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Reloading cal. 45-90 for my Winchester Model 1886 Lever Action Rifle and Model 1885 High Wall,
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November 11, 2018 - 12:54 pm
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Instead of reloading the cal. 45-90 with Black Powder I was thinking of trying Hodgdons “Trail Boss” powder. Are there any of you that have some experience with Trail Boss” or can recommend an other powder? Powder charge and bullet?

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November 11, 2018 - 4:51 pm
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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.

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November 11, 2018 - 10:30 pm
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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.

 

Mike

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November 14, 2018 - 3:33 am
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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).

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November 14, 2018 - 2:14 pm
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  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  

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November 25, 2018 - 7:24 pm
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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.

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May 23, 2019 - 6:18 pm
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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.

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May 24, 2019 - 2:30 am
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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.

Winchester Primer

2 1/2 W         Load for 45-90 ………………………28 grains.

 

Sincerely,

Maverick

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May 24, 2019 - 12:03 pm
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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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January 27, 2020 - 10:47 pm
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Dear shooters 

My recipe …(Thanks Bert )

45-90 Starline load with 34 grains of Vitha N120 , 2 inch wraped toilet paper  and a Campro .458 300gr FCP  on the grove ,

With my old orignal Winchester sporting 1885 hight wall  , 32 inch twist ,  tang sight  . 

Some spot at 200 meters .N120-at-200m-3.jpgImage EnlargerIMG_4770.PNGImage Enlarger

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January 28, 2020 - 12:35 am
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Nice shooting.

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October 20, 2021 - 10:59 pm
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I shoot a Miroku made Winchester 1886 TD 45-90 with 26 inch full octagon barrel. In addition to using factory 45-70 ammo for local deer and antelope hunting, three 1886 shooters planned and executed a bullet testing  Safari in Africa. I loaned my 1886, bullets, etc to the effort, but the shooter was an experienced 1886 shooter and African hunter. My 45-90 took multiple Cape buffalo, one elephant, a leopard and some plains game. We loaded some of the bullets and some were loaded by Grizzly Cartridge. The 1886 .45-70 did well also.

Only two bullets /loads qualified for the elephant hunt. To qualify, all promising bullets were shot at a hanging 5/8 inch thick steel plate from a distance of 50 yards. Only the 450 grain North Fork FPS and 450 grain Punch bullets  shot through the plate. Grizzly loaded both bullets to 2150 fps from my 45-90. Both shot through ele heads and into the body — DRT.  

No, this was not old timey black powder competition, but we did show a lot of uninformed African hunting snobs just what a “cowboy” rifle and rifleman could do with modern bullets and powders and a modern 1886. And it was a very interesting and educational project.

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October 22, 2021 - 6:02 pm
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I really see no reason to kill an elephant or a leopard. The plains animals and buffalo are plentiful though. If you really wanted to show up the “snobs” you would have used real cowboy guns and ammo.

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November 13, 2021 - 3:59 am
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Chuck,

This was not your typical Safari in RSA, but a PAC (problem animal control) outing in two countries north of RSA – no tourists, just working men earning their living.  

The leopard was eating the farmers goats in his courtyard,  the buff were trampling crops, and so was the ele. Our shooter worked with two PAC professional hunters using two vehicles. The professionals shot more than our hunter did as we were there testing bullets, not on a hunting vacation. No trophies could be taken, no meat taken, and all dead animals left on the ground for the native population.  Our shooter was only allowed to take a picture of the Ele and the Leopard, no time for pix of the buffalo.

WRT plentiful game, ele are overpopulated in multiple African countries and in RSA have turned much former forested land to deserts, especially around Kruger park.  Because  sufficient tourist hunting is not allowed and the population is not controlled by hunting, professional PAC hunters are paid to kill what the hunters are not allowed to kill. Sounds a bit crazy eh, and it is. And to close, feel free to try to use “real’ cowboy guns and if they do not met country by country legal power standards, they are not allowed.  Our modern 1886 rifles are not old and work quite well with modern bullets. No scopes , just iron sights and peep sights. At 20 yards from an Ele, the current sights work just fine. Same for the buffalo and Leopard, all shots less than 50 yards. 

I trust that you now see some of the reasons to kill some of the animals. 

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November 13, 2021 - 1:53 pm
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I was using IMR 4198 for all my 1886 calibers. I now use Accurate 5744 for 45-70-300  33 grains, 45-90-300  35 grains and 50 110-300 37 grains. I only shoot lead, and with 5744 there is no need for a filler. comments??

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November 14, 2021 - 2:02 am
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CRS said
Chuck,

This was not your typical Safari in RSA, but a PAC (problem animal control) outing in two countries north of RSA – no tourists, just working men earning their living.  

The leopard was eating the farmers goats in his courtyard,  the buff were trampling crops, and so was the ele. Our shooter worked with two PAC professional hunters using two vehicles. The professionals shot more than our hunter did as we were there testing bullets, not on a hunting vacation. No trophies could be taken, no meat taken, and all dead animals left on the ground for the native population.  Our shooter was only allowed to take a picture of the Ele and the Leopard, no time for pix of the buffalo.

WRT plentiful game, ele are overpopulated in multiple African countries and in RSA have turned much former forested land to deserts, especially around Kruger park.  Because  sufficient tourist hunting is not allowed and the population is not controlled by hunting, professional PAC hunters are paid to kill what the hunters are not allowed to kill. Sounds a bit crazy eh, and it is. And to close, feel free to try to use “real’ cowboy guns and if they do not met country by country legal power standards, they are not allowed.  Our modern 1886 rifles are not old and work quite well with modern bullets. No scopes , just iron sights and peep sights. At 20 yards from an Ele, the current sights work just fine. Same for the buffalo and Leopard, all shots less than 50 yards. 

I trust that you now see some of the reasons to kill some of the animals.   

I see it but…Recently there was a call out to thin out a Buffalo herd.  All you got to do is shoot the animal.  I don’t remember if the meat was used for something charitable but I don’t see a reason for me to shoot something that just stands there and lets you shoot it.  A marauding leopard is a different story.  Believe me I’ve shot a lot of game animals.  I just couldn’t shoot an elephant.

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