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Reloading Berger Bullets


.45-70 Question

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Unread 09-05-2012, 12:17 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Rapid City SD
Posts: 24
.45-70 Question

Went shooting with my father the other day and he has a Pedersoli John Bodin rolling block rifle that has a 1 in 18 twist. He was shootin a black powder load ( triple 7) with a 405 gr bullet. @ 100 yards this load was key holling and the rounds were entering the target sideways ( could see a VERY clear cut out of the round). Did a lil research and from what I am seeing others are talking about the 405 gr bullets not being a good one for that rate of twist and to use a heavier bullet like the 500. Also found some "math equation" that seemed to agree with that. I was wondering if anyone here could also shead some light on to this situation. I know that the 405 round was the round the calvarey used for many years but further research lead me to find that the 405 were giving them issues in the longer barrels and that it was actually used in the shorter carbines. Please if any one here can help with this issue i would be trully appreciative.
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Unread 09-05-2012, 12:59 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Carrollton, Ohio
Posts: 641
Re: .45-70 Question

A Calculator for Barrel Twist Rate

You'll need to know specifics like bullet length, muzzle velocity and such.

My bet is on a dirty barrel. Every single time there is a key-holing post, the culprit turns out to be either heavy lead or copper fouling.

Let us know what you find out.
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Unread 09-05-2012, 05:06 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Northeast
Posts: 2,906
Re: .45-70 Question

The 405 gr. Bullets were developed for the short barreled Trapdoor Springfields which had slow 1:22 twist barrels. The Buffalo Rifkes such as the Harps and Rolling Blocks had slower twists in the 1:18-1:20 range to handle the heavier 500+ grain. My Shilo Sharps 45-70 has a 1:18 twist. I shoot almost exclusively 525 gr.cast bullets and it's quite accurate. I have also shot Hornady 400 gr. Jacketed bullets in it and while the twist was fast, it shot them well with no key holing. An important factor if using 405 gr would be to make sure "hard cast" lead bullets have at least 1:20 tin content. Soft lead will strip in fast twist barrels. Also, if your bullets are cast, you need to check the diameter sizing. The fit has to be right and the molds, and finished bullets have come in varied sizes. If you want a great reference for shooting these rifles and how to load for them get, "Shooting Buffalo Rifles of the Old West" by Mike Venturino.

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready"-T. Roosevelt
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Unread 09-05-2012, 08:56 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,265
Re: .45-70 Question

Your problem is most likely using the wrong bullet lube. It takes a special bullet lube made for black powder to KEEP THE FOULING SOFT. SPG or Lyman Gold are two good ones. I make my own out of 50 % bees wax 40% olive oil and 10% STP oil treatment by volume. Melt in a double bowler and mix well. Black powder and equivalent stuff leaves a HARD fouling in the grooves and causes the lead bullets to strip out of the rifling and they will key hole. I have a 18" twist Sharps 45-70 and shoot Lyman #457193 405 gr style bullets that actually come out 418 grs from straight wheel weights with outstanding accuracy with true black powder FFG and Cartridge grade and also Pyrodex Select. Fill a case using a 24" or longer drop tube to let the powder settle and stack up good until you reach enough to allow you to place a 30 thousands thick Walters wad on the powder and then compress the powder about 1/10 of an inch with a piece of dowel rod and final seating of the bullet. Once you find this amount then you can weigh your charges to be consistent. Black powder is not like smokeless. The exact weight is not all that important but volume of space filled is very important. It needs to be compressed some to shoot well also. Use a hot primer like Fed 215 also. If you want to find out if it is your bullet that it the problem get you some Accurate XMP 5744 smokeless powder and use 28 grs under your 405 gr bullet. If it key holes it is the bullet. If you want a good 500 gr bullet the Lyman #457125 is a good one.
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