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  #1  
Old 08-18-2010, 10:02 AM
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TC contender 45/70 pressure and loads


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I have a new TC Contender 45/70. I shot some of my reloads that are in the "trapdoor" load range through it. A BTB LFN 405 gr over a good dose of 3031. The recoil was more than a little "snappy", more like "brisk" and exhilarating to say the least. In my Marlin 1895 the same load is pretty "snappy". My reading of the reloading books shows that the Contender frame should handle that pressure but I think that I would enjoy a lighter load. Does anyone have any favorite loads for the Contender with velocity or pressure info? I am thinking of trying some Trail Boss. Hodgdon lists loads for 405 gr bullet starting at 12 gr(24,500 CUP) to 13 gr(25,600 CUP) for a trapdoor but does not have listing for TC Contender specifically. I looked through the pistol loads but Trail Boss is not listed there. Their listed loads show higher pressures for Trail Boss than I was using with the 3031. Does anyone have some favorite light loads for Trail boss? What pressure are you staying under for a TC Contender? I am not interested in heavy loads for this gun as I have others that can handle the heavier loads.
I am especially interested in what pressures I should stay under in the Contender as I remember an old thread about someone blowing up a TC contender 444.
Thanks for the help,

Phil
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2010, 10:33 AM
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Phil,

The Contender is rated to handle at least 45,000psi, so pretty much the hottest 45/70 loads you would care to shoot from it. In fact, most "book" loads for the Contender are going to be hotter than the trapdoor loads you already tried, so if you're not enjoying the recoil, you might consider a lighter bullet weight? When commenting on the 45/70 Contender loads they tested, Sierra said, "At no place within the data section is recoil not objectionable." That is probably one of my favorite all-time quotes, from a reloading manual.

They also go on to say, "Reduced, or below minimum level, loads can cause inconsistent ignition resulting in extreme velocity spreads in excess of 250 feet per second." Even with the 300 grain bullets they comment that recoil is "extremely severe" and that is with the 16.5" barrel they did their testing with. Personally, I think only a masochist would enjoy shooting a 45/70 out of a Contender, but maybe it's something you can get used to, over time?
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  #3  
Old 08-18-2010, 10:55 AM
The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
 
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My loads in the Spfld Trapdoor with a 22" bbl shooting 405 gr BTB bullets show the following:

35.0 gr IMR3031 @ 1273 fps avg

36.0 gr IMR3031 @ 1323 fps avg

20.0 gr AA #9 @ 1319 fps avg (best load)

21.0 gr AA #9 @ 1369 fps avg

26.0 gr AA #5744 (not chrono'd) Unburnt powder residue present.

All using Hornady brass, Rem 9 1/2 primer and a dacron filler.

The Accurate Arms #9 loadings were much more pleasant to shoot in the Trapdoor.
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  #4  
Old 08-18-2010, 01:38 PM
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Broom and kdub,
I appreciate your replies.
kdub-I will try some of the AA loads you listed. They look interesting. The load of 3031 listed in my book for trapdoor was 48 gr. Like I said, it was brisk in the contender but not in the Marlin.
Broom- I do not plan on using the contender alot for 45/70 but since I already had 2 frames and several barrels and load for other 45/70s I thought that I would add it to the rest. Felt recoil is more with such a light gun. And I surely did not want to damage the frame(or myself for that matter).
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  #5  
Old 08-18-2010, 03:00 PM
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I've sold my 45/70 that I bought when the 14 in. barrel 1st came out. There were no published loads for it so I worked up loads slowly using Hornady 350gr. rn. By the time I settled on a load I was into the Ruger No. 1 section of the book. My uncle now has that book with the loading data but I think it was around 48gr. Of IMR 4198. Massive recoil but would keep 5 shots in an 1 1/2 at 100 yds. Also used Barnes 400gr. Spire point. It also shot very well. Penatration was better than my .300 Win. With 180gr. Noslers on wet mag. I'd say I put 1500 rounds of mean loads through that TC. The person I sold it to used mostly Fed. 300gr hollow points and as far as I know it is still a sweet shooting rig. Almost forgot to mention how durable Leupold 2x are. Not once did I have to adjust zero after that load was sighted in. Did have to locktite the ring screws. Also had to wear elbow pads at the bench.
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  #6  
Old 08-18-2010, 07:22 PM
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I'd be real careful with pressures for this chambering in the Contender if I were you. In a .45 caliber barrel the amount of metal between the bore and the top of the forend dovetail is pretty tiny. If you put the pressures too high you can actually dimple the metal if not outright blow it out. I dimpled the bore of a .416 JDJ in this way. It did not leave me with a comfortable feeling regarding the big bores in the Contender.

The Trapdoor loads will do anything you want of this chambering.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2010, 11:54 AM
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[quote=kdub;521226]My loads in the Spfld Trapdoor with a 22" bbl shooting 405 gr BTB bullets show the following:

35.0 gr IMR3031 @ 1273 fps avg

36.0 gr IMR3031 @ 1323 fps avg

20.0 gr AA #9 @ 1319 fps avg (best load)

21.0 gr AA #9 @ 1369 fps avg

26.0 gr AA #5744 (not chrono'd) Unburnt powder residue present.

kdub,
I tried the 35 gr 3031 load and the AA#9 20 gr load. Both were very pleasant and seemed accurate in the Marlin and TC. The AA load at 100 yds was 3" low and 1" right of the same bullet with 48 gr 3031 with receiver sights. I was very pleased with it. Unfortunately the TC could barely print on the target at 100 yds. I ran out of elevation adjustment on the scope. I will change out the rings and try again and if still off will change the base. Overall I was very pleased with the 2 loads. the AA#9 "felt" better than the 35 gr 3031 load, less perceived recoil.
Thanks
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2010, 12:36 PM
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If you were interested in loading to the TC max, I would suggest you get a specific TC loading manual from Midway. All the loads I shoot in my Contender are hunting loads and if you find the trapdoor loads to be a bit much, the loads I shoot would be out of the question. The TC with heavy loads is something you don't just jump into. The manual also has start loads but if you want mild loads, any trapdoor load would be a good place to start and even maximum trapdoor loads are not stressing your Contender any so you are most assuredly good to go with any TD load you can find.
To get the recoil down, use the lightest bullet you can find, the lightest charge you can safely load (any published load will be safe) and if that is still too much you might consider a brake. The TC Hunter brake does a very good job but as with any brake, you get the most recoil reduction with high pressure loads so as you go down the pressure scale, the brake becomes less efficient, but it will still help some.
With light loads you are going to experience sight in problems like mentioned above at ranges past 50 yards. Even with heavy loads those bullets start dropping fast past 150 yards so with light loads they will take a lot of elevation to get them zeroed at 100 yards.
Remember the old rule of thumb, light bullets or fast bullets print lower than heavy bullets or slower bullets. How light and slow works out is something you will have to try and see what happens.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2010, 05:59 AM
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Thanks Big Bore. I appreciate the info about pressures and strength of the Contender frame. I am definitely not wanting to load my Contender to the maximum pressure. I use some higher pressure loads in my Marlin and that works for me. These are the first "light loads" I have used since I used some factory loads years ago when I first got my Marlin. I tried my usual 405 gr BTB LFN over 48 gr 3031 with my new Contender barrel and found it lively. I had trouble keeping the scope from sliding in the rings on recoil. I found kdub's loads very enjoyable for plinking and paper punching. I think that I will keep using them for that. I do not want to damage my Contender frame. I have not experienced it but have read of others who wrote of stretching the frame with too high a pressure load. I wanted to be sure that I did not do that as I use this frame with several other barrels for target and hunting. Also I use it for rifle training and hunting for kids in the 5-9 year old range. I put a youth stock on it with a rifle barrel and it works better than any other youth rifle I have found for small children. As I said the POI was very low with those loads and with my usual 48 gr load. I put new rings on in case I may have mixed up a set of rings. I took the base off and found some locktite under the rear of the base- maybe that was giving me a problem with proper elevation by raising the rear of the base. Hopefully I can get home in time to shoot it again tonight and check out the changes.
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2012, 11:02 AM
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Whenever i got my super Sixteen 45/70 in 1984 I already had a remington Rollingblock original that was my extended range Favorite 45/70 and its most accurate load was a 400 grain cast bullet ontop of 46 grains of IMR 3031. But that load was very brutal in the Contender that i had to back way down to 330 grain cast bullets and pistol powders to avoid all of that pain. But I would eventually discover an easy to handle load using 400 grain cast bullets and it uses 14 grains of Alliant Unique. Its super accurate, fairly mild to shoot, and I let college coeds play with it too.
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  #11  
Old 05-26-2012, 09:49 AM
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I've had my Contender 45/70 barrel for many years, I think around 25 or so. About 10 or 12 years ago I did some serious testing for accuracy of every powder I had that was listed for this round, and I have a fair range of powders.

There were some good loads in many of the powders I tested, but one stood head and shoulders above the rest, and it wasn't any of those listed in this thread. I tested H322 and found i8t to be superior to any of them for accuracy. I think the recoil for all powders is fairly close, so that wasn't a factor I was checking on.

About 2-3 years later my son got an Encore with 45/70 barrel. I told him about my tests, but he wanted to do his own testing, and he came to the same conclusion that I had about H322. It was simply the best. It out performs the rest with both mid range loads and full charge loads. He can shoot an 1 1/2 inch group at 150 yds. And this load will easily drop a deer at 175 yds or greater.

H322 is really a great powder, even burning and consistant accuracy at any level. I and many other have also used it the national benchrest circuit for 100 and 200 yds matches, shooting 6PPC's and others cartridges. I'm pretty sure it also performs well in the 6BR.

Try it, you'll like it

by the way, for years my charge was 56 grains, which was completely safe, but don't go that high first off, or you may be wearing your pistol in your face, and I am quite serious. It has serious recoil. My son shot even higher charges with his Encore, again very safe.
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  #12  
Old 05-27-2012, 05:45 PM
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Another zombie thread arisen from the dead.
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