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Does anyone have any experience working up modern pressure loads for the 45/90 Win.

I plan to rechamber a modern production 86 Win.
 

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I just sent my 1886 reproduction to be rechambered to 45-90 myself.  The book Big Bire Rifles and Cartridges has data as well as Legacy of Leverguns. Both are available through Rifle and Handloader magazine. I got them off the web.  It looks to me as if the data and capacities of the 45-90 and 45 Alaskan are very similar if not identical.
 

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Morning Fellows!
Please enlighten this dunder head. It's my understanding that the 45- 90 is basically a tenth of an inch longer case and a lighter weight bullet, then a 45-70.
I can't see the economic benefit to getting a gunsmith to rechamber your rifle when buying a bullet mould producing lighter bullets and throwing more powder in the 45-70 case, will accomplish the same thing.
I know that I can put a powerful enough load in my 45-70 that I don't want to spend an afternoon shooting them.
Jim
 

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Arkypete,

You're mixing apples and grapefruit here.  The original use of the 45-90 and what can be done today are two different things in that we have a lot of powders now that weren't originally available.

I have a .358 Norma Mag bolt rifle that I usually load down to the .358 Win or .35 Whelen power range, but can load to full power when necessary. Also, because of a larger case capacity, the operating pressure is lower(for the .35 Whelen reloads) and  there is less recoil than a rifle chambered for a 35 Whelen. You'd be able to do the same thing with the 45-90.....stout 45-70 power range with less recoil.

El Lobo in NM
 

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I'm still not gathering all of these ideas, My dunder is getting denser with age. It's my understanding that if I take the weight of the bullet and powder charge, with the velocity, considering the weight of the rifle, I will get an approximation of the recoil.
If I take a 500 grain slug launched with 100 grains of powder achieving 1,000 fps in a 10 pound rifle I will get X amount of recoil. If I achieve the same velocity using 10 grains of powder I will reduce recoil, all things remaining the same, because the weight of the powder charge is lighter. If I reduce the bullet weight, all things remaining the same I will get lower recoil and higher velocity. Each time I change something in the above scenario I will affect the recoil, reduce or increase the rifle weight, etc.
If I change the case capacity, keeping everything else the same, I will reduce recoil, because I reduced the velocity, because of increased space for the powder gas to fill.
Am I wrong in this?
Jim
 

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When both the 45-70 and the 45-90 were loaded exclusively with black powder there was a velocity advantage with the latter using similar weight bullets.  Using currently available smokeless powders that advantage is a little moot. The fact is you can currently load either cartridge in a new Win /86 light rifle to the point where they cease to be fun to shoot. Presumably the /90 has a slight advantage even today if you really don't care if you beat your self up shooting it. The target can't care less and equally well hit game animals will never know the difference.  One of the problems facing 45/90 users is getting brass of the same quality and strength andconsistent standards as currently manufactured 45/70 brass. The "custom" 45/90 brass that I have seen to date is not equivalent to Win or R-P 45/70 brass in my opinion. However opinion is just opinion and you can always use 45/70 brass in a 45/90 chamber if you wish. The compelling reason to have a 45/90 is just to have something out of the ordinary and enjoy it. Great! That's what makes the world go round. Despite the fact that the current repro 86's are stronger than the originals in terms of steel and heat treating don't forget you are dealing with a design that's now 115 years old. The number of those old rifles that survived and are still shootable is a testament not only to John Brownings' design but also to the fact that the original load levels did not beat them to pieces.  I'd like to think that my new production /86 light rifle will be capable of bringing enjoyment to some descendant/shooter over a hundred years from now. Accordingly, I will use the top end loads sparingly and shoot one heck of pile of trapdoor level loads for practice and amusement. BCstocker
 

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   I completely agree with BC and Arky. At this time there is little or no advantage in going to the 90. If you want a cartridge change why not go for the 50-110? Even that one is really not much better than the 70, given the light wt bullets that it was designed for. I like my EL '86 way to much to try and do a caliber change. Years ago I owned an original '86 in 50-110. All the ammo I had was over 50 yrs old, but worked just fine. Those HV loads were impressive, but too scarce. I traded it for a SRC 45-70 and was glad to do so. That gun accounted for a few nice bucks. I think that with what you'll spend on the conv. you could find an original shooter in the 90. Whatever you do, have a ton of fun at it.
                                                                                                                              Mike
 

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Fuel to the fire:

If you rechamber a .45-70 barrel to .45-90, you still don't quite have a 'true' .45-90 as the -90's had a slower twist rate (since they were intended to be used with only 300 grain bullets).

Probably neither here nor there.....

By the way Starline now makes .45-90 brass.
 

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Mike G. Its true that the majority of /86 45/90's had a slower twist but not all of them. My son recently got an original light rifle in 45/90 with a 24" barrel that has the same twist as the 45/70 (1in 22 I think it is).  His rifle is a nickle steel deluxe grade that had been reconditioned very nicely, we believe by a 'smith in Oregon. The rifle had been drilled and tapped for a side mount scope so the previous owner decided it was not a great collectable but should be put back into near original condition. Holes were plugged nicely and one of the Lyman long side mount receiver sights installed.  Bore is mint and all told it is a very usable and attractive rifle.  Wood is outstanding crotch figure.  Lever was re-case hardened with nice color. Ivory bead front. If any body who reads this thinks it sounds familiar we would like to know more about who did the reconditioning. BCstocker
 

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Hey guys,
I wanted a 45-90 for some of the reasons you mentioned.  Everyone doesn't have one and I like being a bit different.  The 45-90 case is 3/10ths longer than a 45-70 and it will perform the same as the 450 Alaskan.  I also liked the idea of the 45-90 for heavier bullets.  Recoil?  I imagine it won't be as bad as my 50 BMG bolt gun but I can load light and plink and save the heavy stuff for seious occasions.  Brass is available from Starline for about the same price as 45-70. I just bought Lyman dies for &#3638.00  PMC is doing a speacial run of factory ammo as we speek and the price is good although I am sure it is light loaded 300gr lead.  All in all I can't hardly wait for the gun to get back !!!! By the way those big fat 45-90's look cool in the stock mouted ammo carrier!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Garth,
Sounds like you and I are thinking along the same line.  The 45/90 offers a great deal of increased potential over the 45/70 with 400 and 500 grain bullets.  I know that I really don't need the extra power unless I make it to Afirica but I think that It would be a heckuva lot of fun to play with. By the way, who is doing your conversion?  
 

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I hope I don't confuss things but how does the 45-70/45-90 stack up against something like a 450Alaskan?  OK, I confess.  I'm considering rechambering ad 86 extralite to 45AK and am still in the decision-making process....Thanks
 

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Well, without being any sort of expert on the subject, it strikes me that the big differences between a .45-90 and a .450 Alaskan would be the availability of brass, and loading data.
 

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Garth,

There are times in life when something like "Those big, fat 45/90's look cool" is all the reason a man needs to build a dream gun.

Heck, if it were all about practicality, we would be stuck with a .22 and an old 30-06. What would be the fun in that?

who knows, the way things are going, you may get to use it on a tank or somethin some day ;*)

Enjoy!

Scotty/North Pole, AK
 

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Glad you like the idea.  1 day I plan to get to Africa...wife and children seem to be using most of my hunting money these days.... I thought long and hard about the 450 Alaskan VS. the 45-90 and since Starline came out with new 45-90 brass that tipped the scales.  My thought was that the advantage of the 45-90 or 450 was with the heavier bullets too. My conversion is being done by  Bear Country Sports in Kodiak Alaska. E-mail is [email protected] I am having them slick up the action and trigger while it's there and add a larger "glove" lever.  Haven't decided on anything like porting the barrel. Anyone have much experience with this class cartridge and porting? I ordered dies from Lyman for cheap and am hoping Beartooth will catch up so I can get some cast bullets.
 

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Garth

So did you find the 45-90 and the 450AK to be basically the same?  The little information I could find on the 45-90 indicated they were close.

As far as brass goes,  I'd use Starlin 50AK brass and necked down.  Would'nt have the right headstamp but I can live with that.

Be interested in any information/modern loading data for the 90 to help me make a final decision...

Thanks...Curt
 
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