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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working with Saeco's 350 grain mold and Lymans old 445 grain, both gas checked. The powder I'm using is RL-7. I've used LBT's Blue, Paco's Apache Blue, and Micro lube, and about to start with Rooster Red's HVR.
So far I've not found any of them that were bad.
I'm finding that a softer alloy works just as well as any of the really hard, linotype, babbit, water quinched alloys, as long as I size them .450-.460.
What's you experience.
Jim McCool
 

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arky: I think you meant .458-.460 which is similar to my experience. Just a little bigger than actual bore size seems to be the ticket. I have been casting mine relatively soft as well. Don't have a tester to determine a number. When first cast they will only hold about 1500fps with accuracy. After a couple months age-hardening they are pretty good to 1700. Anything above that seems to require one or another hardening technique as am just unable to locate any lino at less than 2.00 a lb. The next pour I intend to add a bit of babbit metal to the W/W to try to get a bit harder bullet right out of the mold and dispense with any hardening method. As for lubes I mainly use RCBS rifle variety as that is what is available. I also made up a batch from Felix's recipe and it works very well. I have had absolutely zero leading problems with any of my gaschecked RCBS molded bullets. A tight patch leaves a pristine bore. The gascheck does wonders for preventing base melt/erosion and probably acts as a scraper to some extent.  Am not using any plain base bullets. Accuracy is as good as jacketed bullets although I've not used many of the latter and have done little real testing of them except to develop hunting loads.  In the end I intend to only use cast for hunting as well (in 45/70) so  when these jacketed I have on hand are gone that will probably be the end of that. besto.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BC
You are correct of course. I did mean .458-.460.
You must have a greater sense of disipline then I. None of my bullets seem to stay around long enough to age harden a couple of months. Once I get them sized, gas checked, lubed they get stuck in cases.  I'm like a kid with a sack of halloween candy, those bullets tend not to stay around very long.
Although I did get a head start this winter with my 45-70 casting. There's a few hundred sized and lubed ready to go and I've got a few hundred all loaded up and ready to shoot.
It's my intent to become a fair off hand shooter with my rifle this summer, just to be able to do it.
Take care
Jim
 

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Arky : Don't know if you'd call it discipline or just time available now that I'm retired. When I decide to get at it I get two molds going and usually cast 7 or 8 hours a day for a couple of days. Usually when a rainy couple of days come along that keep me from golfing, fishing or shooting. I haven't cast now since August of last year and went through nearly 300 lbs. of W/W and 15 lbs of 50/50 bar solder. Two kinds of 45 and 1 kind of 30 cal. I use a large capacity plumbers style pot (it holds close to 50 lbs at a melt). I gave my son a few hundred bullets and the rest are nearly gone now. Will probably get at it in the next week as it's getting to be a good temperature outside to stand at the pot. Can't say it's the best way to spend time but once done it's finished for quite a while. During the fall of course I spend most of my time hunting/fishing and little time at the range except for checking sight in.
The only drawback is once you settle on an a mix you either have to accept them as they drop or remelt them if they aren't quite what you want. I prefer to adjust my loads if necessary and use them rather than write of the time spent. I've got to order up a hardness tester so I can test them and go directly to the right loads. No problem at the medium  levels which for me is 1400-1500. Faster than that and they start to get a little fussy it seems. besto.
 

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arkypete: Well that last post must have seemed like I must live at the range. Not quite. I'd forgotten I'd also poured 100 lbs of boat anchors (10) that last go round. Also still have about 25 to 30 lbs. of sprues in a bucket to remelt and probably discarded close to the same weight in wheel clips and dross and about 20 lbs left in the pot. Need to give my head a shake before everything bubbles to the top. besto
 

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You Guys make my head spin with all that flying lead.My 3 45/70 rifles are Trapdoors;;think single shot. You must have Gatlings.
All of my bullet molds are plain base,and I don't have a leading problem. I also don't diliberately shoot much over 1600 FPS either.
Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Kragman
We're just practicing up for the replay of the Little Big Horn. The last time the Indians had repeating rifles and Custer's guys had Springfields. This time it's going to be more equitable.
If the Indians don't want to play we could come East a bit and have a replay of the 'War of Northern Aggression' The good guys using Winchesters and the Blue Uglies using Springfields.
Actually I just like shooting.
Jim
 

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For black powder loads in my H&R reproduction 1873 Trapdoor carbine:

Remington brass (no offending cannelure on the brass) but Winchester will work too.
Federal 215M Large Rifle Magnum primer
60 grs. Goex FFG black powder (this weight is approximate, as I measure it by volume)
Stiff felt wad, 1/8" thick, cut with punch. Soaked in home-brew bullet lubricant for greasing.
Lyman 457193 bullet cast of nearly pure lead (BHN 5). In this alloy, it weighs about 425 grains. Bullet unsized; it drops from the mould at about .460 inch diameter.

Bullet lubricated with 19th century recipe:
1 part paraffin
1 part mutton tallow
1/2 part beeswax
All measures by weight, not volume! All ingredients melted, stirred together and allowed to cool at room temperature.

Pour FFG down a long tube into a primed, fully resized case. Start the greased felt wad into the case with your thumb. Push it hard down onto the powder by hand, using a close-fitting wooden dowel.
Seat bullet slowly. When you begin to encounter more than normal resistance, STOP or you'll deform the bullet. If you can seat the bullet to its normal position, do so.
Crimp lightly. Some argue that crimping is unnecessary with single-shots, but even a light crimp helps ignition.
This load will probably cut cloverleafs at 100 yards. With my eyes, I get about 4" groups at 100  yards from a benchrest.

Smokeless powder load in Marlin 1895:
Lyman 457193, cast hard of 1 part tin to 10 parts lead (BHN 15). In this alloy, this bullet weighs about 418 grains.
Lubricated with Alox-based lubricant (I use RCBS bullet lubricant).
Sized to .459 inch
W-W or Remington Case, full length resized
Winchester WLR primer
IMR 3031 / 47.0 grains
Crimp just above uppermost lubricating groove.
1,700 fps, approximately

WARNING! Lyman lists the above load as MAXIMUM in its section for 1886 Winchesters and the new 1895 Marlin (circa 1970s, not to be confused with the original 1895 Marlin of 19th century vintage).
This load produces 25,000 C.U.P., Lyman notes.
Start at 39.0 grains IMR3031 and work up a half grain at a time.
This load produces about 3" groups at 100 yards in my Marlin 1895 of 1977 vintage.
This is my load against bears (grizzly and black) at my cabin in British Columbia, Canada.

WARNING
The often-quoted load of Elmer Keith, that of 53.0 grains of IMR3031 under a 405-grain jacketed bullet, is too dangerous to try in any Marlin or 1886 Winchester.
When I tried this load many years ago in my 1895 Marlin, cases were swollen around the web and primers were flattened.
In other websites, I've seen other posts warning against the use of the "Keith load" in anything but the Ruger No. 1 or 3.

Interestingly, Elmer Keith flatly refused to provide ANY smokeless powder loads for the 1873 Springfield Trapdoor. He felt this action was too weak for any smokeless powder.
I disagree, and have used many light smokeless powder loads in my reproduction 1873 Trapdoor.
However, original 1873 Trapdoors should be inspected by a competent gunsmith before firing as some of these guns have been abused by firing with high-pressure loads.

One more thing: Just because a gun is a reproduction, made of modern steels, does NOT mean it will take loads of higher pressure!
The limiting factor in these reproduction guns is the original design, not the metallurgy.
My reproduction 1873 Winchester rifle in .44-40 is no stronger than an original in good condition. The same is true of Colt Single Action clones, 1892 Winchesters, 1894 Marlins and so on.

Oh sure, you'll run across people hot-rodding these reproductions and boasting, "Why, I've run up to 26 grains of HotDamn powder in MY .45 Colt and never had a problem!"
Yeah ... mebbe ... but you're playing with fire doing so. Sooner or later, she could let go. And even if she doesn't, you're abusing the gun and wearing it out 10X faster.
If you MUST magnumize, buy a Magnum or a gun of this caliber that can accommodate these higher pressures (the Ruger Blackhawk comes to mind).
 

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Gatofeo, couple of years back I called Cabelas asking about loading the Sharps and Creedmore replicas and they said to use only loads for the Springfield Trapdoors. I normally shoot B/P and cast so this helps. My 1895ss I shoot everything through it.
Your right about Rugers, most of the time they can be forgiving with hot loads, but not to push luck to far.

Gun Runner
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Gatofeo
I've got a buddy that's holding his breath and turning blue until he can save enough money to buy a Sharps. He'd love a Shiloe or the other but too impatient to wait and can't afford one, so he'll get one of the Italian clones and enjoy that.
I'll save your very detailed and well presented email for him.
I save my magnum loads for my Siamese Mauser.
I don't believe that my loads of 50 grains of RL-7 with a 350 grain are pushing the limits. Am I off base on this?
Jim
 

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Gatefeo,

Nice to read about your historic loading for your historic Trapdoor Springfield.  My neighbor has one and I have loaded some b.p. rounds for it, also using the 457193 bullet which was originally designed for the .45-70 Marlin  in the late 1800's.
I used a similar powder charge with a .060 poly wad (not as historically correct as yours).  I used SPG lube and I also fired groups in the 4" range.  My 58 year old eyes probably did'nt help things.

I agree with you about using smokeless loads in this rifle when they are loaded to duplicate no more than b.p. pressures.  I had excellent results with 28 grs. of 5744 in my neighboor's rifle with the 457193 bullet.  Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide  shows 28.5 grs. for 1,375 f.p.s. at 16,100 p.s.i. using the 457193 bullet.

That cabin of yours in British Columbia sure sounds neat!


Arkypete,

According to Lyman's manual in the 1886 Winchester and 1895 Marlin only section,   a 322 gr. cast bullet backed by  58.5 grs. of RX7, turns up 2,132 f.p.s. and 27,000 p.s.i.  With a 420 gr. cast bullet, they show 48.5 grains giving 1,828 f.p.s. with 25,000 p.s.i. so your load of 50 grains with  a 350 gr. bullet should be aok.

One thing though, different powder lots can vary slightly in burning rate, which should be taken into consideration.

Interestingly, the latest Hodgdon Powder Manual under "This Data is intended for the 1895 Marlin Lever Action Only", show loads as high as 40,000 c.u.p. which is similar to the  SAAMI maximum for the .30-30 which is used in the same action. The .45-70 would, however, give more total pressure since it is larger in diameter. No loads are  shown for RX7 powder.

Also in the Hodgdon manual is "Data only for the Ruger Number 1 and 3 Actions" which they show loads as high as 50,000 cup!

Sincerely,
John

aka Jack Christian SASS #11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13
aka w30wcf
aka John Kort



<!--EDIT|John Kort|April 26 2002,12:54-->
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I went out to the range yesterday to continue working on my accuracy, not the rifle's. I was shooting at a 8-10 inch gong out at 100 meters. I shot off hand using the tang sight on the Winchester 1886. (I'm working up to a real dislike of that tang sight.)
The 50 grains of Rl-7 with the 350 grain Saeco did well when I did my part. I noticed as the day went on the rifle contiously shot high so I'd drop the rear site a bit and continue shooting. Then after a bit the rifle shot low so I dropped the site some more.
I', guessing that the sight changes were required because I was adjusting to shooting the tang sight, because nothing else changed. With scope sighted, reciever sighted rifles, I pull the butt back into my shoulder with the right arm/hand and support with the life. With the tang sight I can't wrap my hand arounf the pistol grip, so I'm pushing back with my left and supporting with my right.
After firing 60 rounds, I removed the barrel, this is a take down model, no leading and very clean.
All in all a good day.
Jim
 
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