Reloading the old calibers of the West: .45/75 WCF

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.22LR
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 am
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:58 pm
Dad (now 86) has a 95% or better condition Winchester .45-75 1876 Sport model that he's had since he was 10 years old. Him being an ex-101st Airborne Sargent (Korean Conflict) needless to say this firearm has been pampered over the past 7 decades and the photos show it. Each year he takes it out and oils it, applies a good wax to the stock.

He's flying out from Minnesota for his youngest grandson's final senior year in Football for Senior Night in Oct this fall and I'm surprising him with 100 rounds of .45-75 ammunition. He said he's not shot the rifle since the late 40's (A Garand replaced the Winchester as his "Go To" deer rifle after the war).

The first step is ....taking the step and ordering the brass, which I did. Now I will be motiviate to purchase the die set, black powder and lead bullets however this will follow in the next few months (I have to go slow on ordering as I'm ramping up my own supply of 5 calibers in prep for the Hillary win ;) Wife "Flak" starts peppering my fuselage when I'm overspending in enemy territory)

They will be ready when he gets here in October.

A little history of the rifle before I show the pictures, in his own words:
"Serial # 57XXX, The rifle is King's Improvement, Patented March 20,1866 ....October 20, 1880. Round Barrel, Interior Brass Shell Feed and Extractor. with Lever Action. Rear fold down Elevated Sight. It is really in good shape for its age and has never been refinished. I bought this gun in the early 1940's at around 12 years old and used it as a youngster for deer hunting....at my Grandpa's Resort at Cass Lake, MN.

During the second World War there were not any new firearms for sale. My Uncle Ed who was a traveling salesman bought it in Iowa from one of his customers before he was drafted into the Second World War. He use to take me deer hunting and put me in the woods somewhere on a log while he went off and tried to chase deer my way. I paid for it from the money I made at that early age by taking people out fishing from my Gramp's resort on Cass Lake. It cost me a whole $10.00 that was a lot of money for a kid in the 40's. So basically that is all the info I have on it."


I have since found out with some research and local experts in the Winchester field that he has a rare collectible if I am not mistaken. Either way, I made sure he was insured up to $20k for the rifle on his insurance rider. I am sure you folks know more about this rifle than I do as my expertise area, as green as it is, is in Trapdoors. I welcome you to share your thoughts!

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.22LR
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 am
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:59 pm
I looked around and shopped around for a nice wood box to put Dad's rounds in.
Considering Dad was born in the depression (1930) he'd prefer something that didn't cost as much.
So I thrift shopped, found a faux leather Trunk/Chest looking item for $2.00 that was reasonably stout! (Turns out they're on Amazon from China for $17)
He loves a bargain even though he's very well off. That's a trait of that era!

Then I added a 5/8 particle board base, and a 1/2" piece of old cedar fence on top of that of which I will drill out with a Forstner drill for each shell.

(The shells are just set in to check for clearance and whatnot)

My neighbor is taking a 1.3" backstrip of cedar fence and burning "45-75 WCF" onto it. When he's done, we'll stain it, put it together and add the cartridges. :)
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.22LR
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 am
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:00 pm
1.5 hrs of dinking around getting everything set up so I didn't crush a $1.80 shell case. I only had 20! :)
Only made one. Now that I have the dies set up, downhill tomorrow.

Bullets: Bitteroots Components 350 gr .458 dia, SPG lubed bullet
Brass: JBA .45/75 (Annealed slightly)
Primer: Federal Lg Rifle Magnum
Powder: 64 volume Pyrodex RS (41.9 grains weight) low pressure load.

See text above each picture below

Bitterroot 350 gr .458 SPG lubed bullets
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I started off with a flare of .005 to accept the .458 dia bullet
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A Drop- tube was used to add 64 grs of Pyrodex RS Select into shell casing, leaving .440 between neck base and top of cartridge. Then a John Walters .060 vegetable wad was added and compressed with a Montana Precision Swaging Compression Die. to .500 allowing for another 1/8 inch of compression with bullet seating.
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After adjusting the bullet seating depth on the RCBS die set, I added the proper crimp to the crimp groove. You can see the taper crimp in this picture. OAL is 2.250. (I cannot chamber cast the rifle since it is 1739 miles away. So I have to go with what Winchester published back in the day.)
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The final bullet, cleaned up, ready for Box Presentation. 19 left to go!
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Size perspective: The '45s' cartridge family. .45ACP 230 gr, .45/75 350 gr and .45/70 500 gr (old cartridge)
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Final post will be reloaded shells, box presentation.

And hopefully a test shot with Dad's rifle when I get back there this fall/winter.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:10 am
Wow...awesome !!!
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Location: Central Louisiana
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:21 pm
Whoa! Most beautiful piece. The 45/75 is a real knock-down round.

Nice photography too.

Thanks for posting all the pics.
Last edited by redryder on Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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.270 WIN
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:59 pm
WoW your Dad had good tastes in his early choice of winchester! I have the smaller of the .45 in the 1876!
mine is the 45-60 ..just a bit easier to load for! ........Ol Deuce
Do The Best With What You Have!!!!

.22LR
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 am
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:25 am
Thanks all!
The $10 he paid for it in 1942 would be $142 in today's dollars with inflation calculated in.

Finished them all up last night. The box allows for 18. That leaves 1 for a test fire and 1 for my 'first reload cartridge type' collection. :)

Still waiting on the box backstop that the neighbor is burning with lettering.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:41 am
Good Job...!!
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:02 am
Wow ! very nice rifle, that's the first one I've seen in years like my own, and congrats on saving all of those new cases. My original ballard cases are holding up well, and I managed to get another 50 jameisons earlier this year. I've had good luck with my 1876 45-75 loads, all were with with a slightly compressed load of pyrodex CTG under a 350 gr. Hornady Jacketed .458 RN, or speer F.N. 400 GR jacketed (I think GTC is the predecessor to RS). It worked great, and very fun to shoot a piece of family history. I have a new can of RS but haven't tried it yet, will be awaiting your results. I may load some cast bullets next try, but I like the jackets for hunting, and I do take it in the woods on occasion just as the others in my family have done since 1883. Let us know how the shoot goes, its a very fun cartridge to shoot.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:04 pm
Welcome home Skinner!
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.22LR
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 am
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:26 am
Skinner, thanks for your input.

Here is the final product for Dad.
I added a montage photo of the father generations on both sides of the family along with grand kids.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:28 am
You did good. Excellent idea and memorial.
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.22LR
Posts: 28
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Location: Southern Middle Tennessee
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:35 pm
I'd stick to cast bullets since that is what the barrel is designed for. No jacketed bullets in those days and the barrel steel is soft enough that the jackets will wear the bore excessively. For powder try Triple 7 and cleaning will not be as big a deal. Contrary to what a lot of people believe Pyrodex is corrosive . Triple 7 is no more corrosive than smokeless .

Eddie
Grumpy Old Man With A gun - Do Not Touch
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:08 am
Very nice tribute sportsdad !!

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