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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm starting to reload for an 1885 Highwall in 45-70. I'm already set up for precision reloading shooting in F-TR. I go through Varget by the keg (ok, 8 lb jug). I've been looking and reading what people like to load in the 45-70 and I see a lot of Reloader 7, 4198 and 3031. Those are all faster burning powders than Varget. Just thinking here but I'd think that a slower powder would be better for big heavies, especially the cast ones.

I haven't looked in any of the newer reloading manuals to see if it is listed in them for the 45-70, all my reloading data dates back to the 90s, which is fine until you get a powder that is relatively new.

All that said, Anyone out there loading with Varget? and if so how is is working and what kind of loads are you running?

Edit: Took the time to do some internet searches and found a good number of loads that people are using.
 

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Don't have any first hand info on the Varget but this post sure got my attention because I have been asking the same question lately! Looking at Hodgdons data it looks like a 400 grain JFN gives a load of 55 grains of Varget as a compressed load at 1845 FPS and only 25,000 CUP. I don't like using fillers and both H4895 and Varget seem to yield good velocities at very low pressures with zero air space in the case. The problem for me is that I want to load a 500 grain Lee RN cast bullet and that data seems to be non-existent. The H4895 data is very similar with the same 55 grain compressed load at about the same velocity with 26,500 CUP pressure using the same 400 grain bullet. I am shooting Blackhorn 209 in both my 45/70 and 45/90 with the 500 grain cast bullet and while it works really well in the 45/90 the 45/70 is a bit anemic because of the smaller case capacity, as soon as the BH 209 is gone I don't intend to use it anymore mostly because of the cost.
 

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I'm starting to reload for an 1885 Highwall in 45-70. I'm already set up for precision reloading shooting in F-TR. I go through Varget by the keg (ok, 8 lb jug). I've been looking and reading what people like to load in the 45-70 and I see a lot of Reloader 7, 4198 and 3031. Those are all faster burning powders than Varget. Just thinking here but I'd think that a slower powder would be better for big heavies, especially the cast ones.

I haven't looked in any of the newer reloading manuals to see if it is listed in them for the 45-70, all my reloading data dates back to the 90s, which is fine until you get a powder that is relatively new.

All that said, Anyone out there loading with Varget? and if so how is is working and what kind of loads are you running?

Edit: Took the time to do some internet searches and found a good number of loads that people are using.


I believe the faster powders like 3031 and those near it are better so that certain pressures can be reached before the bullet can move forward enough to increase the volume of the combustion chamber area which would cause pressures to drop quickly. I have read that 3031 is about as slow as should be used in many loads in the 45-70. This does not mean Varget can not be used and a good load may result. I wonder if the slower powders will cause a lot of incomplete burn of the powder? I have no experience with heavy bullets in the 45-70 which may be held back longer than a lighter one. Let us know how your loads do if you can chronograph them and note deviation of FPS.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What my research seems to say about Varget in the 45-70 is that you really can't over load it; however it may be just a bit slow for most applications.


Powder burn rates

if you look in that chart you'll see that it is much further down the list than most of the powders typically talked about loaded in the 45-70. And most of the ones that are discussed are right in the same range (4198, 3031, RL7, 4895) I've seen comments that there can end up being unburned powder from full loads of Varget.

I've got some RL-7 to work with for now. I may look to some others eventually. Right now I'm set up to weigh charges because that's what I do for my match loads, but eventually I'll set up to throw for some things and I'll want something that throws consistently. I've got no experience with any of these powders but load workups is an excuse to spend an afternoon at the range and those are almost always good afternoons.
 

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I see you have 4895 listed there but which 4895? H4895 is very much like Varget according to the Hodgon data and a 55 grain compressed load of H4895 with a 400 grain bullet yields very similar velocities and pressures, low pressures I might add. Using the same 400 grain bullet the max load of 3031 is also a 55 grain compressed load, same as for Varget, but it yeilds 37,300 CUP at 1971 FPS. However this is 37,300 CUP at 1971 FPS vs Varget at only 25,000 CUP at 1845 FPS, an increase of 12,300 CUP for a gain of only 126 FPS with the 3031 vs Varget! You are apparently correct in the assessment that you can't get enough Varget into the case to cause an overload but the same is also true of H4895, in both cases not only is a full case not an overload but for both Varget and H4895 using a 400 grain jacked bullet pressures remain quite low for level two specs.
 

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Well, my current mold maker recommended I try H335.

At this point, it is out shooting everything else I have tried, which includes most of what everyone has recommended.

Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I may be missing something but for anyone shooting cast boolits it makes sense to me that the slower powders would work better. I would think that the slower longer acceleration would result in less skidding and less heat to the base. The long pressure curve would keep the peak pressure down and still get good MV.

From that simple point of view it makes sense to me.
 

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You and I seem to be thinking along the same lines and that 3031 vs Varget example would seem to confirm that unless I too am missing something. 12,300 CUP pressure increase for only a 126 FPS gain with the 3031 vs Varget tells me the faster powder must be spiking and then dropping rapidly.


I noticed you earlier said you found some loads on the internet, did you find anything with the slower powders and 500 grain bullets? I have searched in vain for data on either H4895 or Varget using a 500 grain cast bullet.
 

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5744 seems to be a real favorite for heavy (500 gr+) cast bullets. Lyman's 48th Edition Reloading Handbook has a significant number of loads for the .45-70, including loads with 500 gr lead bullets and Varget (nothing with 4895 - it may not be a good choice for the heavier bullets; I see they have some H4895 loads with 300 grain jacketed bullets).
 

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Have you tried Trail boss? I reload for my 45/70 trapdoor using 12 gr.of trail boss with a 405gr cast fn. Just wondering. I don't shoot competition, I just like to plink and this seems to work well. Best regards Dick
 

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Not sure what it is with the popularity of Trail Boss because IMHO it stinks!! Sure it's bulky and keeps pressures low but it only produces slingshot velocities at higher than BP pressures, for example according to Hodgdon's own data-

405 cast bullet they list the max for Trail Boss at a trapdoor load at 13 grains for only 1007 FPS at 25,600 CUP!

Compare that to Varget trap door loads at 1781 at 20.900 CUP or H4895 at 1645 at 18,900 CUP!

Trail Boss was producing 773 FPS LESS velocity at 4,700 CUP more pressure than Varget!


The H4895 vs Trail Boss comparison is similar as are several other powders, for example with the 485 grain cast Trail Boss yields a Trap door load of a whopping 804 FPS at 23,000 CUP!



Compare that Trail Boss load to 3031, the same 405 grain cast bullet that Trail Boss pushes to only 1007 FPS at 25,600 CUP will run 1706 FPS at only 21,100 CUP with 3031! The MINIMUM 3031 load using that bullet is going 1597 FPS at 17,300 CUP! That's 590 FPS more velocity at 8,300 CUP LESS pressure than the same bullet with Trail Boss!



Trail Boss? Not for me!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm still working on my loads, I had a bunch of scope problems, but I did find that Varget didn't work will with 350s, too slow. With 405s or heavier it may work.
 

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I have had a Marlin 1895 with the 22" barrel for over five years now. This gun has seen only one box of jacketed bullets since I bought it new. 99% of the bullets I've used in it have been the 405 grain hard cast bullets either from Oregon Trail or from my Lee 405 grain mold that I cast myself. I don't hunt with any of my guns as I'm just a lowly paper puncher so accuracy and comfort are my goals for my loads. I mentioned comfort because I always shoot from the bench and the 45-70 can be brutal from the bench if you want to make it so. I've used the following powders in it for my cast loads under 1700 fps.

Varget
Accurate 5744
H 4198
Alliant 2400

I started with Varget from the advice of a Hodgdon technician. It performed ok except I did not like the incomplete burn I got from it. It left kernels of powder in the barrel that would get into the chamber and leave small dents in the case of the next round fired.

I then moved on to Accurate 5744 from the advice of a forum member on here if my memory serves me correct. I found it shot a lot cleaner at the level of performance I work in and gave some good performance accuracy wise and data from my chronograph.

I then tried several loads with Alliant 2400 but could not get the accuracy I wanted from this powder. Some people use it in the 45-70 and love it. I abandoned it's use in the 45-70 but still use it in some of my 357 mag loads.

The last powder I have used is H 4198 and found it performs well for my use as the Accurate 5744 does and is slightly less in price.

One issue with the 45-70 is that some powders are more position sensitive in this large case when using loads for cast bullets. I have used some fillers and have had some level of success with them as well. The subject of fillers in the 45-70 is controversial and I am aware of their dangers and advantage.:)
Cary
 

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I used to shoot a lot of Varget in my 45-70 Guide Gun with the Hornady 350 grain RN jacketed bullet. On a fluke I tried H-4895 and never went back to Varget.

I think there was a devine message in the combination. 1895 Marlin, 4895 Powder. Too many similar numbers to be a coincidence. :)
 

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I use A5744 in my 14" TC Contender. I use mainly H-4198 and A5744 in my levers. I just started loading some A2015, but have not fired any yet. I have some IMR 4895 but never tried it in the 45-70, I will have to load a few if I find some data for a 400 gn lead bullet.
 

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Data in an old Lyman manual (38th) shows loads using 2400 which was Dad's favorite with 457124's in his 1873 Springfield rifle and I've been using it to duplicate the original velocity (1380 fps) of 45-70-405's in my 1895CB.

A close second would be 5744.

The use of CUP for pressure testing went the way of balloon head brass even though people swear by its accuracy. 8500 CUP could vary so much from test to test and between apparati as to make the head spin.

RJ
 
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I have had really good luck with 405gr RNFP cast bullets over 37.5gr of reloder #7. It should be in the mid 1500fps range. It's a trapdoor load per the Lyman 49th manual. It was good enough to go clean through a 200+lb white tail, and drop it rather quickly.
 

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In the late '90's and early 2000's I used Varget almost exclusively with Hornady 350 grain RN and Remington 405 grain Flat points in My Marlin 1895SS 45/70. The data I used was from Metallic Cartridge Reloading, 3rd Edition. 61 grains of Varget for the 350 and 55 grains for the 405. No problems with unburnt powder and I was getting 1968 fps with the 350 and 1770 fps with the 405. I have never used it with cast bullets. I now use H322 and H335 in my 45/70.
 

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While the principle of using slow powder in a high expansion rate cartridge may be appealing for the reasons PONDOROLMS brought up, the slower a powder is, the higher the pressure it needs to burn consistently and cleanly and the more of it you need to get to a given velocity, which adds to ejecta mass, increasing recoil. The inconsistency stops most people. If one insists on trying it, using a hot magnum primer like the Federal 215 may help get the powder burning better.
 
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