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500 grain .45-70

grizzclawgrizzclaw Member Posts: 1,159 ✭✭
I have a whole box of 500 grain .458 bullets that I hate to just leave sit. Has anyone shot these in a contender? Do you have a load that you would recommend? I don't want to run the risk of hurting the gun. I've got a 16in unported barrel. Don't worry about recoil for me, just the gun.

Thanks, [email protected]


  • nononsensenononsense Member Posts: 10,934 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    Reloading The .45/70

    (WC= WadCutter, SWC= Semi-WadCutter, HP= Hollow Point, RN= Round Nose, FMC= Full Metal Case, FMJ= Full Metal Jacket, JHP= Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet)

    Loads for .45/70:
    (Note: These are near MAXIMUM loads, you should use 10% less to start.)
    (See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
    Bullet sizes vary from .458" for jacketed to .459" for some lead in diameter. Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.
    These loads are for MODERN guns. Make sure your gun can handle it. Powder Mfgs. Velocities in a test barrel differ from a 4 4/5" revolver by about 175 fps and from 7 1/2" by 50 fps. Some of these velocities were shot in a 10" or a 14" barrel, similar to a Thompson Contender. Recoil is severe with these near MAX loads. You should consider 10% less for starting loads. However, with something like 2400, which is really a pistol powder, too little can be as dangerous as too much. It's a big case. With the powder down at the end near the bullet, it can cause problems or even an explosion with minimum loads (or less). Be advised.

    Do not use any of this data with guns designed for black powder loads or any original TRAPDOOR rifles, EXCEPT WHERE NOTED that it is a "TRAPDOOR" Load. If condition of old gun is doubtful, even these loads could be risky. Consider using original Black Powder loads and lead bullet for old guns.

    300 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point MODERN
    H4198 33.0 gr. 1,542 FPS
    Varget 62.0 gr. 2,090 (Compressed load)
    2400 30.0 gr. 1,650
    Reloader7 50.0 gr. 2,075
    IMR 3031 43.0 gr. 1,410
    Federal Factory load 1,674 (in Marlin Rifle)
    (Hi=1692, Lo=1659, ES 33.4)
    340 grain LEAD HP TRAPDOOR (hot loads)
    A2495BR 51.3 gr. 1,628 (start)
    A2495BR 57.0 gr. 1,850 (MAX, I do not recommend)
    AA 5744 30.0 gr. 1,494 (MAX) (Also HOT for old trapdoors)
    350 grain LEAD RNFP TRAPDOOR (mild loads)
    AA5744 27.0 gr. 1,292 (in Marlin rifle)
    (Hi=1328, Lo=1264, ES 64.5)
    IMR 3031 36.0 gr. 1,152 (in Marlin rifle)
    (Hi=1260, Lo=1055, ES 205)
    IMR 3031 36.0 gr. 1,154 (in TRAPDOOR rifle)
    (Hi=1198, Lo=1122, ES 76.3)
    350 grain JSP (Jacketed Soft Point) MODERN
    H4198 32.0 gr. 1,387 FPS
    Varget 61.0 gr. 2,027 (Compressed load)
    378-385 grain Lead MODERN
    A3100 60.0 gr. 1,485
    A2495 55.0 gr. 1,935
    2400 25.0 gr. 1,340
    Reloader7 45.0 gr. 1,810
    AA 5744 28.5 gr. 1,418
    378-385 grain Lead TRAPDOOR
    A2495BR 45.0 gr. 1,479 (start)
    A2495BR 50.0 gr. 1,681 (MAX)
    A3100 50.4 gr. 1,159 (start)
    A3100 56.0 gr. 1,317 (MAX)
    400 grain Jacketed Soft Point TRAPDOOR Loads
    H4895 40.0 gr. 1,312 MAX
    H4198 30.0 gr. 1,204 MAX
    2400 22.0 gr. 954 Old Rifles*
    2400 25.0 gr. 1,260 MAXIMUM
    IMR4064 47.0 gr. 1,391 MAX
    IMR3031 34.0 gr. 750 Old Rifles*
    IMR3031 45.0 gr. 1,389 MAXIMUM
    *(minimum charges in large cases can be dangerous - caution)
    400 grain Jacketed Soft Point MODERN Loads
    H4895 52.0 gr. 1,668
    H4895 56.0 gr. 1,824 MAXIMUM
    IMR4198 36.0 gr. 1,368
    IMR4198 40.0 gr. 1,596 MAXIMUM
    Reloader7 45.0 gr. 1,677
    Reloader7 49.0 gr. 1,828 MAXIMUM
    IMR4064 51.0 gr. 1,391
    IMR4064 55.0 gr. 1,718 MAXIMUM
    IMR3031 45.0 gr. 1,553
    IMR3031 52.2 gr. 1,787 (actual in 22" bbl) Hunting load
    IMR3031 53.0 gr. 1,704 MAXIMUM
    405 grain LEAD MODERN Loads (Gas Check recommended)
    A2495 54.0 gr. 1,801 MAX
    IMR4895 45.0 gr. ---- Load from Bob Gabler ([email protected])
    A3100 60.0 gr. 1,422 MAX
    AA 5744 28.5 gr. 1,375 MAX
    AA 5744 25.7 gr. 1,250 For Cowboy Action shooting
    405 grain LEAD TRAPDOOR Loads
    IMR 4198 21.5 gr. 733 (MAX is 28.5 @ 1,195 fps)
    IMR 4198 28.0 gr. 1,125 (from [email protected])
    IMR 3031 34.0 gr. 1,061 (Max is 38.5 @ 1,304 fps)
    405 grain Jacketed Soft Point TRAPDOOR Loads
    IMR 4198 30.0 gr. 1,250
    IMR 3031 34.0 gr. 1,137 (Max is 39.0 @ 1,356 fps)
    420 grain Lead FN TRAPDOOR
    A2495BR 45.0 gr. 1,457 (start)
    A2495BR 50.0 gr. 1,656 (MAX)
    A3100 54.0 gr. 1,251 (start)
    A3100 60.0 gr. 1,422 (MAX)
    475 grain Lead FN Modern (reduce for Trapdoor)
    AA 5744 27.0 gr. 1,253
    500 grain Jacketed MODERN Loads
    A2495 46.0 gr. 1,538 MAX
    A3100 60.0 gr. 1,441 MAX
    H4198 28.0 gr. 1,082 MAX
    Varget 50.0 gr. 1,603 MAX
    500 grain LEAD MODERN Loads
    A2495 49.0 gr. 1,670 MAX
    A3100 60.0 gr. 1,493 MAX
    AA 5744 26.0 gr. 1,217 MAX

    Discussion: This is a very old cartridge. It was introduced in 1870's in the Springfield "Trapdoor" rifle. Do not use any of this data with guns designed for black powder loads or any original TRAPDOOR rifles, EXCEPT WHERE NOTED that it is a "TRAPDOOR" Load. It's best to use new brass. Some old cartridges also used corrosive primers. I recommend lead bullets and loads in the neighborhoon of 1100 to 1200 fps as maximum for TRAPDOOR rifles, unless you are sure of the gun.
    Bullseye, Unique, Reloader 7 thru 19 and 2400 are products of Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders.
    Universal, HP38, HS6, HS7, VARGET, H4198 and H4895 are products of Hodgdon Powders.
    IMR 4227, IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 are products of IMR (formerly DuPont) Powder Company.
    No.2, No. 5, No.7, No. 9, #5744, #2230, A2495, A3100, and #2460 are products of Accurate Arms Company.
    231 is a fast burning powder from Winchester.

    References: Accurate Arms Co. 1996 Reloading booklet - - Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders' Guide (1995) - - Hodgdon's Basic Reloaders Manual (1996) - - Speer Reloading Manual, #12 - - Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition - - Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. - - VihtaVuori Oy Company,reloading booklet (1995) - - Numerous magazine articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted.

  • grizzclawgrizzclaw Member Posts: 1,159 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you, I found these already. After being out today, shooting near max loads with 300 grain jhp reloads, I've decided that I'm not as tough as I thought, and I will NOT be shooting 500 grainers from my contender. I now have one swollen nuckle, and a sore elbow. It was fun, and I got the gun sighted in, but by the time I fired the last two shots I was worrying more about recoil than hitting the target. I think it's time for lighter loads already. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Thanks, [email protected]
  • nononsensenononsense Member Posts: 10,934 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    Quite honestly, I'm relieved that you have pulled back some from the 500 grainers. I spent a couple of days shooting those loaded in a 45-70 through a Ruger #3 without a pad and I suffered for a while after that experience. I know that it's an overused phrase but that combination in a Contender is a real handful.


  • earlwellmanearlwellman Member Posts: 645 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have the 16" with the tamer and have only shot as a carbine with 300 grainers. How is the recoil as a pistol? I have a 10" 30-30 that is a bit harsh, wonder if I may want to stick to the 45-70 as a carbine.
  • grizzclawgrizzclaw Member Posts: 1,159 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    A few years back I had a Contender in .45-70 w/tamer shooting 300s and 405s in factory "for all rifles" loadings. I didn't think it was as harsh as the .44 mag. I thought I reloaded some with 300s and 2400, but I'm not sure. I don't remember any of them bothering me like these that I loaded with 300s and 47.6 grains of RE7. I just got a case cleaner for Christmas, so when I get done cleaning cases I'm gonna work up something a little milder. I loaded up some 44 mag this year and made my first handgun kill on a deer at 75yds with it. I was so excited, now I want to go on a hog hunt with the .45-70. I can handle the recoil, but with these reloads I'll start flinching in no time.

    Thanks, [email protected]
  • ThrockmortonThrockmorton Member Posts: 814 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    No matter the powder charge,that big ol' slug is gonna kick like *.I am fairly used to shooting the T/C in 45-70 but I would not pull the trigger on a 500 grainer.
    I have enough aches and pains in my old hands as it is.[B)]

    Throckmorton SASS #23149
  • grizzclawgrizzclaw Member Posts: 1,159 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've got a nephew heading out to Iraq, he came over to visit last night. I showed the 16" contender pistol in .45-70 to him and he asked if it kicked much. Then he wanted to know if he could shoot it. We went outside, he wrapped 2 hands around it, and when he pulled the trigger he took 3 steps backward. My son and I laughed ourselves silly. This kid is 20yrs old and weighs 200lbs, he didn't care to shoot it again. Handcannons can be so much fun.[:D]
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    I'm looking to buy a Guide GS. I just heard that they are on 6Mo. back order now.
    Anyone here have one? I'm looking for testimonials.[:D]
    Think it's worth the wait?
  • thornbushthornbush Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited November -1
  • Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 2,527 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
    D.A.V Life Member
  • remington nutremington nut Member Posts: 961 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    i have a Magnum Research BFR in 45-70 with a 10" bbl, 2x6x32 Bushnell scope that shoot regularly. i've shot from the trapdoor loads to max loads for the #1's and mauser actions out of it, all my own handloads from different manuals, mainly the sierra book. about 40 rounds of my max is all i want in a day's shooting. the velocities i get through the 10" bbl are right at 1800 fps with a 300 gr sierra JHP. it sure is fun watching some of the brave ones think that it's not bad to shoot, and then get rocked back with a look of disbelief on their faces even after watching me shoot it first. One guy wanted to 1 hand it and shoot it, i told him that was fine by me but if the gun hits the ground he buys it and if the gun hits him i got bandages in the truck... his choice. needless to say after wrapping 2 hands around the grip he shot it once and said that was enough
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