The 45-90 is basically being produced today for those who want to shoot black powder cartridges out of their lever guns. Back in days of yore, the 45-90 was considered the more powerful cartridge when everyone was shooting the only thing available.....black powder. Today, most manufacturers suggest using black powder in the 45-90 instead of smokeless. The danger exists for people that assume that what ever amount of smokeless you put in a 45-70, you can automatically add more for a 45-90. Not necessarily true, they both operate safely at the same pressures. If you look at long range competition with these type guns, the 45-70 is the winner in competition shooting. Just load what ever 45-70 loads you like in your 45-90, or go with black and "fill-er-up". You'll also find that heavier bullets will shoot better than the "light" 300 and 350 grain bullets. A light bullet in either caliber is 400 grains and for truly long range shooting the 500+ grain bullets are the long range winners. If you really want to talk to a group of dedicated long range shooters for these guns, visit the ASSRA website (American Single Shot Rifle Association). Lots of info over there. Not taking anything away from anyone here, it's just that it's all they do there. Good luck.
I regularly shoot Accurate 5744 in my 45-90 Pedersoli Sharps. The results are very good. The bullets used were from 385gr. to 500gr. There was no effort to make this old round into to magnum. Shooting black powder is a different world. You did not say if you were shooting and old gun or not. Make sure the twist in your rifle is fast enough for the 500gr.
I agree fully with NSB as far as reloading for the .45-90. However in a (modern)strong action reproduction 86 I have used a 400-405 jacketed bullet behind 66 grains of IMR 3031 for a velocity of 2075fps or 68 grains with 350 grain jacketed for a velocity of 2150 fps. I would probably start out a couple grains under that and work up to see how you rifle likes it. I would definitely stick to black powder in any older Winchester etc.
Dont you just hate it when you ask a simple yes or no question about a rifle and get replies telling you not to use that rifle but another?
Not from me.
There are many sources of load information on the .45-90 in books, articles, forums,and on Internet based load manuals. Without knowing your plans for hunting or target shooting, I will only provide references and not specific loads.
Books include Lyman 50th and later (every hand loader needs Lyman) and wonderful old books by Phillip Sharpe and by Ken Waters to name a couple in my library.
Internet based load information - search on .45-90 Express , 45-90 loads, 1886 .45-90 loads. You will get many hits on ammo load sites and some on web forums and magazine articles.
Yes, I load for, shoot, and hunt with .1886 45-90:
Enjoy your load research, loading, rifle, shooting, and hunting.
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