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Just picked up a .45-70! Now what????

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Modeler, May 22, 2011.

  1. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Hi all,

    I just picked up an H&R "Buffalo Classic" single-shot .45-70 (32" barrel) with stock sights. I'm planning to use it for deer and elk this Fall and would like some advice.

    The "wisdom of the internet" seems to indicate that this round is good for deer (doesn't destroy much meat) due to it's low velocity relative to modern hunting calibers. What load should I use (handloads) for deer and elk? It sounds like the unexpanded diameter is the same as an expanded .270, so should I use solid lead slugs? How big? 350 gr?

    Second, what kind of sights should I use? It's drilled and tapped for a scope, and a scope rail is available from NEF.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Greg
     
  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    I use 300gr JHP from Sierra with 63.5gr H335 powder for deer and 400 gr JSP with 43gr 4198 for elk. If you dont reload then the Hornady Leverolution is good for deer and Buffalo Bore 400gr for elk. I suggest reloading to get the best load for the gun, just watch the scope with the Buffalo Bore ammo.

    I use a 3X9X40 Nikon Pro Staff non BDC
     
  3. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I suggest shooting it a lot while standing if that is how you will be shooting it while hunting. A rifle like this will balance very different then your average bilt action hunting rifle. It will take some getting used to. The slower velocity and longer barrel will also make follow through almost as important as it is with a Muzzle loader.

    As to the sights you'll have to decide are you going to be hunting in low light and brush or out in the sage brush. Personally I would most enjoy a tang peep sight and hooded front. But then I'm like that.
     
  4. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Thanks for the replies guys; I'm going to be handloading my own ammo. Deadeye, I'll keep your loads in mind. Why the JHP for deer? Does a slug not make a big enough hole already?

    Greg
     
  5. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Hit them with the JHP ahead of the gut sack then stop and light up a smoke and wait a minute for them to stop breathing. I actually had one get back up after rolling him he flailed around a couple seconds got back up went 30 yrds and dropped on the run, he was a healthy boy. Most times they drop where they stand.
     
  6. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I guess the standard answer is, "Go with what your rifle likes best." All the rifles I have owned and used have worked well with bullet weights of 400 gr. or less. In my OLDER STYLE OF RIFLES I could never drive a 500 gr. bullet fast enough to stabilize it past 50 yards, using smokeless, and still remain within the safety parameters of these particular rifles.

    I've had great success with Hornady 350 gr. bullets and smokeless powder. I've also had great success with 400 gr. cast bullets and smokeless.

    Recoil will be a factor. Both deadeye and Mark W. have given you good advice.
     
  7. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Nice...

    So I'm looking in my reloading manual, and they give reloading data for three different firearms (none of which are mine...). So, should I use data for the 1873 Springfield, the 1886 Winchester/1895 Marlin or the Ruger No. 1/No. 3?

    Greg
     
  8. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Go with the 1895 marlin I'm not too sure the H&R will handle the Ruger loads.
     
  9. justsaymo

    justsaymo NW WA Member

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    You don't need to drive them real hard to go end to end through Elk and Black Bears - tested that theory a few years back on Black Bear when he turned into the shot. 425 grain cast bullet jogging along at a mere 1400 fps zipped right on through. As far as anyone knows it's still going... DRT too. Aim for the exit hole... A good wide flat nose bullet leaves an impressive wound channel and daylight at both ends.

    My favorite powder is SR4759 but I've had good luck with several powders for various velocities from 850 fps on up to tickling 2,000 fps using both cast and jacketed bullets. Those 350 grain FN Hornadys seem to shoot well in everything I've tried em in. For cast bullets all of mine shoot .459" or bigger best. Size the same bullet to .457" and it will keyhole at 25 yards.

    Last weekend a friend of mine and I shot some Milk Jugs. We killed most of them with his Shilo Sharps in 45-70. Here's the vid.

    YouTube - ‪45-70 Shilo Sharps vs. Milk Jugs‬‏

    Great caliber.
     
  10. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    IMR3031 is the stalwart recognized powder for smokeless .45-70 loads. Accurate 5744 (32g) works nicely in my Marlin with 350g LaserCast bullets. Stay away from the load book section for Ruger #1 and strong actions like the Siamese Mauser. For "one bullet fits all" for deer and elk, I'd go with a 350g jacketed bullet, then load for tolerable recoil combined with accuracy. "One load fits all" is a good strategy for the .45-70, since changing loads (powder or bullet or both) can have dramatic effects on sight settings. I'm with Mark on the peep sight recommendation. Optics fans would be well served with a 1x-4x, or a 1.5-5x scope, and preferably on a removeable/repeatable ring set up (Warne or Leupold), granting usage of irons when needed.

    My 45 Gov't. guns include a custom Siamese Mauser, a H & R Trapdoor Officer's Model (replica), original 1884 Trapdoor Carbine, Marlin 95 Guide Gun, and a Shiloh Sharps Roughrider. Each is loaded with its own recipe, sights set for that recipe.
     
  11. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Thanks for the info; sounds like you have the experience with this cartridge. I picked up some 300 gr Hornady JHP's yesterday, going to go unload my existing .45-70 ammo this afternoon and reload the 32 cases I have. Can't find my Lyman manual right now, but I'll look for loads using IMR 3031 when I do.

    Greg
     
  12. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I used Sierra 300gr JHP an Speer 400gr Jacketed Flat nose bullets in my Browing B78. I also shot some 500gr hornady, but I'd say that was just for the fun of loading a bullet that's bigger than a .45 ACP loaded round! I usually pushed them with Reloader 7, but did use IMR 3031, too.
    I agree about staying out of the "Ruger #1" loads. While my Browning was tough enough to handle them, the bottom loads in that category had tremendous recoil.
    I highly recommend the Lyman manual.
     
  13. mhadix

    mhadix Tacoma,WA Member

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    Marlin's have the ballard type barrel made for a much heavier bullet at much higher pressures.
    I shoot 540gr hard cast bullets out of my marlin, only a few rifles will handle this load without destroying the firearm and possibly the shooter.
    make sure you know what your rifle will safely fire before you load it up and hurt yourself.
     
  14. forestgrump

    forestgrump NorthWet Oregon Member

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    I also have a H&R Buffalo Hunter and 1895 Guide gun that I've hunted with with great success. Never lost an animal with it. All being one shot kills. I've shot a lot of Metallic Silhouette with both rifles with minimum 300gr. loads (1200 fps) and if I can get at least a half a bullet on a Ram, it goes off the rail. Accuracy of the rifles not an issue, shooter is. Best accuracy I've had yet was 1895 Marlin Guide Gun with 405 grain Moly Coated Remington Flat Point at 1950 fps at 100 yards off a bench with a 2.5 x 10 Aztec. Group was 7/8". If recoil becomes an issue with H&R, put a slip on soft recoil pad and cover it up with leather or put in a Mercury recoil reducing cylinder in stock. Shooting 80 rounds in a match takes it's toll on you. An you might want to look into having something done with the trigger, as they usually are not real smooth. Enjoy your new best fried, I know I have.
    F Grump
     
  15. jcw

    jcw Washington Member

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    See how you like the standard Reminginton 405gr loads. That's what I shoot in my handi rifle and is about as mild a shooting load you're going to run through your Buffalo hunter. It will pass through deer and inflict a world of hurt on the black bears you find in N.W. WA. 3 of the 4 I have shot with the handi rifle were one shot kills and did not run off too far. I use a ghost ring rear and a green firesight type front.
     
  16. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I would differ with Mhadix about the reason for Marlin going back to Ballard rifling (from Micro-groove). This was done in order that cast bullets (a favorite of .45-70 shooters) would shoot better than some reported results with Micro-groove. It has very little to do with the relative "power" of the load. The three grades of loads in the books are related entirely to action strength: Trapdoor Springfields at the lower end, Winchester 86's and Marlins in the middle, and Ruger #1, Siamese Mauser, (And Orygun's fine Browning 78) at the top for action strength. Forestgrump alludes to the frequent discovery that milder loads very often shoot more accurately than the stomping stuff. (Either from the load itself, or the axiom that we ALL shoot less recoil more accurately than high recoil).

    Jcw has good advice about the old standard factory load. Until quite recently, all factory .45-70 loads were safe in the Springfield Trapdoor, and these shoot very well in any gun, and as Jcw has experienced, the 405g jacketed slug at those moderate velocities has amazing penetration characteristics. Driven at the high-end with a stout handload in a strong action, these bullets will expand greatly, and although impacting at higher velocity, penetration will be less.

    The happy medium (for those who can afford them) is the Nosler Partition: It will expand at Springfield velocities reliably, and yet penetrate well even at Siamese Mauser velocities. My Siamese Mauser will drive this bullet to 2150fps (and drive me rearward at a comparable velocity).
     
  17. Simonpie

    Simonpie Portland Active Member

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    Spitpatch, could you publish your recipe for the 1884 trapdoor original? I'm getting ok results in my 1873 with blackpowder, but I've been unsuccessful with smokless.
     
  18. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Simonpie, do you intend to shoot jacketed bullets or lead in your Trapdoor? My history with the carbine started with factory 405g Remington factory loads, and they shot very, very well. I then tried cast bullets, and found after a few years of messing around that my initial impression that cast bullets would not shoot out of this gun was wrong (They were generally key-holing). I then changed alloy to soft 20:1 mixture (I have a friend nearby that has a primo casting setup at my disposal), and went to a .459 dia bullet, and the clouds parted and the birds sang. The apparent reason was bore diameter: Jackets grabbed the rifling, soft lead (expanded by gasses) grabbed the rifling, but hard cast (like Laser-Cast) bullets did not grab. Jacketed bullets and smokeless in the Trapdoor? Try what worked well for me when I got tired of buying factory Remingtons: same bullet (405g Rem), 39.0g of IMR3031. PLEASE check your books for safety reasons, especially with the Trapdoor, and I'd highly recommend beginning at about 32g and work up. You may find a sweet spot for accuracy with much less recoil at the lower end. A standard primer is adequate, but I usually spring for the Benchrest primers (Federal), as they are more consistent, and a bit more powerful than a standard, yet not as flashy as a Magnum primer.

    Cast lead and blackpowder? (This is where I am now with the Carbine: easier on the old, soft steel barrel): Lyman mould # 457125 (This is a 525g bullet, .459dia, 20:1 alloy). Buffalo Arms will sell you this bullet, sized and lubed with SPG. 60g of Swiss FFg. Federal Magnum primer. (Sure ignition for that pile of black). The bullet is backed by a card wad from Shiloh. This load kicks like Sister Sarah's Mule, but shoots very well. Before I got here, (and for less recoil), I shot a soft-alloy 305g bullet, 55grains of FFg, preceded by 4 grains of IMR4759 in the bottom of the case. A "Duplex Load": The smokeless serves the same purpose as a Magnum primer (certain ignition), and also aids the cleaning operation a great deal. 220 grains less of lead results in significant recoil reduction.

    Warnings: DO NOT reduce blackpowder loads much beyond a brim-full case. You need a drop tube to get 60g in there, and DO NOT use a conventional measure. Either weigh and pour each load into a drop tube to the case, or purchase a blackpowder measure (they have aluminum hoppers and brass dispensing chambers for no static sparks).

    Hope this gives you some avenues to explore with less heartache than I endured.
     
  19. Simonpie

    Simonpie Portland Active Member

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    Spitpatch,

    Thanks. It looks like we ended up in the same place.