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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Darksider's Den (Moderator: Cuts Crooked)  |  Topic: Trapdoor Springfield accuracy 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Trapdoor Springfield accuracy  (Read 2398 times)
Army GI
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« on: January 28, 2012, 07:09:00 pm »


Maybe 8 months ago I bought an 1884 Trapdoor and only recently got around to shooting it. It operates fine but the "accuracy" is totally unacceptable. I can't hit the broad side of a barn with it, and by broad side of a barn, I mean an 8" steel target at 50 yards.

Just a little background info, I have been in the military for 8 years and I always qualify expert with the M16A2 rifle. So I know it's not my lack of skill at shooting.

I took the rifle to have the bore slugged because I have read that these things are notorious for having oversized bores. I thought since I was shooting modern reloads (suited for old trapdoors of course) with modern .458 cast bullets that might have been the problem. It turns out it is right at .458.

I don't know what else I can do to make it shoot true. Maybe try a softer bullet? Do they only shoot straight with black powder?

I'm open to suggestions.
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Russell40
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 08:33:24 pm »

I would try a slightly larger bullet. I had a Browning 45-70 that suffered from the same problem. I just went up a size on the diameter and cured the problem. My 73 has a .427 bore and I size my cast bullets to .428 and it works great. Of course at the time I was reloading BP for the Browning, I soon discovered that BP and hard cast do not mix. I couldnt hit a barn door with mine either (and at the time, I was a trained sniper).
You might look at the Lyman catalog and see what they offer concerning molds.
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 08:36:20 pm »

You need to try and find a copy of Loading Cartridges for the Original .45-70 Springfield Rifle and Carbine by J.S. and Pat Wolf.  The originals can be VERY accurate and how to load for them is explained in the book.
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 09:06:05 pm »

I agree with Pettifogger, get the Wolf book.  However, he designed a bullet that Lee makes a mold for, it is a 405 grain hollow base that usually drops from the mold around .457 - .459, depending on the lead.  Go soft with the lead.  I use blackpowder lube on them and load and shoot them unsized over a compressed load of 2F BP.  However, Wolf also used the same bullet with smokeless.  I also have an original Winchester mold that makes a 500 grain bullet that I cast with soft (pure) lead and load unsized.  I think the soft lead "bumps up" to engage the rifling.  I've hit 12" tall buffalo plates at 100 yards with 1873 sights.  Your '84 should have a little better iron sights.
   I'd give you more info but I haven't seen my book in years, but it has more info than you'll ever want to slog through.  I didn't do everything Wolf said to do but still got greatly improved accuracy over my earlier attempts.
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 10:32:56 pm »

The Wolf book will definitely help, once you've settled on the load.

The 5.56mm M16-series weapons have close to zero recoil - .45-70 Trapdoors are different...

The Model 1884 - with the Buffington sight - was the most shooter-friendly of the series, and allowed for greater accuracy over longer distances.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2012, 11:37:57 pm »

I would listen to the advice given. I was just saying what had worked for me. It nevers hurts too read a book!
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2012, 05:16:47 am »

Thanks for the advice guys, i bought a copy
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2012, 07:50:25 am »

Another area to look at in Trapdoors is the throat.  Somehow they are hugh!  An acquaitance has one and the only way to get good accuracy is to load the largest bullet he can fit in the case and still get it to chamber.  I usually go with unsized and lubed as they drop from the mold.  It works in both my 1866 and 1873.  

To improve accuracy and long range potential, the military went to a 500 grain bullet.  Try to find a copy of the Arsenal bullet and try it.

  Paul Matthews book, "Forty Years with the 45-70" is another one I'd recommend.  He details some appropriate loads.

This summer, I hope to test the Gould bullet (330 grain hollow point) in the trapdoor.  I have a load worked up for my rolling block with black powder and hope to get my standard 3 MOA with it in the Springfield.
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2012, 10:21:07 am »

I have had very good results with my 1884 Trapdoor using the following load.  This load will consistantly hit an NRA BPCR Ram at 300 yards if I do my part.

Bullet:   500 grain round nose Gov't from a Saeco mould.  30/1 alloy unsized and lubed with homemade Emmerets lube.
Powder: 61 grains Swiss 3F compressed just enough to seat the bullet.
Wad:     Punched from a cereal box.
Brass:    Winchester.

Hodgdon publishes a pamphlet of basic loading information that contains data for their XXXX XXXXXX in an original Trapdoor.  This load also works well in my rifle.  When I go to a Cowboy long range match I usually take the Trapdoor with the XXXXXXXXX loading.  The ejector in the Trapdoor is legal for SASS.

Good luck with shooting your Trapdoor.  

Lucky  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2012, 01:03:39 pm »

Your moderator has done some modifying to remove comments forbidden on this forum. No big deal, but y'all might want to review the rules thread for The Den. http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,7831.0.html
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2012, 01:33:54 pm »

+1 On Spence Wolf's book.It has the best information on the trapdoor sights and using them I've found.The battle sight setting on the rear sight is for something like 265 yds IIRC.The earlier sights were regulated for the 405 gr. bullet the later ones like the Buffington for the 500 gr.With any of these sights to hit at 50 yds. you would have to "hold under" a lot.
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2012, 06:44:26 pm »

Your moderator has done some modifying to remove comments forbidden on this forum. No big deal, but y'all might want to review the rules thread for The Den. http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,7831.0.html

Sorry about that Cuts, I wasn't thinking.  If anyone should want the information I screwed up on I will be glad to provied it off line.

Again, sorry.

Lucky  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2012, 08:07:41 pm »

Quote
I can't hit the broad side of a barn with it, and by broad side of a barn
GI, if the Trapdoor has a decent bore then the problem is the shooter or the reload

I've shoot 200 to 500 meter steel silhouettes and a 1000 yd target with mine.  Once one adjusts the ladder settings correctly,the Trapdoor will shoot with accuracy

I even got lucky one day back in 2010 - took down a 500 meter Ram ... Offhand Grin

The 500gr govt and the Creedmoor bullets work the best for me with a 70gr FFg charge

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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2012, 09:49:20 pm »

The original alloy was 20 to 1 lead/tin and the bullet lube was bayberry wax and graphite. I have the proportions someplace, but it doesn't work as well as SPG for me. Swiss FF shoots very well and it seems to duplicate the Springfield velocities pretty closely.

Also, you may need to shoot it in. Often when putting an original back in service, the first 50 or 100 rounds won't group worth a hoot. Then it will start to settle down and hit.

Have fun with it!
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 01:06:34 pm »

My Trapdoor slugged at .460 so I run .461 bullets, only with BP at this time. 200  yard targets are no problem, don't have any ranges with longer distances around here. I have only run 400 grain bullets so far, but am going to try my 535 Postell bullets that I cast a couple of days ago.
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 02:36:01 pm »

What Arizona Trooper says about shooting 50-100 rounds before it 'settles' also holds true for Krags.

These rifles 'want' to shoot - because they were built to shoot well, so exercise them and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!
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