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Cast Bullet Loads

3830 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Ed Harris
I am an experienced reloader with jacketed bullets, but an absolute virgin when it comes to lead. I've had my Marlin 1895 for about 18 months now, but so far my only load, other than plinking/practice loads, has been the Nosler 300gr PT, which I use for deer. I have been reading a lot about wound ballistics and bullet terminal performance, and I am convinced that for animals larger than deer, there is no substitute for a 400gr hardcast lead bullet with a large meplat, such as the one that Beartooth makes. I only found and all its forums about 2 weeks ago. I have been to loadswap and seen the few loads there. I want to develop a hot load for a 400-425gr gas checked 45/70, somewhere around 2000 fps. Are there any published, PRESSURE TESTED loads for that bullet? What problems will I encounter? Will the gas check eliminate excessive leading? Thanks for the help folks,
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Joe, you are correct, there isn't any substitute for a big cast bullet when it comes to thumping critters.

For load data, if you have a good hard cast bullet with a gas check, you can start with any reputable source of jacketed data, and work up. There are sections in many of the reloading manuals for Marlin and Win lever guns, that are loaded to pressures higher than the SAAMI spec for black-powder .45-70s.

Odds are that your shoulder will give out long before you get into pressure trouble!

Be sure to clean all the copper out of your barrel before starting. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Yes, gas-checked bullets will help prevent fouling and in general, make it easier to work up loads.

As Mike said, just use jacketed bulleted data. You will get 50-100 fps more velocity most likely. Speer and Lyman both show loads for the '95 Marlin.

Also, as Mike said, I can promise that you will quit before the gun does! A 400+ gr. bullet at 1800-2000 fps in this light rifle will really get your attention.
Cast bullets in .45-70

If you want 2000 f.p.s. in a pressure tested load, you should stick to jacketed bulets and pressure tested data from the bullet and powder manufacturers.

You don't need that much velocity to get good performance with cast bullet loads out to 150 yards or so. If you want to hunt with cast bullets I would suggest that you read some of the articles by Dennis Marshall in the Lyman and RCBS handbooks, and back issues of American Rifleman. You could also look up my articles on cast bullets for hunting and George Martin's article on cast bullets in Africa which apeared in American Rifleman back in the early 1980s.

As for a simple recipe that works, use a bullet of 12-15 BHN, no harder, at a velocity of 1600-1800 f.p.s. Lyman has preassure tested cast bullet data which should do that for you. The RCBS cast bullet handbook is now out of print, but it has aot of good data also. In my Ruger No. 1 single-shot I used to use RL-7 with excellent results and you can get very respectible velocities with published loads within standard pressures.
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