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45-70 black powder cartridge

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by melbournemike, May 15, 2010.

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  1. melbournemike

    melbournemike TS Member

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    My son just gave me a k98 mauser chambered in 45-70 govt, it was made for the Siamese army and has been sporterized, I would like to shoot it w/black powder loads at 200 yds and have some fun at the range,my question is does any one have any experience in loading BP cart. for the 45-70 they can share?
     
  2. omgb

    omgb Well-Known Member

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    email me at omgb@ca.rr.com I shoot BPCR a great deal. Before you really get started loading for your gun it would be good to check out your barrel twist. You'll need a 1/18 twist for any slug overr 450 grains. If you have a 1/20 you should stay with slugs under 450 grains. That's not really a handcap as the heavier slugs have to be seated very deep if they are to cycle through the action. That reduces powder space. I'll bet your gun was one of those re-worked by Val Forgett's Navy Arms Co. Anywho, drop me a line and we'll chat.

    R Talley
     
  3. Stumpstalker

    Stumpstalker TS Member

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    Years ago a man had a trapdoor and couldn't get it to shoot well with black powder. He bought some Spanish American War vintage rounds and they shot well. He took apart the duds and found that the flash hole was bigger than the smokeless brass that we use now. I think his name was Wolf(e). He wrote a nice book on reloading the 45-70.

    Carmine
     
  4. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    When I make 45-70 blackpower loads, I use a bullet designed specifically for blackpowder. The difference is that it is not a gas check design, the grooves are larger to hold more lube, and the mold is cut taking into consideration there is a difference in the size of the finished bullet because of the softer alloy used.

    I always use magnum primers to ensure ignition, and inspect the primer holes. I do not enlargen the primer holes.

    I get a wad cutting die either from a supplier who deals with blackpowder loading equiment, or get a 1/2" hole cutter from a leather tooling supply company. I then cut wads made from newspaper and from file folders.

    When assembling the components, the newspaper wad goes in the bottom of the cartridge. This ensure that blackpowder does not get into the flash hole and clog it. Ignition is more consistent.

    Blackpowder is loaded by volume. It is loaded to slightly higher than the point where the base of the bullet plus its wads sit. This gives slight compression. Do not ever lead an air gap with blackpowder. This can cause a secondary explosion effect and has resulted in ringed chambers. (Cornmeal is an appropriate filler material, because it is solid, if light loads are being made.)

    On top of the blackpowder I place a file folder wad, then place a sheet of smooth beeswax over the case mouth and press the wax into the mouth, like a die cutter. Then I place another file folder wad over that.

    The bullet is lubed with a soft mixture of wax and lube. You can start with a 50/50 mix of vasoline and beeswax. Lanolin can be substituted for the vasoline, and works better, but around here it's harder to find. Paraffin wax can be used in place of the beeswax, but it tends to burn more easily.

    The bullet is then placed in the case and it is seated and crimped as usual.

    As for powder size, I use Fg for cases larger than 45-70, and FFg for 45-70 and smaller. Some of the smallest cases can use FFFg, like the little 25-20. FFFFg is priming powder and should never be used in a blackpowder cartridge.

    The purpose of the beeswax is to keep the blackpowder fouling soft, and to keep leading at a minimum. The wads protect the beeswax from the blackpowder burning, and helps get it onto the bore. The soft mixture in the bullet grooves is spun off into the bore. My opinion is that if there is any lube left on the bullet when it exits the muzzle then the lube has not done its job.

    Blackpowder absorbs moisture. If you make up cartridges in advance, and plan to store them, do so in an ammo can with a known good seal, and add dessicate bags to the can.

    Once fired, you need to process these cases soon. They need to be deprimed, then be dumped into a milk jug filled with hot, soapy water. Shake the jug, then dump the cases and dry them. You might want to use a small bottle brush on the cases.

    The bore should be cleaned with hot, soapy water or a product made specifically for blackpowder. Do not use solvents. You want oil and grease to not be stripped away, kind of like seasoning a cast iron skillet. I lightly oil, but run a dry patch through before using the gun to remove oil.

    One optional piece of loading equipment is a powder drop. This is a long tube made of copper or brass, with a metal funnel at the top. It will be clamped so you can pour powder into the top, and hold the case mouth at the bottom. This packs more blackpowder into a given space.

    For a powder scoop, I use an old case that's been cut down to the volume needed, then solder a piece of brass flat stock to it for a handle. I scoop the powder out of a metal bowl. You can weight the powder, but that really is not required. It is consistent volume you want. There are plenty of people weighing their powder though, so if you want to, go right ahead.

    One thing you'll find is that you cannot get 70 grains of blackpowder into a modern 45-70 case. That's because the early cases were very thing, made in a design called a "balloon head", similar to a rimfire. The case rim was folded over. The best you can do for most loads with be somewhere between 55 and 65 grains, depending on bullet size.

    Using the above recipe, you should be able to get decent groups at 100 yards. One quirk of blackpowder cartridges is that they often do not follow the "cone of fire" formula exactly. The cone of fire reasons that a 1" group at 100 yards will result in a 2" groups at 200 yards, a 3" group at 300 yards, etc. With blackpowder cartridges, often the 100 yard group will be almost the same at 200 yards, and even the 300 yard group won't be substantially larger. The theory is that the slow, heavy bullet has not "settled down" until it gets out a ways. Whatever the reason, it is a known phenomena.

    If you chronograph, keep in mind velocity is not your friend. While higher velocity makes the flight path flatter, it also makes the wind drift a lot worse. We're not talking about modern smokeless high velocity cartridges wherein more velocity means less wind drift. Think of these as being gianormous 22 LR cartridges. The ideal velocity for a blackpowder 45-70 for long range target work is in the 1050 to 1150 fps range. For shorter range work with lighter bullets, like for hunting, then you can go for velocity, which is done via more powder, allowed by the smaller bullet.

    One caution - try to always use metal accessories to load blackpowder cartridges. Plastic can result in static charges, and blackpowder is sensitive to sparks.
     
  5. Lobo

    Lobo TS Member

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    I agree with Brian on most, but blackpowder shooters have more quirks even than trapshooters. I use SPG lube almost exclusively and I NEVER use mineral oil in the bore. It seems to cut the organic oil seasoning. I used sperm oil until it was gone, but now oil with SPG. I like to compress a little deeper, up to 1/4 inch and I do not crimp my bullets in, even in lever actions. Powder will hold the bullet out. Took a 1400 lb bison with an original 1874 Sharps with 62 grains Cart. (about FFg) and a 405 flat nose cast with 1-20 tin lead. Shot thru him twice. Dive right in. Fun game and you are doing it like 150 years ago. One thing I think is critical is not to use too hard of bullet. Let it upset in the bore.
     
  6. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    SPG is a good lube if you do not want to make your own. From my experience it is not substantially better than many home recipes to warrant its price. But it is very convenient and it works.

    I always crimp for lever guns. Some loads for single shots are not crimped. It's not a matter of the bullet being pushed into the case, but being pulled out of the bore. If you chambered a round, and the bullet is entering the lands, it might get seized and be pulled out of the case, making a general mess of things. I generally resize for lever guns, but not for single shots. The reason for resizing for lever guns is that I have several. If I had only one, and the cartridge fit OK, I would not bother to resize it.

    Sperm oil is a classic oil. Some blackpowder reloaders use the closest substitute, which is oil made from bear fat. However, it can go rancid if not stored properly.

    I agree with the compression. I did not specify an amount, but 1/8" to 1/4" is normal.

    What Lobo refers to as the bullet being upset in the bore is called obturation. The shock of the blackpowder slamming into the base of the bullet causes the bullet to be shortened in length and expanded in diameter. Like you hit it with a hammer. This helps seal the bore and reduces gas cutting around the bullet, which increases leading. Hard alloys will not obturate. I use a very soft alloy, and sometimes even almost pure lead, depending on the bullet and velocity. The faster the velocity, the less soft the bullet should be, but it still should be softer than bullets for smokeless powders.
     
  7. Texshooter

    Texshooter Member

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    For fun try Paper Patch shells and Duplex loads when you get more advanced, both give a much cleaner bore allowing shot after shot without having to clean between shots. AJ
     
  8. Lobo

    Lobo TS Member

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    I just aquired a paper patch mold in 45 cal and found my linen paper. Havent tried it yet. The jacketed bullet of the 1800s. Ashamed of myself, but have a nice Shiloh in 40-65 I haven't shot yet. Kinda got caught up in this trap shooting and not enough time for everything.
     
  9. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    As usual Brian you wrote a nice dissertation on the subject at hand, 45\70 black powder loads. I enjoyed reading it. Until I got to the sentence where you said higher velocity would increase wind drift? I realize you are the expert on black powder guns but this is part of Newtons law, speed of wind+time to target= bullet drift on the target.

    Please explain how a bullet that stays in the wind less time gets blown around more?
     
  10. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Here's a direct quote from my old "SPG Lubricants BP Cartridge Reloading Primer" by Mike Venturino and Steve Garbe. They are explaining the ballistic chart figures for blackpowder cartridge bullets.

    "Also note that as velocities increase, so does the wind drift figures. This is not a mistake. It can be verified from other reloading manuals, or simply by noting from Winchester or Remington catalogs that wind drift for high velocity 22 Long Rifle ammunition is greater than for standard velocity. That is why black powder cartridge rifle target shooters are best served with long heavy bullets at lower velocities."

    As an example, the 520 grain cast Lyman 457125 45 cal bullet, commonly used for long range blackpowder target shooting, at a distance of 500 yards, has a wind drift of 33.60 inches with a muzzle velocity of 1100 fps. At 1300 fps, the wind drift increases to 41.74 inches. Wind drift gets worse at 1500 fps, increasing to 44.34 inches. After 1500 fps it levels off, then wind drift starts decreasing at velocity increases. But you're not going to push heavy long range blackpowder bullets into the 1600 fps and higher velocities that start reducing wind drift. First, the cases simply will not hold enough powder to do that with .45 caliber bullets. The 45-120 shooting the above bullet can only push it a bit more than 1400 fps. Second, once you start going over 100 to 110 grains of blackpowder with heavy bullets, recoil starts getting so heavy you won't want to finish a match, even with the maximum NRA BPCRS sanctioned gun weight os 12 lbs 2 oz.

    As for WHY, the issue here is we are not dealing with hyper-velocity bullets, which have a short enough time of flight that the wind has little time to act upon them. The bullets we are using for blackpowder are either SUBSONIC or are in the TRANSONIC region, and they are slow. At 1100 fps it takes the above bullet a bt more than 1.5 seconds to hit its target. (I've shot the same bullet at 1100 yards, and it's over 4 seconds at that range.)

    So, you'd think that this slow speed would mean that the wind has more time to push the slower bullet around. That's the case for hypersonic bullets, but for those at subsonic and transonic speeds, it doesn't work that way. In this case it is proportional to the delay caused by air resistance, compared to no air (vacuum). The faster the projectile, the more air resistance it will have compared to a slower projectile, when both are compared to their counterparts in a vacuum. This effect increases from subsonic to transonic and then after supersonic starts to decrease. Some authorities say the decrease starts right at the speed of sound, but this is simply not true, as has been proven with ballistics. The top of the peak starts around 1400 fps and it well under way by 1600 fps. From there the fast the bullet, the less wind drift it has (there are other mitigating factors, but let's consider all else equal). The speed of sound, btw, at sea level at 70 degrees is 1129 fps.

    Another issue is buffeting of the bullet as it goes from supersonic, to transonic, to subsonic. Groups can open up from such buffeting. This is why some long range black powder shooters prefer to keep their velocity below 1129 fps. Many prefer loads in the 1050 fps range to keep the bullet subsonic. This is also why some 22 LR rifles are quite accurate out to about 75 yards or so, but the groups open up disproportionally at 100 yards. It ain't the rifle. It's the bullet going subsonic and being buffeted. This is why the 17 HMR is so accurate at longer ranges. It pushes the point where it goes subsonic much further out.
     
  11. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Some good sources of information:

    "SPG Lubricants BP Cartridge Reloading Primer" by Mike Venturino. An excellent book for anyone starting into loading blackpowder cartridges. My copy dates back to 1992, and is well worn.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=359738

    The Los Angeles Silhouette Club has a lot of online material for those wanting to shoot long range silhouette with smokeless powder in modern cartridges or with blackpowder in older cartridges, as well as muzzleloaders.
    http://www.lasc.us/IndexBrennan.htm

    This website http://www.longrangebpcr.com/index.htm has some basic factors that affect long range blackpowder shooting, along with a lot of other info.
    http://www.longrangebpcr.com/Accuracy.htm
     
  12. Savage99Stan

    Savage99Stan Active Member

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    A fun load, accurate, is a five or six grain kicker of something like DuPont bulk shotgun smokeless or bullseye, fifty grains or so of F or FFg black, a disc on the powder cut from milk carton and a Lyman 457124 cast soft and lubed with the old Javalina (alox/beeswax mix). You don't have to crimp if you're firing single shot and if you have a falling block or rolling block or hiwall you could breech seat the bullet.

    I have targets fired with an old 1 in 22 rolling block at 100 and 200 yards with this load and the hundred is a shade over one moa and the two hundred was 3 5/16, five shots center to center.

    Cleanup is a couple wet patches, a dry one or two, oil and done. Easier than smokeless.

    In that mauser you'll probably have to put a little crimp on it.

    I shot one case over two hundred times in that roller.
     
  13. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    Well I fully understand about bullets going from super sonic to sub sonic and what that can do. But the rest of that I'd like to see Neil tackle. It may have some relevance to the the 7.5 versus 8 debate and 1250 versus 1150 loads.

    As far as 22 lr goes, there is no debate that serious 22 lr target shooters try to keep their bullets sub sonic or super sonic all the way to the target. Long range center fire target shooters try to keep their bullets super sonic all the way to the target, hence all the development in bullets, cases,barrels, powder, every thing.

    But a bullet just because it was launched by black powder acting different because of wind is something I'm struggling with even after all the "science" you quoted I would love to learn about this effect.
     
  14. BigM-Perazzi

    BigM-Perazzi Well-Known Member

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    Damn! Good stuff! For 5 minutes I forgot I was on a trapshooting site lol....
     
  15. Texshooter

    Texshooter Member

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    Also black powder is more consistent. The deviation of velocity from each shot is less than with smokeless. AJ
     
  16. acorange

    acorange Well-Known Member

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    There have been many articles of the "buffeting phenomnea" of projectiles
    shot at 1125/1200 FPS.
    The most notable example is the 200yrd/.22LR. shooters useing sub-sonic loads instead of hi-velocity because the wind drift is less.
    I know it does not make sense but it is true.
    There was a good article in Handloader magazine of this with 22's a couple of months ago.
    Shooting the 45/70 is a blast...had a 1895 Marlin and a Browning reproduction 1885 single shot. Wish I still had them esp. the Marlin...
     
  17. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Silverbulletexpress, I'm not sure exactly what it is you are looking for.

    Blackpowder is relevant only for shot consistency (less standard deviation as pointed out by AJ), and it obturates the bullet, of which the only two smokeless powders that can do that are 4759 and to a lesser extent 4227.

    The issue is slow, heavy bullets at or below the transonic range. They could act this way whether the powder is black or smokeless. The wobble is a well known factor by blackpowder shooters, mainly because they more than others shoot slow, heavy bullets.

    One thing I did not mention is that the Greenhill Formula, which dictates rifling twist based upon the bullet diameter and length, often is marginal when calculating twist for these slow, heavy bullets. For example, if the twist is calculated to be, say, 1 in 22" for a particular 45-70 bullet, you will generally be better off to add 2" to 4" to the twist rate. Thus the correct twist would become 18" to 20". This helps reduce the wobble effect, but generally it still will not totally eliminate it.

    Another well known issue is gyroscopic drift, also known as spin drift, and sometimes (in older publications) yaw. At very long range, in dead calm air, a bullet shot from a bore with a right hand twist will drift to the right. My 1884 Trapdoor Springfield with Buffington sights has a right hand twist. The Buffington long range sight is not perpendicular to the bore. The adjustable slider is angled slightly to the left to counteract the right spin drift. The link and image (if it shows up) show Trapdoor Buffington sights and clearly illustrate the compensation for spin drift. This is not unique to blackpowder cartridges. Even modern cartridges are subject to spin drift. But because of their velocity the effect is generally less.

    What blackpowder shooters are running into are forgotten issues because most shooting has been with high velocity cartridges. When blackpowder shooting, with slow, heavy bullets, was resurrected again, the old issues showed back up.
     
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