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Old August 8, 2012, 05:15 PM   #1
Moloch
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Black powder cartridge rifle - Help!

H!
Just a quick question, I decided to buy my first black powder cartridge rifle, (I think I'll go with a Pedersoli rolling block or a sharps, their muzzle loaders are nice) but I'm not too sure which caliber I should choose.

.45-70 would be great because of brass availability, but it holds only 70 grains of BP which is a bit on the light side, I really wouldn't mind more oomph. (I'm not planning on loading smokeless powder)

.45-90 currently is my favorite, I've heard it pushes bullets approx 200 fp/s faster than the .45-70 AND it can also shoot the .45-70.

And of course the big boys, the .45-110 and 120 - are really tempting though I've heard the velocity gain over the .45-90 really isn't worth the trouble and its somewhat tricky to make accurate loads.

Argh, I can't decide!
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Old August 8, 2012, 05:45 PM   #2
Hawg Haggen
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To get a full 70 grains of bp in a modern 45-70 case you have to use a drop tube and a compression die.
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:00 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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What are you doing that you need more oomph than a .45-70?
Typically loaded with powder charge 65-70 grains and a 520-540 grain bullet, it carries up well and hits hard.
If you are going to be a 1000 yard specialist, then you can make a case for a 2 4/10" or 2 7/8". The 3 1/4" is just absurd, I don't know anybody shooting it where score is kept.

You are wasting powder and lead loading a .45-90 with .45-70 ammunition. That was ok before the BPCR revival and it was the only way you could try out Grandpa's Gun, but there is no rhyme or reason in it now with proper brass available. The .30 jump through the longer chamber is not going to do anything good to that soft bullet.
If you want to tone down the longer round, load it with Fg powder and/or a lighter bullet. A lot of silhouette shooters have "chicken loads" for the 200 metre birds.

Me? I shoot .40-65, a 400 grain bullet is a lot more fun than a 500 when you are shooting all day or all weekend. But then I only shoot silhouette and midrange, 500 metres and 600 yards max.

The line count from the 2011 Southeastern Regional combined silhouette and midrange match showed 26 .45-70s and only 22 of all other calibers combined, larger and smaller.
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:01 PM   #4
Moloch
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@ Hawg Haggen
Of course, but as far as I know its possible to get 70 grains of 3FG into the case with just a little bit of compressing / shaking. It also burns a lot cleaner than 2FG or 1.5FG.
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:19 PM   #5
Moloch
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Quote:
What are you doing that you need more oomph than a .45-70?
Plain old fun?
I enjoy shooting big caliber blackpowder rifles more than small caliber rifles using targets loads, simple as that. I really like the nostalgic feel of heavy lead slinging powerful buffalo rifles and there is no reason not to go with a load that gives the projectile more velocity and a better trajectory at extended ranges.
I guess with 500 grainers and a black powder load of 65 grains you don't get more than 1000 fps out of it, thats one hell of a rainbow trajectory even out to only 100yds - with 1400 fp/s it would shoot much flatter, buck the wind better and it would be simply more fun to shoot.

I'm not recoil shy, I regularly shoot 12 gauge slugs from my rifled slug gun from the bench, and thats about 450 @ 1500 out of a 9lbs gun. 50 rounds a day no problem, recoil is not an issue for me. The recoil of my .58 rifled musket shooting 600 grainers with 65 grains of BP also doesn't bother me at all, its fun!
Quote:
That was ok before the BPCR revival and it was the only way you could try out Grandpa's Gun, but there is no rhyme or reason in it now with proper brass available.
.45-90 cases are harder to get than .45-70's, if I ever have trouble getting .45-90 cases I can shoot the .45-70 which is available everywhere, that sounds pretty useful to me.

Last edited by Moloch; August 8, 2012 at 06:27 PM.
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:47 PM   #6
Chowmif16
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Go with the .45-70

You don't need anything more than the 45-70, even if you want to go for big game. They were useful then, and still are.
You should be able to get well over 1000 fps with it. I haven't chrony'd mine, but have read of guys getting 1250 fps or more.
I have the Pedersoli Sharps, bought in 1996, and absolutely love it. I don't shoot it as much as I should, but am just getting back on that wagon.
I shoot the Lyman 457125, at just over 500gr, and have never been able to get 65 grains of powder in the case with it.
Remember, that a large part of the fun of these rifles is exactly that trajectory. If they shot flat, there wouldn't be much in it.
Also, expect to spend a fair amount of time working up a load with different powders, compression, lubes and bullets. You will likely want to cast your own, so you can weigh them and throw the porkers back in the pot instead of spending money on them.

Cheers,
Chowmi
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:10 PM   #7
Moloch
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Quote:
Remember, that a large part of the fun of these rifles is exactly that trajectory. If they shot flat, there wouldn't be much in it.
Absolutely, if I want a flat shooting gun I'll bring my .300WM. But for me there is no reason to go with a light load that makes the trajectory even worse - thats why I'm not sure if I shouldn't take the .45-90 instead the 45-70, that little etxra power straightens out the trajectory a bit and more power is always more fun - there simply no drawback.

Quote:
Also, expect to spend a fair amount of time working up a load with different powders, compression, lubes and bullets. You will likely want to cast your own, so you can weigh them and throw the porkers back in the pot instead of spending money on them.
I'm an avid muzzle loader shooter, experimenting and finding out what my gun loves is part of the fun!

What powder do you use for your sharps? I've heard from several sources that powder used in cartridge guns should be 1-1.5FG, others say the get best results with 3FG. (Isnt that a little bit too fast?)

Last edited by Moloch; August 8, 2012 at 07:16 PM.
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:27 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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I don't have a .45-70 but my .38-55 and .40-65 run 1200 fps without much trouble. I shoot at known ranges, trajectory is not a problem. The ranges over which a .45-90 has an advantage are pretty limited. So it adds 25 yards to your iron sight range. Might be nice hunting but not much help target shooting.

Brass availability is a non-issue. If you are going to shoot black, you are going to be handloading. .45-90 brass is readily available from Starline and various distributors like Buffalo Arms. I have not yet worn out a case, although I have bashed some against die mouths by inattentive handling at the press. There just is no place in my world for picking up a box of brass at the sporting goods store and whipping up some ammo. I plan ahead.

I use Swiss 1.5 Fg and a lot of people load FFg Goex. Kik is getting a good reputation, mostly in FFg.
You can load FFFg to gain velocity... I tried it but while velocity went up, accuracy went down; or you can load Fg to fill the case but give lower velocity and moderate the kick from the big boomers.
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:53 PM   #9
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Black powder rifle

How about the Winchester Model 94 in 32 Special? For those that don't know, this rifle can shoot black powder rounds or modern smokeless powder cartridges!
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Old August 8, 2012, 08:18 PM   #10
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Old August 8, 2012, 08:20 PM   #11
Chowmif16
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Powder

Moloch,
I have used both Goex 2F and Cartridge.
Shooting this gun and working up loads has been a start-stop operation for me with several years in-between. Unfortunately, I have lost most of my old data for it, and am now just about to start re-inventing that wheel.
The last load I used (from memory) was about 55gr by weight of Goex 2F, with an over powder card, then a grease cookie of 50/50 beeswax/Crisco, then the Lyman 457125 lubed with SPG. I cast my own bullets with what I seem to remember to be a 20:1 lead/tin mix - that's one of the bits I lost (bugger). 10 years ago I was confident enough with it out to 250 yds to take hunting with me.
I'm hoping to work up a new load and new data over the next few months, along with my .45 Colt, .45 Pennsylvania Flintlock, Colt Dragoon and 10 other things.... We'll see how it goes.
Cheers,
Chowmi
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Old August 9, 2012, 09:21 AM   #12
Moloch
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Well, I just placed my order and went with a .45-70, I think 500 grains @ 1200 and 405 @ 1350 is plenty enough of power for all ranges, and I still have the option to ream out the chamber for .45-90 or .45-110/120.

I hope I can use my swiss 3FG 50 beeswax 50 tallow combo for it because all my rifles shoot very well with it, even my rifled muskets and my .54 GPR. Swiss 3FG is extremely clean and its also hotter than most other powders, excellent propellant, smells good too!

Also bought a book about black powder cartridge loading, by Paul A. Mathews
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Old August 22, 2012, 05:43 PM   #13
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I have two BPCR's and 70gr 2f BP and a 500 gr bullet averages 1110fps with a 6fps difference. a 450 gr with 65gr BP averages 1155fps with a 5fps difference. I do shoot smokeless in both but the accuracy is not quite as good and the fun is not as much but that is just me.PS both were loaded with a .023 card under the bullet and compressed 1/4"
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Old August 22, 2012, 07:00 PM   #14
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70.5 gr swiss 1.5 and lyman postell at 530 gr gave me an average of 1230.
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Old August 22, 2012, 08:24 PM   #15
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If you use WW brass, you can easily get (well easily with a compression die and plug) 72 gr of 2F Goex under a 540 gr Creedmore bullet and a .060 LDPE wad.

Use either CCI BR2 or Fed 210M primers.

Which rifle did you buy ?

I have this one, got it when Cabelas cleaned them out for 1200.00. It weighs 13.5 lbs. I had it rechambered to 110. (I also have a Shiloh 110) and a bunch of other BPCR rifles.

Don't go thinking about getting a rifle rechambered to 110 unless it weighs 12/13 lbs (in my opinion). They can get a bit tiresome to shoot in long strings if they don't weigh enough. I let a 45-100 in a rifle that weighed enough get a run at me once, once. I thought I broke my collar bone.

The Pedersoli rifles can be made to shoot very well. I shot the group in the first target below without doing any load development. I just stuck 108 gr of 1F and a 550 gr bullet in a case (well a little more than that).

That was shot at 200 yards off sticks with soule sights. The one in the lower corner was a called pulled shot.

The last target was done off sticks at 200 yards with a 45-70 using soule sights. That is 5 shots. Most bolt guns won't shoot that well without a lot of work done to them. That was shot with a CPA Stevens 44 1/2 using plain old 2F Goex - 72 grains, WW cases, Fed 210M primers and a 540 gr Paul Jones Creedmore bullet







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Old August 23, 2012, 11:13 AM   #16
Mike Irwin
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Personally, were I going with one of these rifles, I'd be VERY hard pressed not to order a .50-110.
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Old August 23, 2012, 12:03 PM   #17
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A friend campaigns a 50-90. When it goes off, you know. Most folks are shooting 600 + gr slugs.

Plus they are worse than my 110's for eating powder. I get around 64 rounds per pound (7000 gr = 1 lb, 7000 / 108 = 64.8) and 12.96 bullets per lb of lead (using a 540 gr creedmore).

They can get pricey to shoot. It is $362.50 to get a case of Goex 1F delivered.
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:54 PM   #18
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I never was a fan of the .50 case prices vs 45-70. Still have a 50-70 mold though so that would tend to be the only reasion I would have another .50.
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