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Elmer Keith's 45-70 classic load

7552 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Gatofeo
Do any of you have any experience using Elmer Keith's 45-70 classic load of 53 grains of 3031 with a 405 grain Jacketed
I tried 51.3 grains of 3031 with a lead cast bullet 405 grains in a Marlin 1895 CB .I seemed to be getting a loss of accuracy.
The cast bullets seemed to be doing better with less powder
say 46 grains of 3031.I suspect it was my choice of bullets and gas blow by in a cast bullet without a gas check.
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swifty: I have used the 53 grain and a 54 grain IMR3031 load with Rem. 405's. Accuracy did deteriorate very slightly compared to loads from 49-51 grains (not enough that I would discontinue using it for that reason). I suspect recoil and muzzle jump are a factor at that level of load which may enter into the decline.

I believe currently produced IMR 3031 is faster than the old stuff. My chronograph and another chronograph owned by a friend recorded similar but considerably higher velocities than expected based on loading manuals published velocities.

I also tested 425 grain gas checked and ovenhardened lead bullets at 53 grains and at 53.5 grains. Velocity again was higher than anticipated and recoil was very stout from an 1886 ELR without recoil pad. 3 shot groups usually produced 2 shots very close together and one about 2 to 3 inches out from them (100 yards). Still O.K for big game but nothing to brag about Some light leading at the muzzle so expect I need a better lube for those loads.

Pressures on all these loads are getting up there but I saw no pressure signs that would prevent me from using them. Certainly they are not beyond the limits of the cartridge case as modern single shot rifles are loaded considerably heavier using the same cases. I think a lot of shooting with them would tend to shake up any old lever action design over time though. The steel in the new rifles is excellent but the designs are over 100 years old and certainly John Browning did not anticipate pressures that high in 1886. Things like pins, screws may show wear or loss first. The forend cap screws that came in my rifle stripped in short order mainly because they were a bit short and did not have enough thread engagement. That and the fact that I was holding the forend quite firmly caused them to literally be torn loose from the dovetail retainer. The replacement screws were longer and I Loc-tited them to boot.

Although I would carry those loads if I was working on a coastal salmon stream where grizzly encounters were likely I suspect they really wouldn't do much more than a somewhat lighter load other than make me feel good. I use 46 grains of IMR 3031 as a hunting carry load and less (37) for plain old range practice. Loads in this weight range shoot very accurately, are easier to control and will still shoot through nearly anything a fellow is likely to encounter on most occasions. I have used Re-7 loaded to similar levels and results were much the same in terms of accuracy and velocity.
I liked Re7 a lot but local supply is intermittent so for the most part will rely on 3031

Now that deer season has ended here and once the Christmas season is past I'll be spending more time at the range testing loads and different lubricants to see if there is a way to eliminate the leading. Perhaps those flyers may disappear too. best

CONSULT YOUR MANUALS. (I think all the guys who are regulars on this forum know that but I'm covering my butt.) BCstocker
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