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BFR loads

 
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2008, 11:59 AM
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45-70 bfr

I've had a 10" BFR in 45-70 for about a year now and a 12" Contender barrel before that, so I'll share some of my experiences.

In the Contender, my primary load was 41gr of Re7 and a 405gr Cast Performance bullet. This load shot well, and was about as heavy as I felt comfortable with in the Contender. After each shot there would be a fair amount of unburnt powder in the barrel. I got this with every powder I tried, so I just stopped caring.

In the BFR, I run much heavier loads. While I ran trapdoor loads up to mid-level Marlin loads in the Contender, I run the BFR from the mid Marlin loads up well into the Ruger #1 loads. I basically stop when I can no longer accurately handle the load or when groups fall off. With all but the heaviest loads, the cases still just fall out of the cylinder. The others just need a slight bump to get them out. I see less powder in the barrel of the BFR as I increase the pressures, but there are always a few granuals in there.

As far as efficiency goes, it's over rated. The 45-70 takes a lot of powder to do what it does in a handgun, but it works. I don't have a chronograph but I imagine my loads would give the 500 S&W a run for it's money. I have a 300gr Nosler over 57gr of IMR 4198, a 400gr Speer over 44gr of IMR 4198, and a 440gr CP WLNGC over 45gr IMR 4198. These all give less pressure than the 500 and they dont give that long freebore that the 500 does in the long cylinder BFR.

Basically, don't let the lack of "handgun" data deter you from getting the caliber you want. Most of the data is just reprinted Trapdoor loads anyways.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2008, 10:21 PM
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With Ruger #1 45-70 level loads I believe you will stomp the 500 S&W.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2008, 10:44 PM
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I'm pretty sure that they will. I just don't have any numbers to back it up. Either way it will put down anything that I hit as long as I make a good shot at a reasonable range.
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2008, 10:38 AM
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I believe it would be very foolish to put Ruger #1 loads in any revolver. I would not use anything stouter then the strong lever action loads to be honest.

If you look at the cylinder wall thickness, its pretty thin compared to even the level action barrels.

Certainly you can load to higher levels then the Hodgdon data but I would never go up to the Ruger #1 level.

Some of those loads are over 60K in pressure, the 500 S&W is not even loaded to this level.

Preceived velocities are often quite different then actual velocities. THe old Speer #11 lists a starting load of 48.0 gr of RL-7 with the 405 gr for a velocity of onoy 1700 fps in a 22" barrel.

Now if you drop 7 grains of powder off that and 10" of barrel length and I would be amazed if you were getting more then 1300 fps in your contender and less then that in your BFR because of the cylinder gap.

Now a hard case bullet is self lubriating so it will drop pressure a bit more so on average you will have even less velocity for a given load compared to a jacketed bullet.

Simply put, unless your 41.0 gr load was a typo, you will be no where near what a 500 S&W will be getting you, your other loads listed would be much higher but the only ones I would even say are comparable as far as on game performance would be the 405 and 440 gr hard case.

Simply put, there is a load of rifle load data for the 45-70. There is no difference between rifle and handgun load data. There is no special handgun loads that will make the 45-70 perform better then it does in a rifle. You just have to use appropriate load data for each firearm your using and both rifle and handgun data will basically be the same.

Nearly 99% of the time, the fastest rifle loads will be the fastest handgun loads. I have checked this in 357 Mag, 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 480 Ruger, 7mm-08, 270 win, 6.5mm WSM and many others including the 45-70.

Load data is load data, there is no handgun load data versas rifle load data as long as the handgun is up to the pressure levels of the rifle load data. That is why I would not use the Ruger #1 loads in the BFR. Would it hold together, I am sure it would but there is no need for the added stress on the revolver and its lockwork.

Penetration tests have shown that a heavy hard case in 45-70 will penetrate nearly identical from any velocity from 1100 fps up to 1800 fps. Within a couple inches of each other so why beat yourself up and more importantly beat up your handgun? Higher kenetic energy, yes but that means squat on big game.
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Kirby Allen(50)

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  #12  
Old 07-20-2008, 06:18 PM
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Kirby I respect your posts a lot, but Ruger #1 level loads are capped at 50k. I wouldn't count on the thin 45-70 brass holding much more than that. I'd still bet you could get close to 2000 fps from a 300 grain bullet.
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  #13  
Old 07-20-2008, 08:54 PM
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Let me rephrase my comment, many of the loads I have seen in the Ruger #1s are 60K or more. Modern 45-70 brass is not overly thin. Thats kind of a wives tale. Just like those that say the 45 Colt brass can not take high pressure, simply not true, its made to the same standards and any modern brass.

I am working with some Starline 45-70 brass right now that is very good brass.

I am sure you would also agree a 300 gr bullet, especially jacketed, at 2000 fps would not be a good big game choice compared to a 440 gr hard cast loaded to 1500-1700 fps.
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

allenmagnum@gmail.com
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  #14  
Old 07-20-2008, 09:29 PM
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I should have been more specific. The goal with any loads shot out of the Contender was to match the 454 Casull out of a handgun. Not the 500 Smith, which actually wasn't out at the time. So the loads using Re 7 were never intended to be super loads. Just enough to get 454 performance from the relatively delicate Contender.

In the BFR, I have a preference for IMR 4198 as you can see. All the data I use is from Hodgdon and they hold their top level 45-70 data to 50k. And I'm not running those loads to the top. Like you said, there's no real gain unless one really enjoys the recoil. My general hunting load is the 400gr Speer which I'm told gives respectable performance on game out of a handgun. I just happen to have a large quantity of these that I use in a 450 Marlin GG, so I use them in the pistol as well. As you can seen, that load isn't really that heavy after all. And the 300 gr loads are really just used for varmint hunting and plinking at longer ranges (I keep iron sights on the gun, so I'm talking anything over 100yds). I agree that a heavier bullet is far superior for serious hunting.

I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers or stir the pot with my post. The comment about giving the 500 a run for its' money was intended to be light hearted. I have a lot of respect for the 500 Smith. I've had the pleasure of sending around 400 rounds down the barrel of the 8 3/8" model while helping a friend with load development. I already have the BFR though and I don't know what I would do with another massive handgun like an X frame Smith.
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