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1886 amunition
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June 6, 2017 - 8:06 pm
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Off the top of my head I can’t recall which powders are not position sensitive, Dave. Unique usually isn’t but it’s not a good choice here. 5744 doesn’t seem to be position sensitive and it’s generally a good choice for BP cartridges. I don’t think 3031 or H4895/IMR4895 are but I don’t trust my memory. Most good loading manuals will address this trait if applicable, 

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June 6, 2017 - 8:17 pm
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Great article Wincacher! 

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June 6, 2017 - 8:44 pm
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IMR 4198 is not position sensitive, and is a great substitute for black powder in many of the older straight-walled black powder cartridges. It works wonderfully in the 45-70, 40-70 Ballard or Sharps Str, and the 40-90 Ballard or Sharps Str. cartridges.

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June 6, 2017 - 10:05 pm
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Bert H. said
IMR 4198 is not position sensitive, and is a great substitute for black powder in many of the older straight-walled black powder cartridges. It works wonderfully in the 45-70, 40-70 Ballard or Sharps Str, and the 40-90 Ballard or Sharps Str. cartridges.
Bert  

Thanks Bert, just started dabbling with 4198 in 38-55 so couldn’t say for sure. Rifle had other issues Sunday. 

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June 7, 2017 - 12:51 am
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  In Williamson’s book on page 13 he states “My personal documented experiences include firing 750,000 rounds and maintaining a journal of the firings. The journal not only records the firearms and bullets used, but also includes the targets, recovered bullets, pictures and autopsy notes, indexed and categorized for study”. Pages 81 thru 99 cover the 45-90 data including 3031 and 4198 powders, bullets, brass, groups, vel., the most detailed information I have seen. Page 617 addresses powder-fillers. I looked on Amazon and used books sell for $55. It is a amazing reference. T/R

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June 7, 2017 - 2:07 am
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I misspoke when I said IMR4895. I meant to say IMR4198. Oops. I found IMR3031 and IMR4198 loads in Cartridges Of The World and another similar book that will get me started. Can’t wait ’till my bullets show up.

Thanks again everyone.

Dave

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June 7, 2017 - 3:17 am
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I really enjoyed Snooky Williamson’s book as well. Only criticism I’ve heard are that his loads are a bit warm but the ones I’m familiar with are reasonable for a rifle in very good working condition. As always, back off a bit and work up.

I don’t think IMR4895 would be a bad choice for the 45-90, Waters lists loads for IMR4895 and H4895. Pretty sure it will fill the case well enough that position sensitivity wouldn’t be an issue but I haven’t used it in 45-90.

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June 7, 2017 - 4:24 pm
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TR said
I have loaded and shot 86’s for thirty years with smokeless powder including 45-90. I achieved consistency by using 38-40grs. of 3031 covered by a very thin paper wad and filling the case with corn meal, leave approx. 3/8″ from the top empty for the bullet. The paper wad separates the powder from the corn meal and keeps the powder against the primer. 5. I use a Lee collet crimp to secure bullet. 6. I do not use gas checks, one less thing to lodge in barrel. 7. I check brass after every shot to make sure part of it is not in barrel.                    This is what I do, not a recommendation. T\R           

Winchester produced for several years in the early 1900s a brochure titled, “Proper Loads of Smokeless Powder For Winchester Cartridges”.  I have one that is dated October 1902.

It Recommends the following:

For 45-90 w.c.f.,    35 grs  of No. 1 DuPont,  27 grs of  Laflin & Rand Sporting,  22 grs of Laflin & Rand Sharpshooter

For 45-90 W.H.V.   33 grs of Laflin & Rand Sharpshooter

I find this interesting when comparing what you use with modern 3031 of 38-40 grains, as it is pretty close to the 35 grains of No. 1 DuPont.

The brochure doesn’t go into any detail on how to fill the extra void space in the cartridge. I suppose one was simply supposed to guess or simply only put powder charge. The pamphlet highly discourages from reloading, and thoroughly encourages using factory loaded ammunition. Also interesting to me is that it only lists the powder charges and doesn’t mention bullet weight.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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June 7, 2017 - 9:38 pm
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  I went thru a couple dozen original Winchester rounds in 45-70, 45-90. 40-82, 40-70 that had jacketed bullets with smokeless era head stamps and they all rattle when you shake them, I would guess that means no filler.T/R

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June 7, 2017 - 10:10 pm
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Good link, Wincacher. I agree with your point on the volume of powder, I think there are a few other variables in play as well. Case volume, bullet weight, temperature and even loading techniques can all cause problems often attributed to positional sensitivity. Wish I knew why some smokeless powders behave the way they do. 

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June 8, 2017 - 2:00 am
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I experimented with smokeless 45-90 loads a number of years ago in an original ’86 made in 1888. The main problem with the 45-90 case and smokeless powder is that there is an awful lot of empty space to fill. As others have pointed out, 5744 is less position sensitive that many other powders. I found that IMR 4227 was frighteningly position sensitive, with huge choreographed differences depending upon whether the powder was fore or aft. So was IMR 3031. To solve this problem, I used a single sheet of single-ply toilet paper loosely rolled and folded. However, I perfectly understand if you do not want to go there. IMR 4198 is another powder that seems to do a bit better when it comes to position sensitivity and consistent burning. I certainly would not worry about copper jacketed bullets. Copper is considerably softer that even mild steel.

I also found that oversize bullets tumbled in a truly astounding way (.002 oversize to the groove diameter). I have no idea why this was the case. The best results were obtained with .457 soft-cast (air cooled clip on wheel weights) bullets, but it seems you have different results. 

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June 8, 2017 - 2:00 am
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If you decide to use IMR 4198, the starting load would be 36-grains, and work up slowly from there.

Bert

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July 3, 2017 - 3:43 am
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Update.

Range Report.

Well I did a load workup with 300gr JFNHP bullets and IMR4198 powder. 

Three rounds at 36grs, 3 at 38grs and three at 40grs.

My Lyman manual shows 41grs as max in the 45-70 lever gun loads.

36grs = just under 3″ group at 50 yards

38grs = just over 1 1/2″ group

40grs = 3 1/2″ group

I think I found my load! 38grs of 4198 with a 300gr jacketed bullet. I’m glad I didn’t do 5 round groups. That rifle lets you know when your shooting it with full power loads! Moose season is coming up here in VT, just might use the ’86 if I draw a tag.

Thanks again for all the help!

Bert,

I have a 1896 ’94 antique rifle  and a 1958 ’94 carbine along with the ’86 this thread is about. If your interested in their info, let me know exactly what info you want and I’d be happy to give it to you.

Dave

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July 3, 2017 - 10:32 pm
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Dave,

The serial number, the caliber, and the configuration/variation. The 1958 will obviously be a standard Carbine.

Thanks,
Bert

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July 4, 2017 - 12:36 am
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Bert,

PM sent with info.

Dave

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