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Thread: Strange 45-70 brass

  1. #1

    Default Strange 45-70 brass

    Finding out that I recently got a 45-70, a friend stopped by and dropped off a few once fired brass that he had laying around. A couple of these brass were headstamped "Lever Gun 45-70 Mag". The thing that makes them odd is that they have small primer pockets. What would be the reason behind the small primer pockets?

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    The best I could find was that there were simply a great number of varied cartridges loaded for the 45-70. Here's an interesting history which gives an example of a small primered 45-70...

    http://www.leverguns.com/articles/pa..._leverguns.htm

  3. #3

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    [QUOTE=elmerkeithclone;552238]Finding out that I recently got a 45-70, a friend stopped by and dropped off a few once fired brass that he had laying around. A couple of these brass were headstamped "Lever Gun 45-70 Mag". The thing that makes them odd is that they have small primer pockets. What would be the reason behind the small primer pockets?[/QUOTE]


    My guess: probably (supposedly) for the same reason that 454 Casull brass has small primer pockets. The designer of the cartridge (Dick Casull) apparently believed the smaller primer pocket would increase the strength of the case, which was neccessary due to the much higher than normal pressures (for a handgun) (65,000 psi)
    The story: http://www.levergun.com/articles/454_case.htm


    Are small primers an advantage in the 45/70 "Magnum"? I'm not convinced. Because, the 45/70 "+P magnum" loads do not even begin to approach the pressure levels of the Casull. Most typical modern 45/70 guns are only designed to handle average pressures up to perhaps 44,000 or so...a fairly modest level...and I would think the company loading these "Magnum loads" would not exceed that limit, for liability reasons. Why then do these "Mag" cases have small primers? Perhaps it's a sales gimmick, or just to dress up the old cartridge. In any event, it won't hurt, and it does give the old round a new look...


    Marshall/Ak

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    I belive those are older Buffalo Bore cases. I have some lying around and I'm quite quite sure thats what you have.

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    The Kid, has it right. Those cases are likely either Buffalo Bore or Corbon, but the reason for the small primer is not for additional case strength as some of you have suspected, but rather to help mitigate the risk of a magazine detonation in lever action rifles.

    There have been reports that during the firing of high pressure rounds that generate significant amounts of recoil; while the magazine is loaded with rounds that incorporate bullets with a very wide metplat and sharp shoulder, that there exists the possibility of them (the wide metplat bullet) impacting the primer of the cartridge directly in front of it, while in the magazine, particularly in the bulge area immediately forward of the loading gate on Marlin 1895 Rifles with sufficient force as to cause the primer of the struck cartridge to fire. The resultant discharge, or detonation of you will, is apparently sufficient to disassemble a considerable portion of the rifle, including the magazine tube and forearm assembly, and could possibly result in serious personal injury or conceivably even death…

    Corbon and Buffalo Bore apparently took this seriously enough that they incorporated the small primers into their brass cases to minimize the primer surface area that could come in contact with bullets while in the magazin
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    The Kid, has it right. Those cases are likely either Buffalo Bore or Corbon, but the reason for the small primer is not for additional case strength as some of you have suspected, but rather to help mitigate the risk of a magazine detonation in lever action rifles.

    There have been reports that during the firing of high pressure rounds that generate significant amounts of recoil; while the magazine is loaded with rounds that incorporate bullets with a very wide metplat and sharp shoulder, that there exists the possibility of them (the wide metplat bullet) impacting the primer of the cartridge directly in front of it, while in the magazine, particularly in the bulge area immediately forward of the loading gate on Marlin 1895 Rifles with sufficient force as to cause the primer of the struck cartridge to fire. The resultant discharge, or detonation of you will, is apparently sufficient to disassemble a considerable portion of the rifle, including the magazine tube and forearm assembly, and could possibly result in serious personal injury or conceivably even death…

    Corbon and Buffalo Bore apparently took this seriously enough that they incorporated the small primers into their brass cases to minimize the primer surface area that could come in contact with bullets while in the magazin
    Thanks for the info. I have bounced around alot of forum topics based on the 45-70 of late and haven't run across anyone talk about this happening. Have you known it to happen or is this just a precaution?

    Will the small primer alter the powder burn rate in any way?

  7. #7

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    A while back when Garrett was loading the now discontinued Speer AGS solid he was also using the small primer pocket brass.

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    Elmerkeithclone,

    I do not have personal knowledge regarding magazine detonation; however I have seen what I consider to be compelling evidence in the form of pictures, and also testimony from reputable and reliable individuals. That said, I highly suspect that it has indeed happened and therefore is likely to happen again if the required conditions are encountered.

    As I understand it, this is a problem that is particular to the Marlin 1895 Rifles specifically, and have not heard or read anything about any other make having this particular issue. It has to do with the way the magazine bulge (if you have ever had your hand guard off and the magazine tube out, you can plainly see the bulge) can allow a cartridge to sit at a bit of an angle. If that cartridge is loaded with a wide metplat bullet that has a sharp edge on the front, the potential exists for that hard edge of the bullet to contact the primer of the next cartridge forward in the magazine with sufficient force to detonate the primer.

    Does this concern me to the extent that I have altered my loads for the Guide Gun? Well… yes, but only to a point. I have not switched over to small primer cases, but I chose the RCBS 45-405 mould for casting my bullets, specifically because it does not incorporate the extremely wide metplat and sharp edge of those style bullets that have been reported to cause this kind of problem. I don’t think that the RCBS bullet is “immune” from this kind of thing, but I do think it is a bit less likely. I have also dropped my maximum loads down significantly, but have done so more for recoil reduction and comfort level, than as a preventative measure for magazine detonation. My “go too” load for the 45-70 pushes this bullet from a 16” barrel at 1600 fps. Significantly slower than either the Corbon or Buffalo Bore loads, but still with more than enough power to accomplish what I want it to.

    All that said, in my situation, and with my loads, I don’t worry too much about it, but I do always remember that it is a possibility, albeit a remote one in my opinion. In short, I am comfortable with the level of risk associated with my loads in that particular rifle.

    As far as burn rates with small versus large primers, I am sorry, but I don’t know.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  9. #9

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    The magazine detonation explanation seems plausable to me...I think it could happen, under the right circumstances. Here's a link where this possibility is discussed, specific to the lever-rifle and the 45/70:

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/420.asp


    However, I just spent a good 20 minutes Google-searching the internet for actual photos of a magazine detonation, to no avail. Found lots and lots and lots of links where they talk about it, but nobody has pictures or first-hand experience. Evidently, it is very rare. Anyone got photos? I've shot hundreds of 45/70 rounds of 420-gr (RCBS with WW), hand-loaded to about 1750fps, with large primers, magazine full, with no problems...other than a sore shoulder. I figure if I can't kill something "deader than dead" with those 420-gr, then I really need to go find a different hobby...


    Marshall/Ak

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall/Ak View Post
    The magazine detonation explanation seems plausable to me...I think it could happen, under the right circumstances. Here's a link where this possibility is discussed, specific to the lever-rifle and the 45/70:

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/420.asp


    However, I just spent a good 20 minutes Google-searching the internet for actual photos of a magazine detonation, to no avail. Found lots and lots and lots of links where they talk about it, but nobody has pictures or first-hand experience. Evidently, it is very rare. Anyone got photos? I've shot hundreds of 45/70 rounds of 420-gr (RCBS with WW), hand-loaded to about 1750fps, with large primers, magazine full, with no problems...other than a sore shoulder. I figure if I can't kill something "deader than dead" with those 420-gr, then I really need to go find a different hobby...


    Marshall/Ak
    Never seen it and think it must be a one in a million thing.

    I got an uncle who has loaded all kinds of pointy jsp bullets on 30-30s and loads them in model 94s. He has been packing that supposed time bomb way over 50 years now without a hitch. Ask him about it and he loves to give a little demonstration. He will fire one of his very hot loaded pointy rounds then proceed to slam the butt of his rifle on a rock a few times hard enough to scare the poo out of sinkable folk then unload it and say “How do them primers look.” When questioner gets over the shock of what they just witnessed enough to focus on the rounds the points are somewhat blunted and primers look like new.

    I would never use pointed bullets in a 30-30 as I believe there is an increased risk and no real reward over flat points in a short range 30-30. But from having a crazy uncle I also believe the likelihood of detonation in a tube magazine is hugely over estimated from old wives tales.
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    I sincerely agree that the risk of magazine detonation is over stated and over hyped (unfortunatly I myself just contributed to this by my last couple of posts) however if you look at it from the perspective of the ammunition producers, specifically those that make “magnum” loads for the 45-70 ie Corbon and Buffalo Bore; one can assume that their decision is based in no small part on legal considerations regarding the potential for costly litigation and setalments, should this highly unlikely event ever occur with one of their loads and injure a customer. A one in a million occurance may be more than they are willing to risk… because they sell millions of rounds of ammo, they know that statisticaly they are likely to have an occurance that will potentially cost them millions in hard earned profits.
    You and I on the other hand, are not likely to ever shoot a million rounds of hot-rod 45-70 ammo and are there for, statisticaly at least, unlikely to witness an occurance…
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    I agree, logic says there is a real risk even though it’s extremely small. Couple the tiny risk with the common idea that ‘ammo goes off in a tube magazines all the time’ and any ammo manufacture is wise to attempt some CYA just in case.
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    http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php Maybe dig around in this web find some good stuff.

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    Default Another myth?

    The shooting related authors that pen the articles on the dangers of magazine detonation, damascus shotgun barrels, and low numbered '03 Springfields blowing up never do any research but just keep repeating the same old mis-information.

    An actual test of two identical shotguns with except with damascus and steel barrels actually showed that the damascus barrels were stronger than the fluid steel. Try to find a photo or report of any quality damascus barreled shotgun that blew up with norrmal loads and an unplugger bore.

    Likewise the army re-issued over a million low-numbered springfields - it is hard to believe that they weren't safe. Of the few that did blow in early years up most were traced to plugged bores or other problems. I suspect the failure rate for high-numbered guns wasn't much lower.

    The problem with tubular magazine probably resulted from the early ammunition with SOFT copper primers but I'm just guessing. In any event a cartridge with smokeless power that is fired in a relatively unconfined space like a rifle magazine isn't that big of deal anyway - it would proably only bulge or ruture the tube at worse - not blow someone's arm off or kill them.

    I'll continue take my chances with damascus barrels, low numbered '03s, and tubular magazine rifles. It is probably less risky than driving to the range!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall/Ak View Post
    The magazine detonation explanation seems plausable to me...I think it could happen, under the right circumstances. Here's a link where this possibility is discussed, specific to the lever-rifle and the 45/70:

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/420.asp


    However, I just spent a good 20 minutes Google-searching the internet for actual photos of a magazine detonation, to no avail. Found lots and lots and lots of links where they talk about it, but nobody has pictures or first-hand experience. Evidently, it is very rare. Anyone got photos? I've shot hundreds of 45/70 rounds of 420-gr (RCBS with WW), hand-loaded to about 1750fps, with large primers, magazine full, with no problems...other than a sore shoulder. I figure if I can't kill something "deader than dead" with those 420-gr, then I really need to go find a different hobby...


    Marshall/Ak
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    The problem with tubular magazine probably resulted from the early ammunition with SOFT copper primers but I'm just guessing. In any event a cartridge with smokeless power that is fired in a relatively unconfined space like a rifle magazine isn't that big of deal anyway - it would proably only bulge or ruture the tube at worse - not blow someone's arm off or kill them.
    My same uncle that likes pointy 30-30s was a fireman for 43 years and by no means a dumb guy! He would say about rooky firemen “They start out afraid to get close enough to a house fire with ammo popping to put water on it and dumb enough to put a solid stream on a live transformer fire.” In other words they are too green to know what is actually dangerous and what just sounds dangerous.

    I think a tube magazine detonation would scare the crap out of the shooter, maybe make the hand that was wrapped around the magazine throb some for a time, but leave very little shrapnel damage if any at all on the shooter. Absolutely no way it takes the arm off, I doubt it would even bloody a finger. Still would make a mess of the gun though.
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    Default Proposed test

    I've been thinking about testing the whole thing for some time. Either loading some cartridges with a live primer and sand to simulate the acutal weight and pointy bullets and firing away. Heck- I'll even try some pointy FMJ. Anybody want to wager if I can get a cartridge to fire?

    I guess there is always the possibility of a super sensitive primer however. When I used to shot the M-1 rifle a lot it was common to rest the muzzle on the tip of your shoe or boot when you were loading it and letting the bolt fly home on a live round. In an M-1 when you do this the firing pin is somewhat free floating and slightly dimples the primer. After I read about one shooter having the gun fire and nearly blowing his toe off I made certain my toes were well back from the muzzle.

    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    My same uncle that likes pointy 30-30s was a fireman for 43 years and by no means a dumb guy! He would say about rooky firemen “They start out afraid to get close enough to a house fire with ammo popping to put water on it and dumb enough to put a solid stream on a live transformer fire.” In other words they are too green to know what is actually dangerous and what just sounds dangerous.

    I think a tube magazine detonation would scare the crap out of the shooter, maybe make the hand that was wrapped around the magazine throb some for a time, but leave very little shrapnel damage if any at all on the shooter. Absolutely no way it takes the arm off, I doubt it would even bloody a finger. Still would make a mess of the gun though.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Well tvfinak…… you could load up a few rimless cartridges, say… like a 30-06 or 308 with just primers and some pointy FMJ bullets. Find yourself a piece of tubing or conduit that is just the right size for the “loaded” cartridges to fit, so that they will be perfectly aligned bullet to primer when in the tubing, and then drop them in on top of each other from ever increasing height to approximate recoil….

    1 be sure and video your experiment, cause I love that kind of “watch this” thing….

    2 when your digging little pieces of tubing and brass out of your nether regions, be sure and get pictures to help me empathize with your pain.

    3 be prepared for me to openly mock and ridicule you for being an idiot.

    Now if I am wrong and it all goes off fine and you never get one to go off, I will freely and openly admit that I am wrong. Furthermore I will forever proclaim that you obviously carry the bigger set of man jewels.

    Remember.... if you find that you have dug yourself to deep into the hole, you can always count on me to throw you another shovel!

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    Default A few fine details

    I'll try it first - as I stated - with cartridges loaded with sand to duplicate the powder.

    The rimmed case is important because it means that the bullet tip will probably be off center of the primer of the case ahead. One of the Remington pump rifles was designed to stagger the cartidges this way - I think it was the 14 & 141 series.

    I can also take a piece of conduit and fill it with cartridges and the then heat it until they go off. That test should tell us the size of the "detonation" if one ever occurs.

    I'll let you know what happens. Perhaps I should write a magaizne article - it can't take much talent or research.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Well tvfinak…… you could load up a few rimless cartridges, say… like a 30-06 or 308 with just primers and some pointy FMJ bullets. Find yourself a piece of tubing or conduit that is just the right size for the “loaded” cartridges to fit, so that they will be perfectly aligned bullet to primer when in the tubing, and then drop them in on top of each other from ever increasing height to approximate recoil….

    1 be sure and video your experiment, cause I love that kind of “watch this” thing….

    2 when your digging little pieces of tubing and brass out of your nether regions, be sure and get pictures to help me empathize with your pain.

    3 be prepared for me to openly mock and ridicule you for being an idiot.

    Now if I am wrong and it all goes off fine and you never get one to go off, I will freely and openly admit that I am wrong. Furthermore I will forever proclaim that you obviously carry the bigger set of man jewels.

    Remember.... if you find that you have dug yourself to deep into the hole, you can always count on me to throw you another shovel!
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  19. #19

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    I remember seeing a pciture of the Ruger 44 suto rifle blown up using Hornady FP FMJ bullets and the subsequest warning. It had a tubular magazine

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    Default FP

    FP = flat point? Why would a flat point be dangerous - full metal jacket or otherwise? Lead of couse would be softer but never the less a flat pint should be safe.

    How much damage was there to the rifle?

    Quote Originally Posted by allen-ak View Post
    I remember seeing a pciture of the Ruger 44 suto rifle blown up using Hornady FP FMJ bullets and the subsequest warning. It had a tubular magazine
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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