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Old January 18, 2020, 07:15 PM   #1
Jackal11
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Cartridge With Widest Power Band?

Posted here because I am mainly thinking leveraction.... but what rifle cartridge has the widest possible muzzle energy powerband?

I was trying to think of one cartridge that can "do it all", from as low as say around 600 ft-lb all the way up to around 3000 ft-lb.

I was thinking 45-70 but I haven't found any loads lower than about 850 ft-lb muzzle energy.

44Special can go down to 600 ft-lb in a rifle, but 44Mag Buffalo Bore tops out around 1900 ft-lb.

Are there any other cartridges that cover more of the full powerband?

Thanks for any ideas!
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Old January 18, 2020, 11:56 PM   #2
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Take a look at Hodgdon load data for 30-06 Springfield. Trailboss powder will provide 6-700 ft. lbs with 150 gr. bullet. 165 gr bullet at 3000 fps yields 3000 ft lbs.
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Old January 19, 2020, 12:03 AM   #3
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Percent or max - min muzzle energy?
The .50 BMG has loads between 8,000 and 15,000 ft lbs of muzzle energy.
And clearly you can load much lower than those.
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Old January 19, 2020, 12:08 AM   #4
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Energy never killed anything. Using it to predict a cartridges effectiveness is very misleading.

A good case can be made for 35 Whelen. There are some light loads where you can use 125 gr revolver bullets at 38 special speeds. Moving up to the heavier 270gr full power loads you'll have a far more effective big game cartridge than 45-70.

Of course you can also load 100-250 bullets for 30-06. You're set from rabbit to brown bear and everything in between with either of them.

There are some reduced loads out there for the 35 Whelen and 357 pistol bullets. I'm not aware of any really light loads for the 100-110 gr 30-06 loads so that probably gives the edge for widest range to 35 Whelen.

While not common 30-06 is available in levers, I've not seen a 35 Whelen, but it wouldn't be hard to convert one.
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Old January 19, 2020, 12:58 AM   #5
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I would think .45-70 as well, it certainly has the ability to deliver the top level muzzle energy in a Ruger No. 1, it's the bottom end that I have to think about. You could use black powder or substitute and a single round ball, but I can't tell you how accurate it would be. Should work out to 25 yards, but your elevation is going to be way off, so you'd have to use Kentucky windage.

Another option is using Trail Boss powder as it's a VERY bulky powder that fills the case, but has low velocities. Alternatively, you could trim the .45-70 brass down and find a length that works for you when using a standard powder and see what results you get.

There's also the option of making your own birdshot load if this is going to be some sort of survival rifle. That would be for extreme short ranges tho for the obvious reasons of the rifling spinning the shot.

The last one I'll mention is really extreme, but there is a company called MCACE in Alaska that will make inserts for .45-70 rifles that allow you to fire .22 LR. You can only use them in a break action .45-70 tho like the Thompson Center or H&R rifles, which would limit you in the higher end of the power spectrum due to their weaker design.

Trying to find one rifle to "do it all" is very difficult when you want to bring big game into the mix. The solution to that would be using an accurate, likely long barrel handgun in a small caliber that allows you to get small game effectively. This is where something like a Ruger Mark .22 would be great, albeit heavy for the low firepower. This is why I decided on long barrel .32 and .327 Mag revolvers instead.
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Old January 19, 2020, 09:10 AM   #6
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45-70 was the first thing I thought of:

Trail Boss load of 300 gr. at 1200 = 959 ft. lbs.
A2200 load of 350 gr. at 2200 = 3762 ft. lbs.

Think 45 Colt handgun to 375 H&H rifle for it's power range.
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Old January 19, 2020, 08:38 PM   #7
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Old January 20, 2020, 09:32 AM   #8
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Get a lever action 460s&w. You can run 45colt on the low end and full bore mag loads in the 3000 range.
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Old January 20, 2020, 09:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Percent or max - min muzzle energy?
The .50 BMG has loads between 8,000 and 15,000 ft lbs of muzzle energy.
And clearly you can load much lower than those.
Yup--50BMG is the first thing that pops into my mind when I think 600 ftlbs of energy. Maybe at the velocity that I can throw the cartridge at you.

Implicit in that desire in wide performance range is that there will be significant effects upon the bullet trajectory, supersonic/transonic boundaries, range effectiveness etc. Might be easier to answer with stated intended uses. If it absolutely positively has to be a lever--you might look at a lightweight Browning BLR--they certainly will get you in range to your upper energy level though I'm not sure what would get you all the way down to 600 ft lbs without being potentially dangerously underpowered (i.e. squib risk). Otherwise, I'd say a 45-70 would be you all-around best bet and easiest to find.
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Old January 20, 2020, 11:45 PM   #10
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I was thinking 45-70 but I haven't found any loads lower than about 850 ft-lb muzzle energy.
So? how is that a problem?

If the upper end of the cartridge loading meets your requirement, the lower end is irrelevant.

Because the lower end of ALL cartridges is essentially the same. The minimum needed to push the bullet out of the barrel.

Having trouble "finding" the load you're looking for, an absolute minimum? (or however close to that = the 600ft/lbs you desire?
(and just btw, why THAT number???)

You won't find any loads like that because people aren't interested in them. Or rather ENOUGH people aren't interested in them. Factories don't make what doesn't sell enough of, and load manuals don't list every possible load only the ones that most people are interested in.

Want a load that make 600 ft/lbs and only 600ft/lbs? Make it yourself!
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Old January 21, 2020, 12:32 AM   #11
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Easy!
7mm Rem Mag!

Bullets from 100gr to 200ish.
Load from mild to full power hunting loads.
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Old January 21, 2020, 11:06 AM   #12
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You're not going to get 3000 ft-lbs of ME with any handgun cartridge chambered lever action.
600 ft-lbs is well below the standard ME for large game like deer too.
"...165 gr bullet at 3000 fps yields 3000 ft lbs..." Nonsense. A 165 at ~ 2800 FPS runs about 1500 ft-lbs. Another 200ish FPS will not double the energy.
A 350 grain .458 Win Mag at 2470 FPS will give you 3065 ft-lbs at 100 yards.
A 300 grain .45-70 with an MV of 1810 FPS, out of a 24" barrel gives 625 ft-lbs at 400 yards. It drops 115.7" at 400 too.
A 240 grain .444 Marlin at 2350 FPS gives 630 ft-lbs at 300 yards. Drops 37.8" when sighted in at 100.
A 125 grain .30-06 at 3140 FPS will give you 706 ft-lbs at 500 yards. Mind you, sighted in 1.5" high at 100, it'll be -47.6" low.
a 750 grain .50 BMG won't be found in a lever action, but Hornady's Match ammo at 2820 FPS MV gives 13241 ft-lbs of ME. A measly 9403 ft-lbs at 500 yards and nearly a yard low.
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Old January 21, 2020, 12:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
You're not going to get 3000 ft-lbs of ME with any handgun cartridge chambered lever action.
600 ft-lbs is well below the standard ME for large game like deer too.
"...165 gr bullet at 3000 fps yields 3000 ft lbs..." Nonsense. A 165 at ~ 2800 FPS runs about 1500 ft-lbs. Another 200ish FPS will not double the energy.
A 350 grain .458 Win Mag at 2470 FPS will give you 3065 ft-lbs at 100 yards.
A 300 grain .45-70 with an MV of 1810 FPS, out of a 24" barrel gives 625 ft-lbs at 400 yards. It drops 115.7" at 400 too.
A 240 grain .444 Marlin at 2350 FPS gives 630 ft-lbs at 300 yards. Drops 37.8" when sighted in at 100.
A 125 grain .30-06 at 3140 FPS will give you 706 ft-lbs at 500 yards. Mind you, sighted in 1.5" high at 100, it'll be -47.6" low.
a 750 grain .50 BMG won't be found in a lever action, but Hornady's Match ammo at 2820 FPS MV gives 13241 ft-lbs of ME. A measly 9403 ft-lbs at 500 yards and nearly a yard low.
A 165 grain bullet at 3000 FPS has 3297 Ftlbs of kinetic energy........
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Old January 21, 2020, 01:02 PM   #14
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To calculate kinetic energy of a bullet in ft pounds This is the formula that I use.

Velocity squared, multiplied by the weight of the bullet in grains then divided by 450,450. So to calculate for a 165 grain bullet at 3000 fps looks like this.

MV squared= 9,000,000

MV squaredx165= 1,485,000,000

1,485,000,000/ 450,450=3296.70

This may not be exact, but I am pretty sure its close enough. I may have screwed up the formula a little.
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Old January 21, 2020, 01:15 PM   #15
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T. O'Heir also a 165 grain bullet at 2800 fps has 2871 ft pounds of KE. It would yield around 1500 ft pounds of KE at around 400 yards. Depending on how efficient the bullet design is.

Sometimes when reading your posts I giggle a little bit, because you don't often see trolls in these types of forums.
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Old January 21, 2020, 02:04 PM   #16
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My, how quickly we stray from the original question....
Getting back to that, I believe that it would be hard to do better than the 30-'06 in perhaps a model 1895 Winchester or maybe a Browning BLR. If you are limited to factory ammo, you will never find more versatility in any other caliber. Throw in handloaded ammo, bullet casting, etc., and there are other calibers that can come into consideration. Even so, the 30-'06 probably remains the best choice.
Never the less, I'd still like to see the picture of that lever-action 50 BMG...
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Old January 22, 2020, 04:27 AM   #17
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It is relatively easy to get low energy performance from center fire rounds if you are willing to handload. Lets say that you are willing to be satisfied with a .30 caliber round pushing a 150 gr to 165 gr bullet at around 2800 to 3000 FPS. That's probably going to be a bit shy of your 3000 ft/lbs at the muzzle, but still pretty close. Good enough for Gubmint work. A .308 Win can do that. There have been several .308 Win lever guns over the years. It is easy enough to load very light handloads using light cast bullets or even buckshot (1 aught is .30, 0 ought is .32, that should actually work better) and light charges of handgun powder. Flake powder works better (I've read up on the physics of it, it's involved). I've done this with .30-30, you can get some genuine "bunny farts" that work well enough for plinking. I've found that you get better accuracy if you use cast bullets that more closely match the weight (and thus the length) of your "standard" jacketed bullets used by factory ammo. It's a bullet twist thing. Doing that increases the energy somewhat, but you can still keep them subsonic using light loads of pistol powder. Good stuff for small game hunting, for that matter.
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Old January 22, 2020, 09:10 AM   #18
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Lyman collar button...

I've always wanted to try this bullet in my Sharps (45/70, BP only in this one):

www.westernbullet.com/ly4gr6.html

This bullet might help in the "widest range" question. I read an article in Black Powder Cartridge News a while back, and if I remember right, the old army troopers back in the trapdoor days could load this bullet with a very light charge of BP and shoot right in their barracks. I could only imagine after a few shots, dim view of the target, along with some few coughs, might take the shooting outside...

Buying a box of these to give them a try might make one decide if a mould purchase would follow. Low velocity, recoil and economy on a reload for sure!
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Old January 22, 2020, 04:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
I believe that it would be hard to do better than the 30-'06 in perhaps a model 1895 Winchester or maybe a Browning BLR.
I would agree that this would be a tough combination to beat if you are looking for that "elves to elephants" type loadability. 30-06 ammo can be purchased in "reduced load" flavors that duplicate 30-30 energy, all the way up to just a smidgeon under 300 Win Mag power. The 1895 Winchester is a good rifle, but hard to scope. IMO, it's hard to beat a 98 Mauser, but that's just me.
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Old January 22, 2020, 05:09 PM   #20
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This may not be exact, but I am pretty sure its close enough. I may have screwed up the formula a little.
A little, the divisor should be 450240

Vel (fps) x Vel (fps) x bullet weight (grains)
-----------------------------------------------------
450240

= Energy (ft/lbs)


per the Lyman manual (1970)
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Old January 22, 2020, 09:44 PM   #21
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You can take a 378 Weatherby from ~1500 fps with a 249 gr lead slug to 2900 fps with a 300 gr. RN solid using data published in Lymans Manuals. That would be lever rifle 44 mag power (deer rifle) to Elephant rifle power range. Is that enough power range for you? That would be ~ 1200 ft. lbs. to ~ 5600 ft. lbs. for a delta of ~ 4400 ft. lbs.
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Old January 23, 2020, 01:38 AM   #22
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And again, show us your lever-action 378 Weatherby, or else you are off topic. We are still waiting for that 50 BMG lever-gun too. If you wanna chime in with a 348 Winchester, then you're on topic again.
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Old January 23, 2020, 02:01 AM   #23
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read my signature
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Old January 23, 2020, 02:02 AM   #24
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How about a 95 Winchester in .405?

TR's "lion gun"
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Old January 23, 2020, 02:26 AM   #25
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Yeah, you could probably load that 405 with pistol bullets. Think about it.....
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