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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Been watching one of my favorite online gun stores since beginning of January. They had a mess of Miroku 1886 Delux's come in and sell like hot cakes. The short rifles in 45-70 took about a month longer to sell out. However the short rifles (24" barrel) n 45-90, they can't seem to give those away.

Are people really afraid of handloading the 45-90, so much so that they will not buy a modern rifle chambered in it?

What are your thoughts?
 

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Nothing special about the 45-90, it's just a 45-70 that's longer. You can load it the same as the 45-70. The biggest problem with the 45-90 is just getting brass. It's available, but there's less of it around and it usually costs more than the 45-70 brass. Most 45-90 guns are recommended to shoot black powder. The larger case capacity of the brass doesn't lend itself well to using smokeless unless you follow what is basically 45-70 pressure levels. The short rifles you refer to are the Trapper type models with short barrels and are of lighter weight. Weight is kind of your friend with these guns. It's a real eye opener shooting these guns with the big heavy slugs and a light weight gun. To answer your question, no one's afraid to load and shoot them. It's just that there's no advantage to shooting a 45-90. At the long range matches held today there are few 45-90s shot. The 45-70 will do anything the 45-90 can do, and do it well. There might have been some advantage back in the mid-late 1800's, but not so much today. It's basically a nostalgia thing making these guns in 45-90....and not all that popular with buyers. FWIW, I own several of the Miroku made guns and the quality is second to none. Accuracy is superb.
 

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I have an original 1886 rifle in .45-90.
The Sharps .45-90 rifles were made for heavy slugs. Winchester designed their rifle for lighter slugs and higher velocity. I typically load 300 grain hard cast GC bullets over ~80 grains of Swiss 3F.

The 300 grain jacketed bullets and smokelss at ~1900 FPS pretty much duplicate the old factory express loads.

Smokeless data is out there, but the cartridge is not supported by SAAMI, so I will not post load data.
(Hint: 5744 and 4895 are popular for folks that use smokeless, or at least so I am told!;)

Graf & Sons has Starline snd Bertrasm brass, new. I'm still using brass from 100 rounds of federal factory that I bought several years back.
 

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The .45-90 will also shoot .45-70 just fine and that provides access to many fine factory loadings. I have taken a lot of game with such factory ammo.

My Miroku made 1886 TD .45-90 has also been loaded for DG and taken ele, multiple cape buff, leopard, and a pile of American big game and exotics like Asian water buff.

Buy the one that you want and try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info and feedback. Starting to look at brass cost / availability. Anyone know the twist rates on the Miroku 45-90's? Wondering if they are set up for the express round or if a person can shoot the 400 grainers in them.
 

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The .45-90 will also shoot .45-70 just fine and that provides access to many fine factory loadings. I have taken a lot of game with such factory ammo.

My Miroku made 1886 TD .45-90 has also been loaded for DG and taken ele, multiple cape buff, leopard, and a pile of American big game and exotics like Asian water buff.

Buy the one that you want and try it.
Would like to know more about what all you have shot and what bullets & powders you used?
What sights are you using ?

Much closer to getting one for myself..:)
 

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The Sharps .45-90 rifles were made for heavy slugs. Winchester designed their rifle for lighter slugs and higher velocity.

Smokeless data is out there, but the cartridge is not supported by SAAMI, so I will not post load data.
Locotus, I am interested in the mechanical design changes by Winchester which favoured "lighter slugs and higher velocity".

Also, what was the actual bullet weight that the Sharps was designed for in the 45-90?

My Miroku made 1886 TD .45-90 has also been loaded for DG and taken ele, multiple cape buff, leopard, and a pile of American big game and exotics like Asian water buff.
Please tell us more about the elephant and Cape buffalo that you shot with the .45-90 as this is one of the old US calibres totally unknown in South Africa. Did you use lead / hard cast / jacketed bullets? Bullet weight and impact velocity at say 50 yards? Did you use black powder or modern propellant? What were the shot placement regarding the aspect presented by the animals?
 
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Locotus, I am interested in the mechanical design changes by Winchester which favoured "lighter slugs and higher velocity".

Also, what was the actual bullet weight that the Sharps was designed for in the 45-90?

?
The Winchester had a twist rate of 1-32. This stabilized the lighter 300 grain bullets well.

Sharps used 1-20 in general, and 1-18 for some of the target models.

IIRC, the original Sharps hunting ammo was loaded with a 400 grain gullet at ~1400.

My son's Pedersoli Sharps replica shoots very tight groups with the 535 grain Postell bullets, but won't group worth ****ed with anything lighter
 

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I've owned either six or seven Pedersoli 45-70s at this point. All would shoot 405g Rem JSP bullets very well, but nothing lighter would impress anyone. With the 405 Rem's they would shoot pretty close to 1moa for five shots on the days my eyes were working right. Pedersoli definitely likes heavier bullets.
 

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45-90 with lead bullets

Starline makes brass. I have been getting ready to load us some rounds using this brass. My Starline brass came from Buffalo Arms. Smokeless that works well for me is 5744. For the Winchester 45-90 WCF, an Express round, there is a 330 gr. Lyman Gould HP bullet 45122. For folks shooting the Pedersoli 1874 try a the Lyman bullet 457124 This is a 385gr.bullet . This load using 5744 is exceptionally accurate in my Pedersoli. Incidentally, you can load 45-90 on 45-70 dies if you neck size. I also have a 45-90 RCBS FL die and Lyman taper crimp die. Your 86 is a nice rifle in a good caliber.

I'd check the twist in your 45-90 to make sure it's not 1:18. The 45-90 was a target round in the day that was also for hunting. The army made up a few 45-90 Trapdoors for target matches.
 

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Please tell us more about the elephant and Cape buffalo that you shot with the .45-90 as this is one of the old US calibres totally unknown in South Africa. Did you use lead / hard cast / jacketed bullets? Bullet weight and impact velocity at say 50 yards? Did you use black powder or modern propellant? What were the shot placement regarding the aspect presented by the animals?


I spent 20 minutes entering info but my XXXX ATT internet service failed again and it was lost.
So, when I switch Internet vendors, I will try again.
 

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Please tell us more about the elephant and Cape buffalo that you shot with the .45-90 as this is one of the old US calibres totally unknown in South Africa. Did you use lead / hard cast / jacketed bullets? Bullet weight and impact velocity at say 50 yards? Did you use black powder or modern propellant? What were the shot placement regarding the aspect presented by the animals?


I spent 20 minutes entering info but my XXXX ATT internet service failed again and it was lost.
So, when I switch Internet vendors, I will try again.
CRS your quoted post shows all right.

Time you brought old kicker out here again - what would be really nice is to have two of them so that I can guide and back you with the twin of the rifle you are using. That will make for a memorable hunt for both of us as well as for an interesting story in the magazines I write for - whatever the outcome of the hunts. :)

For bow hunters and handgun hunters who are after Cape buffalo I also propose that I back them with the same weapon - or something with a similar penetration impulse index, which for the .45-70 off-hand seems to be a 30-30 with 170 gr bullets. It makes the hunt so much more satisfying for the hunter to know that he can have double the confidence he already had in his chosen weapon for the job.

It seems that the 45-70 with a 405 gr bullet more or less equals he .577-450 with a 480 gr bullet (1,400 ft/sec) which was popular here until about 100 years ago. A pure lead bullet was a little soft for that velocity and suffered penetration on elephant and buffalo due to disforming. I suppose the 45-90 may just about equal the old Martini Henry.
 
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450 grain Kodiak FMJ at 2150 fps from 26 inch 45-90 barrel shoots thru all but ele.
I recommend NF or Punch 450s for ele frontal brain shots.

I will copy some response details on file and post in a day or two. If internet service will stay up more than 5 minutes.:confused:
 

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Penetration Impulse

With thick skinned, dangerous animals sufficient penetration is needed. That is the dominating requirement. A lung shot is a risk for the shooter, so either a brain shot or cutting the top chambers of the heart (NOT the bottom chambers on Cape Buffalo) is required. With Cape buffalo it is almost a critical requirement to also break at least one humerus bone in the shoulder group but preferrably both sides.

Penetration is due to a bullet's retained momentum during slowdown after impact because a minimum force is needed to enable the bullet to overcome the resistance presented by skin, sinew, meat and bone. Force equals mass times acceleration or deccelaration. On an animal that time is close to 1/500th of a second. Momentum applied over time equals the impulse force. Momentum by itself has zero value to calculate or predict penetration.

However, impulse force by itself also has no bearing on penetration as the counter force to be overcome by the bullet is the drag that skin, sinew, meat and bone creates on the bullet frontal area. An expanding bullet severely increases the frontal area and drag force which limits penetration.

In order to calculate comparative penetration index figures for different calibres and bullet weights it is easier to understand the principles by using monolithic solid bullets. If the actual expansion to a new calibre is known then of course the new frontal area can be calculated and the impulse force per square millimeter of the expanded frontal area can be calculated. Pure lead bullets are no good for thick skinned, dense-boned dangerous game but good enough for light boned thin skinned animals like leopard, lion and bear.

The figures below indicating relative penetration force have been confirmed by actual observations of thousands of shots in the field on real game. For those readers interested in the calculation process see the attachment.

50 metres Penetration Impulse Index from best to worst:

1. 6.5 x 57: 160 gr: 108 Newton per square mm frontal area. This figure represents complete penetration of an eland, breaking both shoulders.
2. 7 x 57: 175 gr: 102 N/sq.mm. This figure represents complete penetration of an eland, breaking both shoulders.
3. .375 H&H 300 gr: 102 N/sq.mm. (this figure equals complete penetration breaking both shoulders of a Cape buffalo).
4. .416 Rigby 400 gr: 101 N/sq.mm. Ditto.
5. 30-06 200gr: 99 N/sq.mm. This figure represents complete penetration through an eland, breaking both shoulders.
6. 9,3x62 286 gr: 93 N/sq.mm. This figure equals breaking of one shoulder, and stopping against the opposite shoulder bone or sometimes against the opposite skin of a Cape buffalo.
7. .458 Win Mag 500gr: 92 N/sq.mm. This figure represents breaking one shoulder and stopping against an opposite rib of a Cape buffalo.
8. 30-30 Win 150 gr: 62 N/sq.mm. This figure represents breaking one shoulder of a kudu and stopping against an opposite rib
9. .45-90 450 gr as calculated: 52 N/sq.mm. Not observed, but should break one shoulder of an elk, stopping against an opposite rib.
10. .45-70 405 gr: 47 N/sq.mm. Not observed, but should break one shoulder of an elk, stopping against an opposite rib.

The velocity figure supplied by CRS of 2,150 ft/sec for a 450 gr FMJ bullet from a .45-90 will equal an 83 Newton per square mm penetration impulse which should break one shoulder bone of a Cape buffalo and possibly an opposite rib.
 

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Some 45-90 Sharps 2.4 info

Some 45-90 Sharps 2.4 info. I decided to look up information on the original Sharps 2.4. There is a world of difference between the Sharps and the 45-90 WCF except for the case.a Mike Venturino spoke of Winchester 45-90 factory loads with 500gr. paper patched bullet and 100gr. of powder. (Shooting the Buffalo Rifles....pp 149). No doubt when that went off!
 
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Bill, I have been interested in the .45-90 since the frst time I came to learn of its existence in about 2013.

I remember Mike Venturino's writings in old Guns&Ammo magazines but cannot remember his main line of interest. So you say there are two completely different loadings for the same case, depending on rifle mechanics? Metallurgical or design? I seem to remember that there also was a .45-100 meant to use 100 gr of black powder. Even so it would not have been able to produce more than 1,600 ft/sec with a 450 gr bullet.

Referring back to the muzzle velocity of 2,150 ft/sec forwarded by CRS for a 450 gr bullet I am sure that is with smokeless propellant - and an off-hand guess is (not having researched the case volume) I assume about 80 gr of a fast burning type for a chamber pressure of 55,000 psi or so. Not sure what the CIP limits are for the Pedersoli.
 
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My 450 rain Kodiak ammo was loaded by Grizzly cartridge with proprietary smokeless powders. The reported peak pressure was well below 50,000 psi. I have never used black powder.

My 400 grain loads for my .405 WCF reached 2076 psi MV with pressures peaking at 48,000 psi.
That was with Ramshot ball powder. With N133, velocity if 2050 fps has been reached with pressure peaks of less than 40,000 in my .405 double rifle.
 

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I can't find the reference links but I remember reading many years ago, that during the "golden era," (1890-1930,) of the big lever guns, much factory hunting ammo was loaded with "semi-smokeless" powder and cupro-nickel jacketed bullets.

If anyone can find that link, please post it. I think it will answer a lot of questions.
 

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It was called "cordite" and like black powder, you could use as much as the case would hold " somewhat compressed" without worrying about damaging the firearm. Those loadings used mercuric primers which were still "corrosive".

In my Ideal Hand Book No. 34 (1946) they are showing copious amounts of 3031 and 4198. Loads that make my butt pucker thinking of them being shot in a "real" 1886.

RJ
 
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My Lee Enfield No.4 Mk.1 .303 Brit shot thousands and thousands of cordite and fulminate of mercury primers for 40 of its 77 years of existence. The bore is still bright and shiny with sharp rifling and a perfectly smooth throat. It is a 1/2 MOA shooter to this day. Certainly cordite is not corrosive but the mercury fulminate theoretically is - but I do not know how many tens of thousands of shots will be required to show any damage. Cordite is completely smokeless, by the way.

The advantage of cordite was that the case dimensions were designed around the number of strands of tightly packed cordite required - so there always is a 100% fill. In fact the .303 case was sized by PMP around the already inserted load of cordite into the unsized case.

The Bisley 100-1000 yards world championships were shot with only South African PMP supplied ammunition since after World War II. PMP supplied 70% of all the .303 ammunition used in WW II.
 
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