BFR loads

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by sunshinegirl, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. sunshinegirl

    sunshinegirl Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I found a new BFR in .50 S&W at a local store for a lot less than normal market price. They are closing out the store. I had my mind set for a 45-70, I have a M1895, but try as I may, I can't find anything about loads for this pistol. The BFR people list how good the 45-70 is, and then never do a proper ballistics on it, but do say that the 450 Marlin smokes. I load for the 45-70, and know it can put the Marlin out to pasture. Rifle loads will fill the air with unburned powder, so unless I can locate a listing of some good starting loads, I intend to buy the Smith cartridge. Any ideas where to go??
     
  2. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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    My Marlin Guide Gun doesn't leave much unburned H4198 out there. BFR in 45-70 and 450 Marlin are equal unless you intend to shoot factory loads. They should beat the 500 S&W with handloads.
     

  3. LewisH

    LewisH Well-Known Member

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  4. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Go to www.hodgdon.com

    They will have plenty of load date for you in most bullet weights.

    The 500 S&W will get you +1600 fps with the 440 gr hard cast bullets. Some 500 gr loads will get you very close to 1500 fps.

    Hodgdon lists the 45-70 in a handgun as a 1200-1300 fps round in a handgun with a 485 gr bullet and under 1500 fps with a 405 gr bullet.

    Now I am not saying the 45-70 can not be loaded to higher levels but it is not designed to be loaded that hot, the 500 is designed for these pressures.

    THere are two schools of thought as to which would be better. THe 45-70 and 450 marlin are identical, what one will do so will the other with similiar loads so we will just compare the 45-70 to the 500.

    Some feel that the higher Sectional density bullets for the 45 cal for a given bullet weight will penetrate deeper. THis is true to some degree but if you use a quality hard cast bullet, the difference will be very little.

    Others feel the larger frontal area of the 50 cal will have more authoritative effect on big game. Again, this is true to some degree but remember that neither of these generate enough velocity to have any real hydrostatic shock wave.

    Simply put, both will put a heavy hard cast through any animal on the planet. The 500 maybe better suited for handguns because of the powders used and the pressures its loaded to which both add up to more powder burnt in the cylinder which will make it more efficent and burn cleaner as well.

    Its just to bad that the cylinder on the BFR is so long for the 500 S&W.

    There are also bullets up to 700 grains for the 500 which I have read some load data that lists them at nearly 1400 fps with this bullet weight in the smith. THe BFR is at least as strong as the Smith.

    That said, if you already have the 45-70, is getting tooled up to handload the 500 worth it? That is your call.
     
  5. sunshinegirl

    sunshinegirl Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I have found this site before, and they really are lacking when it comes to the 45-70 in pistol loads. I got reloading manual that cover the S&W quite nicely, but thanks for offering the link.

    Why I want a .50, cause I can't find loading stuff for the 45-70. I guess I am the female version of Elmer Keith, I like big bores.
     
  6. sunshinegirl

    sunshinegirl Well-Known Member

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    I had their manual, a new version, but the reload section on the site was new for me. Thanks for the link. I checked out the 45-70, and again, I can't do a proper match up as the 45 is fire out of a 15" barrel, not a 10" like the .50S&W. It is frustrating search for me. Stuffing a cartridge loaded for a 20 to 24 inch rifle barrel into a shorty 10 incher can't be efficient burn.
     
  7. sunshinegirl

    sunshinegirl Well-Known Member

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    Another question is why they can load a .50 to 50,000 psi, and keep the 45-70 down to 33,000 psi. Same pistol, most likely same .45 cal. cylinder bored out to .50. I know the 45 brass isn't that strong, but why not use Ruger #1 loads in it then, good for the Ruger, so should be OK in the BFR??? I am about to give up this quest.
     
  8. yorke-1

    yorke-1 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  9. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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    With Ruger #1 45-70 level loads I believe you will stomp the 500 S&W.
     
  10. yorke-1

    yorke-1 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  11. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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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.
     
  12. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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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.
     
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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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.
     
  14. yorke-1

    yorke-1 Well-Known Member

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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.