Handloading the .45-70
In a single-shot rifle like the Bergara B13, crimping the 45-70 is not necessary

Why are cases buckling when I’m reloading the .45-70?

Q: I’ve struck a problem handloading ammo for my Bergara B13 .45-70. I tried loading 60gn of Benchmark 2 behind the Hornady 300gn hollow-point, but when I try to seat the bullet so that the cannelure is level with the mouth of the case when I crimp it, the case buckles and is bulged. 

Can you tell me what I am doing wrong?

Gerald Brennan

A: I’ve been loading ammo for a Bergara single-shot just like your’n so I can help. Some of the loads listed for the .45-70 with certain powder, particularly fine-grained ones like Benchmark 2 and Ball types, fill the case halfway up the neck so that the charge can’t be compressed to allow the bullet to be seated deeply enough to crimp the case mouth into the cannelure. 

If you try to force it, the case buckles and is bulged.

Unlike the Marlin 1895, the Bergara has a chamber that will take longer reloads than what is regarded as standard for the Marlin. You can’t seat the bullet out too far, so it is better to use a less bulky propellant. 

I used 56gn of Reloder 10x in place of 60gn of Benchmark 2, which allowed the bullet to be seated deeper, but although I still couldn’t crimp into the cannelure, the reloads chambered easily.

My Lee die set makes a straight-taper crimp simply by forcing the case with bullet fully seated into a slightly tapered hole, which compresses the mouth of the case slightly into the bullet. No bullet cannelure is necessary, so don’t let that worry you.

When seating the bullet, if you encounter the slightest resistance, back off the die slightly, and don’t worry if the crimping shoulder does not touch the bullet; it’s not critical with the Bergara single-shot.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.