Black Powder 45-70

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offensivename
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Black Powder 45-70

Post by offensivename »

So anyone have a good recipe? I'm guessing Marlene but its an open forum to all smoke lovers. I can certainly load with smokeless but I feel like my trapdoor needs to breathe some fire again.

Also I love shooting wads of cotton balls and smoke across the range.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by lurker »

45 caliber, 70 grains of black powder. rifle powder is ff, pistol power is fff, priming for flint is ffff, if i recollect. with bp, use the volumetric equivalent, it's close enough.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

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There is substitute black powder out there. Pyrodex I think, and pellets.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by lurker »

CDFingers wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:28 am
There is substitute black powder out there. Pyrodex I think, and pellets.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by 308Scout »

lurker wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:58 am
45 caliber, 70 grains of black powder. rifle powder is ff, pistol power is fff, priming for flint is ffff, if i recollect. with bp, use the volumetric equivalent, it's close enough.
actually things are not that "hard in stone". you can actually safely use FFF for 45-70. And some of the smaller pistols can use FFFF.

A guy over on one of the cowboy shooting forums got his hands on some 19th century ammunition and broke it open. According to him, what he found with the samples he had was what they called musket (what we call rifles today) powder was closer to FF, and what they called rifle powder was closer to FFF. Muskets would be the larger caliber smooth and later rifled muzzle loaded rifles such as .58, .69 and some 70 somethings I am drawing a blank on among calibers that I am also probably forgetting about.

The "rules" about FF being "rifle", FFF being "pistol" and FFFF being "priming" are supposedly only traceable back to the 1950s when BP shooting took off again. At least according to this guy. I wish I could remember which forum it was, CAS City I think. this was about 3 maybe 4 years ago when I read it.

I have used exclusively FFF Goex for as long as I have used BP. pistol, rifle, live fire, blanks. Started in I want to say 1987 or 88 when I got into Civil War reenacting.

While I am aware of people who have experimented measuring out BP by weight, I have not ever read anyone with a convincing enough argument to spend time on it my self. I do as Lurker says, volumetric measurements. BP doesn't behave like smokeless does with small variations which is why I haven't personally been convinced that weighing is worth the effort.

As for a good recipe, I would suggest starting 55 grains and work up or down a bit to see what you rifle likes. Modern brass doesn't always allow for a full 70 grains and depending on the weight of your rifle that might be a good thing. Even back in the hay day of 1873 trapdoors in 45-70 the army cut back on the load for the carbines to 55 grains. depending on the bullet and barrel length you could even safely go as low as 50.

Try both FF and FFF, see which feels right in terms of your recoil tolerance, and same goes for best result on paper.
Be sure to NOT allow any air space between the powder and the bullet
Some rifles shoot better with a bit of compression on the powder before seating the bullet.
Filling the brass using a drop tube has been observed to affect results on paper and allow for more powder in the case
using something to vibrate the powder into a more settled state has been observed to provide the same results as using a drop tube
be sure to ONLY use BP lube on the bullets. Good quality lube is critical to good results on paper, ease of cleaning and helps with frequency of cleaning...as in more shots between cleaning.
some people find placing a thin bit of paper such as tissue over the primer hole before filling with powder helps
standard and standard match primers are sufficient, but don't hesitate to try magnums if you are curious. I haven't and the consensus over on the Shiloh forum is they are unnecessary.
Duplex loads are unnecessary, but some find it makes for a cleaner gun. to each their own. Duplex is where you fill the brass with a small charge of appropriate smokeless powder, then finish off with BP
Wads between powder and bullet should be thin
If you use a reduced load, use something that will burn up to fill up the space left over. I have seen cream of wheat, activated charcoal, crushed walnut all be used.
how much is too much BP? it is actually hard to use too much, but possible. Rule of thumb, what fills the brass case and allows proper seating of bullet for correct over all length with an appropriate amount compression of powder.
Annealing. you will need to learn to anneal your brass if you don't know how already.

For lube, if your not sure what to use, can't go wrong with starting out using SPG Lube https://blackpowderspg.com/
In addition to lube, they sell some good books for getting started with BP cartridge. Any of the books by Steve, Mike, or Paul are all excellent starting points.

I won't comment on any of the BP substitutes, I have no experience with them. Some are close to identical per volume equivalent, some are. read the fine print so to speak.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by Marlene »

405 hollow base bullet lubed with SPG, DGL, or something like that.
50-60 grains ffg. I just dump it in, no drop tube.
Compress powder to seated bullet height with a compression plug or case expander plug.
No wads. No filling the hollow base with lube.
Use crimp die to remove flare from case.

I have read about people filling the base of a hb bullet with beeswax (too hard to contaminate powder) but I haven’t tried it.

You’ll notice that the emphasis on compression in straight wall cases seems to not carry over to bottleneck cases. I dunno why, but that’s how it seems to work for people.
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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by CDFingers »

I found this useful:
“Large bore rifles (typically larger than .62 caliber) will use larger charges of Fg. Medium bore rifles of between .45 and .62 caliber will use moderate charges of FFg. Smaller rifles and most pistols will use relatively light charges of FFFg. Specific charges are not given here, because that is what you determine while working toward a good group. A very good starting point for determining what charge size to use is to use 1.5 grains of powder per point of caliber for Fg and FFg loads. It is safer to begin FFFg loads at 1 grain per point of caliber.
http://embscomputerart.com/black-powder-sizes/

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by lurker »

i don't know about all that stuff, but standard combat load for the US model of 1861 springfield rifled musket (.58 caliber) during the "Recent Unpleasantness" was 60 grains (measured by volume) of FF. i've used FFF with no noticeable difference. the '73 trapdoor used 70 and the carbine, as noted above, used 55.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by offensivename »

I don't have the bullets for this yet but I'm getting a bunch of lead today to try my hand at casting a hollow base 405gr bullet for the .45-70. The compressed load issue is interesting. As Marlene points out a lot of other BP cartridges don't want any compression but all the .45-70 loads seem to expect at least a little (maybe its just case volume? I only know about the .577/450 and low case volume is definitely not a problem there)

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by Marlene »

Straight cases generally compress. Bottleneck generally don’t.
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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by 308Scout »

CDFingers wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:07 am
I found this useful:
“Large bore rifles (typically larger than .62 caliber) will use larger charges of Fg. Medium bore rifles of between .45 and .62 caliber will use moderate charges of FFg. Smaller rifles and most pistols will use relatively light charges of FFFg. Specific charges are not given here, because that is what you determine while working toward a good group. A very good starting point for determining what charge size to use is to use 1.5 grains of powder per point of caliber for Fg and FFg loads. It is safer to begin FFFg loads at 1 grain per point of caliber.
http://embscomputerart.com/black-powder-sizes/

CDFingers
Again, the F grading are fairly recent in the history of BP, my understanding they didn't exist during the 19th century.

It's not just caliber that determines which of the "F" grading you use, but the amount of powder you need.

For example while I have no problem using an FFF in 45-70, if I was to move to 45-90, or 45-110 or even 45-120 I would be shifting to 2F and 1.5 F powders.

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Re: Black Powder 45-70

Post by 308Scout »

Marlene wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:32 am
I just dump it in, no drop tube.
I am also not currently using a drop tube.

For those who might ask why/why not. for me, I shoot 100 yards because that is all that is available to me at this time. the arguments for how it helps when reaching out to 1000 don't affect me. The other reason to use a drop tube or vibrate is simply to get more powder into the case.

My two cents, play with all the options. see what shows up on paper.

There lots of factors/options ...compress, don't compress, paper over the flash hole, no paper over the flash hole etc. start basic, experiment. it's what makes this so fun. do what gives you the result you can live with/want.

just remember the safety point...

NO air/space between powder and bullet.

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