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The 3031 melting behavior is the result of either too little powder or using a bullet too light for the powder charge weight. These are easy to do in cases that are straight or close to it and that have a short powder space. The expansion ratio then is large and the bullet doesn't have to move very far to double the volume the powder is trying to build pressure in. So if the bullet is light enough to be moved forward quickly by low pressure, the powder can start burning and start moving the bullet, but then as the bullet accelerates, see the pressure drop so fast the powder extinguishes in its own fumes. Using either a heavier bullet or a larger charge weight can often fix this.

It's easy to think the above shouldn't happen because the powder supplies its own oxygen. But the temperature and pressure have to be high enough to keep breaking up nitrocellulose and turning loose the oxygen and fuel atoms (mainly carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen). If you burn the same powder out in the open, the supplemental oxygen from the air will keep the flame temperature higher by helping burn the fuel atoms and, despite the low pressure, it won't extinguish. But sealed in the cartridge, the oxygen release rate can become too deficient to maintain the burn, and then the heat from the start of the burn can still be high enough to melt and fuse the powder. Nitrocellulose, in the lower nitrations, was, after all, one of our first plastics.

The danger in the above is that fused powder's grains have become one contiguous mass. This means it can be detonated more easily than separate grains can, as the continuity will carry a shock wave without interruption. Why a shockwave would or would not start is not, from what I can tell, entirely well understood. However, it has been demonstrated in high-speed images of a transparent engine that the gas/air vapor mix detonation (engine knocking) begins at the hottest point in the cylinder. So, apparently, a high enough concentration of heat in some corner can do it. In any event, I would not intentionally shoot loads that tend to fuse, as that adds unnecessary risk.

As to fillers, if you want to try one it can have a couple of advantages, one of which is keeping the powder over the flash hole so it tends to ignite most vigorously. There have been so many reported incidents of chamber ringing with fillers behind bullets, I would be disinclined to use cereal or the other old methods. I think you would do best to use one of the lightweight fillers like Pufflon that lets you fill the case over the powder without introducing much material mass or compressive strength for the evolving gases to fight against.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Good deal Cervri! Do you have pix? Ive always wondered how the Henery compared to the marlin 1895.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
At this point, with potential barrel ringing, I’m actually afraid to use a load that needs to use a filler. Right now I’m wondering what the difference between a load of smokeless by weight and black powder by volume is. I think when I can get back to my reloading bench (I’m currently on crutches) I’ll drop 48.5 grains of 3031 and see how much of the case volume it takes up in conjunction with how much of the case the 405 cast bullet takes up to see how much of the case would be free space .
 

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QuickLOAD thinks 48.5 grains will fill the case under the bullet, but stick powder bulk density can vary several percent from lot to lot and depending on how you dispense it. For maximum bulk, weigh it and maybe stir it a little with a toothpick and then tip the case nearly horizontal and start pouring it from the weighing pan as you gradually turn the case back to upright to move the powder as gently as possible. The photo below shows what happens to one stick powder's bulk as the drop into the case gets faster and faster.

101829
 

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In a world gone mad about PC answers….am going to risk it.



Are we butt-deep in buffalo or hostile (although I would be too..had plenty of reason to be) indigenous people. Not debating the right or wrong of it.

Maybe we are just addicted to trajectory and speed...which certainly has a place, but likely not the 45-70’s place.

Two different rifles….unless you want to treat them as separate and always keep the ammo distinctive so there is less change of an “ooops”….I’d have to load to the level of the weakest and be real careful along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Thanks, yes they would use the same process when loading black powder.... they would use “drop tubes” in order to get more powder in the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Thanks ribbonstone2 I’m not looking for a load that sets the world on fire for velocity. I’m just looking for accuracy and consistency in both rifles. I’ve had very good accuracy with the remington factory 405 load in both rifles in the past. And remington loads these light for the weaker trapdoor action.
 

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Could the 3031 melt down be a result of too much unused case capacity? Was it a reduced load?
It wasn’t a “reduced” load, it was a Trapdoor load listed in the Lyman 46th and 49th Editions. The 46th addition used to call out for fillers with some loads and this load did not have a call out for one. Each load is dipped, put on a scale, and trickled up to the exact amount desired. It was 38.0g of 3031, and as I stated, it was a one time failure. For me, once was enough. There are simply too many excellent powders to be used that shoot just as well or better.
 

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Also, a good example of the fact load manual authors are human, too. Creating a manual takes a lot of shooting, and the kind of event that happens only very occasionally can be missed because they haven't had time to shoot each load enough to run into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I don’t have enough experience to determine if 38 grains is a load that should have filler or not, so I have no clue really hence this discussion I know that the 405 grain bullet I intend to use has a long base so it takes up around 5/8 on an inch of case capacity, so that needs to be taken into account. On another note I’ve checked with midwayusa and they don’t list any filler so I don’t even know where to get any to try, and it’s been said in this thread that using cereal as a filler could ring the barrel. So I’m very confused at this point
 

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You’re going to find that you’ll be loading different loads for your single shot and your lever gun. If you strive for accuracy you’ll end up with two different length oal cartridges, possibly different powders, different bullets, crimp/no crimp, and possibly other things. My Win/Miroku and Pedersoli Sharps each have their own “best” load. In some cases such as Miroku, they make the chamber and leade to spec and you simply can’t chamber a REM 405g JSP bullet or even a Hornady 350g jacketed round nose in the gun (bullet ogive interference). The Marlin has a bigger bore dia. than the Miroku if you slug the barrel (shooting cast this is something you need to do). It goes on and on. As far as filler, you can ring a barrel at will if you try. Fillers rarely make a difference with smokeless powder. The only time I use a filler is with 2400 powder and it’s not required to use it to get reliable ignition or good accuracy. What I did find is that I get great accuracy using it over getting good accuracy without using it. I fired a lot of rounds testing this out. With this powder it tightens up the groups when used and I go to the extent of carrying the loaded rounds in a case facing bullets up. Look on page 1 of this post at my 2400 load on one target. That load in my gun shoots under 1moa for five shots all the time. It’s a Trapdoor load and I have yet to recover a round from a deer I’ve shot. I probably will sometime, but so far it’s been all pass-through. Used properly, a bag of Dacron pillow stuffing will make you enough fillers to last ten lifetimes. The trick is to take a very small amount and keep plucking/lofting up the volume. You use very, very little of it. It simply acts to keep the powder on top of the flash hole rather than stretched out in the case.
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A5C085DA-6807-4E06-BC09-FC50690A31A2.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Nsb, will I most likely end up with a different load for my marlin 1895, and my Shiloh sharps., sure I will. I’ll most likely load a 500 grain lead slug over black powder for my American sharps (used that load before and it liked it) and something in the 325-405 grain smokeless load for the “bumper jack” gun ( the marlin loves the remington 405 factory loads)
But the purpose of me starting this thread was that I wanted a load that would be fun and safe to shoot in both my rifles, not the magic load that’s going to shoot sub 1” groups from both rifles. And my concern was the need to use fillers in a large capacity case. I’ve reloaded thousands of rounds of bottle neck rifle and also for pistol calibers. The only experience I have in loading the 45-70 was the few dozen black powder rounds I made for it. I have a good friend that builds flintlocks and does a lot of reloading and he suggests I use cream of wheat as a filler but I’d rather not use a filler unless it’s really necessary.
Thanks
 

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Pufflon is available directly from the maker (or on Amazon). There's another one whose name I am forgetting at the moment. But Allan Jones voices some valid concerns.

If your seating depth is 5/8", QuickLOAD thinks 38 grains will be just over 80% case fill. A theoretically safe loading density, even if prone to velocity variation depending on the powder's position in the case at the moment of firing. My main concern, based on NSB's experience, is the possibility of inadequate ignition at Trapdoor pressures (usually, 3031 sees a fair amount of use in 45-70, but at closer to the SAAMI 28,000 psi number or higher in the 1895s).

Seating Depth = Case Length + Bullet Length – COL
 
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Hi unclenick, in my IMR loading book it lists 48.8 grains of 3031 with a 405 grain bullet @ 1706 FPS and 21,100 cup and lists this as a load for trapdoor rifles. This is the load I was going to try but my leg is in a cast at the moment and can’t get to my loading bench, when I can get to my bench ( looks like cast may come off next week) I’ll throw 48.5 grains of 3031 into an empty 45-70 case and see how much space it really takes up. At least that’s the plan for now.
Thanks for the input
 

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I’m sure Pufflon is an excellent product to use but I wasn’t aware of it until recently. I did a lot of research on “ringing” a barrel and found a wealth of information on the subject. What was recommended to me, and it seems to work very well, is using Poly-Fil , a 100% polyester fill used in many products. As you can see in the attached picture, it takes only about 0.25 grains to make a filler adequate for a 45-70 load. The old Lyman 46th Edition called for a 0.5 grain fill so as to not use too much weight over the powder. This stuff is quite a bit less. In the pic you can see on the left the amount taken out of the bag. It’s “plucked up” and on the right is about the amount you end up using by volume. Simply take a pencil and use the eraser end to push it into the case just far enough to get it all below the neck. DO NOT pack it down. Reading Uncle Nicks comment about case capacity with 38g of 3031 got me to thinking about something. My Win High Wall (Miroku) would not chamber REM 405 JSP or 350 RN bullets due to the ogive and the very short (non-existent) leade. Turnbull lengthened my chamber to match theirs. When I picked my gun up I asked them how many thousandths they lengthened it. They replied “it would be easier to talk in inches, about a quarter of an inch”. Miroku makes their chambers right to SAAMI specs and if you look at them on the 45-70 there is virtually no leade. That extra .250” plus seating out almost to the lands on my single shot allowed for even more space in the case. This might be why I got the “melted“ powder plug using 3031. Had I used a filler such as the one shown, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Lyman no longer calls for fillers to avoid people using a variety of “fillers” that can ring your chamber.
 
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