Tag Archives: reloading

Loads for 45-70

by Woodsbum

Finding reloading data on generic or lesser known bullets is not an easy feat. Most of the time you have to work up your own data. A few months ago I found some 405 gr cast bullets for my 45-70 and spent a lot of time looking for some reloading data so I can get them out and test them. Unfortunately, the data I found was never inclusive of any powder that was available so I have had to back up and “punt.”

In researching other bullet loads I found some data on the use of IMR 3031 that I thought I could use to establish a base and work up some loads from there. While working on this, my father did the same thing with the use of IMR 4198 using the same bullets. Since we had two different powder loads to evaluate, I talked him into getting out his old chronograph and we went out to the gravel pit to do some testing.

First off, his loads are using 40 gr of IMR 4198 and the same 405 gr cast bullets. Since I had not done any real testing yet, I went ahead and put together some ladder tests from 42 gr of IMR 3031 to a max of 49 gr in .5 gr increments. We chronographed each shot to look at the velocity and then checked for pressure signs. Again, all this work was based around finding a good load for the 405 gr cast bullets we picked up. Here is what we found.

My father’s load using 40 gr of IMR 4198 shot at 1702 fps.

My loads worked out as such:
42 gr IMR 3031      1271
42.5 gr IMR 3031   1406
43 gr IMR 3031      1434
43.5 gr IMR 3031   1461
44 gr IMR 3031      1482
44.5 gr IMR 3031   1508
45 gr IMR 3031      1549
45.5 gr IMR 3031   1582 and the primer just began to flatten just a touch
46 gr IMR 3031      1586 and the primer flattened even more
46.5 gr IMR 3031   1589 and the primer flattened as far as I felt was truly safe for brass/rifle

The best range load for this powder, bullet and rifle seems to be around the 45 gr of IMR 3031 mark. Even though I now had loads for 45-70 using these 405 gr cast bullets, I wondered what Hornady 325 gr Leverevolution ammunition would chronograph. It was travelling at 1825 fps. Again, this is 80 gr lighter bullet than the ones we were testing.

Since we were out there I also chronographed my father’s 300 gr hollow point loads. He was using 46.5 gr of IMR 4198 in these cartridges and they came out at 1875 fps.

Lastly, there were some plinking loads that a friend of mine made. He somehow found some 150 gr cast bullets and loaded them up with 11 gr of Trail Boss powder. These seemed to be a very light and fun round to shoot. They were like oversized .22 lr with regard to recoil and sound. Again, we decided that these would be a great small game round and were an absolute blast to play around with. The speeds of these ranged between 1262 and 1283 fps.

My father also brought out his 45-70 Sharpes 34″ barrel rifle to play with. I have excluded the data from that since it really made my little Marlin 1895 GBL look anaemic with regard to the speeds these loads produced.

All said and done it was a great outing. We had a great time and I found that I need to procure myself some IMR 4198 for these heavier grain bullets.

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Signs of Hot Reloads

by Woodsbum

Because I ran some ladder tests and worked up some reloading information for my 45-70 that I was going to post on Wednesday, I felt that it would be prudent to post information regarding the signs of hot reloads and excessive pressure.

The following video covers this quite nicely and has some really good examples of extremes to look for.

Here is another video that goes over pressure and how to evaluate hand loads.

This video discusses how to take listed reloading data and check to ensure you have not exceeded the maximum powder charge.

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Backwards Bullets

by Woodsbum

For years our family has used hollow based wad cutters pressed in backwards as a defensive pistol round. Many people try to “poo-poo” this as ineffective and a novelty load that has no place in today’s world of firearms. I ran across this video that really shows the effectiveness of inverting a bullet as a defensive load. The creator of the video does not call it a “defensive load,” but that is how I perceive this being used.

Interestingly enough, in this video you will see the creator use a normal .308 bullet and not some hollow base, cast bullet for demonstration. I would think that the hollow based, cast type bullets would definitely end up damaging the target much more.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Now that I am set up as well as I am for reloading again I will do a few posts on my own loads and creations in the future. Keep checking back.

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Bullet Yaw

by Woodsbum

I got into a discussion the other day about bullet yaw and how people tend to forget this very important effect on accuracy. For some reason a lot of Rifle Range Commandos think that their 100 yard shot and accuracy will automatically translate into the ability to shoot at distance and that any long range inconsistencies MUST be because the “shooter can’t shoot.” There is just so much emphasis spent on tactics and CQB training that any engagement 200 yards or more is lost. This truly is a sad thing because 200 yards is really not that far to shoot.

One factor that seems to be completely overlooked is bullet yaw. Imagine a perfectly thrown football. The axis of the spin bisects the end point perfectly in the middle and the ball travels in a direct line. Now imagine if you taped several quarters on it to cause the balance to be off a bit. The ball’s flight would resemble a wounded duck as well as the the actual path that the ball traveled being modified. Think about the old “spit ball” in baseball. Additional weight would be added to one side of the ball before being thrown to create an unpredictable flight path.

To put this into a “firearms” type perspective, I give you the following example. Everyone that has been around guns knows about the tumbling effect of the .303 British. The way that the bullet almost tumbles in flight, enters the target sideways, and even seems to almost have a curved flight at times is and extreme example. This article here explains bullet yaw quite well and even has some really good graphics. The following picture helps to illustrate the way that a bullet may travel if is not spinning perfectly.

Because the yaw has not had time to truly affect the flight path at shorter ranges, an incorrectly weighted bullet may not seem to have problems until the distance stretches out past 150 yards. The farther the bullet travels, the more factors associated with the bullet’s trajectory will become apparent. This explains why most long range shooters spend the extra money on premium bullets and reload their own cartridges. It takes out a lot of the variables that mass production ammunition battle during the manufacturing process.

Here is a good video that shows how yaw affects a bullet’s flight.

In conclusion, I really want people to realize that the yaw can really modify the bullet’s path over distance. Take some time and study ALL aspects of how a firearm functions, ammunition works and how bullet paths are established. You should not just focus on one portion of this hobby. Just because someone shoots .25″ groups at 25 yards from the prone position with their $5000 sniper rifle doesn’t mean that they can use that exact same setup to push out past 1000 yards. There are just too many factors in play to make those sorts of assumptions. What it all comes down to is quite simple. Practice and test out your equipment BEFORE you need it and ensure that it will perform properly at whatever range you want to claim yourself to be effective at.

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Shotshell Reloading – Part 2

by Woodsbum

In Shotshell Reloading – Part 2 I will give you an overview of why I invested so much money, time and energy into reloading my own shotgun shells. If you are looking for part 1 of this series, you can click here to access it.

This actually goes above and beyond my pistol and rifle reloading for a very low percentage of people actually reload their own shotshells compared to cased ammunition. This is due to many reasons, but the most common reason I hear is based upon the added complexity associated with shotshells. The excuse I used for many years was a little different. Because shotshell presses are very specific to size and gauge of shotshell, I did not see a benefit at first to investing that much money in an item that was so singularly designed and only fit a single purpose. I like to get into tools and activities that are multi purpose. With my case loaders I can do any number of cartridges just by swapping out a few components. To do the same on a shotshell reloader I have to buy an entirely new press.

If I had not run into this tremendous deal on my MEC 9000GN where I got it for about 50% of MSRP, I would probably not have gotten into shotshell reloading. I would have said that I was going to get the equipment, but I would have balked at the price every time I got ready to buy one. This is not because it is a useless investment, but it simply is an investment of time AND money that I was not sure I wanted to make. Learning to load shotshells is quite a bit different from cases and thus creates a learning curve that I was not totally sure justified the end result. As a disclaimer, I do see a huge advantage to reloading your shotshells. The guys I see with special loads seem to drop more birds that those of us that are content to buying the cheapest thing we can find. Reloading is definitely a better choice.

There are several companies that produce reloading equipment for shotshells. Lee, Ponsness Warren and MEC are probably the most common reloading presses out there. MEC kind of holds the top spot at this time with regard to how many loaders are out there in people’s homes and how many companies sell their products. This makes it easier for you if you do get a MEC, although I am not familiar enough with the other models and makers to really explain why one is better than another. I can regurgitate the information spewed out by my family members for I caught all sorts of hell by not buying a Ponsness Warren.

From what I can gather from my family, the Ponsness Warren reloaders will do a “tapered crimp” that the MEC “won’t do.” Online I found that a simple adjustment allows me to do a “tapered crimp” so I don’t see this as an issue. My family also states that the hull is supported all the way through the entire reload process so it will have no issues with being loaded via a magazine. I am told that my MEC has a collet resizer and just in case, I got a MEC Super Sizer. Problem solved with this one. The last thing I have been told is that the PW is MUCH stouter and tougher than the MEC, although I see many MEC reloaders that are over 40 years old and have produced 1000’s of shells. The construction of the MEC is also much simpler and allows me the ability to use Universal Charge Bars to make swapping loads easier and less costly since no new bushings will need to be purchased. Honestly, I don’t see what the fuss one way or another is all about.

Here are a few pictures of my reloading area. Many of the pieces are not totally set up yet because of new purchases, modifications or upgrades.

Case Loading Area

Case Loading Area

Shotshell Loading Area

Shotshell Loading Area

If you decide to take the plunge into reloading, whether it be shotshell or case, it is very important to make sure you don’t just blow $1k without an actual plan. Let’s take my case loading area for instance. When I first started loading, I picked up a Lee Classic reloading kit for about $100. They are a bit more expensive now. Even though I now have 3 other presses, 1 of which is a progressive, I still use the items from that initial kit even today. The hand primer that comes in the kit is actually the quickest and slickest ways to prime cases. I love it and actually use the crap out of it when I am doing my precision reloads for hunting. Take this approach if you get into shotshell reloading as well. If you decide that you want to “take the plunge” ensure that you get something that can be used later one. For instance, getting a MEC Steelmaster for 3 1/2″ 12 gauge shells can be used for quite a while to make very precise goose loads. MEC 9000 series progressive can be swapped for 2 3/4″ and 3″, but will not do 3 1/2″ shells. This means that the initial investment for reloading goose loads can actually get you into the game fairly inexpensively, but will continue to get use even if you spring for a progressive MEC 9000 series.

Hopefully, this helps you to make up your mind and lets you get your start in shotshell reloading. Just remember that about 90% of what people claim as “fact” about their preferred brand is actually not fact. It is mostly opinion or false claims. Do you homework and ensure you get what fits your needs and budget.

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