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Reloading question for my 1886 4590
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Craig Alaska
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December 21, 2021 - 7:20 pm
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Hi I am new to the Winchester collector Association and have been collecting lever action rifles for a few years. I am also new to forums, but see value in information I can’t seem to find otherwise. I recently purchased a 4590 1886 built I believe in 1891 based on the Serial number. The only information I can find in regards to reloading this old rifle is on forums.

I have 2 questions:

First is I could only locate 45-70 reloading dies which I have been reading will work for the 45-90, does anyone have advice on procedures on this question?

Second question, I have been reading posts on this site in regards to reloading the 4590 with Accurate 5744 powder which seems to be the best “foolproof” or best powder for this old rifle. I have two bullets in my possession Hornady Interlock .458 350 GR RN, and Hornady  .458 480 GR DGX. Can anyone provide me with some suggested load data?

I appreciate any information. Thank you.

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December 22, 2021 - 7:11 pm
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The 45-90 is rifled for a 300 grain bullet.  A few grains one way or another won’t make a difference

5744 is a good powder but not the only one. I have used IMR 4759, 3031 and 4198 too.

The 45-90 case is longer than a 45-70 case.  The dies for the 45-70 probably won’t size the 45-90 case correctly. The mouth of the case will hit the die before the entire length of the cartridge is sized.  This might work but I’ve never tried it.

You need to slug the barrel to find the proper diameter of the bullet your barrel needs.  I have bullets at .458″ and .459″ for my 45’s.  

You can shoot 45-70’s in your 45-90 but not with the heavier bullets for the best accuracy.

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December 23, 2021 - 3:17 am
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Welcome, Craig. Chuck is right, your rifle (and your shoulder) will prefer lighter bullets. Can’t advise you on the die choice other than the conventional wisdom that full-length sizing works best for repeaters. I suppose it’s worth a try, I generally partially re-size 45-70’s for my lever guns and 45-90’s for my Sharps with a Lyman 45 cal short neck size die. I flare the mouth with a Lee expander die and straighten out the case mouth after bullet seating with a Lyman short taper crimp die. I was never able to get the neck tension I wanted from my RCBS Cowboy 45-70 dies. Cases don’t expand much in my rifles but your experience may be different. 

I like 5744 in more than a few BP cartridges but I think the big 45-90 case is happiest when filled with good old Holy Black. 

 

Mike

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December 24, 2021 - 5:31 pm
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Craighunter said
Hi I am new to the Winchester collector Association and have been collecting lever action rifles for a few years. I am also new to forums, but see value in information I can’t seem to find otherwise. I recently purchased a 4590 1886 built I believe in 1891 based on the Serial number. The only information I can find in regards to reloading this old rifle is on forums.

I have 2 questions:

First is I could only locate 45-70 reloading dies which I have been reading will work for the 45-90, does anyone have advice on procedures on this question?

Second question, I have been reading posts on this site in regards to reloading the 4590 with Accurate 5744 powder which seems to be the best “foolproof” or best powder for this old rifle. I have two bullets in my possession Hornady Interlock .458 350 GR RN, and Hornady  .458 480 GR DGX. Can anyone provide me with some suggested load data?

I appreciate any information. Thank you.  

How is the bore on your .45-90?  The bore on mine isn’t great.  When I first starting loading for it I was using lead bullets and at 25 yards, only some of the shots hit the (standard size) target.  I switched to 300 grain jacketed bullets and two inch groups at 50 yards became possible.  I went from being very unhappy with it to very happy with it.

This is a great example of the value and benefit of handloading.  There are so many variable you can manipulate – bullet weight, cast or jacketed, powder, primers, OAL and so on.

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December 24, 2021 - 8:56 pm
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I can tell you that I wouldnt waste any money on the Lyman 45/90 Win dies (Lyman #7460499), the sizing die will not full length size the brass without binding, dont care what you try to do.  I recall contacting Midway (where purchased) regarding the issue and it appeared this wasnt the first time they’d heard the same.   

I had some old boxes of 45-90 reloads I bought 10-15 years ago before I started loading all my own ammo.  Ended up pulling the bullets and dumping the powder on all those reloads (someone elses reloads are always a mystery and maybe not the best option) to use the brass.  I ended up keeping the Lyman 45-90 dies.  For sizing and depriming, I just extended the depriming pin long enough to where it would deprime my brass, then just did a partial resize (neck), then used the expander die, and seating die as normal.  You can likely do the same with the 45-70 dies (similar to what Mike mentioned above).  Cant say this is a recommendation, just what I did to work around the full length sizing die issue with the 45-90 dies I had.  Have never loaded 45-90 with smokeless, only black powder (Swiss 1.5). 

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December 24, 2021 - 9:40 pm
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I’ve had problems with the expander dies.  I bought a .457″ pin gauge and my friend made it fit in a Hornady universal expander die body.  For some reason RCBS and other die makers supplied expanders that weren’t adequate for our old barrels and I would crush cases when seating the bullets.  Especially the 45-75’s.

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December 24, 2021 - 11:30 pm
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Chuck, had the same problem with my 38-55 expander die till I bought a set of the RCBS Cowboy dies.  Ive had my fair share of crushed cases, but a slight reaming of the inside case mouth alleviates that issue.  The other option is to use a Lee universal expander die. 

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