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Thread: Your big 45-70 load ?

  1. #1

    Default Your big 45-70 load ?

    I have a 21" octagon barreled Marlin 1895 45-70 with a Skinner Alaskan receiver sight. For many years I have loaded the Kodiak Bonded 400 grain bullet over a healthy dose of H322. I carry this rifle the most when I am not hunting as it is an easy rifle to carry and walk around with.

    Unfortunately the only time I ever fired it at a critter I missed the darn shot in front of my grandson and the bear ran off! I have shot 400 grain Speers, 350 grain Hornadays and 405 grain LBT hard casts. All shoot good enough, but the 400 grain bullets kick like a mule, so the search for the best 350 grain 45-70 load continues.

    I am trying to decide on a good and tough deep penetrating and expanding 350 grain bullet that is readily available and does not cost a fortune. Swift bullets are pricey, the Hornadays are easy to find, the Kodiak bullets are hard to get a hold of.

    I tried talking the folks at Barnes Bullets out of their 350 grain TPS bullet, but was told they are a Buffalo Bore exclusive. Buffalo Bore loads up some impressive ammo, but I am not going to pay almost 80 bucks for a box of 20 rounds! Maybe some day Barnes will see fit to sell their deep penetrating 350 grain bullet to the rest of their bullet customers.

    I am one of those guys who likes an exit hole if possible, but I just can't jump on the hard cast band wagon for what I want a 45-70 for. I know hard casts and non exiting bullets have piled up tons of critters, but I still want what I want in a bullet.

    What are you guys shooting out of your 45-70 and what have you killed with it?

  2. #2

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    The ONLY jacketed bullet I shoot is the Hawk 400 grain flat point with a .035 jacket. It's one tuff bullet I've grown to respect at much higher velocities (2250fps) from my 450 Alaskan. Mostly I just use cast 405's at 1500fps, or around original velocity. Not coincidentally I adjust the powder charge (IMR-3031 or IR-4198, depending on what's at hand) to move the Hawk at the same velocity. Haven't cratered any snarly critters with either, but based on performance on deer and penetration testing, I have no doubts about it. There was a reason the round got such a reputation at original velocities, and it's still good enough for me. It's also a whole lot more fun to light off 50 or 100 of them in a shooting session.

  3. #3
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    Well, if you don't like hard cast try some medium cast 405s at about 1600fps. You probably won't recover many unless you like digging in the dirt. What is it you want the bullet to do? If you want it to stay inside, you could use soft lead and it might. I haven't shot anything but paper but the 45/70 is noted for penetration.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Well, if you don't like hard cast try some medium cast 405s at about 1600fps. You probably won't recover many unless you like digging in the dirt. What is it you want the bullet to do? If you want it to stay inside, you could use soft lead and it might.
    I cast and shoot the old Lyman #2 alloy, which is a little softer than wheelweights. With a good lube it avoids leading up to the 1500-1600fps range without resorting to gas checks, unless a bore is really rough. Switching to gas checks for higher vels, it expands a little when you get up above around 1800fps, but not as much as a typical cup and core bullet- some swelling at the nose but no real "mushroom" and virtually no weight loss, based on the few I've managed to recover in game in 358 calibers. Only poking it into deer at 1500fps with my 45-70, I've never recovered one of course. I "don't think" there's any expansion however. I poked an elk with one at 2100fps with my 450 Alaskan, and it clearly expanded some, but no recovery of course.

    Every shoulder is different, but I'm lots happier with it at 1500fps rather than 1600fps for plain old comfort with lots of shooting. I doubt game could distinguish the difference, even as I really start to notice at about round 30 or so. Based on lots of game down with plain old round balls of pure lead rather than conicals, I'm in sincere doubt you could keep a 400 grain 458 slug inside an animal inside 100 yards even if you cast it with pure lead and launched it at down around 1200 fps. I've dinked game with 50, 54 and 58 caliber pure lead conicals from muzzleloaders in that velocity range and never seen anything but two holes and lots of blood. For that matter, pure lead 600 grain conicals at 1150fps from my 50-140 Sharpes are probably still circling the planet after passing through game.

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    338, I bagged a caribou with My 47-70 using a 350gn Swift A Frame, 60gns of H335. Quite effective and was a complete pass through the boiler room. The Swift bullets are expensive.

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    BB
    I believe you are 100% on this. I think jacketed bullets are a waste of money in the 45/70 as they are expensive. Cast bullets are cheap even if you don't cast your own although I don't like the lube commercial bullets come with. I'm shooting the Lee 405 459 HB cast from 50/50 lead/ww and air cooled. I haven't checked velocity yet but I'm guessing 1600 or less. Whatever the velocity it's about at the end of my comfort level.

  7. #7

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    I'm a wretched bullet junkie who is always searching for the holy grail of bullets for what ever caliber and game I am shooting. I have 400 and 440 grain hard casts, 350 grain Hornaday Flat Nose, 400 grain Kodiak custom bullets and still the search goes on for a tough expanding 350 grain bullet. I am sure the 350 grain Hornaday at over 1900 fps mv will kill any thing in North America all day long. I think Alaska Bullet Works still makes a heavy jacketed 350 grain 45-70 bullet. I have read good things about the North Fork bullet. I think gun writer Brian Pierce likes the Belt Mountain "Punch Solids", for what ever that is worth.

    I use Winchester 45-70 brass and heard it holds more powder then other 45-70 brass, ya got me. I heard Starline makes great 45-70 brass, but have never tried it. My favorite 45-70 powder is H322.

    I should probably just shoot hard cast and be happy. I got issues.

  8. #8

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    If ole Butch wasn't using his 358 on Mo whitetails then it was a 45-70 and 300 grain Speer Hollow Points. Not a round made that will explode the boiler room on a big whitetail like that bullet. However it was second from last day in the season and Butch had hunted hard and had been far too picky on what deer he put his tag on. A big buck jumped and gave him a angling away shot. I never saw so much ruined meat in my life. One of the few times EKC ever got mad at Butch. I can't remember my exact words but it was to the effect of leaving the gun at home and just plant land mines and throw grenades. Butch was proud of the horns and I told him on the way home he was going to have to figure out a way to eat those horns because considering it was a 250lb deer he sure as heck didn't recover much meat.

    Whats been said about cast bullets here is all good!

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    Drill a hole in the front of a cast bullet and you will have a tough expanding bullet. Front part expanding rear part tough. Basically tough doesn't expand and expanding isn't tough.

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    If you are pouring your own - Steve has some solid advice. Most of it is for black powder cartridge competition shooting, but most techniques are still good for smokeless too. http://brooksmoulds.com/support.html

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    This is a good thread for me. Thanks to EKC, I'm just begińering loading 45-70. I not even considering Jacketed Bullets. I have way too much character for that.

    I have no current plans to hunt with it, but it's a Single Shot CVA APEX, and IIRC can handle Medium power loads. l've been using cast bullets he supplied that are from a Lee mould. They are FLAT BASE, and weigh between 345 and 350, closer to 345.

    Tother day, I buyed some bullets of bout the same weight. but with GCs, from Lee Stoner. Sounds like these might be a better choice IF, I was to make a more powerful load, BUT, if the FB bullets are traveling at 1500, wouldn't that be fast enough for a 45-70 ??

    The gun handles recoil well. And 45-70 recoil is slow. Maybe, I should go for a leetle more Umph? (Modernize, the Old 45-70????) Ahaaaa, Poooeee.

    Whatever, I'd like to use A 5744 .

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  12. #12

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    If you want to have the most fun of all and still kill game like lightning, drop those loads down to about 1250. A maiden's kiss on the shoulder, but any handgun guy in the world would be bragging far and wide about his monster killer launching 400 grain bullets at 1250. It's all a matter of perspective.... And a large dose of common sense.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    If you want to have the most fun of all and still kill game like lightning, drop those loads down to about 1250. A maiden's kiss on the shoulder, but any handgun guy in the world would be bragging far and wide about his monster killer launching 400 grain bullets at 1250. It's all a matter of perspective.... And a large dose of common sense.
    One of my favorite reads on penetration.
    www.garrettcartridges.com/penetration.html

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    One of my favorite reads on penetration.
    www.garrettcartridges.com/penetration.html
    I'll be darned!

    My arena for comparison is the 45-70 launching 400 grainers at 1200-1500 versus my 450 Alaskan punting the pumpkin down the pipe at 2250. Neither has ever faced down charging wet newspaper or any other life-threatening test medium. Or life-threatening game for that matter. Only "test medium" has been game, and that was inconclusive. No bullets ever recovered from either gun.

    I will point out that penetration aside, with the same bullet the critters sure drop faster and harder in front of the 450 Alaskan than the 45-70. Both killumdead, but they generally hit the ground like you ripped their feet out from under them when the old M71 speaks.

    The penetration tests are the best kinda news for this sore old body. The 450 is downright mulish on the back end, and it's sure lots more fun to shoot the 45-70 with 1200-1500fps loads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    One of my favorite reads on penetration.
    www.garrettcartridges.com/penetration.html
    I thought it was common knowledge that a faster bullet would result in LESS penetration, to the degree, that it expands, or fragments.

    If there was NO EFFECT on the condition of the bullet, I suspect that the penetration WOULD increase with added velocity.

    Granted, when the velocity range is limited, as in a beeg bore handgun, or in this case, a 45-70, caliber, and penetration take on primary importance.

    If additional velocity gives us adequate penetration, and more expansion, it should do more damage. Still, my reason for choosing a lesser velocity is less recoil, for easier shootability.

    So, I go along with BBs reccommdations on this.

    Smitty of the North
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I thought it was common knowledge that a faster bullet would result in LESS penetration, to the degree, that it expands, or fragments.

    If there was NO EFFECT on the condition of the bullet, I suspect that the penetration WOULD increase with added velocity.
    Probably want to read it again. They were using Hornady 500 grain solids. They can't explain it, but they reported what they saw.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Probably want to read it again. They were using Hornady 500 grain solids. They can't explain it, but they reported what they saw.

    I don't know why but regardless of who is doing the testing those big .458 bullets like to penetrate better when the 4 barrels don't kick in.
    Wandering a bit here...I have heard the comparisons between the 454 model 92s and the 45-70s in the 1895 marlins. Those aren't apples to apples either. One needs over 60k psi to get done what the other does at 40kpsi.

    Bottom line is that the 45-70 is a thumper without any hot rodding or jacketed bullets needed.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    Bottom line is that the 45-70 is a thumper without any hot rodding or jacketed bullets needed.
    Going back into the dusty halls of history, it fascinates me that they kept stretching the old 45-70 case to stuff more black powder in it, for "better" performance. Yet those longer versions just never proved out and amounted to much. Only guys I know shooting 45-90's are doing it with smokeless in the Ruger #1 and going for 458 Win Mag velocities for some reason.

    I kinda got caught up in it when I let go a perfectly fine 50-70 for a 50-140. Didn't gain all that much with standard bullets. You only really see it turn into a snorter with heavy bullets (600 grains and more). I still stuff 50-70 cases and lighter bullets into it unless I think I have a good reason to push those long old logs of lead.

    Funnier yet I have that fine old original 71 in 450 Alaskan. Got kinda monotonous and painful pushing 400 grain pills down the bore at near 458WinMag velocities, and I got to pining for light bullets and light loads. Ended up designing my own wildcat .429 on the 45-70 case with a short neck and the taper blown out to produce a "super" 444 Marlin in the same Marlin package. Could have saved myself far north of $1k if I'd have settled for a 444 Marlin or even a 44 mag lever. Sure I justified it for launching 300 grain bullets a little faster than is possible in a 45-70 with better BC's, but I mostly shoot it for fun with the lighter pistol bullets that started the thinking about such things in the first place in the 450 Alaskan.

    But hey.... We're talking about guns here, and we all know it makes us more than a little crazy sometimes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Probably want to read it again. They were using Hornady 500 grain solids. They can't explain it, but they reported what they saw.
    Yeah, hokay, I read it again.

    Hey, the guy is saying that Velocity is reducing penetration in his wet newspapers.

    Solid bullet, non-expanding, but nothing about how the bullet is effected. No real theory of why that would be the case. (Some magical effect that no-one, but HE is aware of,,,,???)

    Clearly, it's something that makes the 45-70 Superior, (penetration wise) to the 458 Lott. ,

    Surely, there would have to be some reason for less penetration, having to do with the bullet, yet he offers none. ("The reasons why high impact speeds reduce penetration are not well understood. ")

    He is also interpreting what he saw, as well as reporting it, and possibly leaving something out.

    I'm not claiming to be an expert, but just venturing the idea, that this guy is fulla beans.

    Smitty of the North
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Solid bullet, non-expanding, but nothing about how the bullet is effected. No real theory of why that would be the case. (Some magical effect that no-one, but HE is aware of,,,,???)

    Surely, there would have to be some reason for less penetration, having to do with the bullet, yet he offers none. ("The reasons why high impact speeds reduce penetration are not well understood. ")

    He is also interpreting what he saw, as well as reporting it, and possibly leaving something out.

    I'm not claiming to be an expert, but just venturing the idea, that this guy is fulla beans.
    About as far from bean overload as you can get. Based on the thoroughness of other things he's done and written about, I'm betting he studied the recovered bullets with everything possible, if maybe even a microscope, even if he didn't write it up. He was certainly looking for answers. I'm speculating now too, but basing it on his track record. Until I do my own testing to disprove it, I'm not prepared to write him off.

    Kinda easy to discount evidence counter to our own prejudices, lots easier than doing the work to disprove the conflicting evidence. You go back into the writings from guys 75 years ago poking holes in elephants and buffalo and lions, and they all preferred long bullets at moderate velocities for best penetration and kills. Didn't like faster bullets one tiny little bit. Maybe they had beans coming out their ears, too.

    See a whole lot of that right now leading up to the election. I refuse to listen to any debate or political report until October 15, two weeks before the election. It's all name calling and junior high playground games right now, and I refused to participate in that starting 60 years ago. Me? Skeptical? Maybe a wee bit. But when faced with facts of detailed studies, I have to accept them or do my own work to disprove them. Not enough newspaper in my life right now.

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