springfield 45-70 trap door

  • Last Post 06 January 2017
roger2016 posted this 12 April 2016

i bought a Springfield 45-70 trap door i need some information on reloading the ammo,i have been told to use swift 2f black powder 65 gr. a 405 grain hallow base bullet and to compress the powder. how does this sound to you? also would like to know if i use less powder can i use a patch or something to fill the void between the powder and the bullet?i am looking for the right way to reload these.thank you.

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Tom Acheson posted this 12 April 2016

I'm guessing you mean Swiss 2f powder. Can't say if the charge weight and bullet weight are good choices. Compressing the powder often improves the performance of a lot of black powder loadings. But with black powder you need to avoid allowing an air gap to be present between the base of the bullet and the top of the powder. This is usually done with 1, 2 or possibly more wads being pushed down on top of the powder column before seating the bullet. Then the base of the bullet rests on top of the wad(s).

Using BP is a great loading experience and is different in some ways than using smokeless powders.

Have fun!


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roger2016 posted this 12 April 2016

yes i meant Swiss 2f black powder, some time my fingers and mind don't work together lol.

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waksupi posted this 12 April 2016

For your entertainment, here is a trapdoor I finished a couple weeks ago.


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Ed Harris posted this 12 April 2016


VERY nice work. It's great to see you over here.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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waksupi posted this 13 April 2016

Thanks, Ed. I don't spend much time on the computer any more. It seems the older I get, the less time there is to do things.

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Scearcy posted this 13 April 2016


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joeb33050 posted this 13 April 2016

6.7 LOADING THE SPRINGFIELD 45-70 THE EASY WAY   I bought my first 45/70 rifle, a Springfield model 1884, from Ralph Laffoly at his gun shop in Melrose Mass. in 1963. On this rifle the cleaning rod was the bayonet; the bayonet could be extended ahead of the muzzle and was held by a catch mechanism. This rifle was in nice condition, with a bright and shiny bore; and cost $40. Mr. Laffoly threw in a box of ammunition after I paid, which was his way with the younger shooters. I was casting and reloading for the 30/06 at that time, and bought a Lyman 457191 305 grain mold to make bullets; but couldn't come up with the cash for the reloading dies, shell holder and sizing dies for a while. I cast bullets and lubricated them by hand or pan lubed them, and developed a way to reload at the range. Here are some photos to help explain this reloading method: A ground-to-size ice pick, whacked with a stick, removed the primer Here's the ice pick. It is a lot sharper than the picture shows, and will decap cases easily when whacked with a stick. However, time marches on.           Here's a 45-70 case with the Lee de-capping rod and base, and a mallet to operate them. Much better than the ice pick.               The hammer on a trap door Springfield is just the right size for belling the case mouth; a necessary step in reloading low velocity loads. Unless the case mouth is belled, the gas will come around the case and dent the case and get it all dirty. Belling the case mouth seals the case mouth against the chamber and keeps that blow-by from happening. There should be a bit of drag on the empty belled case is chambered, not too much to make the case hard to chamber, just enough so you can feel it drag. A short bit of time and anyone can get the feel for this. It never hurts to bell the case mouth.    Today I would use a set of Lee powder scoops, see the picture. Select a load starting around 10 grains and never more than 14 grains of Unique.                       Start a primer in the primer pocket with the thumb, then put the case in the chamber and close the door, and the primer is seated.                       the primer seated in the primer pocket. The primer is seated a little above the head of the case. I think that this means that the rifle headspace is slightly excessive or that case rims are thinner than they used to be. In any case, the slightly protruding primer never gave me a problem; however I caution the reader to NEVER use a case primed this way in any gun other than the one used to prime the case. NEVER! This because maybe, just maybe, the primer might go off prematurely in another gun. Use the case in the gun that you seated the primer with.          After the case mouth is belled, throw a charge of powder in the case. In the past I used a home-made dipper made from a pistol cartridge case with a piece of 14 gauge copper wire soldered on for a handle.                   Put a thumb sized piece of toilet paper in the charged case and push it down on the powder with a stick or a pencil to keep the powder in place when loading.   Put a bullet in the chamber, push it in with a plugged case and close the door on the plugged case to breech-seat the bullet.   The plugged case shown is filled with epoxy. Plugged cases filled with lead alloy or with a piece of dowel also work well.               Take the plugged case out, put the primed and charged case in the chamber and the rifle was ready to fire.   So that's it, the easiest reloading I've ever done, with the absolute minimum of tools and expense.           (Thanks to Steve Adair for the pictures showing a trapdoor Springfield.)   I made a new front sight from a penny so that I could file it to the correct height, and this rifle was alarmingly accurate at 100 yards with the fully adjustable Buffington rear sight.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 13 April 2016

great stuff joeb ... now THAT is reloading in it's true spirit..

reminds me that when i was 12 yrs. i cajoled my dad every three hours to let me get a lyman tool for my 218 bee ... he finally caved in when he saw my crutched up loading methods ...


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roger2016 posted this 14 April 2016

looks great.

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Dirtybore posted this 18 April 2016

Maybe instead of wads taking up that excess space, put a wad in on top of the powder and fill the rest of the space with a grease cookie. This is the process that always accompanies a paper patch bullet so why not try it with; I'm assuming now, your grease groove bullets.

By the way, I hope you're using a black powder lube when loading those bullets over black powder rather than any of the smokeless powder lubes.

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Dirtybore posted this 18 April 2016

There were several good articles about loading BPCR cartridges in a couple of back issues of TFS. they were written specifically for beginners and they are in TFS # 215, Jan-Feb 2012, TFS #216, March-April 2016, and TFS #225 Sep-Oct 2013.

Keep us posted on your progress because a few of us will be and are interested. I don't visit this Forum real often but I do check back every now and then.

I also shoot BPCR and have several 45-70's and found those 3 articles very interesting. I will also add, it's a topic not often covered in TFS.

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BudHyett posted this 31 December 2016

If you are shooting a 405 grain hollow base bullet, I would look askance at using an over-powder wad. The function of the hollow base is to expand and seal the base against the rifling. The wad gets pushed into the hollow base and interferes with the expansion. The 500 grain round nose bullet is heavy enough to provide the resistance ot the initial gas push to sit and expand to the rifling before moving in the barrel. The 405 grain bullet does not expand before moving , that is the reason for the hollow base. 

My favorite .45-70 black powder load for several rifles is: 

  • W-W case
  • Federal 215 primer
  • 68 grains Swiss FFg - Compressed - Drop tube
  • .030 fiber over-powder wad, 030 milk carton wad soaked in lube 
  • SAECO 1881 500 grain round-nose - 25/1 Pb/Sn alloy
  • SPG lubed; sized in a .460 only to get lubed 
  • Taper crimp

This is not the flattest shooting load for long range matches, it requires several more minutes elevation over a pointed bullet at 600 yards. However, I score better with this load if I watch the wind very closely. 


Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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tlkeizer posted this 06 January 2017

Greetings Roger2016,

I have a couple Springfield 45-70's, and shoot exclusively black powder by choice.  If you go to the posts and look for strings in my name, you will see my sojourn so far with the Trapdoors.  I hope the data from my experience helps you.

I have found in my rifles one likes heavy loads and the other lite loads.  I cover how I load compressed loads of 70 grains, and going down to 55 grains of BP.  I pan lube with SPG, that has worked best for me, each his or her own for lube and application.  If you would like more data from my shooting, send me a personal reply and I will go into depth.

Happy New Year, enjoy your Trapdoor.


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