While Waiting With Positive Anticipation For Ruger’s Marlins…. Part II

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12/05/2021 – In Part I, I was wandering around, pretending to be writing, when all I was really doing was looking for an excuse to shoot my Marlin 1895. Mission accomplished. Still, I was able to spend some time working up handloads and information I could share.

Lets not make a federal case out of this…

Some of the specialty ammunition makers utilize brass that accepts small rifle primers. Number 2 and number 4 above are Buffalo Bore rounds and feature the smaller primer. Further protection with round nose bullets in magazines and heavy recoil? Strengthening of case heads and reduce primer back pressure? Let’s call it what it is, a desperate cry for attention.

The greatest concern for handloaders is that mixed cases will make their way into priming stations when reloading and wreak havoc on our highly figured, French walnut reloading benches. That concern is alleviated for anyone who has read the opening dissertation in any mainstream reloading manuals that says, “Sort clean and inspect case before reloading”. For the record, I made my reloading bench out of Lowes plywood.

Primers

I use large rifle magnum primers in everything other than significantly reduced loads… big bore plinking and subsonic suppressed. Why? I have lots and lots of magnum primers, use makes for common inventory, it simplified load development…. or, their use is a desperate cry for attention. Ultimately, the decision was made based on the way a long series of 45-70 handloads pressure checked.

Powder, for the most part are standards

Sorry, I could not bring myself to purchase powder at $40/lb, because prices are ridiculous and the gains are mostly vaporware. One company in particular has zero scruples when it comes to promoting. Within their load data, they clearly soft load the senior product and pump up the new and show magical gains in velocity. That falls under the category of “I insist you support me politically, so I can price gouge at every manufactured crisis”. Maybe if they purchased supply in the US, instead of Europe….

In the mean time, I have more than enough climate controlled powder, quantity and variety, to feed my heavy handloading habit for the rest of my life. If I live longer than expected and run out, I will renew my interest in fishing… Maybe go for a spot on Wicked Tuna.

Die sets are not always single sourced…

                                                                                                                             

Most of my 45-70 handloads are assembled with relatively inexpensive RCBS or Hornady three die sets: RCBS full length resizer – pictured, expander and seater. Because my Model 1895 produces good accuracy, when I am being picky with handloads, seating is done with a Redding Competition Seating Die – above, center. Virtually all handloads receive a Lee Factory crimp.

Five productive bullets

There are approximately 90 types of 0.458″ – 0.459″ bullets. Approximately 40 are suitable in weight, length and profile to be safely used in a tubular magazine 45-70. Approximately 30 are the right alloy hardness and construction for use in high pressure versions of the 45-70. The five below are a pretty good representation of useful bullet types and weights.

Bullet Type Weight
Grains
Bullet
Length “
COL
Length “
Net
Case Grains
Capacity
Remington JHP 300 0.819 2.540 62.9
Hawk JSPFN 350 0.890 2.540 60.2
Hawk JSPFN 400 0.985 2.540 56.3
Cast Performance FNGC 460 1.115 2.550 51.3
Oregon Trail FN 500 1.270 2.550 44.9

 

Remington 300 grain JHP good for thin skinned, medium size game. Typical current price 42 cents per.

Hawk Precision Bullets 350 grain with 0.025″ thick jacket. Works with light to heavy loads, big, non fragmenting expansion. Up to large thin skinned game, but thicker jackets available. Typical current price 87 cents per.

Hawk Precision Bullets 400 grain with 0.025″ thick jacket. Works with light to heavy loads, big, non fragmenting expansion. Largest thin skinned game, but thicker jackets available. Typical current price 92 cents

Cast Performance 460 grain heat treated cast bullets. Works with heavy loads and deep penetrating, if not expanding. Typical current cost is 66 cents per.

Oregon Trail Bullets True Shot 500 grain hard cast was the original product, but no longer produced. Currently available from Acme Bullet, hard cast and Hi-Tek coated and at a current price of 40 cents per. They are the least expensive bullet for the largest, toughest game in North America.

Handload data table amended

The table was revised to add the bullets that were not originally listed and to update data where bullets were on the original table. Bullets that were not referenced above, but were on the original table were left in place. Yeah, I have a hard time understanding that sentence also.

Warning: SAAMI standard pressure for the 45-70 Government is 28,000 PSI. All of the listed loads are between 33,000 psi and approximately 40,000 psi. They are not intended for use in original trapdoor single shot rifles or early Marlin Model 1895 or Winchester Model 1886 lever action firearms.

Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.

45-70 Gov’t +P Marlin Model 1895 and Win 1886 Only – Maximum 40kpsi
Firearm Marlin Model 1895 Guide Gun
Barrel Length 18.5″
Min – Max Case Length 2.105″ +0.0″/-0.020″
Min – Max Cartridge Overall Length 2.490″ – 2.550″
Primer CCI 250 – Large Rifle Magnum
Bullet Diameter 0.458″ +0.0″/-0.003″
Reloading Dies Redding Competition + Lee Factory Crimp

 

Bullet Type  Bullet Weight
Grains
Net H2O
Grains
Capacity
COL” Powder Type Powder Charge
Grains
Muzzle Velocity
fps
Muzzle Energy
ft/lbs
Barnes TSX HP
250
61.8
2.515
AA 5744
44.0
2247
2803
Barnes TSX HP 250
61.8
2.515
Re 7 53.0 2286 2902
Barnes TSX HP 250
61.8
2.515
H4198 51.0 2206 2700
CT Ballistic ST
300
58.1
2.550
Re 10x
52.0
2116
2983
CT Ballistic ST 300
58.1
2.550
H322
55.5
2141
3054
CT Ballistic ST 300
58.1
2.550
Norma 200 52.0 2120 2994
Remington JHP
300
63.1
2.540
Re7
52.0
2119
2991
Remington JHP 300 63.1 2.540 H4198
51.0
2081
2885
Remington JHP 300 63.1 2.540 RS X-Term
62.0
2066
2844
Hornady FTX* 325 58.5 2.590 Re10 51.0 2156 3355
Hornady FTX* 325 58.5 2.590 H335 57.0 2140 3304
Hornady FTX* 325 58.5 2.590 IMR 4198 47.0 2112 3220
Hornady Interlock 350 60.2 2.545 AA 2200 54.0 2056 3286
Hornady Interlock 350 60.2 2.545 Re 10x 52.0 2043 3243
Hornady Interlock 350 60.2 2.545 IMR 3031 56.0 2011 3144
Hawk Precision 350 59.6 2.540 Re10x 50.5 1977 3038
Hawk Precision 350 59.6 2.540 IMR 3031 56.0 2001 3111
Hawk Precision 350 59.6 2.540 Norma 201 57.0 1947 2945
Hawk Precision 400 56.3 2.540 H4895 52.5 1810 2911
Hawk Precision 400 56.3 2.540 IMR 3031 51.5 1835 2991
Hawk Precision 400 56.3 2.540 IMR 4895 54.5 1825 2959
Speer FNSP
400
56.8
2.540
Re 10x 46.0 1813 2921
Speer FNSP 400
56.8
2.540
H335 53.5 1869 3104
Speer FNSP 400
56.8
2.540
IMR 3031 53.0 1903 3217
Cast Performance 460 51.3 2.550 Re 10x 41.5 1654 2795
Cast Performance 460 51.3 2.550 H4895 48.0 1680 2883
Cast Performance 460 51.3 2.550 IMR 3031 46.0 1679 2881
Oregon Trail FN**
500
44.9 2.550 H335 42.5 1560 2703
Oregon Trail FN** 500
44.9 2.550 IMR 3031 41.5 1571 2741
Oregon Trail FN** 500
44.9 2.550 RS X-Terminator 44.0 1547 2655
* Cases Trimmed to 2.040″ to meet overall cartridge length objectives. COL exceeds
SAAMI Maximum,
however, ogive taper permits cycling in Marlin 1895

** Current availability Acme 45-70 500 Grain RNFP – COATED

Accuracy

Most of the loads listed can produce 1″ 3 shot groups, some of the heavier will go to 1.5″. I have shot some Winchesters and Marlins that can’t 3 shots in 3″ and I have either corrected the problem or sold them. But then half the fun is discovering which works well in your guns.

Conclusions?

None. It’s late, I’ve already said what I had intended and I am really cheesed about the current price of components. There are a lot of young people who will never try because of the cost, and they were to be life’s blood of the future of handloading and firearm.

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