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Thread: 45-70 pressures

  1. #1

    Default 45-70 pressures

    I have two Lee Enfields ,a #3 and a #4 not earning their keep and am considering re-barreling to 45-70 . The #4 is the stronger of the two so it may be the one,but I dont know if it's do-able, but I'm sure I read somewhere that it has been done.The rim diameter is almost exactly the same as the bolt head diameter so that is no problem,but is there enough metal left in the rear of the chamber once it's reamed out? Also, what are 45-70 pressures? Trapdoors operate on about 25000 psi,but how high can I reload in a L.E.? To the mid level 1886 Winchester ,I don't know that pressure , or the top level Ruger #1 pressure,don't know that one either, but I'm pretty sure the #3 L.E. works on 44000 psi and the#4 must be higher as they're routinely rebarreled to 7.62 Nato, and that's about 50000 psi. Any experience with this conversion out there, I'd be happy to know whatyou think. Oh,I doubt it will feed properly, so it may be a single shot.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    Good questions.

    The Enfield form a 303 British round to the 45-70 is doable I've had a few of them in my hands. They definately cannot be loaded to Ruger No. 1 pressures which will withstand 60,000 psi cartridges quite happily. The Enfield rebarrreled to 308 has a lot of steel the 45-70 will not have. I have loaded the Enfields to the Marlin lever action levels of performance in the 45-70. That should be considered a maximum. And the guns can be worked so as to feed from the magazine. The stock will give way after many rounds of 400 grains at 2000 fps and there is obvious stress on the gun. It not only is pressure, which they seem to handle, but the stock is just not designed for that level of recoil. Other things also seem to break from the constant pounding. A Siamese Mauser, which is basically an M98, would be a better choice for really heavy loads, but the Enfield can be so converted.

    I think the pressure limit here for maximum loads in the Enfield is about 45,000 psi.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?

  3. #3


    Thanks Murph, thats about what I expected, the mid range loads should be OK but I didn't expect the butt to fail as you mentioned.I'd have to keep an eye on that and luckily Enfield butts are plentiful in my area , milsurp and synthetic. Do you have any idea as to the accuracy usually obtained with this conversion with it's two piece stock which isn't always conducive to top accuracy. I'm thinking of a 26 " barrel about mid weight and 3-9x40 scope. A Siamese mauser would be better,then I'd go to 458 W. Mag but the gunsmithing takes the the price up near second hand rifle prices and I'm still left with a new 45 barrel and unemployed Enfield action. Thanks for your advice Murph.


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