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Thread: I have a lot to learn... powder advice?

  1. #1

    Default I have a lot to learn... powder advice?

    OK, so after half my life (I say that because I plan on living another half!) buying factory loads I've been shooting more and thinking of reloading. I'm also near retirement and that means less income. And more time. I've been looking for a "wanna get rid of it all" or estate sale deal, essentially cause I'm "frugal", but also because the right deal will get me going with most everything needed. I found "such a deal" on Craigslist. A young man, like, in his 30's, bought a whole set-up during the ammo scare a few years back, reloaded a bit, and decided that the shortage he worried about never materialized, so he sold it all to me cheap, and hardly used. Two lee loaders, primer feed attachments, an RCBS digital metering unit, a bunch of reamers and trimmers, other tools and most every die set I have guns for... 9mm, .45, .40... lots of brass and cleaners and polishers too. I bought a few more die sets to do what I needed to do. The bundle also came with a .223 die set and brass, and since I don't have one of those, I figure it's a good excuse to buy another gun. Anyway, I've been lurking around these threads and have been learning a lot, but I have a question about loading my .45-70. I got 8lbs. of powder in the deal, well, 8 pound jugs mostly unopened, and it is 3.5 lbs. of Unique, 2 lbs. of Varget and 2 lbs of H335. A Hornady handbook too. Looking through the Brownell's website I see that these powders will give me an OK selection for most of my guns... I have .30-06's, a .30-30 and a .45-70, and various pistols and revolvers. My question is for the .45-70. The Hornady handbook has more choices than I care to buy, or keep on the shelf. None of the powders that came with my set-up are included in the lists, and the selection of "compatible powders" is considerable. N130 is on sale at Brownell's... I want to load for general purposes but do want to load some hot bear protection loads for an up-coming fishing trip. Reading through these posts I don't see a lot of mention of VIHT powders. Is there a reason for that? Any other ideas for me? All the data and performance specs are a bit dizzying right now... anyway, Thanks in Advance.

  2. #2
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    The first question I would have is what is, your 45/70. A modern Marlin or an early trap door?

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Modern Marlin.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by duteman View Post
    Modern Marlin.
    Dave, thanks for the reply. I refined my search and found some threads already discussing this. I'll study up a bit more.

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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duteman View Post
    Dave, thanks for the reply. I refined my search and found some threads already discussing this. I'll study up a bit more.
    Good because the age of a 45/70 makes quite a difference on the load data. I am pretty sure if you search you will find a Marlin gun owners forum that can help you a lot.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


  6. #6

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    I noticed that in the Hornady reference. My gun is a recent One in SS. This whole question started in my mind while reading up on bear loads, on this forum and others... so many different opinions. I guess I couldn't go wrong just making some close to the specs Buffalo Bore offers, they do a good job posting data. I know if I'm ever to use this in the field in a DLP situation I'll be lucky to get off two or three shots, so, I want to make them count.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duteman View Post
    Reading through these posts I don't see a lot of mention of VIHT powders. Is there a reason for that?
    I think it generally comes down to the fact that it's a European labeled powder, it's often a little bit more expensive than most "American" powders (many of which aren't manufactured in the U.S. but have American sounding labels), and that Americans are typically just really, really slow to catch on to "new" things. Vihtavouri is fabulous powder and I'm now using it in almost all my loads. It generally burns SUPER clean, which I really like too.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    I wouldn't bother with the really hot loads like Buffalo Bore. A 405gr bullet at 1750/1800 is plenty of killing power with a decent shot on even a big bear and can be achieved within std pressure limits for your Marlin. N130 would be a good choice as well as H322, H4895, H4198, IMR3031, IMR4895, or IMR4064. Lots of good choices. Get a couple of different loading manuals as well as The ABCs of reloading and study the hows and whys before you start. Reloading is not difficult but there are some things that you may not be aware of that can be dangerous. Lots of folks here with a lot of knowledge that are willing to help a newbe. Ask before doing something you're not sure of. VITH powders are usually quite a bit more expensive than some others but they are good powders.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    N130 would be a good choice as well as H322, H4895, H4198, IMR3031, IMR4895, or IMR4064. Lots of good choices.
    That's good to know there are so many good choices. Enough that I can definitely shop what's on sale. I guess I'll just have to try out some on the range to really get a feel for things. I'm appreciating that I can produce a better round than a FL. I have learned a lot already from lurking around here, and know that I should pay attention, keep things organized, load light at first, stay safe... and have FUN! I'm putting together a bench and will post a picture or two after I get things going. thanks in Advance, I appreciate it.

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    Reloder 7 and Accurate 2015 are excellent powders for 45/70 in a modern rifle. Lots of data out there for them too. Get a good bell on the case mouth before you seat the bullet on 45/70. I struggle with getting the bullet to seat straight sometimes and get a case bulge on one side.

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    This will rub your "frugalness" the wrong way. Don't trust any opened container of powder unless you are willing to trust the guy you got it from with your life and limb. Not worth the risk IMO.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tracen8r View Post
    This will rub your "frugalness" the wrong way. Don't trust any opened container of powder unless you are willing to trust the guy you got it from with your life and limb. Not worth the risk IMO.
    Understood. No telling what he might have poured back into what container I suppose. Of the four pounds of Unique, three are unopened. One each of the others. I have no problem throwing away three open half-used pounds of powder. It'll be fun in the fire pit next fourth of July!

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    The unwanted powder also makes good lawn food.

  14. #14

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    Tracen8er, I really appreciate your thought on that... Even if I didn't end up with mis-fires or explosions, everything y'all experienced men on this forum are trying to tell us newby's is to take notes, be precise, pay attention. The uncertainty would eat at me. I just would not have any sure way to tell what was really going on with the round unless... I knew. I'm thinking there's enough ways I can screw it up without uncertainty about the powder being one of them!

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    There are ways to check the powder but in your shoes I would chuck the opened half pounders. It's to early in your reloading game to risk your body parts trying to figure out for sure what is in those containers.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by duteman View Post
    I'm thinking there's enough ways I can screw it up without uncertainty about the powder being one of them!
    Probably the biggest way you can possibly screw up is to take someone else's pet load off the internet and cork it off in your gun. Some of the guys posting loads on the internet got their ballistic expertise as a free prize in a cereal box. Stick with the manuals and the engineers that tested and published the loads. If you decide to step into the ether beyond their max loads, do so VEEEEEEERRRRRRY gradually and carefully, recognizing the possibility that you're loading from a cereal box.

    Bud of mine loaded up an online "bear" load for his 45-70 and it wouldn't group for beans and his bolt would barely open. On the 5th shot his scope actually fell off his Guide Gun. Turned out that it wouldn't group because the pressures were so over the top that he ringed the chamber and front of the action. The scope base would no longer sit flat, and of course the screws sheared. He's now a fanatic about working up loads slowly and sticking to the manuals. He has no intention to replace his replacement Guide Gun.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    He's now a fanatic about working up loads slowly and sticking to the manuals. He has no intention to replace his replacement Guide Gun.
    Me neither. I like my gun just as it is. I have no desire to go produce a max-macho load, the recoil with standard FL stuff is heavy enough! So yeah, I'm planning on taking it easy, learning slowly... load, shoot, observe, load again... repeat.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by duteman View Post
    ...the recoil with standard FL stuff is heavy enough....
    If you want to have some real fun with that 45-70 and get to know the rifle real well, order up some standard 400- or 405-grain lead bullets, then check the cast bullet reloading manuals. Odds are there will be a dandy load in there for your Unique or something similar.

    With the recoil and noise cut way down, you'll shoot it lots and get good with it about 10x faster than you'll ever manage with the heavy loads. Easy as pie to transition to the heavy stuff after you know the gun so well. Best of all, cutting back on the cost of bullets and powder will save you a buncha bux getting there.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  19. #19

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    ...I am intrigued with the possibility of loading more consistent and accurate loads. The idea of making my Winchester .30-30 into a more accurate deer killing machine makes me happy. CT is a "slug only" state on public land but I like the idea anyway. I also have only .30-06's for my other rifles, though I think a .223 is in my future! Some amazing deals over the years as guys trade in their "old fashioned" '06's for the "flavor of the month". I've been studying the Hornady guide a bit and might try a few modern bullet combination in that cartridge too. This might be fun!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by duteman View Post
    "flavor of the month"
    Not dismissing other rounds, I'd like one each of them too! I'm just old-fashioned and I've always thought I can get .30-06's in remote country stores just about anywhere. It looks like if I get good at this building custom load thing that my old-fashioned 06's can become much more versitile. That makes me happy too.

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