Trying to find accuracy in a 45-70 405 Gr Bullet with 4198 powder.

Alibiiv

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Jun 17, 2013
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Rhode Island
OK, latest update (head scratching). I loaded up several charges and shot them at 60 yards. I tried 34 grains IMR 4198 (going down) it shot horrible. Maybe a 10" group. Then I tried hotter loads going half-grain from 41.5 up to 43. The 3-shot groups were so incredibly sprayed, you would think it impossible. I could be more accurate with a sling shot. Some were 18" groups. (BTW, I gave the rifle a good thorough cleaning prior to this). These are cast 405 grain bullets I bought at the store.

So, I also had some other bullets I was able to buy recently. They are also 405 grain. Same shape. They are polymer coated measuring .457. I dumped 40 grains of 4198 under them. The results are in the attached pic. I am greatly relieved it isn't the rifle. I need to bring the sight over a bit, but at least they are together. Two in one hole and one next to it. So you guys were right that it is the bullets. Had these polymer bullets not shot well, I would have considered this rifle to be a wall hanger. But those bullets were the same shape and same weight. So how do you know you are getting good bullets when you find some?

We are going to try to shoot those other bullets in my son's gun to see if they shoot better in his. Assuming they don't (likely) is there anything I can do to make them shoot better? They do not have a place for a gas check on the back. Obviously, it is not the powder charge.

Les, read my post, #11, gives you a lot of data on reloading for the 45-70. Rim Rock bullets makes the bullets that Buffalo Bore uses to make their hot loads; 20 or 22 Brinell. Right now there's a waiting period for their bullets, 2-3 weeks, but they are a good company to do business with, very conscientious and....they actually answer the telephone. Personally I would never shoot cast bullets in a rifle unless that bullet has a gas check on the back of it. The gas check helps to make a good seal against the rifling, plus it helps to keep the hot gases away from the base of the bullet to prevent leading. And...if you are looking for "hot" loads, cast bullets (in my opinion) are not the way to go. Accuracy yes, speed not a good idea because you will reach a point where there's leading, and....if you do not notice the leading it could lead to a catastrophic failure of your rifle. And....even if you do notice the leading before there is/was a problem it is a real "PITA' to scrub that lead out of the barrel. Ask me how I know!!!????? I'm glad that you tried a different bullet and got good results. These Marlin 1895s are good shooting rifles, whether the are "JMs" or not, they shoot. Also important to remember that OAL and case overall length is defined by the cannular groove in the bullet, not by what your loading manual has in it, unless that bullet is made by the same manufacturer as the bullet being used like a Hornady manual for instance. The only reason for writing this is that the cannular groove for cast bullets will vary greatly dependent upon the mold/s that are being used. Also one last thing if you don't have one I strongly suggest that you get a Lee Factory Crimp die. I read about this in another post on the forum here. I bought one (like $12) the best thing I ever did. The crimps are like factory crimps, the dies are easy to set up and they also save brass because the die has a collet that actually crimps the casing into the cannular instead of rolling the brass into the cannular.

www.brownells.com/reloading/reloading-dies/rifle-dies/rifle-factory-crimp-dies-prod54163.aspx
 

WHITEBULL

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Apr 26, 2015
Messages
109
I have a new Henry 45-70, and with IMR 4198 loading for trapdoor velocities, with cast 405 gr flat nose lead projectiles sized to .458, it is very accurate. I also crimp with a Lee factory crimp die. I do not go over the recommended COAL, so I have to seat the projectile past the crimp groove. I would try the lower velocities 1st. These guns are made to shoot lead accurately. I think with a little fiddling, you'll find the right formula. I didn't read the whole post, but I would also slug your bore to make sure you have the right sizing going on. Good luck.
 

warboar21

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Feb 2, 2015
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122
Location
Southwest
I exclusively shoot cast from my 45-70. When shooting cast you need to know what your throat and your bore diameters are. Marlins were notorious for having over sized bores and guys were having to shoot cast bullets of .460 to stop leading and get the accuracy. I’ve heard the newer Marlins are running tighter bores but I’ve not confirmed that.
Things you need to do are slug the barrel and ensure your bore is not oversized. If it is then you can either order bullets sized .002 over that diameter or possibly paper patch your current bullet. Depending on how many you have on hand. Paper patching will also alloy you to get more velocity and use a soft alloy as well as help prevent leading the bore.
Another alternative is buying powder coated bullets which work like a jacket. That seems to be the most popular method at the moment.
 

mdbiggerstaff

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Mar 11, 2016
Messages
26
Location
Kansas
I am shooting a Marlin 1895 CB and have procured a bunch of cast 405 gr bullets. I am limited to 4198 powder as I have invested myself in 8 + lbs of it.

This gun shoots 300 grain bullets accurately with 40 grains of IMR 4198. I have the Lyman book, but it is limited in loads. I have shot 37, 38 and 40 grains under a 405 cast bullet. They shoot all over the place like they were shot from a sling. 40 grains gives a hard wallop with the 405 grain bullet. I don't know that I want to go higher. I will if it would increase accuracy, however.

Is seating depth as critical in this round with a heavy crimp? Should I chase the lands of the rifling and ignore the cantilure? Or should I just load it to the recommended OAL? I could really use some helpful input. Thanks
I have the same rifle & 32/4198 at 1482 is very accurate. I use a good crimp but not overly done.
 

Les in Wyoming

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Oct 10, 2020
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99
Location
Glenrock, Wyoming
I cast my own bullets for 45-70. My rifles are both 1885 hi-walls. Not all cast bullets are created equal. The powder is almost certainly not the problem. I shoot 535g "money" bullets from my buffalo arms mold, sized at .459". My powder is imr 3031 at 37g. Lots of guys I shoot buffalo silhouette with shoot 5744 I believe. Lead should usually be sized .001 over bore. Are your bullets lubed? Lead bullets must be lubed. You want to stay under 1800fps unless you use gas checked bullets. Too fast, or no/poor lube will cause leading and once it starts it gets bad quickly. Leading of the barrel will do what you are experiencing. Poor casting practices will cause air pockets inside the bullets and be harmful to accuracy as well. I hope this helps.
That may be the ticket. They are not lubed. I have scrubbed my barrel with copper killer. Where can I get some coating for these bullets?
 

Les in Wyoming

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
99
Location
Glenrock, Wyoming
The only way to salvage those bullets assuming they are undersized would be to coat them IMHO. There a few options out there to coat your own but if they are already lubed that may be out of the question too. Last resort is to recast them to proper size.
They are not lubed or coated. Where can I get coating? What is the best coating to use?
 

WHITEBULL

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Apr 26, 2015
Messages
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Les. Look up powder coating. Watch some YouTube Fortune cookie 45 lc or Elvis ammo videos on powder coating. You can get the powder from Harbor Freight.
 

jfloyd

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Nov 20, 2013
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Orlando

hunter0528

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Oct 31, 2012
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boston,ma
I am shooting a Marlin 1895 CB and have procured a bunch of cast 405 gr bullets. I am limited to 4198 powder as I have invested myself in 8 + lbs of it.

This gun shoots 300 grain bullets accurately with 40 grains of IMR 4198. I have the Lyman book, but it is limited in loads. I have shot 37, 38 and 40 grains under a 405 cast bullet. They shoot all over the place like they were shot from a sling. 40 grains gives a hard wallop with the 405 grain bullet. I don't know that I want to go higher. I will if it would increase accuracy, however.

Is seating depth as critical in this round with a heavy crimp? Should I chase the lands of the rifling and ignore the cantilure? Or should I just load it to the recommended OAL? I could really use some helpful input. Thanks
not that familar with the 1895 CB but does it have the microgrove rifling? I've got a 444 I bought new in '68. Never like the lead, did not seem to grasp the bullet, but jacketed was another story.
 

RT2506

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Jan 10, 2008
Messages
2,139
Powder coating bullets is easy. Yes watch YouTube. But Harbor freight is a good place to get the powder coating if you have one local. You can order it though. Basically just put some powder in a plastic bowl add the bullets and shake them for a while. When they are coated set them on their base on a pan and stick them in some sort of oven for a while.

You can also lube them with bullet lube by hand or melt it and pan lube them. I make my own bullet lube that works for Black Powder as well as smokeless. I use either a 50/50 by volume mix of bees wax and olive oil and some times I mix in a little STP oil treatment melted and mixed in a "double boiler". One pot with water in it on the heat source and then a coffee can setting inside with the wax and oil. Set the bullets on their base in a pan and pour in the lube up to the top groove and let cool. Then just brake them out and load.
 

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