HUNTING LOADS FOR A .45-70 LEVERGUN
Handloader|October - November 2021
BULLETS & BRASS
Brian Pearce

Q: Back in the 1990s, I was regularly competing at cowboy action events. During that time, I acquired a new Marlin Model 1895CB Cowboy rifle chambered in .45-70 Government with a 26-inch octagonal barrel. It was purchased for side match events, however, my job soon forced me to move and I never really had a chance to shoot the gun or develop hand loads. Lately, I have been shooting it some and have been very impressed with its accuracy. I would like to try it on Alabama whitetail deer this fall. I just installed a Skinner Sights aperture rear and black post front. Using the old Remington 405-grain JSP factory loads, I am consistently getting 1.5-inch groups, which is better accuracy than my 1970’s vintage Winchester Model 70 .30-06.

I would like a handload that will push the 400-grain Speer JSP bullet to around 1,600 to 1,700 feet per second (fps) and will give similar accuracy to the above Remington factory load. I don’t want to go higher in velocity, as I don’t want to deal with much more recoil.

The only powder that I have on hand is IMR-4198, as there are no other powder options available at local dealers. The problem is that the only IMR-4198 data I can find is limited to low pressure for the U.S. 1873 Trapdoor. I have new Starline cases and once-fired Remington cases and Winchester WLR primers. Any data that you can offer will be appreciated. I also very much appreciate your articles in Handloader and look forward to each new issue.

J.M., Birmingham AL A: IMR-4198 powder will serve you well in the .45-70; however, due to its comparatively fast burn rate, it will not give top velocities. Nonetheless, it will reach 1,600 to 1,700 fps with the 400-grain Speer bullet that you desire. And it is one of the more accurate powders in this application. Using 38.0 grains will give around 1,630 fps, while 40.0 grains will reach around 1,700 fps. I would suggest using the CCI 200 primer and be certain to seat it .003 to .005 inches below flush. Bullets should receive a heavy roll crimp. Good luck with deer hunting. (Note: Readers are reminded that the above load data is generating around 28,000 to 30,000 CUP, which is greater pressure than is recommended for U.S. Springfield Model 1873 Trapdoor rifles or any antique guns originally designed for black powder. They are suitable for post-World War II Marlin Model 1895s, Browning and Winchester/USRAC Model 1886s, Browning 1885, Ruger No. 1 and rifles of similar strength.)

DEER LOADS

Q: I am a longtime reader of Handloader magazine and respect your articles. I am looking for +P-style loads for my Gary Reeder customized Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk .38-40 Winchester fitted with an 8.5-inch barrel. I would like a powder that is least sensitive to positioning. I will be using 180-grain jacketed bullets with a cannelure. I would like this load to be powerful enough to take whitetail deer or game of similar size.

My everyday plinking loads at cans or targets is a 180-grain LFN-GC bullet that I obtain from Montana Bullet Works. I load it with 6.0 grains of Hodgdon Titegroup powder. I would like you to “OK” this load, or suggest something different.

Once again, thank you for your interesting and knowledgeable articles.

B.Y., Logan UT

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