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Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Rifles

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Ripp
.470 member


Reged: 19/02/07
Posts: 9855
Loc: Montana, USA
Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government
      #310274 - 12/01/18 01:04 AM

https://www.americanhunter.org/articles/...m_campaign=0118


Hunters possess a unique dichotomy. We enjoy the present moments immensely—and the thrill of the hunt is very high on our list—but we also have a unique connection to the past. We hold the traditions of our forefathers dear, and rely on the writings and experiences of the hunters that came before us. Of course, modern technology provides a multitude of advantages—many of which are used every day—but the older way of doing things appeals to many. This same principal applies to the choice of cartridges.

There are those who enjoy hunting with the traditional muzzleloaders (both flintlock and percussion cap), as well as the recurve and longbows in an effort to touch history. Centerfire cartridges have a similar niche, with many hunters—present company included—enjoying the nostalgia of the older designs and the history that comes along with them. The .375 H&H Magnum, .30-30 Winchester, .250-3000 Savage, hell, even the .30-06 Springfield are all over a century old. But the one that dates back the earliest—among the rifle cartridges still in major production—is the .45-70 Government.



Among modern cartridges, the attributes of the .45-70 Government should have damned the cartridge into obscurity. It isn’t fast, it isn’t sleek, it throws a D-cell battery for a projectile, so why is it still here? Well, because it’s irresistibly cool.

It first saw military service in 1873, during the Indian Wars, and replaced the .50-70 cartridge as the U.S. Army’s choice. It was officially known as the .45-70-405—in the nomenclature of the black powder cartridges, where caliber-powder charge-bullet weight were named—and its accompanying Model 1873 ‘Trapdoor’ Springfield rifle proved to be a very accurate and effective combination. It remained the darling of the U.S. Army until 1892, when it was officially replaced by the .30-40 Krag, but remained in action even up to the Spanish-American War.

The 405-grain round-nosed lead bullet was launched at a muzzle velocity of right around 1,400 fps; it certainly wasn’t a speed demon by any means, but was a definite improvement over the .50-70 and the muzzleloading rifles that immediately preceded it. In the late 1870s, the load was revised to deliver a 500-grain bullet, which gave better long range terminal ballistics. It proved itself not only on the battlefield, but in the fields and woods as well. As a hunting cartridge, the .45-70 showed that it was perfectly suited for any and all North American game, including the dwindling bison. It was chambered in a variety of rifles, including all sorts of single shots—falling blocks, rolling blocks, etc.—and in the strong Model 1886 Winchester lever-action rifle. It makes a good short range cartridge for anything with four feet and a heartbeat, including grizzly bears. It’s undoubtedly heavy for deer, but I’ve seen my Dad use his Browning 1886 with good effect, with very little meat damage when compared to a 7mm or .300 Magnum.

Being an old case, it does have some drawbacks among the benefits. The .45-70 case is notoriously thin-walled, and therefore the pressures must be kept low. Having a good, wide rim, headspace and extraction pose no issue at all. The case length is just over two inches—2.105 inches, to be precise—so the action doesn’t need to be overly long. And, if the old loads were good enough to earn a reputation, the modern loads have only made a great cartridge even better. Of course, in deference to those late 19th century rifles, much of the factory ammunition for the .45-70 is a bit anemic, but in (specified) modern rifles, the .45-70 Government can be quite a raging beast. The modern Winchester 1886, the Marlin 1895, the Ruger No. 1 and No. 3; all will allow the velocities to ramp up, taking full advantage of the potential of the cartridge. As a matter of fact, several ammunition companies have made stronger cases for the .45-70, using thicker brass walls and a small rifle primer to further reinforce the web of the case. In this guise, the 400-grain bullets can attain the 2,000 fps mark, making it a horse-of-a-different-color.



Premium bullets will also further enhance the performance of the .45-70. When Dad and I headed to South Dakota to hunt bison, I handloaded him some 400-grain flat nose Swift A-Frames for that Browning 1886, and his buffalo crumpled like a piece of typing paper when that bullet struck bone.

Hornady offers their FTX spitzer bullet, with the rubbery red tip—perfectly safe for use in a tubular magazine—in their LeveRevolution line of ammo. Using a 325-grain bullet at 2,050 fps, the Hornady stuff can be zeroed at 200 yards, striking three-inches high at 100 yards. Even this ammo, with the best of trajectories, will hit 28 inches low at 300 yards, giving you a good idea of why so many consider the .45-70 to be a relatively short-range rifle in the hunting fields.

The recoil of the .45-70 is not for the faint of heart, especially with the hotter loads. In the lever-action rifles—which usually are on the light side, with a stock design that does not exactly deal well with recoil—you’ll really feel it, and bench work can be a chore. When I developed a handload for Dad’s 1886—decorated with a crescent steel buttplate, with nice pointy ends—I used a thick recoil pad for my shoulder, and it made a big difference. In the field, however, I’ve never had any issues.

Resembling a fire hydrant more than an Apollo-era rocket, the .45-70 Government represents an era of American firearms development that is most certainly romantic and charismatic. However, the usefulness of the design is what has allowed it to see its way from the 19th century through the 21st century. Long live the .45-70!

--------------------
ALL MEN DIE, BUT FEW MEN TRULY LIVE..


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Daryl_S
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Reged: 10/08/05
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Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Ripp]
      #310289 - 12/01/18 04:42 AM

1/2 decent article. Some errors, nothing horrid, along with ridiculously amplified adjectives or similes - seemingly written by a 15 year old, perhaps.
Maybe the cold snap has me a bit grumpy this morning.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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Huvius
.416 member


Reged: 04/11/07
Posts: 2742
Loc: Colorado
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Daryl_S]
      #310290 - 12/01/18 04:49 AM

Gun journalism is at an all time low right now.
I’m amazed that most periodicals sell at all with all of the hash and rehash, this cartridge vs. that cartridge, hot new offering which offers nothing new...
Even the few writers I like have pretty much run out of subject material.

--------------------
He who lives in the past is doomed to enjoy it.


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Ripp
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Reged: 19/02/07
Posts: 9855
Loc: Montana, USA
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Daryl_S]
      #310291 - 12/01/18 04:52 AM

Quote:

1/2 decent article. Some errors, nothing horrid, along with ridiculously amplified adjectives or similes - seemingly written by a 15 year old, perhaps.
Maybe the cold snap has me a bit grumpy this morning.




YOU think???

I have always felt whether these articles are 100% or not, at the minimum it creates discussion, dialogue and hopefully some info on the topic..

Personally picked up a 45-70 a couple years back..have it stored in my camper trailer..really enjoy it and feel anything that may come knocking on the door in the way of 2 or 4 legged will rue the day once hit by its 300gr bullet.. yet surprisingly comfortable to shoot... I do know it will blow out the back side of an 8" diameter treated fence post with ease.. and that is medium loads to boot..

--------------------
ALL MEN DIE, BUT FEW MEN TRULY LIVE..


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Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 17865
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Ripp]
      #310304 - 12/01/18 08:24 AM

I'm now loading Bullet Barn" hard cast 450's in my Marlin. Something around 1,900fps.

I actually prefer my 1876 Centennial in .50/95, 368gr. FN at 1,650fps.

A bit unwieldy with 28" bl. and 11pound weight, but a MUCH nicer rifle with very much smoother action.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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nopride2
.275 member


Reged: 03/01/04
Posts: 96
Loc: Seattle, Wa.
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Daryl_S]
      #310491 - 15/01/18 09:13 AM

I have a rare Chapuis double rifle in 45-70. It's been regulated to shoot a 405 grain bullet at about 1800 fps.

Dave


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Daryl_S
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Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 17865
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: nopride2]
      #310499 - 15/01/18 12:24 PM

Perfect - and about 38,000psi to 40,000psi.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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416rigby
.300 member


Reged: 16/11/05
Posts: 120
Loc: Port Angeles, Washington USA
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Daryl_S]
      #310507 - 15/01/18 06:29 PM

Love the 45-70, there isn't much it can't do. I had a 14" Contender barrel for a long time. It was accurate and recoil wasn't that bad. The 300gr JHP's worked really well.

--------------------
"Life's too short to hunt with an ugly gun"

U.S. Coast Guard, retired


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Longknife
.300 member


Reged: 17/04/08
Posts: 111
Loc: Illinois
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: 416rigby]
      #315206 - 13/04/18 12:19 AM

I have several 45-70 rifles and reload with BP only, what a BLAST!!! (pun intended) Next on my WTB list is a 45-70 lever gun,,, Here is a good article that has the 45-70 history and more technical info.....Ed


https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/.45-70+U.S+Government.html

--------------------
Longknife


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Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 17865
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Longknife]
      #315208 - 13/04/18 02:59 AM

Excellent article, Ed- thanks.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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Maxim
.224 member


Reged: 04/06/16
Posts: 34
Loc: Michigan USA
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Daryl_S]
      #315213 - 13/04/18 04:03 AM

It was my pleasure to shoot a borrowed Danish Rolling Block in 45/90 loaded to 45/70 velocities in a Black Powder cartridge match out to 600 yards. 510 gr Postell bullets, no gas check, and a hardy load of Goex FFg. I had a number of fellows coaching me on loads, sight settings, and the intricacies of obtaining the much needed small groups to be successful. Most were shooting 45/70 as the 45/90 case was too much. I had a respectable showing with a new found appreciation for the 45/70.

Edited by Maxim (13/04/18 04:06 AM)


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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 859
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Maxim]
      #315220 - 13/04/18 10:57 AM

I have to watch out for gun shops. If there is a rifle chambered for 45/70 it tends to follow me home. I love rolling blocks and trap door Springfields.

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500Boswell
.375 member


Reged: 21/07/06
Posts: 841
Loc: Queensland
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: Wayne59]
      #315228 - 13/04/18 11:55 AM

I think its better enjoyed at lower velocities ,rather than people who have to make a race horse out of everything ,might as well buy a 458 Win and be done with it .

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Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 17865
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Behind-the-bullet---- 45-70-government [Re: 500Boswell]
      #315262 - 14/04/18 02:36 AM

In the late 50's and early 60's here, I recall seeing adds for barrels of Springfield Trapdoors - $29.95.
Daryl

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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