.45-70 loads for Browning 1886 SRC

  • Last Post 16 May 2020
Gregor posted this 05 May 2020

Been spending my china flu furlough hitting LGS's.  One acquisition is a Browning 1886 SRC in .45-70, DOM 1992-1993.  Bought it because it does not have the rebounding hammer and tang safety.

Bought RCBS 3 die set, 150pcs. Starline brass, 300 gr.  Hornaday and Sierra JHP, 405gr. LFP 20-1 bullets.  I have new IMR-3031 and IMR-4198 along with the usual pistol and rifle powders.


Any recommended loads from gallery, plinking, general and heavy use?

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Wheel Weights posted this 05 May 2020

400 gr cast PB, spg lube, 55 gr Alliant Black. Smell, smoke and easy clean up.

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RicinYakima posted this 05 May 2020

The 405, if big enough, and 24 grains of A2400 is a standard target load for the 45/70. BP velocity and shoot all day.

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Dale53 posted this 05 May 2020

I have a bit of history with the 45/70. Frank Siefer, an old friend of mine (sadly, gone to the Range in the Sky), put me on to a late model Marlin with conventional rifling. I found it very easy to work up a load after I made some necessary changes in the Marlin. It was issued with a curved steel butt  plate. When I got it, it was in the hot summer time. The only loads I had were full case black powder/Reloader 7 Duplex loads with the a 500 grain bullet. I was wearing a "T" shirt and when I was finished trying my rifle out for the first time, my right shoulder was bloody! Yeah, RIGHT!angry

I immediately drove home, did a bit of online shopping, drove to the nearest purveyor of quality recoil pads and picked up a good one. I got on the phone, called a stockmaker friend of mine, and IMMEDIATELY took my newly acquired 45/70 and drove to his home/shop. I knew my preferred measurements, he cut off the stock, and installed the new pad.

After a few days of healing, I went to the range with the exact same loads and fired my new gun. It was a PLEASURE to shoot.

A couple of my buddies suggested I had done a BAD thing. "Think about re-sale", etc. Me, I knew I had done the RIGHT thing.

That became a very nice and practical rifle and should work for the largest of big game. After all, the Bison were nearly wiped  out in the west with the 45/70 and equivalent rifles, etc.

At the time, Ohio did not permit modern rifles in the taking of deer. We now had LOTS of deer, many farmers would be HAPPY to have a hunter harvest any number of them, but no modern rifles were allowed. Now, that in itself, meant little to me as I was quite happy to harvest my deer with my .44 magnum handguns. Frankly, in the wooded country I hunted in here in SW Ohio, I didn't need anything else. 

However, I really wanted to try the 45/70 on deer. I had obtained a Lyman Gould 457122 hollow point mould (about 330 grs in my alloy) and had a black powder equivalent load with RL-7. RL-7 was a near perfect powder for the purpose. It is about the speed of 4198 but it measures much better. That's what I used for Duplex loads in my single shot rifles in .40/65, .45/70, and .45/90, so I had plenty on hand. I had no problem getting under 2", on demand" at 100 yards with a low powered scope on the rifle.

About the time I lost the vision in my right (shooting) eye, Ohio opened up deer hunting to straight wall rifle cases. Remember that old saying, "Timing is everything", well it certainly applied to my 45/70's. Yeah, I also had a Ruger #3 in .45/70, complete with a new recoil pad and scope all set for the new deer season.angry

No complaints, tho', I did learn a good bit. I eventually sold nearly all of my long guns, including all of my 45/70's. Pardon me, please, while I wipe a tear away (must be the spring allergies, huh?134)...



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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 05 May 2020

plinking ? ... i hear my name ... for the past three years i have been plinking at " up to " 50 yards with a ridiculously light load .. but which still bounces pop cans real good ..

12 gr. unique behind a Lee cast 230 grain for the Ruger Old Army ...  not sure this would feed in some magazine rifles, it looks like a big 22 CB ... but 

it makes my flyweight Ruger3 tolerable ... make that actually Fun ! ... not one " scope ring " eye ...


and yes, i originally assumed this would be a very silly thing to do .. maybe it was, because it does make me grin .

oh, those Browning 86 would help anybody get through this bizarre time ...  ; i got to shoot one a few years ago ... with full loads ...


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BigMan54 posted this 05 May 2020

That SRC is almost as bad as touching off a #3 with a load created for a Siamese Mauser. It's only for the young and stupid. The really stupid will try another round. Don't ask me how I know.

While I know the 1886 is supposed to be rated for the mid-level loads, I found the lighter Trap-Door to be a more comfortable choice.

With the Hornady 300gr JHP - I used 45grs of IMR3031, with the Lyman #457191 (305grs 20-1) - 50grs of IMR3031. These loads are not even max for Trap-Doors. But gave very good accuracy in My BRN 1886 SRC. 

It was a fun gun while it lasted, but sent it down the road. 


Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Brodie posted this 05 May 2020


Your plinkin loads for the 45/70 sound a lot like what I used to shoot in the .458 Win.  I didn't have a mould that would cast a bullet near 300 gr. large enough to be accurate, but the Hornady 300 gr. half jacket in front of 45gr. of 4227 and the rest of the case filled with Cream of Wheat.  That load was accurate and easy on the shoulder.  The 350 Hornady and IMR 3031 didn't assault me any more than my 06' , but it sure hit the target a lot harder.


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Bud Hyett posted this 06 May 2020

For Marlin 1895 in .45-70 and .45-90 rifles, I eventually used Reloder #7 for light to heavy loads. I first  tried Unique, IMR 3031, 2400, etc., but ended up using Reloder #7 for all uses. Any of these powders shot well, but I was trying for one powder to use. 

For plinking bullets, used the RCBS 45-300-FN and 45-325-FNU molds, the lesser recoil is noticed immediately. Wheelweight alloy for the lead. 

I also have a Uberti 1876 Winchester .45-60 which I use the same setup. The problem is these light loads bring  so much enjoyment, the lead goes down range in pounds even with the light bullet. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Wheel Weights posted this 06 May 2020

Round balls rolled in Lee lube are also fun. Trail Boss > card wad > Coarse cornmeal > Round ball > light crimp.

You can load up to 3 balls in a 45-70 case. Home defense anyone ? I shot 10 3 ball loads at a "man" target @ 50 yards. All 30 hit "him". OUCH !



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Gregor posted this 06 May 2020

Thanks for all the reply's! 

With the 24.0grs. of Hercules/Alliant 2400, is a filler required between the powder and bullet? 

I have been doing a crash course on the .45-70 reloading, looking through my CD's on The Fouling Shot and the Cast Bullet Journals and various websites.  Have a shelf of loading manuals that I have been reading over.  Certainly an almost overwhelming abundance of information. 



Wish I had discovered them sooner.  Rather extensive selection of bullets.  Can try some styles before you decide on a mould.


Been dealing with Matt Hoppe for a time, always fast shipping and excellent bullets.

Appreciate the effort of the posters, nice to add to the collective mind and data base of the web with correct information.

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DB404 posted this 08 May 2020

I bought my Browning 1886 SRC from Great Northern Guns in Anchorage after looking at both the ‘86 and the Marlin ‘95. The ‘86 was much smoother to operate than the Marlin. My main interest in it was as a walking around gun for when I was out in the bush (I didn’t live in Anchorage) and there were always brownies in the area. The load I settled on for that use was one out of Guns Magazine, from an article reviewing the 1886 SRC by Holt Bodddison, in which he used a 400 grain bullet over 50 grains of R#7. My loads were made with the 400 grain Kodiak Bullets bonded core bullets, CCI #200 primers and new R-P brass. Velocity from the 22” barrel averaged 2,050 fps for 3,700 ftlbs of energy. A slip on recoil pad was added to the carbine. Bench technique was not the hunched over style usually seen at the range but was modeled after what I’d read about how British gun makers sighted in large calibre doubles. I used an elevated rest that allowed me to sit erect and to hold the carbine like I would shoot it in the field. With this position recoil was easily dealt with. We’re fresh out of brown bears where I live now, so I will be working up loads for a 450 grain cast LBT bullet I had Veral cut for me dang near 20 years ago.

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BigMan54 posted this 08 May 2020

I have never used fillers, but have heard they can cause "ringing" of the chamber. 

I did see an 1873 carbine with a ringed chamber at a gun show. Seller claimed they were cut that way to ease extraction. I  said nothing and moved on.



Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Bud Hyett posted this 09 May 2020

I fear most plant-based fillers, possibly irrationally. My fear is most of this type filler is hygroscopic and will harden in time by slowly drawing moisture from the air. This presents a hardened mass built over time hat could raise pressures.

If one is assured they will fire the rounds in the next few days, these fillers can work. But, to load ammunition that will sit for a time raises the risk of these fillers hardening and raising pressures. 

This is why I have gone to Reloder #7 for light to heavy cast loads and a full case for Black Powder loading. Light is 34.0 grains with 300/325 grain bullets and heavy is 50.0 grains with 405 gain bullets. I do not find the light loads to be position sensitive. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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45 2.1 posted this 09 May 2020

I fear most plant-based fillers, possibly irrationally. My fear is most of this type filler is hygroscopic and will harden in time by slowly drawing moisture from the air. This presents a hardened mass built over time hat could raise pressures.

I wouldn't consider the air in a case to be the main supply of moisture for a hydroscopic filler. It's main problem is drawing moisture out of the powder and changing it's burning rate to a harsher condition. That has some serious consequences...................

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DB404 posted this 09 May 2020

In my reloading book I have the following note, that the black powder pressure of 45-70 per saami is set at 28,000 psi; black powder pressures and velocity can be achieved using slow burning smokeless powders such as 4350 or 4831 when loaded to fill the case up to the base of the bullet. Use Federal 215 magnum primer to avoid hang fires. Also works with plain base cast bullets of 400-420 grains if alloy is appropriate to velocity. IIRC, that info was from Dave Scovill. Using this method of loading to original velocity and pressure avoids fillers and wads, so there is no worry about ringed or bulged chambers.

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DB404 posted this 09 May 2020

Don’t mean to hog the forum, it’s just that your quest has gotten me thinking of my own ‘86 SRC which hasn’t been out of the safe in far too long. Which got me looking through my reloading info for loads. I found two pamphlets published by Hercules in 1985 and 1988. The one from ‘85 has separate loads for the 1873 Trapdoor Springfield held to less than 16,500 c.u.p., plus separate loads for the 1886 Winchester which top out at 25,100 c.u.p. Both groups load the same 3 bullets, a 300 gr Hornady hollow point, a 385 cast lead gc, and the 405 gr Remington jacketed soft point. In this pamphlet, only 2 powders are shown for the 45-70, 2400 and Reloder 7. The 1988 pamphlet adds one load for Reloder 12 with the 400 grain Speer FN jacketed slug to the data for 2400 and Reloder 7. If anyone wants the loads listed in the pamphlets let me know and I will post them. All the best - Dave

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Gregor posted this 10 May 2020

Ordered more brass online and loading up an additional 50 rds. with various powders.  Hope to head to the club later this week.

I appreciate all of the contributions.  It is good to update the information on the web for others to positively benefit.applause

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Gregor posted this 14 May 2020

Took advantage of the 60 degree sunny weather in NE Ohio/NW Pennsylvania to head out to 1 of the 2 gun clubs I belong to. I set up my Oehler 35P chronograph and shot at the 50 yd. target backstop.

The Good-

Carbine shot point of aim at 50yds. with the fine carbine sights. Was concerned about sight picture due to progressive line bi-focals, but was a non issue.  Functioned fine and shot well. Wasn't concerned with accuracy as much as not hitting the skyscreens.

The Bad-

Bullet- Magma 45-70-405 FPT BB 20-1 lead/tin from commerical caster. Single lube groove. .458" sized
Case- Starline, new.
Primer- CCI-200, LR
Lee FCD used.
Oehler 35P set at 15 yards.
.457" bore

Load #1- IMR-3031, 38.5grs., 1335 fps. 2-3 inches.

Load #2- Accurate 5744, 29.5grs., 1411 fps. First round shot ok, last 9 KEYHOLED.

Load #3- Alliant Red Dot, 13.0grs., 1128 fps. C E "Ed" Harris' "The Load". Shot good with no keyholing.

Load #4- Alliant 2400, 24.0grs., 1324 fps. 2-3 inches, shot well.

Load #5- Alliant RL-7, 36.5grs., ?fps.

Shot 7 rds, 2 were squibs that stuck a bullet in the barrel. The case  fired and sounded as if there was a bad primer, just a "click", noticed no bullet in the case when I cycled the action. Tapped out the bullet with a M-1 Garand cleaning rod. Dumped unburned powder into the action, which I wad able to clear enough to continue.  Fired 3 more standing, then the last one squibbed and stuck a bullet. This time the unburned powder jammed up the action to the point the lever and locking bolts wouldn't return to battery, ending my day.

Over all, it is a learning experience and am actually pleased with my acquisition. Once I get things sorted out.

Checked out the barrel with my Lyman Borescope when I got home.  Some carbon fouling in the first 1/3 of the barrel and lead in the throat area, but not as bad as I expected.  Ran Ed's Red in it then a brass brush wrapped in a section of copper "Chore Boy" pot scrubber.  Reapplied Ed's Red and letting it soak.


What would cause the Accurate 5744 load to keyhole?  Was the velocity too high for the soft alloy and lube?  That powder is supposed to be ideal for this application.

Why did the RL-7 squib? 

My shooting buddy, Bob M., has a Marlin 1895 from 1972 .45/70 and had a hangfire with 34.0grs and a 405gr. lead bullet.  Is RL-7 position sensitive?  I even tipped the barrel up to place the powder closer to the primer. 

Appreciate the posts and look forward to your comments.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 14 May 2020

... good report ...  reads just like " real life " ... ( g ) ...

did you clean between loads #2 and #3 ? ..  if not  >>> if #2 was leading and left a leaded barrel why did #3 shoot so good ? ...  so * maybe * the tumbling wasn't due to hot-load-leading ? ...

or did your " correct load " #3 ... first shot de-lead the barrel ? 


notice i didn't have any answers .. just more questions ... heh ...

when i work up my plinker loads, i go by my " 22 rimfire " guide ... 

with my sorta-soft scrap alloys with no gas check  i stick to 1350 fps and use a fairly fast and clean burning powder ... ...there are various schemes to get another 100-200 fps, but that is very little return considering the hassle of random failures ...  works on Thursday, doesn't work on Saturday in front of my shooter buddies ...

if i want 1800+ fps i buy the good $tuff alloys ( hardball 92-2-6 ) and attach a gas check and use a medium burning powder for that case.


 just some trivia, and i am especially interested in any observations on Re7 in the 45-70 ... i havent tried that yet but have a full jug that i was considering for some shoulder-busting loads with 450 gr cast.




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Brodie posted this 15 May 2020


I used to shoot a 458 Win Mag a lot.  One of the things I found was that tumbling those cases in walnut media would leave some with a granule of walnut hull stuck in the flash hole of the primer.  If this case was loaded and shot I got a squib that would push the bullet into the throat and start of the rifling where it had to be driven out.  This was true whether it was a  cast or jacketed bullet.  I cured it by using an awl to push any and all suspected granules out of the the flash hole.  That was the only caliber I have ever had that problem with and to boot it was interment until I started checking every flash hole.  I think it was due not to any aberration in the components, but to the varying size of granules of walnut hull. 



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tlkeizer posted this 15 May 2020


I stopped plugging flash holes with media by cleaning  brass before resizing, and tapping the case on the bench after cleaning and before sizing.  It is amazing how much media can come out of a "clean" case. 

I haven't had any bullets tumbling for quite a while so don't have any particulars on what I did to prevent it other than shoot closer than 150 yards, but then I am using original trapdoors (1873 with lined barrel and 1884 all original).  I have predominately shot black powder under 405 grain hollow base, 420 gain and 500 grain flat base bullets.  I have started using smokeless powders, but keep loads mild.  Lately I have been shooting some 258 grain semi-wadcutters from a friends mold and have had one real good result.  I will look up the data and furnish it in a few days.  I will also look up my results with 5744.  Oh, for all my cast I use SPG lube.

Unfortunately most of my shooting and other data files transferred to the new computer will not open.  I will set up the old computer off-line and see if I can get data out that way.

I have a muzzle loader "bean shoot" on Saturday at a friend's place, so may not attempt the data opening until early next week.

Please stay healthy all.


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Gregor posted this 16 May 2020

Received a call from Beartooth Bullets Friday 5/15/20 regarding an order that I had placed with them.


(Have had previous positive experiences with them, bought the book " BEARTOOTH BULLETS Technical Guide" by J. Marshall Stanton and their fire lapping kit, which worked wonders.)

Lady wanted to confirm that they wanted to change the sizing diameter by them from my requested size, .458" to .460".  After some friendly banter, she had me talk to Marshall about this.

He reviews your order and the information they request about the firearm you are using.  We talked about the issues posted here and his recommendation and experience was as follows.

1.  His Browning 1886's .45/70 have a larger diameter but a shorter length throat  that tapers to a smaller bore diameter.  He believes that there is a fitment issue at the beginning of the bore that caused some of the keyholing and that a larger diameter would help.

2.  The  Magma 45-70-405 FPT BB is a difficult bullet to dial in, with the large bevel base and small, single grease groove.  I usually add tumble lube with BLL, alox/xlox+Johnson Liquid Wax, but didn't this time.  Not sure if that is an issue.

3.  Some of the loads that shot "more better" with the faster burning powders might have bumped up the base of the bullet to fill the throat, whereas the slower powders might not have.

4.  RL-7 is one of the best powders for maximum to -20% loads for the .45/70, but can exhibit erratic behavior in reduced loadings. 

We discussed loads and such and had, to me, a very enjoyable and productive conversation.

Look forward to receiving his bullets to continue testing. 

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