September 26, 2016
March 31, 2009
I have never used Trail Boss. Mike Ventuino's book recommends 30 grs. of Accurate XMP5744. I don't know if he used a filler? I have used 24.5 grains of 4759, 31 grains of 4198 and 43 grains of 3031. Each of these loads I use a partial square of toilet paper to fill the space above the powder. This filler is not rolled up tight and it is not compressed. It just keeps all of the powder near the primer. These loads have been chronographed at about 1500 fps. I use a 300 grain bullet with a .459 diameter. This load shoots at 1600 fps in my 30" highwall. Be safe and start low and work up. Make sure you make up a dummy round to make sure it will cycle through the 86.
November 7, 2015
I’m a big fan of 5744 in this type cartridge but I only load black powder in the 45-90. BP cleans up a lot easier than most “experts” will lead you to believe.
June 11, 2014
I once had an original 1886 45-90 and experimented with quite a few different loads. It is such a long cartridge that for smokeless powder I used a single sheet of single-ply toilet paper very loosely rolled and folded. Without the toilet paper, some powders had a HUGE extreme spread in velocity. The two worst were IMR 3031 and IMR 4227. I'd definitely recommend TP with those powders. The best powder if you don't use TP is 5744. It seems to have the most consistent velocities but there are powder grains in the bore, but I don't worry about those. The second best for burn consistency is IMR 4198. I only loaded to original ballistics (300 grains at around 1500 fps with cast bullets).
June 4, 2017
I use 38grs of 3031, cover powder with thin paper wad, then fill with corn meal to within 1/4" of top of case. I cast in original Winchester mold (300 grains) with wheel weights. As I cast them I drop them in a bucket of water to harden, I do not size, then hand lube. I use brass stretched from 45/70, it's thinner and makes room for the unsized bullet. 1450fps plus or minus 20fps. I use a Lee collet crimp. With a jacketed Remington 300gr hollow point I raise the 3031 to 40grs. velocity remains the same. The 45-90 case has a lot of room and you have to fill it with a filler when using 3031. I use TP as a filler in my 50cal loads and it works get. I have used this load in my 86s for 25 years, barrel lengths from 26" to 32", standard to extra heavy, with accurate results. This is what I do and not a recommendation. T/R
June 11, 2014
Trail Boss is a very fast burning powder, giving a very sharp and high pressure spike. For this reason, it is extremely important to never go higher than the published load for that caliber. The 45-90 has such a huge case, that it could easily be accidentally overloaded with Trail Boss. I would rather use a medium speed powder that has consistent burn properties, like 5744.
August 8, 2012
Not knowing what powder you can get your hands on, here are some loads that generate less than 20kpsi and is around 1500fps + has a complete burn of powder in the barrel.
The original smokeless 45-90 loading was @32kpsi max. based om the speed of their jacketed bullet loading (only after 1895 actions and barrels) and BP seldom generates more than 17.5kpsi.
The bullet used here is the good old Lyman 457122 and a COL of 2.8":
Accurate #9 = 25grains for @1530fps and 15kpsi
Accurate #7 = 23grains for @1540fps and 16kpsi
Alliant 2400 = 24grains for @1505fps and 13.8kpsi
Alliant Blue Dot = 22grains for 1510fps and 15.2kpsi
Hogdgon HS-6 = 20grains for 1470fps and 19kpsi
IMR 4227 = 31granis for 1515fps and 13.25kpsi (only 85% powder burn!)
Ramshot Enforcer = 26grains for 1505fps and 13.4kpsi
Vihtravuori N110 = 27grains for 1525fps and 13kpsi
Vihtavuori N105 = 22grains for 1525fps and 16.25kpsi
As per usual start 10% below max. and work up.
If you have a specific powder and bullet in mind i can calculate an more exact load chart for you using Quickload software.
May 23, 2009
Though not really useful in regards to modern reloading, but probably just interesting to know.
Doing the reloading tool research, I came across several old pamphlets made by the factory titled "The Proper Loads of Smokeless Powder For Winchester Rifle and Pistol Cartridges..."
Most recent one I've came across dates from around 1896.
It states the following for 45-90 verbatim.
Du Pont No. 1 Smokeless Rifle Powder.
Load for 45-90-300 ........................................37 grains.
Laflin & Rand Smokeless Rifle Powder.
2 1/2 W Load for 45-90 ...........................28 grains.
WACA #8783 - Checkout my Reloading Tool Survey!
what I have found with black powder is the powder blow back that gets into the action(all the little places) that needs cleaned out or rust may get a foot hold. and 1892,s and 1886,s are a PITA to take apart to get to those places, it can and will need to be done or the life of your rifle suffer. carefull loads of the right smokless powder will make your life a little easier in my opinion.
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