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Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD) (Read 5428 times)
Keith E. Herrington
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Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Jan 18th, 2010 at 5:56am
 
I have a Browning BPCR in 45-70 I intend to load for long
range shooting, anywhere between 300 and a 1000, shooting
mostly at 600. I've started my search with Buffalo Arms
cast bullets in the 500 to 545 weight range. The 525 and
535 bullet weights (both .458") have a design that looks
more sleek and I hope have a better BC than either the 545
weight or the 500 and below designs I've seen. My
intention is start by using IMR3031, but I've also been
told Varget is a possible choice as is IMR4895. I'd like
your advice, especially regarding minimum, maximum and
accuracy loads. Thanks.
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irish66
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #1 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 7:21am
 
VARGET IS WAY TOO FAST.
use either imr 4759 4227 or 5744(i think that is the right #) or use what works
BLACK POWDER
there are other threads on this board on loading for the 45-70
irisdh
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boats
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #2 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 9:11am
 
Our Texas Friend Irish knows what he is talking about.

4759, if you don't want to use Black Powder.  I like Black and 4759  loads that shoot to the same sights for match and pratice shooting.

Use it as a standard powder while working with bullet fit and all the other variables.  After everything else is worked out  and you want to make experimenting your sport start looking at other powders.

Burn rate on 4759 is correct other powders with similar burn rates are just as good 4227 would be a good choice and measures better. Just have to watch out for double charges with 4227  Powder to powder is like Shell to Exxon to BP, as long as the octane is the same and correct for the engine it makes little difference.

Varget which I use a lot in the 7mm08 is very unsuitable for the 45/70  Not a lot better would be  3031 and 4895 I know manuals list them but not many people use those powders.  With a jacketed bullet looking for hunting loads perhaps 4895 would work.  I went the 3031 route years ago when first learning how to shoot the 45/70 wasted a lot of time too.

In developing loads with a cast bullet single shot. Bullet and fit is the most important thing. Velocity is key shoot it at  the speed that works in successful guns, about 1250 fps for the 45/70.  Next most important is how the bullet is seated either in the case or breech.   Way down the list is propellant and primer. Most work OK if the burn rate is correct for cast bullets.  

The real key is how the gun is handled on the bench.  That's what makes or breaks most guns. If the load is up to snuff the way the gun and shooter handles on bags is the deciding factor.  Put some 4579 in the case and work up to 1200 or so with a chronograph then look for groups adjusting bullet seating to find whats best.

Boats
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irish66
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #3 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 3:53pm
 
Boats, like you have shot 45-70's for too long. they really do like black and it is not that hard to take care of. once you know the tricks.
rule #1 blow don't suck!
rule #2 have fun.
I have actually never shot smokleless in a 45 never felt the need.
the other reason one should not use varget is. had a friend yesterday was shooting a 270, and had confused powders for the rifle and shot 57 grs of varget instead of what ever and now his sons deer rifle needs a new bolt. damage was not bad. and the child was ok.
irish
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Keith E. Herrington
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #4 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 7:07pm
 
Boats,
A very lucid description.  Thanks.  Did some research on powders and the discussion so far leaves me a bit puzzled.  Irish makes a point that Varget is way too fast, however it is considerably slower than either 4759 (I presume you mean SR4759), or 5744, both of which are similar to H110 and H4227 respectively.  Varget on the other hand is close to IMR4320, which is slower than IMR4895.

I've been reloading Varget in 308 target rounds for years and am very familiar with it, as I am all the traditional military powers such as IMR4064.  However, I'm not familiar with the 45-70.  What my prior experience has shown is desire to fill the case as much as possible, but with a powder slow enough that going over pressure is not a threat.  Due to the size of the 45-70 case and the amount of the case capacity taken up by the 525/535/545 bullet, load density is nearing 100%.  Not compressed but not much room for air either. 

I also did some research on the older cartridges, especially the 45-100 Sharps, which shot a 550 at a nominal 1360fps.  Now to my question:

Using your approach to minimize all other variables as much as possible, what do you think of looking for a powder that provided 1300-1400 fps with a 535, and gave me the highest load density without going to a compressed load?  I could then compare .458" to .459" bullets, change overall length and other variables until I got the smallest group possible, then fine tuned with powder charge and primer.  It's a slightly different approach to me working up a high power rifle load but similar in many respects.
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irish66
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #5 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 8:06pm
 
I think boats will agrre with me on this one.
first of all this is not highpower which i also shoot so forget anything you know about it. you are useing lead not copper.
saw a gent in la blow up a pope 32 40 stevens trying to apply rthe high power ideas.
nothing is written in stone there is always room for change and something new.
not having EVER shot smokeless in a 45-70 did not want to deal with the punishment blak will shoot very well. you cvan also go to duplex loads as some do but you will not be able to compete in bpcs.
you sghould never have a compressed load with smokeless as you need to sdee where the bullet will sit in regards to the lands and not bury it in the case.
start with about 22 grs sr 4759 and work up slowly.
spg is a good lube for your bullets or one of the emmert type lubes.
irish
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QuestionableMaynard8130
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #6 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 11:59pm
 
I've used 5744 very happily in my 45-70.  shot the best 200 yard groups of my life with it.  always seems to leave a few unburned grains of powder in a dirty bore, but it wipes right out.  Its pretty good stuff for the bigger bore straight cases you'll never double charge one unknowingly.

addendum.  I was using the original nose-pour lyman/matthews #457676 bullet cast in 20:1 alloy with a bit more then 25 gr of the powder and shooting it out of a  Browning tangless trad hunter that had been fitted with a sporter weight 27" barreled Badger fast-twist barrel.  I'm sure it would have done better (and more comfortably) out of a longer heavier BPSR or Creedmoor version.
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« Last Edit: Jan 19th, 2010 at 8:58am by QuestionableMaynard8130 »  

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boats
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #7 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 8:34am
 
Remember this is all Boats opinion, somebody else may see it another way and I am about 'retired" from 45 cal shooting using almost all Schuetzens at 200 yards now. 38's and 32's .  I think Irish's Varget fast was a typo it's about the same speed as any other ball powder intended for the 308. I use it interchangeably with 2520 and other ball powders for my 7mm08 Silhouette rifle.

His advice on 22 grs of 4759 was very good though and the way I would go. Only thing is your velocity expectations are perhaps a bit too fast. Don't think you are going to get near 1400 FPS with heavy 45 cal bullets.  Those 45/100 Sharps figures could be a bit misleading. Old days when they were looking for "Express" loads in the 45 cases only way they could do it was use light bullets with a whole lot of black powder.

Now for target shooting we use heavy bullets and not so concerned about velocity. Accurate is the objective.  In concept full density loads sound good but with a large case like the 45/70 probably only successful with Black powder.  We spend all our time looking for powders and loads that perform with smokless at half density loadings.  It's been the sucessfull formula.  Full black half full smokless

In concept I much prefer sticking with a standard charge like 22 of 4759 and doing all the experimenting with bullets.  Get it to shoot then tweak the powder charge.   So many variables you will chase your tail working with all the different possibilities otherwise.

Best result is probably going to be a custom mold, one that fits your rifle perfectly.  My main 38/55 shooting I use three different molds Fixed ammo one for Smokeless that seats deep in the case reducing powder space. And one for Black that seats way out increasing powder space. Another for Breech seated bullets.  Looking for a 4th light for sub sonic gallery loads

Two powders Black and 4759 4 molds you can see which way I go experimenting.   

Boats
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doubs43
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #8 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 11:24am
 
Boats, what is your personal standard for accuracy in your rifles; Distance and group size? IOW, at what point in your load development do you consider your groups to be sufficiently accurate for your Schutzen competitions?
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boats
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #9 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 8:32pm
 
Doubs you have asked a controversal question. I am very skeptical of results from small samples.   Standard to me is a string that's required  in competition.  ASSRA shortest string we shoot is 10 shots   I am an offhand shooter & match I like to shoot the best is the Hudson. 100 shot performance is whats important.  My two Schuetzens need to shoot a good 10 shot group after shooting 100 shots.

Guys like to show that perfect group, I have one on the wall in my office 3 shot King target that won the rimfire gallery match up in Lebanon Pa.  3 shots center its a perfect cloverleaf and offhand with iron sights at 50 feet.  Whats not on my wall are the hundreds of other targets that are not cloverleafs at that distance. and no 10 shot cloverleafs. You do need a very accurate rifle offhand. Might not be able to hold center but you can sure see it and spotting the holes ought to be were the shot broke. So with that reservation

On the large size my 38/55 CPA with it's Douglas barrel would shoot about a 3 inch group on paper after I finished a 40 shot  Silhouette match using Black Powder. This putting the scope on the rile. It was a 1 1/2 MOA rifle for long  strings of shots.  Since, it's been throated, has a new  bullet, and is always breach seated. Carries 12 X Unertl all the time. Guessing it's a 1 1/4 Moa rifle now but could slip back to 1 1/2 MOA If I don't clean it properly between shots.

My other CPA 32/40 breech seated using smokless powder with it's 20X Parsons STS is a little bit more accurate.  Still not a MOA rifle.   In fact the Standard in ASSRA is pretty well defined.  25 ring is 3/4 MOA and every year a few guys clean it in competition.  10 shots just under 1 Moa is as good as any of our rifles will do on demand.   250 is the result of a lot of hard work and long days on the range. And a rifle that will shoot.

So just under 1 moa to nearly 2 moa is my idea of a Schuetzens rifles performance standard. Beyond that it's up to the shooter.

Boats
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #10 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 8:43pm
 
Doubs

Missed the distance part.  200 yards is the distance that counts. 100 is a lot easier, no competion fired at 100 yards.  I also think it's important to separate the all round and offhand rifles from pure bench guns.  Only ones I ever see that can consistently work under 1 moa are flat forend heavy bench guns fired from good heavy rest handled by experienced shooters.

Boats
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boats
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #11 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 8:52pm
 
Keith

You guys got me would up tonight. Just back from the range double checking zeros on 3 rimfires after a disappointing finish in Sat's Silouette match. One of those rifles is comming out of the line up. Not sure which one.

One more thing on Single Shot load philosophy.

Center fire smokless with modern guns there is a lot of emphasis on the perfect charge. Sweet spot were the rifle realy performs.  Single shots Breech seating most of us have a standard load but will crank the powder measure up and down a few clicks to adjust after looking at the results on paper. 

In other words My 38/55 may have shot well with 15.3 of 4759 last few matches but would do just as well with 15.0 or 15.5 15.7 etc.  Ambient temperature will alter the burn rate and the charge often needs to be adjusted to compesentate. Some changes due to lots of powder too.  I let the holes on paper tell me how to set the measure working from a standard starting spot.

Black powder most load to density and don't pay a lot of attention to the weight of charge.

It's a different mind set.

Boats
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ssdave
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #12 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 9:53pm
 
I would like to respectfully disagree with some of what you have been told so far.  I have two Browning 1885's in .45-70.  One is a BPCR and is my loaner rifle for long range shooting, and it has been shot extensively out to 800 yards with smokeless powder.  I am a blackpowder shooter myself, and I believe that there is a slight advantage to good blackpowder loads with heavy cast bullets in large calibers.  But, smokeless can be very competitive, and it's quite safe to use.

For out to 800 yards, I use 405 grain commercial cast bullets.  Heresy, but they work.  My load with them is 32 grains of H4198, for about 1400 fps.  At the Quigley match in Montana, when sighting in in good wind conditions, I can hold the white center of the 600 target with this load.  It starts to fall apart at the 800 yard buffalo, but I have shot 6 in a row on that target with it.  In the wind the light bullet doesn't do well past 600 yards.  

Go to the Hodgdon website, and look up .45-70 loads for the trapdoor.  They only go to about 500 grains, but have loads using varget and 4198, as well as other powders.  The heavier bullets give pressures of about 20,000 psi with 32 grains of 4198.  The browning action is safe for about 45 to 50,000 psi with .45-70 brass, so there's a lot of room for careful experimentation there.  

This following is my opinion only, if you wish to do this, please research the load data given on the Hodgdon site, as well as other info that should be available to a net search, and make your own decision.  

I think you could safely reduce starting loads to 26 grains with a 550 grain cast lead bullet, and work up from there until you get a clean burn on the powder and the velocity you want.  I know at least two shooters that have worked up smokeless loads similar to what I suggest, and shoot 550 plus grain bullets at about 1400 to 1450 fps competitively in long range buffalo matches.  

Out of space, so will post more below.

dave
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« Last Edit: Jan 19th, 2010 at 10:09pm by ssdave »  
 
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John Boy
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #13 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 10:05pm
 
Quote:
The 525 and 535 bullet weights (both .458") have a design that looks more sleek and I hope have a better BC than either the 545 weight or the 500 and below designs I've seen.

Keith, you have the 'general idea' for bullet selection, but you haven't hit the 'sweet spot' being those bullets that are proven good group producers out to 1000yds.
Look at this website that sells excellent bullets that are proven good group bullets ... http://www.sageoutfitters.com/bullets.html
Being a 1000yd BPCR shooter, I suggest you buy a tray of each of the following to determine which your rifle likes best:
Paul Jones Mini Groove - Lyman Postell and Paul Jones Creedmoor

I have shot what I consider excellent 1000yd groups with each of these bullets, especially the Mini Groove that is a recent design by Dan Theodore

The Mini Groove, aka 'Money Bullet' was used by Dr Keith Lay last year at the AZ Creedmoor Match and set a record score.  

Here's my 1st outing using the Mini Groove at 1000yds ...
http://shilohrifle.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13660

The Mini Groove shoots so good, I had a Sharps rebored to 45-90 with Dan Theodore's Match Reamer, especially designed for the Mini Groove.  First range test, I managed to hit a 200yd Chicken at 300yds - 4 out of 5 shots.  This Spring, am off to visit Homer with the 45-90 reloads

Here's a picture of 'Homer' mortally wounded with a 10 shot string using the Lyman 457132 (Postell) and a 45-70
...
Homer is only 48" x 82", which is less than the size of a 72" x 72" 1000yd target.  I paint Homer with a 10" X Ring and a  20" 10 ring, NRA regulation size

And as for powder since you don't plan to shoot BP, might want to try Triple Seven FFg.  No camera this day, but with witnesses and a 500gr bullet, had a 600yd 5 shot group that measured 2.5" x 7", with 3 holes that could be covered with a silver dollar
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ssdave
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Re: Smokeless Loads for 45-70 Browning BPCR (MD)
Reply #14 - Jan 19th, 2010 at 10:08pm
 
Continued from above:

The basis for my belief of a safe starting load is that I have seen published cast bullet loads for the .458 win mag that are over double what I have recommended.  The 14 grains of case capacity difference between the .458 win mag and .45-70 cases is not very significant, when the load is less than 50% density.  I have personally shot much, much heavier loads than that with heavy jacketed bullets in my Browning .45-70. 

The only thing to watch for in loading with these half case full loads of faster smokeless powders and lead bullets is that a heavy crimp is needed to get a clean burn and consistent ignition.  It has not been my experience that they are position sensitive to the powder in the case.

This is not something I would recommend for any rifle other than the Browning 1885 or Ruger #1.  They can handle magnum pressures without difficulty.  In general, the recoil will stop you from experimenting much sooner than case pressure.  Again, from my personal experience.

In your load development, you might also consider blackpowder.  It really is easier to get a good consistent load with it, and it is easier to clean the gun.  The only drawback is loading takes more time, as there are more steps in the process.

Good Luck!

dave
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