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Joined: Jan 2019
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scoony Offline OP
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I would like to start loading for my Springfield Trapdoor. This was my great grandfathers when he was a member of a marksmanship team in the NY National Guard around the turn of the century. I have loaded 45 colt blackpowder so I understand blackpowder loading.

At the same time, I would be loading ammo for my son's Henry lever action with smokeless powder.

The main question I have is which mold would best serve me. I am looking at three Lee molds, 405 gr flat base, 405 gr, hollow base, and the 500 gr.

I would be shooting 100 to 300 yards, but not shooting any competition. I believe that the 405 gr flat base would be fine for both the trapdoor and the son's lever action, and would be easier to cast over the hollow base.

What would be you-alls suggestion?

GB1

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No expert here by any stretch, but I have 3 trapdoors, and all 3 of them get slightly over 2 moa with the Lee 405 plain base. One rifle, an absolutely pristine bore cadet likes the Lee 405 hollow base. AS dropped, not sized, using Lee Liquid Alox. I tried to duplicate the original black powder velocities with smokeless to kinda sorta match the Buffington sights on all 3. The best rifle, the cadet, with zero wind, dead rest...I can get about 50% hits on a 20 inch steel target at 500 yds....but it took a lot of work to get there. It's kind of a hoot, the time of flight is so long...I can lean over and look in the spotting scope before the bullet arrives. Everybody else swears by the 500 gr bullets, but I just struggled and finally gave up. And I'm not fond of any extra recoil.


Well this is a fine pickle we're in, should'a listened to Joe McCarthy and George Orwell I guess.
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The 500 RN carries best for long range. However I found the recoil is excessive and gave up on it quickly. The Lee 405 HB is hard to beat. Pick up a copy of Spence Wolf's book on reloading the Springfield TD. Great read and lots of really good info.
Also, spend some time on this site as well. Al Frasca also wrote a great book on these guns.
https://www.armscollectors.com/trapdoor/

In my 1880 Carbine I cast 20-1 alloy with .462" sizer using a soft BP lube even though I shoot smokeless loads.

Last edited by WStrayer; 03/17/24.
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If you can find a Lyman 457124, it throws a very accurate 370-385 grain that has worked well in the six or seven guns I've used it in. Was great, 1.5 MOA out to 200 in my Numrich barrelled rolling block using real black.

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The 405 HB is what you want. Get yourself a copy of Spence Wolf's excellent book.

https://the4570book.com/

I used to shoot mine Carbine in Cast Bullet Silhouette matches. Cast out of 1:20 alloy.

IC B2

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scoony Offline OP
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I ordered and received the 405 grain Hollow Base mold and cast a few bullets. Also ordered the book that you all recommended.

While I am waiting on the book to arrive, I loaded up a few rounds with a starting load of RL-7. Seems the rounds are hitting about 15” high at 100 yards so I am going to order a taller front blade.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Trapdoors are "battle sighted". They shoot to point of aim at 165 yards. The theory I was told, is that they troops were told to aim for belt buckles. Given the trajectory of these guns, that helped ensure a hit at unknown ranges. Carbines are easiy corrected with a taller front sight blade.
Long gone now, but SR4759 was my favorite powder for these guns. I have just part of a can left.
My only complaint is that they are not real good deer killers. They punch a hole through the deer but the bullets don't expand so the deer tend to run off a bit before expiring. There is a 330 grian HP mold made but I couldn't get good groups with it.

Last edited by WStrayer; 03/25/24.
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WS pretty well hit it..mb


" Cheapest velocity in the world comes from a long barrel and I sure do like them. MB "
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I am so glad I got the book on loading for the Springfield. The chapter on the sights explains why I was shooting so high at the range. It is the way the sights are designed. Front sight is the proper height. I will get it out again this weekend for another session.


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