45-90 thoughts and suggestions

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Chukar, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Chukar

    Chukar SILVER SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    Greetings folks. Unfortunately, I have a fascination with obscure calibers. I have been digging on the interweb about the 45-90 cartridge and the newer Winchester 1886 rifles. I haven't found a lot of useful information about this rifle and this caliber. I do know that it's challenging to find ammo and reloading data for.

    For those with much more knowledge that myself; what are your thoughts, reloading for (with smokeless powder) and finally would you take this rifle/cartridge to Africa? What would you feel comfortable hunting with this combination?

    I would prefer that this stay on track with the above mentioned rifle/caliber. I am aware of other rifles and caliber that would perform as well or better.
     

  2. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Enthusiast

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    I would say you would have to reload. As far as reloading data, what is max pressure for the cartridge, and the rifle? What barrel length?
    You may have to develop your own loads. I have done it for other cartridges, but I do not feel comfortable enough to teach somebody how to do that.
     
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  3. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Enthusiast

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    chucar,
    you have to be careful with the 45/90 for the following reason.
    there are 2 cartridges now called the 45/90. and both have an identical case.
    one is the 45/90 winchester, and the other is the 45/2.4" sharps.the winchester version was meant for repeaters and was an express round with light bullets at higher speed.
    rifling twists reflected this.
    they were loaded with groove diameter grease groove bullets and black powder originally.
    the sharps version was actually loaded with 100 gns of black powder, and a 550 gn bore diameter paper patched bullet seated very shallow in the case and long overall length, making it incapable of feeding through a repeater.
    it is a single shot loading needing a faster twist than winchester repeaters.
    it was sharps last development in long range target rifle cartridges.
    the winchester round was loaded with 82 to 90 gns of powder depending on bullet, 300, 350, and 405 gn.
    this was a black powder attempt to get flatter trajectory than the 45/70 for north american game.
    loading with smokeless the 2.4" case has no practical advantage over the 45/70, as the lever action rifles suited to it are quite light, and even the 45/70 can hurt you when a 405 gn bullet reaches 2000 fps.
    this is particularly so when using the curved buttplates commonly available on some leverguns.
    45/90 quality cases are readily available from starline, and norma basic or 3.25" can be shortened but might need neck thinning for proper function.
    jamison used to have it too, but they seem to have dissolved.
    bruce.
     
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  4. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    I currently have a 45/90 sharps that is fun to shoot and mostly use black powder or 5744 and match the BP speeds and pressure levels. However @crs should chime in as he has taken his 45/90 levergun on DG safari and has experience with the platform and reloading with smokless powders.
     
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  5. crs

    crs AH Enthusiast

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    Chukar,
    Been there done that, even in Africa. Let me get back here after killing a few rats.
     
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  6. Chukar

    Chukar SILVER SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for the responses folks, I appreciate it.

    CRS, looking forward to your input.
     

  7. crs

    crs AH Enthusiast

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    Curses!!! I hate the software of this forum!
    I just lost my response with links to reloading data, pix of 1886 and other BS. This has happened multiple times in the past.
    So, please excuse me until tomorrow when I will try to recreate my post in a MSWord doc and then copy it into this forum.
     

  8. Chukar

    Chukar SILVER SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    Absolutely!
     

  9. crs

    crs AH Enthusiast

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    PM sent.
     

  10. fsrmg1

    fsrmg1 AH Veteran

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    I've had three Browning 1886 45-70 Carbines. The first I had converted to 45-90, which was relatively simple, with the rechamber and a little modification to the loading gate to take the longer rounds. Due to the cartridge lifter design, I was not able to use an OAL of more than 2.76" or so if I wanted 100% reliability with all the bullets I used.

    Load wise, I had a look at 45-70 data in the 40k psi range with bullets seated out for the longer OAL. Lyman and Speer are a good place to start. I used Starline brass and 400 gr Speers, along with 405 gr Remington and Woodleighs. All shot exceptionally well in my rifle. Velocity wise, I was getting near 2100 fps using Rx7. Case life was only 4-5 firings at that level. My practice loads were using Sierra 300 gr in the 1900-2000 fps range and they seemed to print in the same location if I remember right, with excellent case life.

    I did notice that if you are going to only be shooting 400+ gr projectiles, you could do the same loading gate conversation, but just long throat the rifle so you can just use 45-70 cases seated to an OAL of 2.76". With lighter bullets, there just isn't enouph bullet shank seated in the case at that longer OAL length. This is how I converted my other two Brownings.

    If you want to primarily shoot 300-350 grainers, the 45-90 will give you a definite case capacity advantage over the 45-70. If you are going to mainly shoot 400+ gr, there is no advantage when both are seated out to the same length.

    Note that in both cases I used Lee factory crimp dies, so didn't worry about crimping groove location to determine OAL.

    My next project is trying out my new Turnbull 1886 TD in 50-110 I had them make up for me. I only just received it, so that will be a separate article.

    Happy shooting.
     
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  11. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Enthusiast

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    interesting points.
    a further consideration is that most of the bullets suitable for tube mags are designed for 45/70 lowest load (black powder) velocities.
    boost them up to 2000 fps for 405 gn or faster equivalent for lighter bullets and they might well turn into little grenades.
    possibly still ok for small deer side on, but not much more.
    the woodleigh bullet might have more to offer here.
    the other option is cast bullets, and do some terminal testing for alloy hardness.
    bruce.
     

  12. fsrmg1

    fsrmg1 AH Veteran

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    If I was going after seriously large game and using jacketed bullets, Woodleigh, Hawk or Kodiak (my favourite) would be in order. For cast, I've had very good luck with the RCBS 400 gr FNGC. They come out at about 415 gr with my alloy checked and lubed. They are very accurate with no leading up to about 2000 fps (with Rx7). Never tried it any faster as it did what I wanted it to do and was accurate.
     

  13. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    You guys must stop this!!

    No I have to go and have a look at this Kodiak 45-70 Double hammer gun at this old gun shop I know again!

    Been there for a while @ US$3000(brand new).

    Will make a great walk and stalk and pig gun!
     

  14. crs

    crs AH Enthusiast

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    lvw,
    You are correct, the .45-70 or 90 makes an affordable and fun double rifle for hogs/boar/pigs . Even a 300 grain .458 pill at 1550 fps will get their attention!
     

  15. crs

    crs AH Enthusiast

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    lvw - right on! The average .458 velocity and weight pill is effective on boars,hogs,pigs, etc.

    [​IMG]
     

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