Reloading The .45/70

Posted on: Wednesday January 6, 2021
Reloading The .45/70
MD Smith

MD Smith


(WC= WadCutter, SWC= Semi-WadCutter, HP= Hollow Point, RN= Round Nose, FMC=
Full Metal Case, FMJ= Full Metal Jacket, JHP= Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC
indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet)

Loads for .45/70:

(Note: These are near MAXIMUM loads, you should use 10% less to start.)

(See note on Powders below or read all about various
Powders.)

Bullet sizes vary from .458″ for jacketed to .459″ for some lead in diameter.
Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type
and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide
and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.

These loads are for MODERN guns. Make sure your gun can handle it. Powder
Mfgs. Velocities in a test barrel differ from a 4 4/5″ revolver by about 175
fps and from 7 1/2″ by 50 fps. Some of these velocities were shot in a 10″ or
a 14″ barrel, similar to a Thompson Contender. Recoil is severe with these
near MAX loads. You should consider 10% less for starting loads. However, with
something like 2400, which is really a pistol powder, too little can be as
dangerous as too much. It’s a big case. With the powder down at the end near
the bullet, it can cause problems or even an explosion with minimum loads (or
less). Be advised.

Do not use any of this data with guns designed for black powder loads or any
original TRAPDOOR rifles, EXCEPT WHERE NOTED that it is a “TRAPDOOR” Load. If
condition of old gun is doubtful, even these loads could be risky. Consider
using original Black Powder loads and lead bullet for old guns.

9-9-11

300 grain lead RNFP Cowboy
Trail Boss 14.0 gr. 1199 FPS minimum
Trail Boss 16.5 gr. 1285 FPS MAXIMUM
5744 30.0 gr. 1377 Max
Varget 44.1 gr. 1372 Max
300 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point MODERN
H4198 33.0 gr.
Varget 62.0 gr. 2,090 (Compressed load)
2400 30.0 gr. 1,650
Reloader7 50.0 gr. 2,075
IMR 3031 43.0 gr. 1,410

Federal Factory load 1,674 (in Marlin Rifle) (Hi=1692, Lo=1659, ES 33.4)

340 grain LEAD HP TRAPDOOR (hot loads)
A2495BR 51.3 gr. 1,628 (start)
A2495BR 57.0 gr. 1,850 (MAX, I do not recommend)
AA 5744 30.0 gr. 1,494 (MAX) (Also HOT for old trapdoors)
AA 5744 29.0 gr. 1,348 good load
350 grain LEAD RNFP TRAPDOOR (mild loads)
AA5744 27.0 gr. 1,292(in Marlin rifle) (Hi=1328, Lo=1264, ES 64.5)
IMR 3031 36.0 gr. 1,152 (in Marlin rifle) (Hi=1260, Lo=1055, ES 205)
IMR 3031 36.0 gr. 1,154 (in TRAPDOOR rifle) (Hi=1198, Lo=1122, ES 76.3)

Trailboss Use 14 to 16 grains for 1,000 to 1,200 FPS

350 grain JSP (Jacketed Soft Point) MODERN
H4198 32.0 gr. 1,387 FPS
Varget 61.0 gr. 2,027 (Compressed load)
378-385 grain Lead MODERN
A3100 60.0 gr. 1,485
A2495 55.0 gr. 1,935
2400 25.0 gr. 1,340
Reloader7 45.0 gr. 1,810
AA 5744 28.5 gr. 1,418
378-385 grain Lead TRAPDOOR
A2495BR 45.0 gr. 1,479 (start)
A2495BR 50.0 gr. 1,681 (MAX)
A3100 50.4 gr. 1,159 (start)
A3100 56.0 gr. 1,317 (MAX)
385 grain lead RNFP (C)owboy & (N)ormal loads
Trail Boss 11.8 gr. 955 FPS minimum (C)
Trail Boss 12.8 gr. 1,014 FPS MAXIMUM (C)
Trail Boss 14.0 gr. 1,075 FPS minimum for regular rifle (N)
Trail Boss 16.0 gr. 1,142 FPS MAXIMUM for regular rifle (N)
400 grain Jacketed Soft Point TRAPDOOR Loads
H4895 40.0 gr. 1,312 MAX
H4198 30.0 gr. 1,204 MAX
2400 22.0 gr. 954 Old Rifles*
2400 25.0 gr. 1,260 MAXIMUM
IMR4064 47.0 gr. 1,391 MAX
IMR3031 34.0 gr. 750 Old Rifles*
IMR3031 45.0 gr. 1,389 MAXIMUM

*(minimum charges in large cases can be dangerous – caution)

400 grain Jacketed Soft Point MODERN Loads
H4895 52.0 gr. 1,668
H4895 56.0 gr. 1,824 MAXIMUM
IMR4198 36.0 gr. 1,368
IMR4198 40.0 gr. 1,596 MAXIMUM
Reloader7 45.0 gr. 1,677
Reloader7 49.0 gr. 1,828 MAXIMUM
IMR4064 51.0 gr. 1,391
IMR4064 55.0 gr. 1,718 MAXIMUM
IMR3031 45.0 gr. 1,553
IMR3031 52.2 gr. 1,787 (actual in 22″ bbl) Hunting load
IMR3031 53.0 gr. 1,704 MAXIMUM
405 grain lead RNFP Cowboy
Trail Boss 12.0 gr. 971 FPS minimum
Trail Boss 13.0 gr. 1007 FPS MAXIMUM

(Note: one shooter has experimented with using up to 14.6 grains in a Marlin
and reported at this level the recoil was about the same as factory loads and
felt 14.4 was his best accuracy 100 yard load. There was still some room in
the case and likely the case would hold 15 grains of Trail Boss. These loads
are NOT recommendations, but just reports from another shooter)

405 grain LEAD MODERN Loads (Gas Check recommended)
A2495 54.0 gr. 1,801 MAX
IMR4895 —- Load from Bob Gabler (bpbg@metro.net) 45.0 gr. —- Load from Bob Gabler (bpbg@metro.net)
H-4895 48.0 gr. 1,645 MAX
A3100 60.0 gr. 1,422 MAX
AA 5744 28.5 gr. 1,375 MAX
AA 5744 25.7 gr. 1,250 For Cowboy Action shooting
405 grain LEAD TRAPDOOR Loads
IMR 4198 21.5 gr. 733 (MAX is 28.5 @ 1,195 fps)
IMR 4198 28.0 gr. 1,125 (from bdmolloy@mlode.com)
IMR 3031 34.0 gr. 1,061 (Max is 38.5 @ 1,304 fps)
405 grain Jacketed Soft Point TRAPDOOR Loads
IMR 4198 30.0 gr. 1,250
IMR 3031 34.0 gr. 1,137 (Max is 39.0 @ 1,356 fps)
420 grain Lead FN TRAPDOOR
A2495BR 45.0 gr. 1,457 (start)
A2495BR 50.0 gr. 1,656 (MAX)
A3100 54.0 gr. 1,251 (start)
A3100 60.0 gr. 1,422 (MAX)
475 grain Lead FN Modern (reduce for Trapdoor)
AA 5744 27.0 gr. 1,253
500 grain Jacketed MODERN Loads
A2495 46.0 gr. 1,538 MAX
A3100 60.0 gr. 1,441 MAX
H4198 28.0 gr. 1,082 MAX
Varget 50.0 gr. 1,603 MAX
500 grain LEAD MODERN Loads
A2495 49.0 gr. 1,670 MAX
A3100 60.0 gr. 1,493 MAX
AA 5744 26.0 gr. 1,217 MAX
AA 5744 24.0 gr. 1,128
Varget 35.0 gr. 1,169 good
Varget 37.0 gr. 1,255 max

Discussion: This is a very old cartridge. It was introduced in 1870’s in the
Springfield “Trapdoor” rifle. Do not use any of this data with guns designed
for black powder loads or any original TRAPDOOR rifles, EXCEPT WHERE NOTED
that it is a “TRAPDOOR” Load. It’s best to use new brass. Some old cartridges
also used corrosive primers. I recommend lead bullets and loads in the
neighborhood of 1100 to 1200 fps as maximum for TRAPDOOR rifles, unless you
are sure of the gun.

Bullseye, Unique, Reloader 7 thru 19 and 2400 are products of Alliant
(formerly Hercules) Powders. Universal, HP38, HS6, HS7, VARGET, H4198 and
H4895 are products of Hodgdon Powders. IMR 4227, IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 are
products of IMR (formerly DuPont) Powder Company. No.2, No. 5, No.7, No. 9,
#5744, #2230, A2495, A3100, and #2460 are products of Accurate Arms Company.
231 is a fast burning powder from Winchester.

References: Accurate Arms Co. 1996 Reloading booklet – – Alliant Powder Co.
Reloaders’ Guide (1995) – – Hodgdon’s Basic Reloaders Manual (1996) – – Speer
Reloading Manual, #12 – – Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition
– – Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. – – VihtaVuori Oy
Company,reloading booklet (1995) – – Numerous magazine articles on reloading
special calibers and personal loads where noted.