Special Interests - Groups & Societies > The Winchester Model 1886

Help needed for 45-90 bp load

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Hello Gentlemen (and Ladies)

I haven't found yet an accurate black powder load for my original 1886 rifle in 45-90 wcf.

I tried 75 grains of Swiss Powder n° 3 (2FG) and a flat nose, pure lead 350 grains bullet lubricated with olive oil and beewax.

It seems there is not enough lube as the 2 first shots are close to another and then the next ones are scattered all over the target.

The bore is excellent and shiny. The grooves are quite shallow but they look as new and the rifle was made  in 1890 so It was made for black powder .

I shoot BP in more than 20 other guns so I have some experience but It is my first 45-90 rifle.

The rifle shoots very well with smokeless loads but that doesn't give me the same level of pleasure.

Can you please give some advice on what I should try to have less fouling and enjoy this rifle with BP ?

Thank you

Clyde (French shooter and member of the SSS forum)

Sir Charles deMouton-Black:
What bullet are you using? Some carry more lube than others. Perhaps give a 405 gr. bullet a try?

Other things to try;
1. A wad over the powder. try a card punched from  a cereal box, or pulp egg contained either soaked in lube or not.
2. A .45 wonderwad. (I wonder why they cost so much?)
3. A grease cookie in lieu of, or with the wad.

One change at a time until you've found it.

Hello Sir Charles
thank you for the reply.
i am using a RCBS FP bullet design.
i read somewhere that the 1:32 twist of 45-90 1886 winchester bore was not well suited to 405 grains bullet, but after all nothing replaces practical experience. So I will follow your advice and'give a try.
I will also try the different types of wads that you have listed.

Thank you




Gotta stick my nose in here.  My '86 in 45-90 also has that slow twist and it was designed around a 300 grain bullet.  I have dabbled with BP and also duplex loadings that I do not recommend.  Back in 1968, I settled on smokeless and have never deviated.  I use 58 grains of 3031. Even tho it don't have the stink it is a very accurate load for my rifle.  I also have an '86 om 40-82 that does well with BP--Swiss 1½ and I think it is about 655 grains.  I use a paper-patch bullet for this rifle--a 260 grain bullet.  In my experience, if you go much over this grain weight, the bullet will tumble and keyhole--at least in my rifle that is the case.  The 300 grain works great.  I use either lead at 16:1 alloy or Hornady 300 grain jacketed hollow point.  I don't know if this will help you but this is what I do.

Ranch 13:
 Sounds like you're fouling out.
May want to try some 1 1/2 f, and load a lubed felt wad under the bullet.


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