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Long Guns => BPCR Reloading => Topic started by: Captainkirk on February 21, 2019, 02:19:58 PM

Title: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on February 21, 2019, 02:19:58 PM
I am preparing to 'gear up' for for the upcoming summer shooting season and reloading for .45/70 Gov't BPCR in my Pedersoli Sharps. While I've done a good bit of .45/70 reloading for my High Wall, it's all been smokeless and jacketed bullets.

I've started out this endeavor by purchasing a new set of RCBS BPCR Cowboy dies, which arrived today. My next task will be to experiment with case, powder, primer and bullet combos, and finally, to decide on a bullet that works well and purchase the mould for it.
If any of you guys have combo you really like in this loading, please feel free to expound about what works for you, and why.
This is new country for me, and I realize a lot of you have been doing this a long time and probably have your 'druthers' when it comes to bullet weight and profile, lead mix, powder preference, primers, cases, etc. I'd like to hear your opinions.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Hawg on February 21, 2019, 03:13:16 PM
Never had a cartridge Sharps but I liked a 405 grain LRN with 65 grains of bp in my Trapdoor carbine.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Gray Fox on February 21, 2019, 04:46:13 PM
Part of bullet selection is defining what max range you're going to be shooting.  No need for a 565 grain Lyman Postell bullet if you're only going to be shooting a couple hundred yards.  A 400 grain bullet requires less lead and produces much less recoil, as an example.  GF
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: tljack on February 25, 2019, 06:07:45 PM
In my Pedersoli 45/70 Sharps, I am shooting a 405 lead bullet. 30 to I tin/lead. I load with 62 grains of 2F black, compressed,  and lube with SPG bullet lube. After firing a fouling shot, I use a blow tube after each shot and swab the bore after every 5th round.

For sights, I am using the original front blade and a Pedersoli tang sight. The farthest I have shot is 880 yards.

I do not shoot it often as these old eyes like my Shilo Sharps 40-65 Winchester with it's 6 power MVA scope.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 15, 2019, 01:00:55 PM
Well, based on the experience and recommendations of others here and elsewhere, I ordered the Lyman Postell 535gr bullet mould and handles. Yes, that's a lot of lead to be flingin' through the air, but the experiences of others dictate the Pedersoli Sharps rifles generally favor the Postell over other bullet choices, and also that the Postell shines at the longer distances.
Midway has the Postell mould and handles discounted...I saved almost $25.00, and then they have a free shipping deal for orders over $49.00 to boot...so all told, I saved around $35.00. Enough to make me push the button, anyway. They should be arriving next week.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/471068/lyman-1-cavity-bullet-mold-457132-45-caliber-458-459-diameter-535-grain-semi-pointed

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/698819/lyman-bullet-mold-handles-for-1-cavity-and-2-cavity-lyman-bullet-molds

I am still waiting for them to get Starline .45/70 brass back in stock.

Roto Metals offers 5# ingots of either 20:1 or 30:1 lead/tin for a very reasonable $14.55:

https://www.rotometals.com/1-to-30-bullet-alloy-ingot-5-pounds-97-lead-3-tin/

So, getting geared up for some summertime Sharps shooting!
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: drobs on March 15, 2019, 08:26:24 PM
My neighbor let me shoot his 45/70 lever action with BP Cartridges last year. That's a nice shooting gun. No recoil at all. He also has a Pedersoli sharps.

Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 20, 2019, 01:27:33 PM
So, the Postell mould and handles showed up yesterday. I'll post some pix shortly. Looks like it will throw a mighty hefty chunk of lead.
I'm impressed, anyway. &\?
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: mike116 on March 20, 2019, 06:02:58 PM
The Postell bullet certainly is a hefty chunk of lead.   I have been using it for a couple years now in my Sharps Rifle.   I don't get many opportunities to shoot it anymore but I have reached out and rang the gong at 700 yards a couple times.   I am loading FFFg Goex with a card wad/lube pill/card wad underneath the bullet.   I use a compression die  (https://www.midwayusa.com/product/423150/montana-precision-swaging-black-powder-compression-die-with-stem-45-caliber) I bought from Midway that allows me to cram 67 grains of powder into the 45-70 case.   I could only manage to get 59 grains of powder in the case using a drop tube.   The compression die really makes a difference.    I seat the bullet so that it just barely touches the rifling when chambered.   I know most of what I do is just basic BPCR loading and shooting but it has worked for me from the beginning.   I'm not a competitive shooter so I like to go slow and have fun trying hit targets in the next county.   
I have a trip planned this weekend to visit my son on the ranch and plan to bring the Sharps along with me.   Maybe I'll try for 800 yards this time.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 21, 2019, 10:14:26 AM
Thanks for that link, Mike!
I have a compression die on my "to do" list. I was gonna start out with a marked dowel, but I should probably just "bite the bullet" and get the die right off before I start building these things.
If you are 'dinging the dinger' at 700 yards, you must be doing something right! I'm a bit perturbed that my local gun range (LGR) is only equipped out to 200 yards. I had hoped to be shooting the Sharps at least 400. Another 'penalty' for choosing to make my residence in the Midwest in a gun-tard state.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 21, 2019, 10:18:09 AM
Never had a cartridge Sharps but I liked a 405 grain LRN with 65 grains of bp in my Trapdoor carbine.
What was the twist on that trapdoor, Hawg?
Word on the street is that the 1:18 Sharps prefers a heavy (+500gr) bullet.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: mike116 on March 21, 2019, 12:50:54 PM
Thanks for that link, Mike!
I have a compression die on my "to do" list. I was gonna start out with a marked dowel, but I should probably just "bite the bullet" and get the die right off before I start building these things.
If you are 'dinging the dinger' at 700 yards, you must be doing something right! I'm a bit perturbed that my local gun range (LGR) is only equipped out to 200 yards. I had hoped to be shooting the Sharps at least 400. Another 'penalty' for choosing to make my residence in the Midwest in a gun-tard state.

I don't ring the bell every time at 700 yds but it is doable 3 out of 5 shots or so.   I used to have a 1000 yd range to use but sadly I don't have access any more.     
If you already have a decapping die you aren't using you can buy just the threaded plunger part of the compression die and screw it into the decapping die.   That way you only have to spend about $15 bucks instead of $50.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 21, 2019, 03:46:39 PM
 
If you already have a decapping die you aren't using you can buy just the threaded plunger part of the compression die and screw it into the decapping die.   That way you only have to spend about $15 bucks instead of $50.

Right. What's more, Buffalo Arms sells the plunger insert to fit RCBS dies (like the 'Cowboy' set I just bought for .45/70)

I said I would post pix when I got time, so here ya go:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7884/46714365004_fc8a5f33c5_z.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7822/47384686972_8f4e83e2cd_z.jpg)

The Lyman 535gr Postell bullet mould

As an aside, I wish someone would have told me Buffalo Arms sells loaded .45/70 BPCR ammo using Swiss powder and the Postell bullet... ::) As it is, I still need to drop another couple hundos on supplies like brass, lead, cases, bigger lead pot, etc before I can start runnin' ball on these Postells. I can pick up 20 rounds of loaded Postells from BACO for under 40 bucks and be ready to shoot...like, right NOW...and try out the Postell bullet as well. (K|

https://www.buffaloarms.com/45-70-government-535-grain-postell-black-powder-ammo-box-of-20-amobp4570535


That's probably what I will do before buying any more casting supplies. That way I will also get the added benefit of winding up with 20-40 once-fired .45/70 brass as well. Heck, the brass alone is over 50 bucks a hundred...IF you can find it.
This will give me the opportunity to shoot the Sharps as soon as the range opens this year with no other prep, and also test drive the Postell bullet and see how it shoots from the Sharps.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Hawg on March 21, 2019, 08:22:50 PM
Never had a cartridge Sharps but I liked a 405 grain LRN with 65 grains of bp in my Trapdoor carbine.
What was the twist on that trapdoor, Hawg?
Word on the street is that the 1:18 Sharps prefers a heavy (+500gr) bullet.

22 inch barrel 1:22 twist.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: scooby on March 22, 2019, 06:55:41 PM
I see that I have no need to cast up some Postell's for you. You made a good purchase. You will be happy with it. You still want to try some if the big round nose bullets? Truth be told though, the Postell's are going to shoot better than my round nose and they will not be subject to chambering issues due to fouling. I also have other moulds ranging from 320 grains to 400 plus.

Of course, it is now a day late and a dollar short, but over the past few years, I gave away well over two hundred brand new 45-70 cases. I had more than I could ever use. I sure wish that I could have predicted the future. You would have been set.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 25, 2019, 10:26:52 AM
I see that I have no need to cast up some Postell's for you. You made a good purchase. You will be happy with it. You still want to try some if the big round nose bullets? Truth be told though, the Postell's are going to shoot better than my round nose and they will not be subject to chambering issues due to fouling. I also have other moulds ranging from 320 grains to 400 plus.

I figured, might as well. Saved over $35.00 on the purchase with sale pricing and free shipping from Midway. I'll let you know on the RN bullets, I think top priority for me would be to start developing and fine tuning the Postell load first to develop a baseline...would you agree?

Of course, it is now a day late and a dollar short, but over the past few years, I gave away well over two hundred brand new 45-70 cases. I had more than I could ever use. I sure wish that I could have predicted the future. You would have been set.

 (K| Oh well...thanks for thinking of me, anyway! Got any spare .44-40 WCF brass? ;)
FWIW, I just ordered up 100 new Starline .45/70 cases for my PBCR loads. Midway has been out of stock for several weeks and they just showed up on the website today. There's a coupon for free shipping, so I pulled the trigger (pun intended) and got them, plus a .45 cal flash hole uniforming tool and pilot as well.
Slowly but surely!
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ssb73q on March 25, 2019, 11:42:04 AM
Hi Kirk, I keep waiting to learn that you actually did some shooting.  )l_ )l_ )l_

Regards,
Richard
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 25, 2019, 12:00:22 PM
Hi Kirk, I keep waiting to learn that you actually did some shooting.  )l_ )l_ )l_

Regards,
Richard

Actually I've been quite busy shooting shooting basement pellet guns, centerfire (.44RM) and rimfire (.22LR) at the local indoor range, and reloading most of the .44s as I empty the cases. I really dislike indoor shooting, but it's better than nothing.  8)
Can't wait to make some BP smoke this summer, even if only a few times. I have guns I've never fired yet. ^j)
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: mazo kid on March 26, 2019, 06:05:44 PM
I will be sending you a care package soon, assortment of 45-70 boolits, 44-40 boolits and a handful of 44-40 brass along with a couple of other things.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 27, 2019, 05:51:47 AM
 Thank you...you, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. &\?
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: mazo kid on March 27, 2019, 06:42:53 PM
Send me a PM or email when you get the box and we can talk more.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 28, 2019, 03:10:47 PM
So, what's more fun than a barrel of monkeys?

Why, a box of brass, of course!

This arrived today; 100 brand-spanking new .45/70 Starline cases for building BPCR loads.
This is so much fun, it should be ag'in the law.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7860/33612048798_719f24af1f_z.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7914/40522709013_98cc3fb5d8_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Dave Shooter on March 28, 2019, 04:53:20 PM
So, what's more fun than a barrel of monkeys?

This is so much fun, it should be ag'in the law.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7860/33612048798_719f24af1f_z.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7914/40522709013_98cc3fb5d8_z.jpg)

Careful, the loons may try to make it unlegal.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: mazo kid on March 28, 2019, 05:14:54 PM
I would suggest annealing the case necks of that Starline brass. As it comes, it is still a bit hard (at least it used to be). I sent a few Winchester brass in your care package; you should be able to get maybe 5+ more grains of BP in those as opposed to the Starline. I have only shot ffg or Goex Cartridge in my rifles. Some people cut back to fg powder when shooting the long, heavy bullets. Cuts down on recoil, at the expense of distance. Not much, but some.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on March 29, 2019, 11:47:33 AM
I would suggest annealing the case necks of that Starline brass. As it comes, it is still a bit hard (at least it used to be). I sent a few Winchester brass in your care package; you should be able to get maybe 5+ more grains of BP in those as opposed to the Starline. I have only shot ffg or Goex Cartridge in my rifles. Some people cut back to fg powder when shooting the long, heavy bullets. Cuts down on recoil, at the expense of distance. Not much, but some.
Yes, I've already been forewarned about the Starline brass being harder than others as it's the preferred brass for hot smokeless handloads, apparently. I already have some good info on annealing the cases and intend to do that, though I'm not sure if I will anneal before or after the first firing (planning on using the brass as fire-formed, not full length sized). It's been recommended I use Swiss 1-1/2F and Graf's carries it, so I'll start there.
One of the reviews on the Starline brass stated that he checked volume and Starline held exactly one grain less than the Winchester brass. I'll check this out when your package arrives. Of course, one grain of 1.5F is larger than one grain of 2F, and the reviewer did not mention which powder granulation he was using.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 11, 2019, 02:44:49 PM
Forgot to post pix of my new Cowboy dies for the .45/70 Sharps loads; ^j)
So, here ya go.

Purdy brown box differentiates the "Cowboy" dies from standard

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7893/40622656963_cdff150231_z.jpg)

Love the look of these things with brass lock rings and all. Note the new shell holder (not included). While I already have one with my standard .45/70 Gov't dies (for smokeless) I like to keep a dedicated shellholder in each die box.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7925/32646193357_848342f62e_z.jpg)

Close-up of the Cowboy dies. These are built to different specs than standard rifle dies to accommodate cast bullets and make easier loading as they size the cases a bit larger.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7876/47535690172_80d1e678f1_z.jpg)


Cowboy dies for the .44-40 are on their way.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on April 11, 2019, 05:03:09 PM
Those look great being brass and blued.

You're a busy fella Capt. .45-70, 44-40, Hope you can squeeze some time in to shoot em'!
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 11, 2019, 08:38:30 PM
It's on my must-do list this summer.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 22, 2019, 06:59:03 PM
On the way later this week;
100 new Starline .44-40 cases
250 200gr cast bullets, .44-40 cal
Lee Magnum Melter ladle pour lead pot (for the Postell slugs)
Lyman digital lead thermometer
I hope this list ends before my money does.
On the bright side, with free shipping, birthday discounts and sale prices from Midway, I've robably managed to NOT spend at least 100 bucks this year already.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on April 22, 2019, 08:03:59 PM
Thanks for reminding me Capt. I need to order 44-40 cases and bullets myself.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 24, 2019, 03:28:21 PM
"Brown Santa" came today with a bunch of stocking stuffers:

First up; 100 brand new shiny .44-40 cases, and something to put in 'em...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47690716611_ed6e9b802f_z.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46774712375_ba082dd65b_z.jpg)

...200gr hard cast lubed bullets for the .44-40

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47637727182_8f4a7c2a30_z.jpg)

...and then, a new Lee Magnum Melter pot for the Sharps Postell boolits along with a Lyman digital lead thermometer.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47690736541_ba47d2b9e9_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on April 24, 2019, 04:12:58 PM
You're gonna be busy!

I ordered the bullets for my new 44-40 yesterday. Still need to order brass.

I see you got plated brass. Mind if I ask why? I was thinking of doing the same, just to distinguish it at a glance from the .45 Colt stuff. But isn't plated brass harder to reload?
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 24, 2019, 08:39:50 PM
No sir, it's not plated...just reg'lar ole brass brass.  Yes, plated would probably be a mother to load. These case mouths are small as it is.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 25, 2019, 10:49:42 AM
You're gonna be busy!

I ordered the bullets for my new 44-40 yesterday. Still need to order brass.

I see you got plated brass. Mind if I ask why? I was thinking of doing the same, just to distinguish it at a glance from the .45 Colt stuff. But isn't plated brass harder to reload?

Dave, are you still planning on loading BPCR in .44-40? If so, did you order bullets with BP lube, what powder brand and granulation are you planning on using, powder charge, and overpowder wads are you going to use?

I am finding a lot of variance on smokeless loads and want to remain low in the pressure areas due to the brass receiver on my '66. Winchester Cowboy loads are in the 750fps MV range (using 225gr bullets and 231 powder) and the various pubs I have list a starting load of Unique as low as 5.0gr all the way up to 8.6gr, and the CUP readings at that max load (for weak action rifles, which the '66 falls into) climb from less than 6,000 with 5.0gr to well over 12,000. Something that us brass receiver guys have to be well aware of! Of course, one has to be aware of bullet obturation as well; the more pressure behind the bullet, the better the bullet is going to fill the bore, and accuracy might change greatly simply by changing up the load by a few grains.
I believe I'm going to have to start at the bottom of the ladder (5.0gr Unique) and start working up a grain at a time until I find the lowest charge load that performs well and groups well. I am definitely NOT ruling out BP loads, but want to get my feet wet with smokeless (unless I change my mind...could happen!) L@J

Which bullet did you buy, BTW? I see you had several listed.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 25, 2019, 10:55:17 AM
BTW, Dave...watch MidwayUSA for their free shipping promos (usually several times a month). When I filled my cart before adding the FS promo, shipping charges were $14.00 due to the weight of the bullets. After I applied the promo...zip! )lI
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on April 25, 2019, 02:45:28 PM
Hey Capt. Yes, I ordered my bullets for the 44-40. I ordered them Scarlett. I got the 200grn RNFP, unlubed/unsized. She recommended that since some folks are on the fence about her lube being BP compatible. She sold me 500 for $47.00. I'll size and lube them myself. I'm planning on using SPG lube, seems to be the go-to product for BP. And to answer your question, I will be using BP.

I will keep my eye open for that at Midway. I'm going to have to order pretty quick though. I need to get some brass here so I can start putting cartridges together.

For my load, I will probably go something like I use in my .45 Colt. 25-30 grains of BP under the SPG lubed bullet. I'll use Goex powder in 3FFF to start with. I also have some 2FF that I think I'll try. I may or may not use a lubed wad between them. I've done it both ways with the .45 and haven't really noticed much difference.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 26, 2019, 12:00:31 PM
Since you bought unlubed bullets, are you planning on pan lubing, or using a lubri sizer?
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Hawg on April 26, 2019, 12:26:17 PM
When I use smokeless I use 7.0 grains of W 231 with 200 grain RNFP bullets in my 44-40's but I prefer 37 grains of FFG black or Pyrodex RS.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 26, 2019, 12:42:30 PM
When I use smokeless I use 7.0 grains of W 231 with 200 grain RNFP bullets in my 44-40's but I prefer 37 grains of FFG black or Pyrodex RS.

Any issues getting the 'elevator shaft' clean from BP fouling on a '66 or Henry?

Your load sounds very close to the Winchester factory Cowboy loads.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on April 26, 2019, 02:45:19 PM
Since you bought unlubed bullets, are you planning on pan lubing, or using a lubri sizer?

I'm going to pan lube them Capt. Then run them through the sizer die.

I just made a sizable order at Midway this morning. I'll be all set to start making rounds next week.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on April 26, 2019, 03:39:47 PM
Did you get free shipping? Not sure when that ended.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on April 26, 2019, 06:21:12 PM
Did you get free shipping? Not sure when that ended.

No, it must have ended already.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Hawg on April 26, 2019, 10:04:32 PM
When I use smokeless I use 7.0 grains of W 231 with 200 grain RNFP bullets in my 44-40's but I prefer 37 grains of FFG black or Pyrodex RS.

Any issues getting the 'elevator shaft' clean from BP fouling on a '66 or Henry?

Your load sounds very close to the Winchester factory Cowboy loads.

I use a Rossi 92 but with 44-40 The thin neck expands to seal off the chamber. You wont get any fouling in the action as long as you leave an empty case in the chamber when you clean it. 6.7 is listed as a max load for revolvers. Taffin says 8.0 for revolvers and I tried a few but they felt pretty stout for a Colt design. I have run my 92 close to 44 mag loads but I wouldn't try it in a brass frame.
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on May 03, 2019, 10:45:16 AM
Taffin says 8.0 for revolvers and I tried a few but they felt pretty stout for a Colt design. I have run my 92 close to 44 mag loads but I wouldn't try it in a brass frame.

I generally use 9.5gr Unique in my .44 mag/240gr loads and find them mild compared to factory loaded ammo in my Super Black Hawk. No way I would want to go anywhere near that in a brass receiver rifle, Hawg.
Alliant says 8.6 is max for a 200gr lead bullet but that's pushing 12,000 CUP. Ain't going there!
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: Captainkirk on May 06, 2019, 11:46:08 AM
So, I hied myself up to Bass Pro and picked up 500 primers for my .44-40 loads. Saturday night I loaded up a dummy round, roll crimped using the Cowboy die and setting COL to 1.59. Then I loaded one into the Yellow Boy magazine via the loading gate and checked chambering and ejection. Flawless!
My only complaint is a long scratch from case head to bullet on the brass. Not sure where in the process that is getting picked up, but I'm thinking it's in the loading (magazine) process...either from the gate itself, or the case scratching the brass receiver as it's being fed in. I hate tearing up brass; it's expensive, and the only reusable component in the bunch. If either the gate or cover plate is the culprit, I'm sure a little judicious blending will fix that. All the more reason for me to believe this gun has never been fired.
At any rate, the gun loads the dummy round and spits it out with authority. And that makes me  :)
Title: Re: Gearing up
Post by: ShotgunDave on May 06, 2019, 02:25:12 PM
Excellent work Capt!