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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone have experience reloading the .50-70 with black powder?

With the stay-at-home order, I've been playing with things I have not touched in 3 decades. A 1859 Sharps converted to .50-70 is one. The best I can tell, it has a 3 groove relined barrel that measures about .512-.515 but measuring the diameter of a 3 groove bore is sort of difficult.

I've got the dies, shell holder, and brass. Any insights?
 

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Many years back I had a friend who owned a 50/70 converted Sharps. I helped him load for it with both black powder and smokeless. Both worked well but the black was a bit tougher to do. Despite the size of the case its tough to find room for 70gr of black powder when the bullets take up so much space. We had to use a drop tube about a foot long to get it in the case and its a slightly compressed load even then. With I believe 5744 smokeless the case fill was good and no compression. It was a lot cleaner burning too. No requirement for a running patches down the bore every other round to keep things clean. The rifle was pretty accurate if kept clean but accuracy dropped off quick with black powder.
You can probably find good load data online for both the black and smokeless.

Frank
 

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....several types of load data..

Found several loads with modern powders,.515 dia. lead bullets in 425 gr. and 550 gr. and well within the 22,500 P.S.I. limit established for this cartridge w/65 gr. of FFg. The powders I found were from the #1 Accurate Arms manual (1994)...all Accurate Arms powders....
425 gr.-lead bullet
#1680-27gr-30gr. (1351 vel) w/18K PSI
#2015-36gr-40gr. (1448 vel) w/16.8K PSI
#4350-46.8 gr-52 gr. (compressed) (1233 vel) w/15.7K PSI

550 gr., lead bullet
#1680-25.2 gr.-28 gr. (1294 vel) 16.4K PSI
#2015-30.6 gr-34 gr. (1251 vel) 18.3K PSI
#4350-43.2 gr-48 gr. (compressed) (1183 vel) 18.2K PSI

I'll keep looking thru my shelves of reloading manuals...LOL. Give me a PM with the weight of your proposed bullet so I can tailor-make a load for this rifle. There are other loads with black powder and duplex loads available. Don't believe there is anyone else that would be using this data here...but if so,PLEASE be careful and work up your loads properly. STAY SAFE AND LOAD UP...!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I have both FFg BP and 4350. I might give a few a run w/ a 425gr bullet when I can find some. The duplex loads scare me. Is there any mention of wadding?
 

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...only duplex loads...

Thanks. I have both FFg BP and 4350. I might give a few a run w/ a 425gr bullet when I can find some. The duplex loads scare me. Is there any mention of wadding?
No mention of wadding (dackron) with the above mentioned Accurate Arms powders. However,some of the duplex loads use it. I did not include these loads due to the same cautions I feel about them. Never know...some folks try all kinds of stuff they see printed....LOL.
 

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I've used 5744 in .45-70 and had best results using wads. There was just too much room in that case to get consistent groups. I imagine it would be the same with 50-70.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I'm slowly getting back into reloading after a 30+ year part-hiatus. The .50-70 is one example. I find the current loading data interesting. In a 30 year ago reloading book, a max .30-40 load for a 150 gr bullet using IMR 4895 is 42 gr. The current max .30-40 load at https://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/rifle for the same bullet is 36 gr IMS 4895.

What changed; the science, the powder, the firearms, or concern about liability?
 

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When I load BP for my .50-70 and .45-70 I have used the expanding die with good success to compress the load.
 

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I also have a 3 groove Sharps converted carbine. I use 55 grains of Swiss 1 1/2 under a 450 grain Lee bullet. Its a nice, easy carbine load. Anything over 55 grains was causing primer flow. No filler used, just the correct compression to seat the bullet correctly.

I also do not resize the brass after firing. That way the bullet is more centered to the bore. I shoot the bullet as cast at .515".
 

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45-70 was the cartridge I cut my teeth on in reloading. I still consider myself an 'amateur' (I reload maybe 500-800 rounds a year). I wanted to stay true to the original BP loadings and did my first batch in FFG if I remember correctly. Accuracy was horrible. WIth a worn out Trapdoor, I was hitting minute of man at 25 yards. I then switched to some smokeless (I dont remember what brand) and was now shooting pie plates.
The old day legends of guys shooting a Buffalo at 1000 yards away must have been with some magical black powder, because I cannot replicate ANY kind of accuracy with BP, but my smokeless loads are 100% better.
 
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