Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Rossi's latest big game rifle offering chambered in 30-30 Win, 45-70 Govt., and a .410 scattergun!

Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Postby donhuff » 17 Aug 2017 09

So, NOE just keeps on sending out those "On Sale this week only" e-mails. And I just had to have one of the 350 RD molds for my 45-70 Rio Grande. Even though I had become real disappointed in the gun, because of misfires and hard feeding problems. But even with all the problems, the Rio would turn in some pretty good groups, but I figured it could get better if I would just put forth a little more effort.

I had figured out that a lot of the hard feeding was because of the bullet mold I was using, a Lee 405 grain. This is the old type two hole mold, and the two halves never did seem to line up just right, and would make a slug that was wide at the seam where the two halves meet, and narrower at 180* from the seam. I do understand that the nose on this slug is pretty long, and not really lever gun friendly. Then on top of that, my powder coating added to the diameter of that nose. And I was sizing them @ .459, which is a little on the big size and did nothing but add to the hard cycling of the gun. All in all, not the right choice of projectile for that particular gun.

I figured a change was in order, so I decided to give the NOE mold a try. If it did not work out, I could use the bullets for a heavy weight slug in my 45 colt and 454. So I wasn't gonna waste time or money, and it's always fun to try out a new mold.

When I got the mold in, I also wanted to try a cheap Walmart hot plate for preheating the mold. WOW! this is a major improvement in casting. For the past 40+ years I have always started casting in a cold mold and going fast as I could to get the mold up to temp. This works ok but does add to the length of time it takes to cast a few hundred bullets. Once you get the temp dialed in to match your lead temp, your first pour just might be a keeper! It may take a few tries to find that just right temp, but when you do, it's like magic. And if you need to take a break for whatever reason. Put the mold back on the hot plate, and when you start back, they will be dropping perfect once again. I should have thunk of doing this a long time ago.

So I cast up a hundred or so, and in usual NOE fashion, the mold worked perfectly. Bullets drop out with a tap from my piece of broom handle that I use as a mallet. I drop into water, not to harden them but instead to cushion the fall so I don't have to be so danged gentle with them and do not get dents in the fresh soft nuggets. Then put a coat of pretty blue powder on them and ran them through a .458 sizer that I made and spent a few hours honing on, creeping in on the exact thousands of an inch.

I loaded up a few empty cases to check seating depth and to get the die adjusted correctly for the crimp I wanted. They still did not chamber as smoothly as I liked, and you could tell that they were bumping up against the rifling a little and that throat was still a little tight. Not that the Rio is made to tight, it's not. It is exactly what SAAMI sez it should be. But that does make it a little hard for us casters that like to load fat bullets. I made up a lap and that did nothing but focus on the freebore and lead section of the chamber. I only wanted maybe a .001" or so in the freebore, and to smooth/blend the lead forward a tiny bit. It took two tries and maybe 15 minutes total working with the lap to get what I was after. Now the cartridge would pass the "plink?" test, meaning you could now drop a cartridge into the chamber, and it would go all the way home, THEN turn the gun muzzle up and the round would fall back ou. That means it wasn't touching anywhere in the chamber, throat, or lead. I could do this before with jacketed bullet, which told me it was really close and all I needed to remove was a thousands or so.

I'm gonna continue in another post cause I have a tendency to hit the wrong button and loose everything. Then I get pizzed and don't rewrite it.
Don Huff

to bad those that know it all, cant do it all!
16" SS 92 357
20" SS 92 44
20" Bl 92 45C
20" Bl 92 454
SS Rio Grande 30-30
Bl Rio Grande 45-70
donhuff
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 1575
Joined: 03 May 2013
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 289 times
My Rossi Choice: M92
Location: LaGrange Georgia

Re: Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Postby donhuff » 17 Aug 2017 10

Now I had some proper feeding ammo, and now it's time to work on the misfires. Ever since I first got this gun, it has had an occasional misfire, And It was easy to see that the primers were not getting hit in the dead center by the firing pin. Sometimes they would but with the stiff cambering loads, the bolt would drop down a little and this would make the pin strike hit low of center. If a primer does not get hit dead center, the priming mixture does not get "pinched" between the cup and anvil, and probably will not go off. Sometimes you could recock the hammer and give it another try, but that is aggravating and embarrassing at the shooting range. You know people around you think that your "reloads" are junk and you gots no idea of what your doing!

I had tried a few different things to get the bolt to stay up where it outta be, but none had worked. I was even looking online at those Henry 45-70 guns and considering throwing the Rossi in the trash! The gun is just work to own, and I had just about had enough of it! But I gave it one more look and I could see up through the loading port, that the lever, where it contacts the bolt, was pushing the bolt all the way forward, but would then move farther down and get completely away from the bolt. I don't know if 336 guns do this, maybe they do and they are all suppose to do like that. But when it moved away, it left the bolt totally unsupported in the front, and the bolt "could" drop down a tiny bit. That tiny bit was just enough to let the firing pin hit off center. Next round, it might not drop hardly any at all and will fire. Why??? I haven't the slightest idea!

So I tried silver soldering a small piece of steel shim to the end of the lever, to take up the slack. This did not work as it would hit somewhere in the top of the receiver at half stroke, and would lock up the action. By the time I had enough of it filed off so it would work, there wasn't enough left to hold the bolt up. Then after looking at it for a while I decided to try putting a spot of weld in the groove in the bolt, where the lever drops away from it. This would keep the bolt and lever in contact and hopefully make the bolt stay in place. Now mind you, I did not really want to weld on the bolt, but somethings gotta make this thing work. And let me say right now for all you guys that are horrified by the idea of welding on a hardened bolt (I suppose it's hardened but I don't know for sure) The welding lasted about one tenth of a second. By the time I mashed the trigger and saw an arc, I let off. This put a little bead of steel right where the lever tip drops away.

At this point, I decided to put it back together and try it out. I tried a few primed cases and they all went bang!! This was not to unusual though as the round not having a slug in it was a little more likely to chamber fully and the bolt center up on it. So I went to the range to try it out. I had several of the new 350 bullets loaded up, and still has some of the old 405 with me too. Even though some of the 405 were still draggy going into the chamber, and you really squeeze the lever to get them to chamber, they all fired! Well I'll be... I shot a total of 123 rounds that day without a single misfire. But I didn't bragg about it yet as I wanted to try some more first. Next trip I had all 350 grain bullets loaded up, and 50 more fired without a misfire. Next trip, I had 100 more and there it was at around shot number 80, a misfire. And sure nuff, the primer strike was a little off center. I chambered it again and it fired on the second try. 5 or 6 rounds later I had one more do the same thing.

On inspection, I could see that my little tit of a weld had worn down a tiny bit because of the way it had formed, there was a little peak that was taking the whole load. And even though that weld was holding the bolt up better, there was still a tiny bit of clearance there.I'll post a picture of the weld later. But after seeing how much this helped, I thought I should do a little better job on it and see if I can get rid of ALL the slop. So I tried welding it up a little taller and wider to make a better contact. Of course I got it to tall and that would not let the lever close. So then I had to mill it down a tiny amount using a 1/2"x1/8" woodruff keyway cutter, to try and match the profile of the slot that was there before. It took two weldings, and four or five cuttings, and about 10 times putting it together and taking it back apart, before I got it to where the lever will close, but it take an extra little effort right at the end of the stroke. This lets me know that the lever is still in contact with the bolt when fully closed. And it's a little harder with a round in it meaning that the bolt is for the first time ever, pushing firm and squarely, up against the head of the cartridge.

I got my cases cleaned and ready for powder. And I need to load up another hundred and head back to the range to give this latest rework a try. I'm really hoping this is the end of it as I do like the rifle.

I'll make another post again, and put a few pictures in that one.I didn't mean for this to turn into a novel length post, but I felt it needed a full description.
Don Huff

to bad those that know it all, cant do it all!
16" SS 92 357
20" SS 92 44
20" Bl 92 45C
20" Bl 92 454
SS Rio Grande 30-30
Bl Rio Grande 45-70
donhuff
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 1575
Joined: 03 May 2013
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 289 times
My Rossi Choice: M92
Location: LaGrange Georgia

Re: Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Postby donhuff » 17 Aug 2017 11

I bet ya'll are thinking that I must like punishing my shoulder by shooting the 45-70, 100+ times at a setting.

Not really as I do not like to shoot strong loads that much. And I find that I can kill all the paper targets I want, with mild fun to shoot loads. I have some stronger loads but they are still not up to the full potential of what the cartridge will do. 36.0 of IMR 4198 is where I call it quits, this is with the old 405 grain Lee bullet. But with this new 350 grain, I have tried using some Reloaded7 powder at 43.0 grains. Again, that about strong enough for me.

But my main "plinking" load is 13.0 grains of 800X powder. I used it behind the 405 and now with the 350, it's working just as good. I don't know the speed of it as I have never checked it, I don't think. I'm estimating between 900 and 1000 fps, based on what I have read about other pistol powders in the 45-70.

I could tell that it was shooting pretty good because I was hitting most of the rocks I was aiming at. But to really find out I mounted an old 12 power varmint scope that I've had forever. I was scared at first to get very close to the scope ring, as it is a big gun and pretty light too. Plus that scope does not have much eye relief. But after a few shots I lost my fears and finally got settled in and shot a couple of really good groups.

Because this is such a mild load, using a gas check did not seem to make any difference. Thats good cause I don't like putting them on.

The 10 shot group was shot on my second outing, and showed the potential was there. So on the third trip to the range, I got a little more serious, made sure the scope screws were tight, then shot 25 or 30 rounds at 50 yards and at rocks and dirt clods to give the scope time to settle in. Then I moved to the 100 yard target and let them fly. That bigger 5 round group was the first and is pretty danged good, but I knew it could be better cause I could not hold the gun still enough on my shooting bags. I got the chunk of 10x10 pine post that's always laying around and put that under the forearm. And wiggled the butt solid into the rear bag. Took my time and got a great five shot group on the next try. That was good enough for me and it was time to get that danged scope off and bust a few rocks with open sights. Fun Time.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Don Huff

to bad those that know it all, cant do it all!
16" SS 92 357
20" SS 92 44
20" Bl 92 45C
20" Bl 92 454
SS Rio Grande 30-30
Bl Rio Grande 45-70
donhuff
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 1575
Joined: 03 May 2013
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 289 times
My Rossi Choice: M92
Location: LaGrange Georgia

Re: Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Postby donhuff » 17 Aug 2017 11

Had to resize this one.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Don Huff

to bad those that know it all, cant do it all!
16" SS 92 357
20" SS 92 44
20" Bl 92 45C
20" Bl 92 454
SS Rio Grande 30-30
Bl Rio Grande 45-70
donhuff
Supporter
Supporter
 
Posts: 1575
Joined: 03 May 2013
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 289 times
My Rossi Choice: M92
Location: LaGrange Georgia

Re: Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Postby Arroyoshark » 17 Aug 2017 14

Nice shootin'

You didn't mention whether you trimmed your cases, and if you did to what length. What is your cartridge overall length ?

I had a lot of difficulty with the Rio Grande for some time. I effected some modifications, including filing some of the firing pin down where it slid alongside a retaining pin in bolt. I removed the x-bolt safety and fashioned a plug for the remaining hole.

I have quite a supply of 405 gr. cast boolitz sized .460, and a recommendation was received to resize them to .458 with a Lee boolit sizer. I have resolved most of my issues with easy bolt closing by trimming cases back to 2.085", which is 0.01" less than minimum case trim length. This allows me to seat boolitz so overall cartridge length is around 2.47". I also ordered up a supply of 405 gr. boolitz from Meister Bullets, which have bullet nose of .447". These chamber very easily.
When sitting down to clean a gun, the first step is to load another gun - Elmer Keith
User avatar
Arroyoshark
RR Riders
RR Riders
 
Posts: 149
Joined: 03 Sep 2012
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 44 times
My Rossi Choice: Revolver
Location: fin del sendero, New Mexico

Re: Rio 45-70 working....finally?????

Postby Ranch Dog » 17 Aug 2017 15

Good to see you posting Don.

Still plunking away with my 45-70 Govt. Size all three of my designs to .458".
Michael
Image
User avatar
Ranch Dog
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8858
Joined: 23 Jan 2012
Has thanked: 1524 times
Been thanked: 2022 times
My Rossi Choice: Rio Grande
Location: Cuero, TX


Return to Rio Grande

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

  • Advertisement