In the world of firearms, the debate between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester rages on as enthusiasts seek to determine which reigns supreme. Both cartridges have their loyal followers, each advocating for their preferred round based on a variety of factors such as history, ballistics, and practical use. Understanding the history and development of these cartridges is essential for appreciating their capabilities and limitations.

A detailed comparison of their ballistics, including velocity, energy, and stopping power, is crucial for making an informed decision. Exploring the specific use cases for the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester will shed light on the practical applications of these cartridges in different scenarios. By the end of this article, you will have the necessary knowledge to determine which option is the best fit for your needs. So, let’s delve into the world of 45-70 Government vs 308 and unravel the complexities of these popular cartridges.

Key Takeaways:

  • The 45-70 Government has a longer history and was originally designed for use in military rifles, while the 308 Winchester was developed for hunting and sporting purposes.
  • The 308 Winchester has a flatter trajectory and higher velocity, making it better suited for longer range shooting, while the 45-70 Government has more stopping power and is better for close range hunting or self-defense.
  • The best option between the two will ultimately depend on individual preferences and the intended use. Consider factors such as distance, game type, and personal shooting style when deciding between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester.

45-70 Government vs 308 Comparison: Which is Better?

Regarding choosing between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester, understanding their key differences and specific use cases is essential for determining the superior option for various hunting scenarios, from black bear hunting to big game pursuits.

Both the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester are popular choices among hunters due to their distinct ballistic characteristics. The 45-70 Government is renowned for its heavy bullet and significant stopping power, making it an excellent choice for large game hunting. On the other hand, the 308 Winchester offers impressive accuracy and long-range capabilities, making it suitable for a variety of hunting situations, including black bear hunting and medium-sized game pursuits.

When comparing the two cartridges, factors such as bullet weight, velocity, and energy must be carefully considered. The 45-70 Government’s heavier bullets deliver immense energy upon impact, making it ideal for taking down larger game at close to medium ranges. In contrast, the 308 Winchester’s flatter trajectory and long-range accuracy make it well-suited for hunting scenarios that require precision shooting, especially for big game pursuits in open terrain.

Introduction to 45-70 Government

The 45-70 Government, originally developed for military use and later adapted for civilian hunting purposes, has established itself as a formidable cartridge known for its effectiveness in big bore rifles such as those from Marlin, Remington, and Winchester, with a rich history and significant role in the evolution of ball powder technology.

History and Development

The history and development of the 45-70 Government date back to its initial adoption as a military cartridge and subsequent evolution into a favored option for civilian rifle enthusiasts, notably embraced by renowned manufacturers such as Marlin, Remington, and Winchester, with significant advancements in ball powder technology contributing to its performance.

Originally introduced in 1873, the 45-70 Government cartridge was first utilized by the U.S. military in firearms like the Springfield Model 1873 rifle. Its name, derived from the .45 caliber bullet and 70 grains of black powder, reflected its military origins. Over time, as advancements were made in firearms technology, the 45-70 Government found its way into the civilian market, particularly in lever-action rifles, becoming a popular choice for hunting and long-range shooting.

Manufacturers such as Marlin, Remington, and Winchester recognized the potential of the 45-70 Government in civilian applications, leading to the production of iconic rifles like the Marlin Model 1895 and the Winchester Model 1886. These rifles gained widespread popularity among hunters and sportsmen due to their robust performance and versatility.

The 45-70 Government has seen significant technological enhancements, particularly with the introduction of ball powder, which improved its ballistic characteristics and accuracy. This innovation expanded its capabilities, making it a reliable choice for various shooting scenarios, from close-range brush hunting to long-distance precision shooting.

Introduction to 308 Winchester

The 308 Winchester, a versatile and widely utilized cartridge with origins in NATO specifications, has carved a prominent place in the realm of rifle ammunition, boasting a rich history and extensive development, notably associated with esteemed manufacturers such as Remington and popular platforms like the AR-10.

History and Development

The history and development of the 308 Winchester are deeply rooted in its alignment with NATO specifications, leading to its widespread adoption for military and civilian uses, further propelled by collaborative efforts with Remington and the incorporation into rifle platforms such as the AR-10, reflecting its enduring impact on ballistics and ammunition technology.

Initially introduced in 1952, the 308 Winchester, derived from the .300 Savage cartridge, quickly gained traction due to its compatibility with the M14 rifle adopted by NATO forces. This connection to NATO standards solidified its status as a versatile cartridge, bridging the gap between military and civilian applications. Its collaboration with Remington further enhanced its standing, with the brand supporting its production and distribution.

The evolution of the 308 Winchester also saw its incorporation into the AR-10 platform, which contributed to its widespread use in military settings. This expansion into military firearms further cemented its reputation for accuracy, range, and ballistic performance.

Ballistics Comparison

A comprehensive comparison of the ballistics between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester delves into their respective trajectories, kinetic energy outputs, ammunition characteristics, and overall accuracy, offering insights into their performance as hunting cartridges in diverse scenarios.

Velocity and Energy Comparison

The comparison of velocity and energy between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester explores their respective muzzle velocities, effective ranges, and kinetic energy delivery at varying distances, showcasing the distinct performance profiles of these cartridges in different hunting scenarios.

When examining the muzzle velocities, the 45-70 Government typically achieves around 1,600-2,000 feet per second, allowing for effective ranges of up to 200-300 yards. Its kinetic energy output is notable, especially at shorter distances, making it an excellent choice for hunting larger game at closer quarters.

In contrast, the 308 Winchester demonstrates higher muzzle velocities, often reaching 2,500-3,000 feet per second. This results in extended effective ranges of 400-600 yards, providing exceptional performance for mid to long-range hunting pursuits. The kinetic energy retention of the 308 Winchester across distances further enhances its suitability for various hunting scenarios.

External Ballistics Comparison

An in-depth comparison of the external ballistics between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester encompasses their respective trajectories, leveraging action compatibility, bolt-action performance, and the influence of CNC gun manufacturing on their ballistic behavior, shedding light on their suitability for specific rifle platforms.

When looking into the trajectory characteristics, the 45-70 Government typically exhibits a more pronounced arc due to its heavier bullets and slower velocities, making it suitable for lever-action rifles, where shorter, heavier projectiles can be maneuvered easily. Meanwhile, the 308 Winchester, with its flatter trajectory and long-range accuracy, is often favored for bolt-action mechanisms that demand consistent precision at extended distances.

The implementation of CNC gun manufacturing processes has significantly enhanced the overall ballistic performance of both calibers. Precision engineering allows for tighter tolerances and streamlined production, resulting in improved accuracy and consistency for shooters utilizing these cartridges in their chosen rifle platforms.

Stopping Power Comparison

Comparing the stopping power of the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester involves evaluating their effectiveness in big game pursuits, considering aspects such as penetration capabilities, bullet weights, and ammunition designs to ascertain their respective stopping power in real-world hunting scenarios.

Regarding big game hunting, the 45-70 Government has long been revered for its remarkable stopping power. With its heavy bullet weights and larger caliber, it delivers impressive energy transfer and deep penetration, making it a popular choice for taking down large game such as bear or moose.

In contrast, the 308 Winchester is known for its versatility and accuracy, offering a flatter trajectory and longer effective range. While its stopping power may not match that of the 45-70 Government, the 308 Winchester’s ability to deliver rapid follow-up shots and excellent ballistic performance makes it a formidable contender in hunting scenarios.

When assessing stopping power, factors such as bullet construction, muzzle velocity, and energy transfer play crucial roles. Both cartridges possess distinct attributes that contribute to their stopping power, making them suitable for different hunting situations. Ultimately, the effectiveness of each cartridge in stopping big game depends on the specific hunting conditions and the shooter’s skill in making accurate shots.

Use Cases for 45-70 vs 308

Understanding the specific use cases for the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester involves evaluating their performance in hunting scenarios, suitability for leverage action, bolt-action, and single-shot rifles, and their alignment with distinct marksmanship requirements, guiding hunters in selecting the ideal cartridge for their intended applications.

Conclusion: Determining the Best Option

The decision to determine the superior option between the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester hinges on a comprehensive evaluation of their ballistics, ammunition performance, and their alignment with specific hunting requirements, providing hunters with valuable insights for selecting the most suitable cartridge for their individual needs.

When comparing the 45-70 Government and the 308 Winchester, it’s essential to consider their ballistics, including factors such as velocity, trajectory, and energy.

The 45-70 Government is known for its heavy, slow-moving bullets, making it highly effective for short to mid-range hunting, especially for large game.

Conversely, the 308 Winchester offers a flatter trajectory and higher velocity, making it well-suited for longer-range shots and versatility across different hunting scenarios.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the numbers 45-70 and 308 represent in 45-70 government vs 308?

The numbers 45-70 and 308 refer to the caliber or bullet diameter and powder charge used in each cartridge. In this case, 45-70 Government uses a .45 caliber bullet and 70 grains of black powder, while 308 Winchester uses a .308 caliber bullet and 70 grains of smokeless powder.

Which cartridge, 45-70 government or 308, has a higher muzzle velocity?

308 Winchester has a higher muzzle velocity than 45-70 Government. The average muzzle velocity for 45-70 is around 1,500 feet per second, while 308 Winchester can reach velocities of over 2,800 feet per second.

How does the recoil of 45-70 government compare to 308?

45-70 Government has significantly more recoil than 308 Winchester due to its larger bullet diameter and use of black powder. This can make it more challenging to shoot and may require a heavier rifle to handle the recoil.

Which cartridge is better for long range shooting, 45-70 government or 308?

308 Winchester is better suited for long range shooting due to its higher muzzle velocity and flatter trajectory. 45-70 Government is better suited for close to medium range shooting due to its heavy and slow-moving bullet.

What is the primary use for 45-70 government vs 308?

45-70 Government was originally designed for military use in the 1870s, but now it is primarily used for hunting big game at close to medium range. 308 Winchester is a popular choice for hunting, target shooting, and military and law enforcement use.

Can 45-70 government or 308 be used in the same rifle?

No, 45-70 Government and 308 Winchester are not interchangeable and cannot be used in the same rifle. Each cartridge has different dimensions and pressures, and using the wrong cartridge in a rifle can be dangerous.

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