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Discussion Starter #1
I have the hots to play with roundball loads in 45-70. Would like to find one that with a single round ball 457,that would exit the tube at minimum vol without sticking in the bbl, and also one that would zip along above 1000 fps or so. Probably 2-3 gr of Bullseye, but don't know. Would appreciate any experiance and results with round ball loads in the old timer. Also, someplace in the back of my mind, I seem to recall reading an old article about a three ball load in 45-70 that was Army issue. Seems like I remember the article was possibly 35-40 years ago. Boy how time does fly when ya are having fun. If anyone has any info on one of these multi ball loads I would enjoy trying those. Presume that there must have been a fairly fast burning powder like 4F, under a wad, and that there was some kind of lube between the balls. I am interested in smokless loads only.
Anywho-I thank in advance anyone that has some real world knowledge about the subject including test results and accuracy.
Paul
 

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Had better luck with larger ball...using one that would just barely touch the bottoms of the grooves just didn't work well for me. Back then (and perhaps now...haven't looked) could get round ball from Dixie Gun Works in lots of differnt diameters, and .462" worked pretty well for me (but this rifle has a large .460" bore). Never worked any loads in the 1000fps range, stayed in the shallow end of the pool...started with 5gr. of Red Dot and reduced in steps. By 2.5gr. the ball were exiting, but the groups sucked...3.0gr. worked for short range practice.

Were seated down into the case with the top of the ball .25" BELOW the case mouth. The advantage of less empty case volume was more important on target then reducing bullet jump to rifling (and lets face it...with a round ball, you CAN'T have a load without a good bit distace from case to rifling start). Lube was simply Crisco smeared along the side of the ball.

When I want 1000 fps with a light bullet, I use commercial swaged lead .45acp 230gr. RNL bullets paper patched to .461". the dry lube used on the factoy made bullets doesn't seem to do any harm under the paper patch. As your bore is cloaer to normal, just use thinner paper and patch them to .458-.459".

I know paper patch is not supose to work when the bullet has a long jump to rifling...and these short bullets will have a jump to make...but it works for me.
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Haven't worked up a ball load for the 50/70, but have paper patched commercial .500" muzzle loading bullets and used them in the .514" bore. Worked well for light smokeless loads in the same calss as the 45/70.
 

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i tried a three ball load using some load of smokeless powder and when i shot it at 100 yards the balls went everywhere....none were anywhere near the target....if i loaded them again it would be for a Derringer that you would shoot across a room.....DICK
 

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I've used the three-ball load in my own 1895 Marlin with 22" barrel.
I put 10 grs. of Unique in a primed, sized case, that had been belled to avoid shaving the balls (okay .. okay ... let's all have a little giggle over "three balls" and "shaving the balls" then get over it and move on ... ).
Enny-wayyyyy ...
A Speer .457 inch lead ball was seated an inch down or so. Then an Ox-Yoke Wonder Wad of .45-caliber was placed over the ball.
Then another ball seated on top of that seated wad. Another wad over it. Then the third ball on top of that wad.
The seating stem of the die was run down as far as it would go. With a little careful experimentation I was able to seat the top ball to where it was seated with the circumference slightly below the mouth of the case.
Of course, seating the ball thus pushed the other balls and wads down. It is important to know that there must NOT be any space between balls and wads.
With the third ball seated with the circumference slightly below the case mouth, this leaves an open area twixt the ball and inner case. In this area, lubricant may be smeared by hand, or melted and gently poured in.
I used scrap bullet lube of Alox composition, smeared in this space. To my notion, it's easier and less messy than melting and pouring.
Shooting this load at 100 yards is a waste of time.
It's not intended to be a 100-yard or even 50-yard load. I have only fired it at 25 yards, where the balls typically stay in a palm-sized group.
If you can get slightly larger lead balls, then do so. A lead ball of .459 inch would be about right but I don't have such a mould and the Speer .457 inch ball was readily available.
This load is NOT intended for the Trapdoor Springfield or firearms of similar weakness.
Three balls, with two wads and lubricant, weigh close to 450 grs.
The Lyman No. 47 reloading book (copyright 1998) lists a Lyman cast bullet of 420 grs. with a starting load of 11 grs. of Unique, in the Marlin rifle, for a velocity of 1,006 feet per second (fps) and a pressure of 16,800 Copper Units of Pressure (CUP).
I WOULD NOT recommend this load in any deringer or similar arm. If you use it in one, you do so at your own risk (and are your eyes and hands worth the risk?).
With this as a guide, and the reduction of the charge to 10 grs., the load has been safe in my circa 1977 1895 Marlin. Whether it's safe in your rifle is another matter. I assume no responsibility for you using this load.
This 16,8000 CUP pressure level exceeds that recommended for the 1873 Springfield, original and reproductions, but it's considered safe in the Marlin.
Velocity of the three balls is tricky to figure, since the three balls confuse the chronograph. It's likely around 1,000 fps as well.
I cobbled together this load some years ago to play a prank on a friend, who had never before fired a rifle larger than a .22 rimfire.
We set up a 9" paper plate at 25 yards and I loaded the rifle. He expected a lot of recoil and was (of course) pleasantly surprised to find it was quite mild.
When we walked up to look at the target, after three shots, nine holes stared back at him.
His mystified look was priceless.
I chastized him with, "What the heck are you doing?"
He was speechless. He swore that all he was doing was aiming and pulling the trigger.
I feigned disbelief and said he MUST be doing something wrong and began quizzing him on his sight alignment until my laughter exposed the gag.
Later, we tried some regular loads with a 420 gr. lead bullet at about 1,500 fps. He was impressed with the Marlin's recoil then.
The three-ball load doesn't really have much use.
It's not accurate enough to knock off rabbits and grouse (usually, you want to take off their head with a precise shot; a .45-caliber ball would likely tear up too much eating meat) and the balls are too destructive and carry too far to dispatch pests in the barn or near housing areas.
It's strictly a "gee-whiz" type of round that's fun to shoot.
At one time, I had my Marlin 1895 loaded with four of these cartridges as a house defense gun. It might have such an application for close-range defense where stopping power but not penetration are needed.
However, a judge would probably have a field day with these rounds at your inquest.
I soon adopted a pump 20-gauge shotgun loaded with No. 3 buckshot as my house defense gun and shot the last of the three-ball loads a few years ago.
I don't know that I'd ever make up more cartridges, unless it was to play another prank. The loads's range and usefulness are very limited.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
RB in 45-70

Ribbonstone and Dickwholliday. Much appreciate the words of wisdom from both of you. Think I will try some Hor.560 RB as a start. Am shooting
a #1 Rug. As to the multi ball loads, the wads are an excellent idea, and will go with that when
I start loading. I never figured that there would be much accuracy beyond 25 yd., or even that far for that matter. Have gone as low as 1 gr. of
Bullseye under a 310RB in 30-30 that stayed under and inch at 25 for three shots much to my supprise. I agree that the 3 baller might make a decent home defense load, but I keep a little 20g. beside the bed with #4s, and back that with a 357. Am reminded of the three ball story and the unsuspecting friend of what I did with a 357 many years ago. Loaded two of the little Lyman 77gr. wadcutters one on top of the other with lube in between. Took it to the range, and at 15-20 ft.they would stay in about 3 " and print a clean hole. Blew the mind of the guy shooting next to
me who couldn't figure out why any body would want
to load and shoot something like that. I guess that playing with different loads is just one part
of what keeps a serious reloader serious. Anywho,
many thanks to both of you.
Paul
 

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Have tried the multi ball loads, and the wad between each doesn't have to be all that thick to be effective...just want to keep the balls from sticking together at exit...so here is a secret: teflon plumbers tape.

Nore often uses shot loads...but with a single ball loadedon top (which also give you a place to crimp). End up with the ball just where the front sight was pointed at ignition, and a spread of shot surrounding it in case your aim was off. Shot does tne dot 'donut' from a rifle barrel (and does leave a good bit of nasty fouling).

Amaze your fiends...betting is optional...toss up a light bulb and plaster it with the buck-and-ball load. All they see is a bullet load being chambered, they don't know about the under layer of shot.
 

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Ribbonstone:
I hope you shoot light bulbs at the local dump, where broken glass doesn't matter.
Otherwise, use clay pigeons, charcoal briquets or even Necco candy wafers as aerial targets, to avoid leaving a dangerous mess.
The days of shattering pop bottles and the like and leaving a dangerous mess are over. Or, at least they should have been years ago.
 

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Newly abandoned gravel pit...no major vegetation, but the locak folks have started using it as a dump...may not be an official dump, but it's well littered. Still, no reason to add to the clutter, and if clay targets are at hand, would be a better choice.

Long drive, well away from anything and anyone, but when you want to play with the big ugly toys, it's a good place.
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In some old reading, ran across a diagram for a gallery case. Seems they drilled out a solid brass lathed copy of a 45/70, cut in a primer pocket, and cupped the end to hold a round ball. Full of BP and clighlty compressed, would hold about 20gr. of BP.

had to make a copy...with the addition of an O-ring to block gas blow back...and it does work. Works better if adjusted for length so that when shambered, the ball is hard up against the rifling.
 

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Shot loads

I've loaded some shot loads using 9-10 gr unique, felt wonder wad, fill case with #9 shot, cap with an inverted gas check, crimp. Works OK for snakes out to about 15 feet. Pattern gets a big hole in it (donut effect) after that.

The round ball loads work for snakes too, but are best for close range rabbits and grouse. Very little meat damage.

.410 shells "work" in 45/70, but don't extract well,(shell is undersize and slips out of the extractor) easier to get out of the '86 than the marlin.
 
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