If reloading for the 1886, stick with the lever action (level 2) loads in the manuals. As Alpo posted, most manuals have three sections of load data for 45-70.
I'm not sure what pressure levels all of the different the 45-70 factory loads are loaded to. You'll have to check the ammo sites for specs on the loads you're wondering about.
The Winchester 300gr JHP load is loaded to trapdoor levels (level 1) for only 1800fps. That's the only one that I know right off the top of my head.
I agree with the suggestion to work up to your tolerance level too. I have a heckuva time handling level 1 loads with 400/405gr cast lead out of the Marlin 95
Thanks for catching my error. My bad. At this point you perhaps may be given pause to wonder exactly where I came up with my screen name.
I have only fired the 1886 model once in .45-70 with the factory Remington 300 grain JHP's and my take was that the beautiful curved steel butt plate can be brutally painful with heavy loads on a naked shoulder. The Past Magnum Recoil Pad is highly recommended.
As far as I'm aware; all factory loadings of the 45/70 are loaded below 29,200 cup. This is at the top end of 1874 Sharps levels. The handloader can greatly exceed these pressures in rifles stout enough to handle the pressure. I have loaded 500 gr. cast bullets up to just below this pressure level in my 13 lb. rifle and I can attest to the fact that it's all you ever want to shoot. Ten rounds is a range session.
The big ammo factories (Remington, Winchester, Federal) load the 45-70 to be safe in any gun including the trap door which is a level 1 gun. The only way to get to level 2 or 3 that I know of is to hand load or get custom ammo made.
But I will tell you that a 300 gr bullet at 1800 FPS with a steel butt plate, as on my Browning 1886, HURTS. That is close to level 2. I also use a PAST recoil pad (on me not the gun) that makes the recoil acceptable. More than one friend has wimped out after shooting my gun without the pad. It is not the recoil but the sharp edge of steel butt plate that just digs into the shoulder. I've not shot any factory ammo in the gun so I don't know how bad the recoil would be at level 1. Nor have I shot any bullets heavier than 300 grains.
I have a winchester 1886 Maroku with a 26" barrel. I have not shot it yet….but I will at the first opportunity. Can someone tell me what the maximum load for this gun with this particular barrel length will handle? I have done some moderate reading already but am anxious for some advanced information.
I bought some boxes of hornadey 325 grain soft point at MV at 2200 FPS.
I definitely want to hand reload for maximum distance and accuracy.
The Browning/Miroku 1886 rifles are built using the same design as the Winchester 1886. Sure, the steel might be newer alloys but it's still using JMB's 130 year old design. It's a stout action, that I consider stronger than the Trapdoor Springfield, but I would stick with the "level 1" loads if you're reloading for it.
If you're buying .45-70 off the shelf it is most likely loaded to "level 1" (or Trapdoor Springfield) levels unless listed on the box as otherwise.
Is the Hornady ammo you bought loaded with the 325gr FTX bullet (a polymer tipped soft point design)? If so, Hornady has it listed as 2050fps in their catalog. This would put it in the Level 2 category which will probably be a bit on the hot side for your 1886.
It would be best to contact Hornady directly to see what they have to say. http://www.hornady.com/contact_us
They do not have anything listed in the catalog saying that that load is unsafe for use in Trapdoors so it might be assumed that they are loaded to the Level 1 pressure of 28,000psi.
BUT...assuming when it comes to ammo can be dangerous so I would ask Hornady to be sure.
Thank you for the warm welcome forum members! I was going on the hornadey sight just to ask a question, but they wanted to know everything about me including my birthmarks! Sooooo I of coarse did not oblige them…
I did read a few reviews and they said that my 1886 / 26" can handle the next to hottest loads in the 45-70 caliber.
My goal is to organize a "Quigley" shoot and shoot single shot with a pointed projectile loaded to the hottest/most accurate that my rifle will accept safely. The goal is to see how far I can reach out. From what I understand the hottest load may not necessarily be the one I end up with.
Has anyone shot extremely long distances with the moroku 1886?
Oh and Bindernut thanks for the correction. The 325G is at 2050 FPS.
Sound Guy, I'll check the barrel for pressure limits.
Yes thanks ALPO! I kinda knew inside that these 45-70 bullets traveled very far, like the .22 long rifle. There are some long range hits that actually still have killing power. Once I figure out how to post the link I'll put it up for you.
It seems that the army determined some time ago for a benchmark that if a bullet could go through a half inch piece of wood, it was considered to be lethal. Also included in the video.
Heres the Buffalo Bore ammo Recommendations:
Buffalo Bore .45-70 ammunition is externally identical to SAAMI spec 45-70 ammo, but internally it generates FAR more power and pressure. So, the .45-70 ammo will fit into ANY .45-70 firearm, but is not safe in every 45-70 firearm. Its use should be limited to the following firearms: All Marlin 1895 (1895 Marlins are all model 336 actions, chambered in .45-70) iterations made since 1972, all Browning 1885 and 1886 copies, New England Arms Handi Rifle, T/C Encore, ALL falling block actions made of modern steel such as Ruger #1 and #3, Shiloh, Christian and Persoli Sharps, all Winchester 1886 iterations made since 1915 and all Siamese Mauser bolt actions.