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1886 saved by my loading notebook!
April 30, 2017
3:59 pm
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A bit dramatic maybe but I’ll never know. I was thinking about taking my ca. 1894 1886 to the range with a box of hunting ammo loaded for my 1895 Marlins. I thought they were loaded at the lower end of the 1886 Winchester/1895 Marlin charts but decided I’d better check to be sure. I load for over a dozen cartridges and most of my range trips are for load development so I write most everything down in my notebook and even write load numbers on test loads with a Sharpie just to be sure. Sure enough, my 45-70 loads were towards the upper end of the charts, a 350gr cast bullet @ around 1800 fps. Best guess around 25,000 CUP. I may be wrong but I’ll feel a lot better keeping pressures below 20,000 CUP for this old rifle, got too much invested in this old beauty to get adventurous. Seem to recall I don’t much enjoy shooting those hunting loads anyway. I keep some Lyman 457193’s around for my Trapdoor, debating whether to load up with 5744 or FFg. Too windy to shoot today anyway.

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April 30, 2017
7:24 pm
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While scrounging for components on my loading bench I found some 457193 I cast and sized seven years ago this month, some R-P cases sized & primed sometime since then. Bullets were lubed with SPG but I think that will be fine for my purposes; I’m just looking for a few rounds to regulate the sights, fireform some cases and do a function test on this rifle. After re-reading MV’s comments about the interaction between his shoulder and the rifle butt plate of an 1886 I decided to go with a Trapdoor load; 28 grs 5744.

 

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Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
April 30, 2017
8:09 pm
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TXGunNut and others,

  First, that is a good reason to log your loads into a notebook.  And to label each box with the load data.

  Now a comment on the intensity of .45-70 loads.  I suspect the rifle would hold together with your loads, at least for a while.  But no reason to take the chance.  Then there is the human at the back of the stock.  Me–I shoot basically a shotgun style with the butt in on the shoulder, inside the deltoid muscle.  Crescent steel buttplates and I don’t enjoy very intense loads!  I quickly develop two bruises where the heel and the toe of the buttplate hit my shoulder as nothing fits in the curve between.  Try an 1895 in .405 with a crescent!  Did that, have the tee shirt, no need to do it again!  When I do wish to shoot the bigger, harder recoiling calibers with rifles with crescent buttplates, I have a piece of pine cut to fit the curve of the buttplate, and use a slip on pad to hold it there.  Kind of a small shotgun butt as result and much better to shoot.  I also commend use of the PAST shoulder pad.  It is called a “sissy” pad, and I may be one, but I don’t shoot well nor long with two bruises on my shoulder!

Tim Tomlinson

April 30, 2017
8:25 pm
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Thanks, Tim. I have quite a few years of load notes in that notebook and refer to it often, load number for today’s experiment is 45-70 #27. I’m thinking that my Marlin hunting loads would be safe for a little while but also feel pretty certain it would develop headspace issues before long. I’ll also refrain from shooting jacketed bullets in this rifle in deference to the softer steel but I seldom use them in anything. Been using a PAST pad for years, seldom need it for my old Winchesters but it is in my shooting bag. I have no desire to shoot an 1895 in .405, 30 US is more my speed.

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April 30, 2017
8:44 pm
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tim tomlinson said
TXGunNut and others,

  Crescent steel buttplates and I don’t enjoy very intense loads!  I quickly develop two bruises where the heel and the toe of the buttplate hit my shoulder as nothing fits in the curve between. 
Tim Tomlinson  

Amen to that!

I love the crescent buttplates but not the jaundice colored bruises on my shoulder and upper arm.  A few years ago I decided to eliminate the recuperation time after firing the big Winchester cannons in Models 1885 and 1886 and got a Caldwell Lead Sled PFT.  Put 4 25# bags of lead shot on the weight tray and let the sled take the punishment.  It’s incredible how much more enjoyable shooting the big calibers becomes.

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April 30, 2017
8:56 pm
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Be very careful with that Lead Sled, now and then a heavy recoiling rifle will break a butt stock when fired in a sled or other fixture.

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Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
April 30, 2017
9:04 pm
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Oh, and I also got a PAST Recoil Pad to stuff into my range bag so it’s always handy.

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April 30, 2017
10:25 pm
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Mine never comes out of my shooting bag except at the range, much like my spotting scope and staple guns. Thinking it may be getting a bit stiff, may be time for a replacement or an upgrade to their magnum model.

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
April 30, 2017
10:34 pm
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 You guys are beginning to scare me. I have a couple of the 50–100 – 450s and one of them is possible for me to fire. The condition on both  is excellent but the carbine is the one I would choose to fire. My loads are from Black Hills and I want to take a few rounds and run through it. What can I expect based  on the brutal recoil you guys are talking about?

April 30, 2017
10:50 pm
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Some rifles (and shooters) manage recoil better than others. I’ve never fired an 1886, heavy load or otherwise, but the crescent butt plate concerns me a bit. I’ve fired some max 45-70 loads in a Marlin 1895 that handles recoil well and I don’t enjoy it. I’ve survived being banged around more than I’ve liked over the years and don’t want to suffer a detached retina at this stage in my life. What’s the advertised velocity of the Black Hills load? That carbine could be a handful even with a 350 gr load. Sounds like fun, tho. That’s quite a cartridge from what I can gather.

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Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
May 1, 2017
1:13 am
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As shown in my signature picture, I own an original Model 1885 in 405 WCF. It has a smooth steel shotgun butt plate, and I can tell you from personal experience, it will bruise most people after just a 3-4 rounds off of the bench! Something about launching a 300-gr jacketed soft point at 2500 fps is brutal!

Bert

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May 1, 2017
2:08 pm
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Blueliner and others,

  TxGunNut has it pretty well defined when he said it all depends on the rifle/load/people involved, etc.  I have shot my 1886 in 50-110, with my own handloads.  I kept them reasonable and had no issue with it for a few shots using the PAST pad on my shoulder.  Now, how you do with your carbine and Black Hills ammo–I don’t know.  I would for sure wish to TRY it out at least a few times!  I suspect the carbine buttplate will be more forgiving than a full crescent rifle buttplate.  First, try it from a more erect stance where your upper body can push back and absorb some of the recoil, rather than in a good, solid bench rest position.  Go from there.  Shotgun butts are even nicer as they are larger, and flat to spread the recoil over a larger area of your shoulder.  Usually that precludes bruising in its own right.  

  All of us that reload can tell stories.  Suffice to say I used to try to get the highest muzzle velocity possible when I started.  Now I tend to try for the “most accurate” loading, which usually is well below the most velocity.  Old rifles, such as our Winchester lever guns, I tend to load on the mild side.  No need to increase the risks to them.  When I shoot our silhouette matches, I do use stout enough loads to assure (as best as possible) knocking over the rams and buffalo silhouettes, but I select my rifles and the loads carefully for that (an 1886 in .33 WCF with shotgun butt, and model 64 in 30-30 with shotgun butt).  When I get adventurous, I use my new made Big Horn Armory model 89 in 500 S&W with 410 grain bullets.  Stout but manageable.  I generally don’t shoot my 1895’s in .405 anymore as it was doing things to the silhouettes, such as breaking the welds where the AR500 plate was welded to the feet.  

  Best I can say is to try for yourself.  I would still advocate use of the PAST pad on your shoulder.  It is easier to prevent a flinch than to cure one!

Tim

May 2, 2017
2:09 am
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To elaborate a bit on stance I take a type of fighters’ stance when firing a heavy recoiling firearm. Think of it this way; if I’m standing up straight or leaning back a bit most anyone can knock me on my butt. For a right-handed shooter put your left foot forward and put something over half your weight on your left foot, flex your left knee a bit. Lean forward at the waist a bit and pull the butt into your PAST pad. Cheek the stock firmly, take a half breath and launch a huge chunk of lead. Then try to keep from grinning like a school kid.

I have a few rifles that like to be pushed a bit, none of them are old leverguns. A 300-500gr chunk of lead doesn’t need to get in a hurry to do all it needs to do, at least in the lower 48. No need to push an old Winchester. Chances are they’ve already been there, done that and have nothing to prove.

For some reason I think I need to step out back and put 405 grs into an old oak stump I keep out back for test firing. Wink

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
May 2, 2017
4:10 am
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Tim & Michael,

Thanks for the feedback on my upcoming 50-100-450 adventure ! Sounds like the concern/topic has a few ready to venture out and go for it with their Pontiac size rounds.  The fact be told, I have 20 rounds. Probably have a short box on my table in Denver & Cody. Love the description Tx !  I’ll dig back in the safe and start the prep work.

Anyone shot one of these lately ?

Bill

May 2, 2017
12:05 pm
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To all who contributed to this post, thank you. Very informative and interesting……….

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