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Discussion Starter #1
Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Marsh, Funny you should ask, I've got the Pedersoli replica just last spring, and after the first few times I shot it I was ready to relegate to hanging on the wall. Then I got the book by Spence & Pat Wolf, "Loading Cartridges for the Original .45-70 Springfield Rifle & Carbine" Once I found out it was designed to shoot a hollow base bullet sized to .459, with 70 grains of compressed BP, it became a tack driver, I've hit shotgun poppers 36" tall by 12" wide at over 300 yards. I learned quite a bit, for example you can't use any antimony in your lead mixture if you expect good accuracy, I've found that a 40-1 pure lead-tin, seems to work the best, for both the 405 grain and the 500 grain mil-spec load. Also a blow tube is absolutely necessary for continued accurate shooting. I use a 30" drop tube in dropping the powder and enlarged the primer hole to .096, I use the special dies I purchased from Pat Wolf, they were pretty cheap. Sounds like a lot of work, but man is that a fun gun. If ya have any further questions fire away. RR
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Hi River runner and Marsh.
I dont have one but I hane a friend that shoots one.He told me he read that they shot the hollow base billets with lard in the base and seated on cotton.
Marsh I didn't answer your question on the ring post on regards what I'm going to do with the rifle.
I have a 2.6 reamer comming,I 'm going to cut off 4" and rechamber it to . 2.6 a 30" barel is long enough.That 3 1/4 is just to big,not much fun to shoot with the heavy bullets.Lp.
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Marsh

What type of rifling does your Pedersoli have and what is the grove diameter?

I have an original TD made in 1888 that someone rebuilt into a "Marksman" style rifle, I picked it up at a gunshow for a very reasonable price. It has a Lyman globe front sight with spirit level and I put a Pedersoli long range rear sight on it. It makes for a really nice long range rifle. The rear sight base also works for an Ideal tang sight that has enough elevation for shooting out to 450 yards. I use that sight for hunting and plinking. I also have a couple H&Rs but I mostly use smokeless loads in them.

Reason for the post is about Wolfe's book and his loads. I have no problem with Wolf's book, very good indeed and an excellent place to start when reloading for TDs. However, Wolf's intent was to DUPLICATE the arsenal loads. Something which he did quite well and when following the instructions in his book anyone else can also. TDs give excellent service and very reasonable accuracy. But since the time the arsenals developed those loads in the 1870's and early 1880's much more has been learned about shooting cast bullets accurately, even when using black powder. After all we are talking about shooting cast bullets here.

I have been shooting cast bullets since 1961 as my first reloads were with cast bullets in a 30-30. After successfully duplicating Wolf's methods and producing 1873 and 1881 loads some years back I wondered if sizing the Lee 405 gr bullet and the Rapine 500 gr bullets down to .459 from .464 and .462 respectfully was condusive to the best accuracy. With Wolf's loads I was getting 5-8 inch 10 shot groups at 200 yards with my target TD. The barrel of my TD is .461 and I knew from all my other experience shooting cast bullets that "bumping up" bullets to fit the bore/groove diameter of the barrel is not condusive to the best accuracy.

I then hand lubed 10 of the 500 gr unsized Rapine bullets [cast 1-20, SA settled on 1-16 as the best] as they dropped from the mould and loaded them as per Wolf's instructions. The 10 shot group at 200 yards was 4.45", the best group I had fired so far. I then pondered whether crimping was really necessary. With the larger .462 bullets I made a new expander for the Lee die that leaves .003 tension on .462 bullets. I again loaded 10 of the unsized Rapine 500 gr bullets but adjusted seating depth and compression so the driving band just touched the lands. No crimp was applied. At 200 yards these 10 shots went into 3.78".

I was a happy camper getting sub 2 MOA groups at 200 yards with a TD to say the least. After shooting up that batch of 1-20 alloy I was wondering if a harder alloy would do as well. I had also got an H die for the Lyman Lubri-sizer honed out. It sizes and lubes the bullets at .4615". I cast up some of the Rapine 500 gr bullets out of straight WW. They weighed 498 gr. These were sized lubed and loaded with the same load as above. The 10 shots at 200 yards was again sub 2 MOA. I have continued to use WWs as they are readily available and shoot as well [always sub 2 MOA for 10 shots] as tin/lead alloy [tried 1-30, 1-20 and 1-16] with BP loads.

Granted, WW bullets do not "bump up" well in BP cartridges and will not shoot well if sized .459 as per Wolf's instructions. But we know that "bumping up" is not conducive to the best accuracy. I have used these harder bullets in several other TDs and a couple Sharps with equally good success. However, you need a mould that drops the bullets of WWs at grove diameter or preferably to fit the throat. The Rapine 460500 mould as well as the Lee 459-405 HB mould do this. One can occasionally find a Lyman 457124 that will drop harder alloy bullets at .460 from the mould also. With these moulds harder alloys can be used with equal success to the tin/lead alloys. I have shot some really amazing groups at 200 yards with the harder bullets but I claim my rifle to mostly be a 1 1/2 MOA rifle, with me shooting it anyway as my eyes aren't what they used to be. The Pedersoli rear sight and the Lyman Front with an aperture insert really help also.

Wolf's other techniques of drilling the flash holes, powder compression, etc work quite well and are, in my opinion, the way to go. However, I have found that to get the most accuracy out of the TD a crimp is not necessary [as long as there is sufficient neck tension on the bullet], a bullet will shoot the best if sized to grove or throat diameter instead of "bumping up" and WWs or harder alloys shoot as well as tin/lead alloy if sized correctly.

BTW; I have never had any improvement in accuracy using a blow tube with a TD when using a bullet of arsenal design (any of the three I've mentioned), subsequently I haven't used one for years.

Larry Gibson
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Larry, My pedersoli, is supposed to be a very close copy of the original right down to the 3 lands and grooves, from memory I believe my grooves slugged to .4625. I have the 33" barrel. I found a web sight you might be interested in www.researchpress.co.uk/targets/sandyhook.htm "45-70 at Two Miles: The Sandy Hook Tests of 1879". It was reprinted from "Rifle" magazine December of 1977. Some pretty interesting stuff, using mil-spec 405 grain and 500 grain mil-spec. My TD shoots moa all the way out to 300 yards, as that's as far as I've been able to shoot so far, using the old recipe. RR :D
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

River runner

Which model Pedersoli TD do you have? Sounds like a very nice rifle. Mind sharing info on your load and bullet?

You might give some thought to "the Pedersoli Cahllenge" as good as your rifle shoots. It's listed on their web site. Requires 4 consecutive 5 shot groups to be fired in one day with all groups under MOA. I tried it once with the first two of the groups being under MOA then blew the fifth shot of the third group out into 1.5 MOA. Haven't had a chance to try it again as I been busy with other things, will get around to it though.

Also ordered a Pedersoli Off Mdl front sight (Beech) for my Off Mdl H&R but it's supposed to take a month to get. That should just about make it close to an original set up with the M1879 rear sight added and the pistol grip from the LBH. It's getting to be my most shot rifle.

Larry Gibson



"]Larry, My pedersoli, is supposed to be a very close copy of the original right down to the 3 lands and grooves, from memory I believe my grooves slugged to .4625. I have the 33" barrel. I found a web sight you might be interested in www.researchpress.co.uk/targets/sandyhook.htm "45-70 at Two Miles: The Sandy Hook Tests of 1879". It was reprinted from "Rifle" magazine December of 1977. Some pretty interesting stuff, using mil-spec 405 grain and 500 grain mil-spec. My TD shoots moa all the way out to 300 yards, as that's as far as I've been able to shoot so far, using the old recipe. RR :D[/quote]
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Those nice old Trapdoors!!

LMG, I've got the Infantry rifle by Pedersoli, it had an exceptional trigger right out of the box, and just gets better; Mine will hold 3 shot groups out to 300 yards right at 3" on a good day if I do my part, I've had raggedy one hole groups at 100 yards. I cast my bullets in a Rapine HB mold and size them to .459, I way the bullets I'm using to shoot groups, a 40-1 will drop a 403 grain bullet, I use SPG lube, and 70 grains of 3F weighed and dropped from a 30" drop tube. The flash hole is drilled out to .096 and a Federal Magnum primer is used, I use the special dies designed by Spence Wolf, and trim all cases to 2.100 using WW cases. I use a light taper crimp just forward of the front driving band. It's very important that no antimony be used in your lead mixture. Pull up that web site I posted and you'll realize the potential of this rifle. RR
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

River Runner

I've been aware of the Sandy Hook article since it was printed in the AR, read it back then and have read it several times since. You're having very good results with Wolf's recipie. Mine prefers the Rapine 500 gr service bullet and like I said in an earlier post I cast them harder (with antimony) and get the best accuracy by not depending on "bumping up". Wolf's method is an excellent way of duplicating the service loads and if one is depending on "bumping up" then Wolf is correct about not using antimony. I have also quit using a drop tube with Goex Cartridge when the Lee compression die is used prior to seating the bullet. I've found no change in accuracy with or without the use of the tube. 10 shot strings over an Oehler 35P chronograph show no difference either. I use 68 gr in fire formed and necksized R-P brass with the flash holes drilled out to .096. The Fed mag primers are a must. The bullets are visually inspected and then weighed. I used Wolf's lube of beeswax and olive oil.

Had a tumbler modified by Shaver with a sear notch just aft of the safety notch. Lock time was very quick and the hammer had enough momentum to reliably fire the rifle but didn't jar it as much as the regular hammer throw does. However, it broke. Going to get another tumbler and modify it. Shaver had annealed it to drill and tap a set screw hole for sear engagement adjustment and reheat treated it. It cracked through the drilled hole. It really worked nice so I'll try another with just the notch cut without the set screw. I'm looking at the last 10 shot group I fired at 200 yards before it broke. It measures 2.7 inches with 5 shots in a nice 1 inch group. Even with the aperture front and rear sights I'm not sure my eyes "hold" any better, but I keep trying. Since I put the regular 3 position tumbler back in I haven't shot a 10 shot group under 3 inches. That heavy hammer thwack makes a difference over a long string.

There's considerable difference between the hammer spring tension of my original and that of my H&Rs, they are less. Have you compared yours to an original? I've also considered lessoning the spring tension on mine, still have the long lock time (hammer throw) and the momentum though.

Larry Gibson

River runner said:
LMG, I've got the Infantry rifle by Pedersoli, it had an exceptional trigger right out of the box, and just gets better; Mine will hold 3 shot groups out to 300 yards right at 3" on a good day if I do my part, I've had raggedy one hole groups at 100 yards. I cast my bullets in a Rapine HB mold and size them to .459, I way the bullets I'm using to shoot groups, a 40-1 will drop a 403 grain bullet, I use SPG lube, and 70 grains of 3F weighed and dropped from a 30" drop tube. The flash hole is drilled out to .096 and a Federal Magnum primer is used, I use the special dies designed by Spence Wolf, and trim all cases to 2.100 using WW cases. I use a light taper crimp just forward of the front driving band. It's very important that no antimony be used in your lead mixture. Pull up that web site I posted and you'll realize the potential of this rifle. RR
 

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Curious

LMG--What is the barrel length of your Trapdoor, and what kind of velocity and SD are you getting across your Oehler with the Rapine 500 grain bullet? Thanks, rdnck.
 

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Re: Curious

rdnck

Barrel is 29.5 inches long. I took 2.5 inches off it's original length to clean up the damage done from improper use of cleaning rod and a couple pits. Bore still had some very minor pitting here and there but it doesn't lead up at all. Not bad for a 120 year old barrel! Last 10 shot string chronographed with the Oehler had an average velocity of 1133 fps. The ES (Extreme Spread) was 13 fps and the SD (Standard Deviation) was 4 fps. Have had some really close ES for 5 shot strings in the 3-5 fps range but when I run 10 shot strings the average ES is 11-14 fps. Surprisingly the worst ES I've got with this load was when a drop tube was used, was 18 fps with a SD 7 fps.

BTW; I clean between strings and fire two foulers before the string. The first fouler most often is 15-30 fps faster than the average and hits 3-5 inches above the group at 200 yards. The second fouler is generally around the mean velocity average but hits at the top of the group or slightly above. Group then settles down. I have fired 20 shot groups, accuracy holds until around the 15th or 16th round then the group will open to 5-7 inches at 200 yards. I can make sight corrections for the fouler when hunting with a clean barrel but prefer to use a duplex load (I know that can be considered sacrilegious) as the fouler goes into the group at point of aim with the duplex load.

Larry Gibson


rdnck said:
LMG--What is the barrel length of your Trapdoor, and what kind of velocity and SD are you getting across your Oehler with the Rapine 500 grain bullet? Thanks, rdnck.
 

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Velocities

LMG--Thanks for the comeback. That is almost exactly the same result I get with Goex 2f in my 45-70 with a 30 inch barrel. 70 grains of 2f and a 540 grain Paul Jones Creedmoor gives 1135 fps and SD of 3 or 4 over my Oehler. Shoot straight, rdnck.
 

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TD Comments

The following comments concern both original and repro trapdoors:

The originals will SHOOT!.... I have enjoyed some very good success in sil matches with my M1884. Even though I have rifles available that are more "mainstream" (Sharps, RBlk, Browning BPCR) I keep bringing the TD to the show time after time.... it's fun to be different.

I have not used bullets cast from custom oversize moulds. Excellent results have been realized with the standard Lyman 457125 and the RCBS 500 BPS, both cast in 20:1 lead/tin alloy. Soft bullets that "bump up" have shot so well that I never felt the need to try oversized ones tailored to fit the bore. But if that's what you like to do that's OK... but just be sure you have sufficient clearance in the chamber to allow proper bullet release.

I had an acquaintance (now deceased... not a shooting accident) that did have a repro H&R open violently. The case was not found. The incident occurred perhaps ten years ago and I suspect that the problem may have been a loose locking cam. Occasional reports of this happening crop up from time to time and I am convinced that they are not "urban legends" or hoaxes. If you have a repro be sure the locking cam is properly secured on its shaft. This is not a concern with original TD's... the camlatch and shaft being one piece.

I've had severely pierced primers (large pistol) with an original M1884 where enough pressure was released to lift the rear of the block and blow gas/fouling and oil from the firing pin area onto my face and glasses. The block did not open all the way as the hammer nose stayed over the thumb piece. This of course is hard on the rifle and had I not been wearing glasses it would have been hard on me. I've had slightly pierced Rem 9 1/2 LR primers so those are also not acceptable. Use only the harder/thicker cupped LR types; Winch, Fed and CCI etc. I realize many of you may already know these things but some may not.

BTW shortening the firing pin is not the answer. If that is done the hammer may strike the block and try to drive the whole block/cam system forward at the worst possible time.

Have fun and be safe!

Hoppy

P.S. First time posting on this site and I hope things look good when posted. Tried earlier today and couldn't...I was informed that because I already existed I therefore must be an imposter of myself or something like that. It confused me.
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

I have a original 1884 Springfield Trapdoor 45/70 with the Ramrod Bayonet. The rifle is in excelent condition wood and all. It has a very good cartouche on the stock. The rifle has the Buffington sight that is as smooth as silk. I shoot a 545 gr. Paul Jones Creedmore Bullet with SPG Lube and 59 gr Goex Cartridge Black Powder. Powder goes thgough a drop tube and is compressed. Also use a .030 Poly wad, Remington Brass and Federal 215 Mag. Rifle Primers. It will do a great job of knocking pigs down at 300 meters. I paid $500 for the rifle about 5 years ago with the idea af selling it later. I like the rifle so well it is in my safe to stay.
Frank
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Frank

Not sure about your neck of the woods but that was a steal out here. Sounds like a really good rifle. Have looked a a couple of the heavier bullet designs and wondered how well they would work in the 22 inch twist of the TD. Guess you answered the question. Sounds like a real decent load. Have you had a chance to try it at longer than 300 yards?

Larry Gibson



Frank said:
I have a original 1884 Springfield Trapdoor 45/70 with the Ramrod Bayonet. The rifle is in excelent condition wood and all. It has a very good cartouche on the stock. The rifle has the Buffington sight that is as smooth as silk. I shoot a 545 gr. Paul Jones Creedmore Bullet with SPG Lube and 59 gr Goex Cartridge Black Powder. Powder goes thgough a drop tube and is compressed. Also use a .030 Poly wad, Remington Brass and Federal 215 Mag. Rifle Primers. It will do a great job of knocking pigs down at 300 meters. I paid $500 for the rifle about 5 years ago with the idea af selling it later. I like the rifle so well it is in my safe to stay.
Frank
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Hi Larry,
No, the range here at the ranch is only 300 yards. I have shot the Sharps and High Wall at the BPCR range but never the Trapdoor. When the weather is better I am going to the BPCR range with the Trapdoor and a Rolling Block. You are right, I have seen Trapdoors with out the ramrod bayonet sell for $700 to $800. I have been lucky finding old rifles, I gave $400 for the originial Remington Rolling Block with the heavy barrel. I had planed to sell both the rifles but like them so well I decided to keep them.
Frank
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Frank

You ever consider buying a lottery ticket. With luck like that you'd win and then I'd have to take care of your "old" rifles 'cuase you could afford all them new ones;-)

Larry


Frank said:
Hi Larry,
No, the range here at the ranch is only 300 yards. I have shot the Sharps and High Wall at the BPCR range but never the Trapdoor. When the weather is better I am going to the BPCR range with the Trapdoor and a Rolling Block. You are right, I have seen Trapdoors with out the ramrod bayonet sell for $700 to $800. I have been lucky finding old rifles, I gave $400 for the originial Remington Rolling Block with the heavy barrel. I had planed to sell both the rifles but like them so well I decided to keep them.
Frank
 

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Franks's TD Load

Hi Frank,

With the load of 59grs Cart and that heavy bullet I'd be surprised if you are getting 1000 fps. Wondered if you had chrono'd it.
What's the recoil like?

It might be that what you have created is a super-sized equivalent of a standard vel .22RF load. A load that doesn't have to go backwards thru the transonic region with all the buffeting etc and therefore is quite accurate.

I would just about bet the load will fall apart accuracy-wise out past 300 yds or so. But it would be interesting to see what really does happen out further. Next time you get to shoot at 300 how about shooting a few at paper to see if there is any apparent tipping (slightly oblong holes that are oriented randomly).

Let us know.... it's so boring here in the winter...snow and all.

Hoppy
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

:-D :-D :-D :D Hot Foot. Ya cant be bored. This is michigan. Im not far from ya,and I know how ya feel. But then again I gots so many things that I do,kinda hard to fit em in in a day. I would bet that he probably is not geting 1000fps with that load of Cart either. Im showing a Lyman RN,at about 520grns,with 70 of Cart. at 1050 over my Chrony.. Same load with 60 of Cart. running at 960 average with SPG lube. Ok.Its late at night and IM BORED also. Well,fer a little while at any rate. Stay safe King
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Hi Hot Foot,
The round was worked up for my Shiloh Sharps 45/70 and it shoots dead on at 500 meters at pigs on the BPCR range. It just happened that I used the Sharps rounds in the Trapdoor to try the rifle out and it shoots them well to at least the 300 yards I have tried them.
Frank
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Frank

Hot foot may have been alluding to the slower twist rate of the TD (1-22) not giving the bullet the required stability past 300. Your Sharps probably has a 1-18 twist. Be interesting to know and see the difference at 500 yards or farther. If adequately stabilized it should hold quite well out of the TD at 500, remains to be seen though as always. As a point of interest, what was your sight setting to take the pigs at 300? I'm assuming the sights are original.

Larry Gibson

Frank said:
Hi Hot Foot,
The round was worked up for my Shiloh Sharps 45/70 and it shoots dead on at 500 meters at pigs on the BPCR range. It just happened that I used the Sharps rounds in the Trapdoor to try the rifle out and it shoots them well to at least the 300 yards I have tried them.
Frank
 

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Those nice old Trapdoors!!

Hi Larry,
Sorry to say that the several times I was shooting the TD at the 300 yd target I just fired a few rounds till it was on target and never wrote down the setting. Writing down the range settings for the rifle has been on my list of things to do but have not done it yet. The Buffington sight on it is one of the smoothest sights I have seen to adjust for windage.
Frank
 
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