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1885 High Wall pressures

8016 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  .22-5-40
I recently met a fellow who has an original 1920s manufacturer Winchester High Wall in 45/90 and he is shooting some questionable (to me anyway) loads in this thing. Using 500 grn jacketed bullets and H4198, not sure about the charge, that thing not only kicks painfully but hard extractions are common however he is writing this off to an extractor problem. I just met the guy and could say little except that it looked to me as if the loads were a bit hot and that it might be a little too hot for an old gun. He assures me the rifle can handle anything a new High Wall can but IMO there is soon going to be an accident.This however does raise a very interesting question to me and that is just how much pressure can an original High Wall handle? The reason I ask, and the reason I became acquainted with the guy I mentioned, is because of a 45/90 High Wall replica I hope to have soon. I certainly don't intend to "hot rod" my rifle and BP load pressures will be just fine with me however I do want to use smokeless if I can keep the loadings within a safe and sane range.
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.45-90 Browning Hi-Wall

I don't know what an original High Wall can handle, but I do know they have been chambered for all manner of modern cartridges. Having said that, it sounds like he might be pushing the envelope. Do you know how many grains of 4198 your friend is using? My Lyman manual shows up to 48 grains of 4198 with a 500 grain bullet, but I found that a reduced load of 45 grains sent the 500 grain projectile down my 34" barrel at 1880 fps! Talk about a hard wallop on the shoulder - that was pushing the low end of .458 mag levels! No extraction problems or any indications of high pressure, but it just wasn't a fun load - especially with the curved steel butt plate.

I've since developed a load of 40 grains of 5744 behind a 325 grain Hornady FTX bullet that seems to be quite accurate, and relatively gentle to shoot. There are plenty of good, gentle smokeless loads you can shoot in your .45-90 High Wall.
Red Pepper,

Got a good loading for 400 or 405 jacketed bullets with AA5744 powder? Do you use magnum primers?:)
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