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Current factory loads
October 19, 2019
8:55 pm
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Can anyone advise if current 45-70 factory cartridges are safe to shoot in 1886 rifles(pre 1895 ?). I know the receivers were beefed up to handle smokeless cartridges, but I’m not sure when & if current cartridge loads are safe.

AG

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October 19, 2019
10:18 pm
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 To the best of my knowledge, the .45-70 shells loaded by Winchester at the present time, are loaded low enough to be used in any older .45-70 rifles.

October 19, 2019
10:28 pm
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28 gauge said
 To the best of my knowledge, the .45-70 shells loaded by Winchester at the present time, are loaded low enough to be used in any older .45-70 rifles.  

Hell, they're safe in a Trapdoor Springfield, probably the weakest of all antique actions! 

October 19, 2019
10:35 pm
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Thanks Clarence & 28 giage. Appreciated.

AG

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October 19, 2019
10:55 pm
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Stand down a moment please...
Excuse the nagging voice.  The ever-reminder and especially concerning century plus vintage guns; none to be considered safe to fire absent a proper inspection by qualified gunsmith!  Between forces of nature, ravages of time, abuse and 'Bubba effect'... Simply the presumption of relatively mild pressure cartridges, nothing should be taken for granted in terms of individual gun capabilities!!!

My definite take.

October 20, 2019
4:05 am
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Thank you Iskra. Your comments are acknowledged & appreciated.

AG

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October 20, 2019
8:07 pm
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clarence said

Hell, they're safe in a Trapdoor Springfield, probably the weakest of all antique actions!   

   That was my understanding as well.Smile

October 20, 2019
8:13 pm
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iskra said
Stand down a moment please...
Excuse the nagging voice.  The ever-reminder and especially concerning century plus vintage guns; none to be considered safe to fire absent a proper inspection by qualified gunsmith!  Between forces of nature, ravages of time, abuse and 'Bubba effect'... Simply the presumption of relatively mild pressure cartridges, nothing should be taken for granted in terms of individual gun capabilities!!!

My definite take.  

 I agree,but from the original post ,it was to be assumed ,the rifle was in good shooting order.The question as I understood it ,was if the present .45-70 cartridges made by Winchester ,were safe to use in older  Model  1886 rifles with less heavy receivers .Smile

October 20, 2019
8:21 pm
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Yes that’s correct 28 gauge.

And irska the 86 is deemed safe to shoot.

AG

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October 20, 2019
11:26 pm
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28 gauge said

   That was my understanding as well.Smile  

When I was 12 or 13, my father (who was always picking up junk guns, God knows where) gave me a cut-down Trapdoor, though I didn't shoot it much owing to the cost of factory ammo, and not least, it's kick!  I preferred to shoot it with 2" .410 shells, which were murder on the Blue Jays around my house.  Then when I was 15 or 16, I bought with my own money in a pawn shop a butchered '86 rebored to .45-70, which I safety-tested by jacking in a round & pulling the trigger.  I considered messing around with old guns to be far less hazardous than being chased by big dogs while riding my 5 HP Cushman scooter.

October 20, 2019
11:39 pm
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clarence said

When I was 12 or 13, my father (who was always picking up junk guns, God knows where) gave me a cut-down Trapdoor, though I didn't shoot it much owing to the cost of factory ammo, and not least, it's kick!  I preferred to shoot it with 2" .410 shells, which were murder on the Blue Jays around my house.  Then when I was 15 or 16, I bought with my own money in a pawn shop a butchered '86 rebored to .45-70, which I safety-tested by jacking in a round & pulling the trigger.  I considered messing around with old guns to be far less hazardous than being chased by big dogs while riding my 5 HP Cushman scooter.  

Hahaha can’t beat that one Clarence!!

AG

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October 21, 2019
3:13 am
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Just do the bubba test, it works.  Go out to the big oak tree and wrap your arm around the trunk with gun in hand, and trunk as your shield, and fire it off into the ground.  Worst that can happen is you pull back a mangled hand Wink  

Aside from checking that the gun is in good working order and the head space is correct and barrel is indexed correct, and that there are no obstruction or problems with the barrel, what else is there to check?  TR mentioned some time back that you can get a crack in the receiver between the barrel and magazine tube (cant remember what model or caliber).  Ive not heard of much else going wrong with these things.  

One of the bad things that can happen is a prior owner bore out the barrel to a larger caliber and not mark it anywhere on the barrel or gun for that matter. 

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October 21, 2019
4:09 am
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There certainly are 45-70 factory loads that should not be fired in the Springfield and quite possibly in the 1886. Some rifles should not be fired with any load. It’s up to you to determine what is the proper action and if you don’t know, defer to someone who does or don’t fire it.

When a rifle goes from together to apart it matters little whether the load fired was 18,000, 28,000 or 40,000 CUP it’s going to be catastrophic to steel as well as flesh and bone. 
Let’s be careful out there, gents. We have no idea what these rifles have been through in the last hundred or so years.

 

Mike

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October 21, 2019
4:19 am
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Yep, caution, reason, and a little knowledge go a long way to protecting body parts.  Part of that caution, reason, and knowledge is knowing when something may not pass the smell test and an expert is needed. 

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October 21, 2019
10:35 am
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 I second what Mike and Chris said. It's a lot of fun to shoot these old guns but be smart about it. T/R

October 21, 2019
1:36 pm
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TXGunNut said
There certainly are 45-70 factory loads that should not be fired in the Springfield and quite possibly in the 1886. 
 

"Current factory loads" is the subject of this thread. The 45-70 HV was last available, as far as I can tell from examining the old ammo catalogs I have, in the '30s. It was loaded, I think, only by Winchester specifically for '86s & HWs.  It's listed in the '33 WRA catalog, but can't find it in '39, nor in post-WW II catalogs like Shooter's Bible.  I've never seen one of the 45-70 HV boxes, but the similar HV loadings for .32-40 & .38-55 have very obvious warning labels on them.  All of the regular 45-70 loadings by WRA & other ammo makers specifically name Springfields among the guns for which they are adapted.  So as far as I can tell, all these 45-70 HV loadings are now (expensive) 80+ year old collector cartridges which nobody in their right mind would be shooting. 

A possible exception might be ammo made by the Dominion Co. in Canada, which continued to offer HV loadings in 32-40 & 38-55 into the '50s, long after US companies stopped making them.  But even those are now considered collector cartridges.  Do you know of any others?

October 21, 2019
5:36 pm
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I hope the folks on this forum can distinguish a beat-up junker from one in safe or good working condition. Caution is always paramount & yes if they aren’t sure they should have a qualified gun smith inspect it if they plan to shoot it, especially if the parts rattle like a rusty tambourine. I do hope nobody recommends having them all magnafluxed lol.

In all seriousness the comments are respected.

AG.

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October 22, 2019
12:38 am
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Yes, Clarence, I was referring to current factory loads. Even though I seldom shoot them I do keep up with the offerings available. Here’s a load I wouldn’t want to fire in an 1886;

https://shopcorbon.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=42_11_114&product_id=168

 

Mike

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October 22, 2019
1:19 am
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TXGunNut said
Yes, Clarence, I was referring to current factory loads. Even though I seldom shoot them I do keep up with the offerings available. Here’s a load I wouldn’t want to fire in an 1886;

https://shopcorbon.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=42_11_114&product_id=168

 

Mike  

That's a real eye-opener, Mike!  I have Corbon .38 Spl. loaded in my Chief's Special Airweight, & shooting them feels like a firecracker going off in your hand!  But didn't even know they sold rifle cartridges.

Certainly wouldn't care to fire these in a Trapdoor, but in an '86 I think the worst that would happen in you fired a lot of them would be gradually increasing headspace & possibly an enlarged chamber, such as I have in a HW fired long ago (I suspect) with HV loads when they were still commonly available.  Somebody loan me an '86 in 45-70, & we'll find out for sure.  

Corbon's description says only that they are "not loaded to SAMMI specs," but if the packaging isn't plastered with warning labels about using them in "antiques," the company is asking for a lawsuit. 

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