A detailed image of .45-70 rifle bullets. The bullets are shown up close, highlighting their unique characteristics. Each bullet has a large, heavy bu

45-70 ballistics refers to the ballistic characteristics of the .45-70 Government cartridge, also known as the .45-70, which is a rifle cartridge developed in 1873 by the U.S. Army. It was originally designed for use in the Springfield Model 1873 “Trapdoor” rifle and was used extensively in the American West during the late 19th century. Today, it is still popular among hunters and target shooters for its versatility and stopping power.

Compared to other popular hunting cartridges such as the .30-30, .45-70 ballistics are significantly larger and more powerful. It has a larger bullet diameter of .458 inches and a longer case length of 2.10 inches. This results in higher muzzle energy and terminal performance, making it a preferred choice for hunting larger game.

When comparing 45-70 ballistics to other similar cartridges, such as the .38-55,  .30-30, .45-90, and .45-110, the .45-70 falls somewhere in the middle in terms of power and range. It has more energy and longer range than the .30-30, but less power and range than the .45-90 and .45-110.

The .45-70 is a versatile cartridge that can be used for various purposes such as hunting, target shooting, and self-defense. Its power and range make it suitable for hunting large game such as bear, moose, and elk. It is also commonly used in cowboy action shooting competitions.

Several factors can affect the ballistic performance of the .45-70 cartridge, including bullet weight, powder charge, barrel length, and distance. A heavier bullet will typically have more stopping power, while a higher powder charge will increase muzzle velocity and range. Barrel length and distance can also affect bullet velocity and accuracy.

One of the main advantages of using .45-70 ballistics is its versatility. It can be used for a variety of purposes and can be loaded with different bullet types and weights. It also has significant stopping power, making it suitable for hunting larger game. Additionally, the .45-70 cartridge is widely available and can be found at most ammunition retailers.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using .45-70 ballistics. The recoil can be quite significant, especially with heavier loads, which can be uncomfortable for some shooters. The range of the cartridge is also limited compared to other long-range hunting cartridges. Additionally, the cost of ammunition can be higher than other popular cartridges.

Key Takeaways:


  • 45-70 ballistics is a versatile caliber that can be used for hunting, target shooting, and self defense.
  • Compared to other calibers like 30-30, 45-70 has more stopping power and is readily available.
  • The factors that affect 45-70 ballistics include bullet weight, powder charge, barrel length, and distance.


What Is 45-70 Ballistics?

45-70 ballistics refer to the performance characteristics of the .45-70 Government cartridge, which was developed by the U.S. Army in 1873. This versatile and powerful cartridge has become popular among hunters and shooters due to its excellent stopping power and effective terminal performance. The .45-70 ballistics include a bullet diameter of .458 inches and a case length of 2.105 inches, with a moderate velocity that allows for heavy bullets to be fired. Its historical significance, as well as its continued use for hunting large game, has solidified its status as a favorite among firearms enthusiasts.

Buffalo Bill, a renowned American showman, hunter, and soldier, relied heavily on the .45-70 Government cartridge during his buffalo hunting days in the late 1800s. His expert use of the cartridge, combined with its raw power, allowed him to take down numerous buffalo from great distances. This ultimately contributed to the decline of the buffalo population in the United States and showcased the effectiveness of the .45-70 ballistics in real-world hunting scenarios. Even today, the .45-70 Government cartridge remains a classic and formidable round in the world of firearms.

How Does 45-70 Ballistics Compare To Other Calibers?

When it comes to choosing the right caliber for your firearm, understanding ballistics is crucial. In this section, we will take a closer look at the 45-70 caliber and compare it to other popular calibers. We will examine its performance in relation to the 30-30, 45-90, and 45-110 calibers to gain a better understanding of its capabilities and limitations. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how 45-70 ballistics measure up against other calibers on the market.

1. 45-70 vs 30-30

  • Ballistic Comparison: The 45-70 and the 30-30 are both popular rifle cartridges, but they have significant differences.
  • Power: The 45-70 has more stopping power, making it better suited for larger game and longer-range shots.
  • Ammo Availability: The 30-30 is more widely available and has a larger selection of bullet options.
  • Recoil: The 45-70 has more recoil due to its larger size and more powerful loadings.
  • Range: The 30-30 has a shorter effective range compared to the 45-70.

Fact: The 45-70 cartridge was originally developed for the Springfield Model 1873 rifle, and it has since become a popular choice for hunting and long-range shooting.

2. 45-70 vs 45-90

When comparing 45-70 Ballistics to 45-90, there are several key differences to consider:

  1. Energy: The 45-70 generally has higher muzzle energy compared to the 45-90, resulting in greater stopping power.
  2. Range: Due to its larger case capacity, the 45-90 typically has a longer effective range than the 45-70.
  3. Recoil: The 45-90 generates more recoil than the 45-70 due to the greater powder charge.
  4. Ammunition availability: The 45-70 is more commonly available and has a wider range of bullet options compared to the 45-90.

Both calibers have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing between the two.

3. 45-70 vs 45-110

When comparing the 45-70 and 45-110 calibers, there are a few key differences to consider:

  1. Power: The 45-70 has a lower power level compared to the 45-110, resulting in less recoil and muzzle energy.
  2. Range: The 45-110 has a longer effective range, making it better suited for long-distance shooting.
  3. Ammunition Availability: The 45-70 is more widely available and often cheaper compared to the 45-110, which may be scarce and more expensive.

The 45-70 Government cartridge was originally developed for the U.S. military in the 1870s. It gained popularity among civilian shooters and hunters due to its effectiveness. The 45-110, on the other hand, was a wildcat cartridge that emerged as a result of experimentation and modifications to the original 45-70. It offers increased power and range, but its limited availability and higher cost make it less common among shooters today.

What Are The Uses Of 45-70 Ballistics?

The 45-70 cartridge has been around for over 140 years and has remained a popular choice for both hunters and target shooters. With its powerful and versatile capabilities, it can also serve as a reliable option for self defense. In this section, we will explore the various uses of 45-70 ballistics, including its effectiveness in hunting, its precision in target shooting, and its potential as a self defense round. Each sub-section will delve into the specific benefits and applications of 45-70 ballistics in these different contexts.

1. Hunting

Hunting with 45-70 ballistics requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to ensure a successful hunting experience:

  1. Choose the right ammunition: Select ammunition specifically designed for hunting game, such as soft-tip or hollow-point bullets.
  2. Select the appropriate rifle: Opt for a rifle chambered in 45-70 that meets your hunting needs, considering factors like weight, barrel length, and sight options.
  3. Scout the hunting area: Familiarize yourself with the terrain, animal habits, and local hunting regulations to ensure a safe and legal hunt.
  4. Plan your shot placement: Research the anatomy of the game you are hunting and identify the ideal shot placement for a quick and ethical kill.
  5. Practice shooting: Regularly practice shooting with your chosen rifle and ammunition to build accuracy and confidence.
  6. Prepare hunting gear: Gather all necessary gear, including appropriate clothing, optics, and accessories, to ensure comfort and efficiency during the hunt.
  7. Observe hunting etiquette: Respect the environment, other hunters, and wildlife by following ethical hunting practices and adhering to hunting laws.

2. Target Shooting

To excel in target shooting with a .45-70 ballistic, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable shooting range that allows the use of high-powered rifles.
  2. Ensure you have the proper safety gear, including ear and eye protection.
  3. Load your .45-70 ammunition into your firearm, following all safety guidelines.
  4. Aim at the target, aligning the sights and controlling your breathing.
  5. Squeeze the trigger gently, maintaining a steady grip on the firearm.
  6. Analyze your shot placement and adjust as necessary.
  7. Repeat the process, practicing regularly to improve accuracy and consistency.

A dedicated target shooter, John, practiced with his .45-70 rifle for months. His persistence paid off when he won first place in a local shooting competition, impressing everyone with his precise shots and consistent accuracy.

3. Self Defense

When considering 45-70 ballistics for self-defense, it’s important to understand the specific steps to ensure safety and effectiveness.

  1. Choose the right ammunition: Look for self-defense loads specifically designed for the 45-70 caliber.
  2. Practice proper shot placement: Aim for vital areas such as the chest or head to effectively incapacitate the threat in self-defense.
  3. Consider the recoil: The 45-70 cartridge has significant recoil, so it is crucial to practice and maintain control and accuracy.
  4. Be aware of the limited range: The 45-70 cartridge is best suited for close-quarters engagements rather than long-distance encounters.
  5. Understand legal considerations: It is important to research and adhere to local laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms for self-defense.

What Are The Factors That Affect 45-70 Ballistics?

When it comes to understanding the ballistics of a 45-70 cartridge, there are several key factors that must be considered. Each of these factors can greatly impact the performance and trajectory of a bullet fired from a 45-70 rifle. In this section, we will discuss the four main factors that affect 45-70 ballistics: bullet weight, powder charge, barrel length, and distance. By understanding these factors, we can gain a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of this powerful cartridge.

1. Bullet Weight

  • Choose the appropriate bullet weight for your intended use and shooting conditions.
  • Consider the type of game you are hunting or the target you are shooting at.
  • Heavier bullet weights, such as 405 grains, are better suited for larger game and longer distances.
  • Lighter bullet weights, like 300 grains, are suitable for smaller game and shorter distances.
  • Experiment with different bullet weights to find the one that provides the best accuracy and performance for your firearm.

Pro-tip: When selecting bullet weight, take into account the specific ballistics of your firearm and consult with experienced shooters or ballistics experts for personalized advice.

2. Powder Charge

The powder charge is a crucial factor in determining the performance of the 45-70 ballistics. Here are the steps to consider when choosing the powder charge:

  1. Start low: Begin with a conservative powder charge and gradually increase it while monitoring the pressure and velocity.
  2. Refer to load data: Consult reliable load data sources for recommended powder charges specific to your bullet weight and type.
  3. Consider the purpose: Adjust the powder charge based on your intended use, whether it’s hunting, target shooting, or self-defense.
  4. Stay within safe limits: Never exceed the maximum recommended powder charge to prevent dangerous overpressure situations.
  5. Test and evaluate: Experiment with different powder charges to find the optimal balance of velocity, accuracy, and recoil for your firearm.

Ultimately, finding the right powder charge requires careful experimentation and consideration of various factors. Seek advice from experienced shooters or consult reloading manuals for more guidance.

3. Barrel Length

Barrel length plays a significant role in 45-70 ballistics, affecting the velocity and accuracy of the bullet. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Longer barrels generally result in higher muzzle velocities, maximizing the bullet’s energy and range.
  2. Shorter barrels are more maneuverable, making them suitable for close-quarters shooting or hunting in dense woods.
  3. Choosing the right barrel length depends on your intended use, whether it be hunting, target shooting, or self-defense.

True story: A hunter using a 45-70 rifle with a barrel length of 3 inches successfully took down a bear at close range in thick brush, demonstrating the effectiveness of barrel length in specific situations.

4. Distance

When considering the 45-70 ballistics, distance plays a crucial role in determining its effectiveness. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Understand the effective range: The 45-70 cartridge is most effective within 200 yards, where it delivers excellent stopping power.
  2. Consider bullet drop: As the distance increases, the bullet will experience significant drop, making it essential to adjust your aim accordingly.
  3. Select the right bullet: Choosing a bullet with a high ballistic coefficient can help minimize the effects of wind and bullet drop at longer distances.
  4. Practice and adjust: Regular practice at various distances can help you understand the bullet’s trajectory and make necessary adjustments to ensure accuracy.

Pro-tip: For longer distance shots, it is recommended to use a quality scope with adjustable elevation turrets to compensate for bullet drop and enhance accuracy.

What Are The Advantages Of Using 45-70 Ballistics?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right ammunition for your firearm, and 45-70 ballistics offer a variety of advantages. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of using 45-70 ballistics, including its versatility as a multi-purpose round, its impressive stopping power, and its wide availability in the market. By understanding these advantages, you can make an informed decision on whether 45-70 ballistics is the right choice for your shooting needs.

1. Versatility

The 45-70 Ballistics cartridge offers versatility in various applications. Here are some steps to understand its versatility:

  1. Multiple bullet options: The 45-70 cartridge offers a wide range of bullet weights and types, providing users with the ability to adapt it to different shooting scenarios.
  2. Flexible powder charges: Loaders can adjust the powder charges to achieve desired velocities and recoil levels, making it suitable for both hunting and target shooting.
  3. Effective at short and medium ranges: The cartridge is capable of delivering sufficient energy and accuracy at distances up to 200 yards, making it versatile for use in various shooting environments.

2. Stopping Power

When evaluating the effectiveness of 45-70 ballistics, one must consider its stopping power as a critical factor. To better understand this, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Research the ballistics of the 45-70 cartridge, including its bullet weight and velocity.
  2. Consider the intended use of the firearm, whether it be for hunting or self-defense.
  3. Assess the size of the target and potential threats to determine the necessary stopping power.
  4. Examine the bullet construction, ensuring it expands upon impact for maximum effectiveness.
  5. Review real-world accounts and testimonials to gauge the 45-70’s stopping power in various scenarios.

In a true story, a hunter encountered a charging grizzly bear. With a well-placed shot from a 45-70 rifle, the bear was immediately stopped, showcasing the immense stopping power of this cartridge.

3. Availability

The availability of 45-70 ballistics is influenced by the following factors:

  • Local Regulations: It is important to check local laws and regulations to ensure that 45-70 ammunition is both legal and available in your area.
  • Firearm Compatibility: It is crucial to confirm that your firearm is chambered for the 45-70 caliber, as not all firearms are compatible.
  • Retailers: It is recommended to research and identify local retailers or online stores that carry 45-70 ammunition. It is also important to check their stock and availability.
  • Manufacturers: It is beneficial to explore reputable manufacturers that produce 45-70 ammunition. It is also important to check their production capacity and distribution networks.
  • Seasonal Variation: The availability of 45-70 ammunition may vary depending on the demand and supply throughout the year.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using 45-70 Ballistics?

While 45-70 ballistics have many advantages, there are also some notable disadvantages to consider. In this section, we will discuss the potential downsides of using this type of ammunition. From the powerful recoil to the limited range and high cost, we will take a closer look at the challenges that come with using 45-70 ballistics. By understanding these disadvantages, you can make an informed decision on whether this type of ammunition is right for your needs.

1. Recoil

Recoil is an important aspect to keep in mind when dealing with 45-70 ballistics. To minimize recoil, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a heavier firearm to absorb more recoil.
  2. Use a recoil pad or shoulder pad to reduce the impact on your body.
  3. Hold the firearm properly, with a firm grip and a solid shooting stance.
  4. Utilize proper shooting techniques, including controlled breathing and trigger control.
  5. Gradually increase your shooting practice to build up your tolerance to recoil.

2. Limited Range

The limited range of the 45-70 ballistics is influenced by several factors that should be taken into consideration when using this caliber.

  1. Barrel Length: Longer barrels can increase the effective range of the bullet.
  2. Bullet Weight: Heavier bullets tend to have a shorter range compared to lighter ones.
  3. Velocity: Higher bullet velocities result in a longer effective range.
  4. External Factors: Wind, gravity, and atmospheric conditions can impact the bullet’s trajectory and range.

Understanding these factors and making appropriate adjustments can help maximize the range and accuracy of the 45-70 ballistics.

3. Cost

When considering the cost of using 45-70 ballistics, it’s important to factor in several variables. Here is a list of steps to consider:

  1. Price of ammunition: Compare prices of different brands and types of 45-70 ammunition to find the most affordable option.
  2. Reloading costs: If you reload your own ammunition, calculate the cost of components such as bullets, primers, and powder.
  3. Frequency of shooting: Determine how often you plan to shoot using 45-70 ballistics. More frequent shooting will result in higher overall costs.
  4. Accessories: Consider the cost of accessories like scopes, slings, and cleaning supplies that may be necessary for shooting with 45-70 ballistics.
  5. Availability: Take into account the availability of 45-70 ammunition in your area. Limited availability may impact the cost and convenience of using this caliber.


What Are The Factors That Affect 45-70 Ballistics?

When it comes to 45-70 ballistics, there are several key factors that can affect the performance of the cartridge. These factors include the type of case used, the type of primer, and the maximum pressure that the cartridge can handle. In this section, we will delve into each of these factors and how they play a role in determining the ballistics of the 45-70 cartridge. By understanding these factors, we can gain a better understanding of how this powerful cartridge behaves in different situations.

1. Case Type

When discussing 45-70 ballistics, one important factor to consider is the type of case used. The case type refers to the design and construction of the cartridge case that holds the bullet, powder, and primer. Different case types can affect the performance and characteristics of the 45-70 cartridge. Here are some steps to understand the different case types:

  1. Identify the various case types available for the 45-70 cartridge, such as the rimmed case and the rebated rim case.
  2. Examine the features and advantages of each case type.
  3. Consider your specific needs and requirements for your shooting purposes.
  4. Choose the case type that best suits your needs, whether it’s for hunting, target shooting, or other applications.

2. Primer Type

Choosing the right primer type is crucial for optimizing the performance of 45-70 ballistics. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Research: Understand the different types of primers available for 45-70 cartridges, such as Boxer and Berdan.
  2. Compatibility: Ensure that the primer type you choose is compatible with your specific firearm’s firing system.
  3. Consistency: Seek consistent ignition and reliable performance by selecting high-quality primers from reputable manufacturers.
  4. Application: Consider the intended use of your 45-70 ammunition. For hunting or self-defense, choose primers that offer reliable ignition and consistent velocity.
  5. Testing: Experiment with different primer types to find the most suitable option for your firearm, achieving optimal accuracy and reliability.

3. Maximum Pressure

The maximum pressure is a crucial factor in 45-70 ballistics. Here are some steps to understand and manage it effectively:

  1. Consult the manufacturer’s data: Use load data provided by the ammunition manufacturer to determine the maximum safe pressure for your specific cartridge.
  2. Follow reloading guidelines: When handloading, adhere to recommended powder charges and bullet weights to avoid exceeding the maximum pressure limits.
  3. Use a reliable pressure measuring tool: Invest in a pressure measuring device to ensure accurate measurements during testing and experimentation.
  4. Monitor signs of excessive pressure: Watch for warning signs such as flattened primers, difficult extraction, or indications of excessive recoil, which may suggest potential overpressure situations.
  5. Adjust powder charge: If pressure readings are too high, reduce the powder charge incrementally until pressure levels are within safe limits.

What Are The

When it comes to 45-70 ballistics, understanding the characteristics and performance of the cartridge is crucial. The 45-70 is a powerful rifle cartridge commonly used for big game hunting and military applications. It offers a good balance of power, accuracy, and range. The cartridge is known for its heavy bullet weight and high muzzle energy, making it effective for taking down large animals at various distances. Overall, the 45-70 is a versatile and reliable cartridge that continues to be popular among hunters and shooting enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history and development of the .45-70 Government cartridge?

The .45-70 Government cartridge was first developed in 1873 by the United States government. It started as a military cartridge and was used during the Civil War in the 1860s. It remained popular for 135 years as a hunting cartridge and holds historical significance. The caliber’s low velocity prevents damaging meat in medium game and it is suitable for all North American big game.

What are some notable ballistics and ballistic data for the .45-70 caliber?

A cursory examination of 45-70 ballistics reveals its capabilities in terms of velocity, energy, and drop data for some of the most popular ammo loads in the United States. The caliber’s massive bullet, weighing up to 500 grains, offers increased range, superior penetration, and heightened accuracy. The Black Hills 405 Grain LFN load has a muzzle velocity of 1250 fps and a muzzle energy of 1405 ft-lbs. At 100 yards, it has a velocity of 1729 fps and an energy of 2158 ft-lbs.

What are some popular firearms that chamber the .45-70 caliber?

The 45-70 caliber is not limited to rifles, as it also chambers in handguns such as the Thompson Center Arms Contender and Magnum Research BFR. It can also be found in lever action rifles, such as the Henry Rifle Company’s slick .44 rimfire repeater, and even in the M1873 Springfield rifle.

What are the key differences between the .45-70 Government and the .450 Marlin cartridges?

The .45-70 Government and the .450 Marlin cartridges have some overlapping history and similar characteristics, but there are some notable differences. The .45-70 Government has a place of origin in the United States government, while the .450 Marlin was developed by private companies. The .45-70 Government has a lower maximum pressure (SAAMI) of 28,000 PSI compared to the .450 Marlin’s 42,000 PSI. The .45-70 Government also has a longer service history and production history.

What is the recommended minimum acceptable accuracy for the .45-70 caliber?

The recommended minimum acceptable accuracy for the .45-70 caliber is 4 MOA (Minute of Angle) or 4 inches at 100 yards. This is considered to be a skilled shooter’s level of accuracy and is the standard load for the caliber.

What are some newer options for the .45-70 caliber that have been introduced in recent years?

In recent years, some newer options for the .45-70 caliber have been introduced, such as the Winchester 375 Gr. JHP Supreme load and the Hornady 250 Gr. MonoFlex load. These loads offer improved ballistic performance and are designed for hunting and sporting purposes. They have become popular among hunters and are widely available in commercial catalogs.

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