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Thread: Cast bullit hardness.

  1. #1
    GunLoad Trainee
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Cast bullit hardness.

    I am new to BP cartridge shooting and loading (and this forum) but a seasoned high power rifle handloader and certifiable rifle looney. My rifle is an 1884 trapdoor .45-70 with a new green mountain barrel screwed on it. I will be loading stricktly BP in the cartridges. At the moment I have a lee 500 gr mold. The mold might be 525 I don't remember so I will weigh the finnished product before I load them. From what I'm reading I should expect 1100+fps from them but don't quote me on that. I made my own bullet lube from 50% soy wax, 40% crisco and 10% canola oil. Pan lubing is the plan. What BHN should I be aiming for in my cast bullets?
    Endeavor to persevere: To exert oneself in an effort to persist in an undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragements.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011


    Are you using a bare bottom bullet or a Gas checked one?
    I do not have a 45/70 but shoot a 71/84 (43 cal) Mauser with black powder.
    I have shot them grease groove and paper patched.
    Used to shoot almost pure lead until I talked to a 45/70 competation shooter and his answer was whatever he dug up out of the backstops.
    Told me he figured it came out to about 50/50 , lead/wheel weight.
    I enjoy the paper/patched bullets but no matter what I read it seems everyone has their own answer to groove , or land size.
    With BP it is supposed to bump up to groove size so try both land, groove size, bare bottom or gas checked and see which your rifle likes best.


  3. #3
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    New Hampshire


    I would use 97% pure with maybe 3% tin in that mould for good fillout. You can use a harder alloy if that's what you have on hand, but it really isn't necessary as that isn't an action in which I would want to shoot that weighty a bullet with heavy loads. By the time you get up into the zone where a harder alloy will really matter, the recoil will have given you two left shoulders and a flinch suitable for framing.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  4. #4
    Great Master kodiak1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Alberta Territory


    Big Otto
    20 to 1
    25 to 1
    30 to 1
    These are very common mixes. If you are going to be shooting grease groove as I take it with the pan lubing straight wheel weights will do the trick.
    There is nothing wrong with going softer.
    I am currious why the 500 grain and not a 405 grain bullet in the trapdoor?
    My trapdoor really likes the 405 as a matter of fact I havn't found anything in 45 cal that doesn't like the 405 bullet.
    I have shot it in Sharps, traps, rollers and am very happy with the results.

    If you were going to paper patch that trap I would use bang on what versifier put in his post.


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    Live by the Gun...Die by the Gun...

  5. #5
    runfiverun runfiverun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    soda springs idaho


    i like the alloys ken mentions.
    many around home use 20-1,30-1 with black.
    and one or two use ww's with smokeless.
    for paper patching i'd go bore diameter and let the powder bump up both the boolit and the patch,
    using a soft [30/40-1] to pure alloy.
    this is with black powder.

  6. #6
    GunLoad Trainee
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Lead Hardness

    I shoot several rifles for fun and competition.

    Working with alloys ranging from 1/20 Tin/lead to 1/40 Tin/Lead; I found my Trapdoor would only shoot a slightly softer alloys and adopted the 1/25 as standard.

    Wads, powder choice and powder compression are factors also. You will need to experiment which gives you a reason to shoot.

    I am currently standardizing on the SAECO 1881 mold, 1/25 alloy, Swisss 1 1/2 Fg, .030 compression and a .030 base wad stamped from milk cartons.

  7. #7
    Great Master
    Join Date
    May 2021


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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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