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45-70 Reloading

06 Dec 2021
@ 04:31 pm (GMT)

Michael Evartt

I’ve been a long time reader but this is my first technical post. I recently got into the reloading game and hope to get some help. I am reloading for an 1895 Marlin GBL with 18.5” barrel. Without going too in depth, I did some initial load development with Hornady 300 gr HP, Federal once fired brass (factory loads), WLR primers, seated at 2.55” COAL with charges of H4198 from 51 to 55 grains. My shooting setup is less than ideal but I’ve noticed better accuracy as my powder charges have increased. At 54 gr (best accuracy so far) I had a muzzle velocity average of 2173 FPS (approx 40-50 FPS per grain increase in powder). This is about expected from 24” barrel Hodgdon load data. I plan to proceed load development with caution but I am concerned that my velocity from a 18” barrel is roughly equivalent to 24” barrel velocity. As a new reloader, should I expect to stop at approximately 2250-2300 FPS in my short barrel? I have not seen any pressure signs but have read that the 45-70 Marlin doesn’t show traditional pressure signs at roughly 40K CUP. I’ve followed advice from Nathan’s reloading book but am cautious due to the variation in 1895 Lever Action reloading data. Any advice is greatly appreciated.


10 Dec 2021
@ 06:59 am (GMT)

Jonathan Kitterman

Re: 45-70 Reloading
I just looked at Sierra Ed 5. H4198 topped at 54.3Grains @ 2200 fps in 22 inch barrel
data for a 14 inch single shot pistol topped at 43.4 grains @ 1650 fps. I would guess that nobody would want to fire a full load out of a pistol so this is just loaded down.

You might just be getting an efficient power burn by 18.5 inches and there is nothing realistic to gain going longer.

I know of no studies of cutting down 45-70 barrels inch by inch to see velocity loss to really check.
13 Dec 2021
@ 09:52 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 45-70 Reloading
Hi Michael, to begin with the ADI reloading data shows a start load of 55gr and a max load of 60gr 2207 (H4198) for the 1895 Marlin. Please see website knowledge base - load data pdfs. Note that H4198 is made by ADI under the product name ADI 2207.

ADI 2207 gets most of its burning done within 20". It loses around 25fps per inch docked below 20" but only gains about 15fps if going longer than 20" barrel length.

In real world testing (as opposed to manual / computer gen data), a load of 60gr will give around 2300fps from an 18.5" barrel. Your rifle does seem quite quick and you will probably hit peak capacity as you say, at around 2300fps and probably with about 57gr. Just keep an eye on your primers / primer pockets.

Hope that helps a bit.
13 Dec 2021
@ 02:46 pm (GMT)

Michael Evartt

Re: 45-70 Reloading
I appreciate the responses. Since this is my first reloading venture I just wanted to be extra cautious with a lever gun. This should help a lot when I start reloading the Hornady 325 gr FTX and Speer 400 gr FP.
14 Dec 2021
@ 06:01 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: 45-70 Reloading
well all I will add to this....Black Powder and Duplex loads are one heck of a lot of fun.(but VERY messy)
of all the cartridges Ive loaded for over the years...this one is by far the easiest. big heavy flat nose cast projectiles ...and away you go....lots of fun and hit hard too.


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