So I went back out to the range today to test out some new .45-70 loads for my Model 1884 Trapdoor Springfield. I made these loads using 405grain cast lead bullets over IMR 4198 and new Starline brass. They're smokeless, as opposed to the black powder cartridges that this old rifle was designed around, but they're downloaded specifically for Trapdoors since the mechanism in these old rifles was never intended to use smokeless propellent.
That got the attention of the poodle-shooter brigade. The .45/70, even with these relatively mild smokeless loads still sounds off with some authority. I looked downrange with the scope: About a foot high at 100 yards. I fired a few more to be sure, and every one that was aimed at the chest of my 19X32in. IDPA target struck the head.
OK, knowing that, I began sighting for the target's imaginary belt buckle (as defined by the bottom of the target) and the rest of my loads hit dead center or just off to the left of it. To say that I was happy with the accuracy of this 125 year old rifle was an understatement. In fact, I almost didn't bother trying the five rounds that I'd made up using 30 grains of IMR 4198, but what the heck? I loaded and fired them using the same point of aim (after a slight windage adjustment to bring the group back from the left side of the target) and got a stunning five-shot group bottom center of the -0 center circle.
The target as a whole, with 18 rounds fired. The five in the head were my sighters.
The last five, all from the 30-grain test batch. This was fired at 100 yards using a front shooting rest only.
I heart this rifle.
This old Indian-fighter still has what it takes a century and a quarter later. The US Army never should have phased it out.
Next experiment: re-creating black-powder loads for it so I can get the long-range performance that this cartridge is capable of...and the big smoke clouds.