Effective 45-70 Kills Game+Shot Placement+Velocity & Proj. Weight

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by 300magman, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. 300magman

    300magman Well-Known Member

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    Well, it seems that either the search function is malfunctioning today, or no one has ever brought up the 45-70 in the title of any post on this forum. So let me take a whack at it!

    First of all, I have done a lot of Googling on this old round, and most of the discussions that can be found on other forums are mostly useless. It seems like whenever someone asks about the range of a 45-70 the first reply will be "100 to 150 yards with open sights" and someone else says "That's not right, Sandy Hook shot 2 miles" Then someone mentions how quickly the energy falls off, only to have the following comment say something along the lines of “puny modern rifles and lazy hunters need fast bullets and energy; but our old big-bore rifles kill anything at any range with sheer penetration” In the end, there isn’t much real information.

    I would like to avoid those opinions and focus on the facts, preferably gathered from those who have actually used a 45-70 to harvest an animal. And since there can be such a wide range of mild, warm, and hot loads, why not avoid quoting distances, and instead talk about impact velocities of the projectiles used.
    While we are at it, lets ignore for a moment trajectory, drift, and flight time, since presumably most of us understand those and how they apply to choosing a proper time and place to take a shot.


    Ok, first real question. What is the preferred shot placement (shoulder, broadside, spine, etc) with a high mass, low speed projectile? (such as a 300gr round vs deer, or 400 to 450gr round vs elk/moose for example)

    And what is the lowest velocity that people have experienced successful/ethical kills with?
    A note about the construction of the bullet would probably be a good thing to include as well. (was it a soft jacketed Remington, a modern solid monolith, or an old soft/hard cast, for example)


    This doesn’t really cover all bases but lets see where the discussion takes us.
     
  2. 300magman

    300magman Well-Known Member

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    I’ll throw out the very limited first hand experience I have with big slow bullets to get things started. (although it isn’t really all that useful to the discussion)

    Probably obvious, but a soft jacketed 300gr hollow point does a fine job of stopping medium sized deer quickly (as in no tracking required, but not quite DRT) with broadside shoots, leaving little meat damage on 1700fps impact speeds, and no major bones encountered on the pass through.

    I can also testify that 405gr soft jacketed bullets are adequate to penetrate a 240lb buck’s neck a velocity of 975fps. Stoppage was immediate, but that’s a given with a spine impact at the base of the skull.
    Full penetration was achieved, but a tiny fragment of jacket was found with the bone fragments.
    Meat damage was surprisingly light. (compared to modern cartridges)
     

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    There are essentially 3 different levels of performance of the 45/70. Based on factory loads(Loaded
    for all 45/70s) then comes the leaver actions (More pressure) and the Modern rifles (Ruger #1,
    Browning 1885, and the Siamese Mauser. These loads are max for the 45/70 and can be safely fired
    only in the modern actions.

    The most velocity I have been able to acheave with a 400 gr bullet in an 1885 has been 2000 ft/sec
    and 1700 ft/sec with a 500 grain. These were max loads and brass life suffered.

    with the 500 grain bullets I feel confident on deer size game at 500 yards.

    With the 400 grain bullets distance falls to 400 because of ballistics and accuracy.

    Elk decreases the range for me to 250 to 300 yards.

    All of this is based on chest type shots, with the hotter loads,(1885)and one shot kills.

    The 45/70 is a fine hunting cartrige as long as it is not pressed to make longer shots
    and keep within reasonable ranges.

    Just my experience with this cartrige.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  4. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    OK - Here's some recent firsthand experience. I shot this bear just the other day using a Marlin 1895SBL in 45-70.
    I shoot a Barnes 300gr XFP bullet at 2,000 ft/sec. Impact velocity had to be 1,990 ft/sec at the distance I shot him. The big gaping HP bullet entered the left shoulder and blew out through the right shoulder, literally knocking the bear over and rolling him on his back. He was still moving for several seconds so I took another shot. Second bullet entered through the ribs angling forward. It penetrated his neck on a diagonal and was captured by his hide on the off side. Bear died abruptly. Recovered bullet weight was 242gr with 4 petals broken off. Bullet base was completely intact with some noticeable creases along its length.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    The 45/70 has been talked abouthere from time to time. It's an extremely effective round at sub 300yds ranges. The problem beyond there is that high BC bullets in that caliber don't exist.

    I've shot a considerable number of really big hogs with it, and it's my "Go to Brush Gun".

    It's big, slow, and at short range can deliver an enormous amount of energy to your target especially shooting the 300gr JHP's, and the 405gr flat nosed bullets give enormous penetrating capabilities.
     
  6. bman73

    bman73 Well-Known Member

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    Not personel experience but the guy who taught me how to reload used a 45 70 quite often with his own cast bullets in the 450 grn range. He never had a problem with them going very far. Never did have a pass through but he was a belive in not wanting the round to make it past the hide on the offside. He always wanted to "leave all the energy in the annimal instead of the trees behind it" is what he a always told me,usually with a scowl over the rim of his glasses.:) He used it on everything, mulie, bear, elk, moose and never had one go very far. All of this was done at under 500 yards though and all shots were high shoulder shots with surprisingly little meat damage. Always said he could eat right up to the bullit hole, mind you he did chew a lot of tobacco so he probably could of been chewing on blood shocked jello and never even knew it lol
     
  7. Moki

    Moki Well-Known Member

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    I'll bite on this thread... :D

    The effective range of a 45-70 is the range that you can proficiently hit your target at.

    You are dealing with momentum with these large heavy bullets not energy it takes a lot to stop them in other words if you can hit it in the kill zone you will kill it.

    Varmint Hunter that is either an awesome bear in the pic or else you are only 3' tall...
     
  8. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    Momentum isnt the only factor, nor energy. For momentum to be usefull there needs to be sufficeint penetration. Which is where this cartridge sets its own limitations.

    The bullet is going to shed its momentum/energy and speed faster when it hits an animal because of its big frontal cross section (we always call them pre-expanded bullets). I wouldnt be shooting an elk with the 45-70 gov much past 400 yards cuz' i dont think I would get much more than 8-12'' of penetration.

    My group of guys have shot alot of big black bears with the 45-70 and love it. that being said, there is a reason that most people consider it a "close range" round. for deer know that it could be streched alot farther than 400 yards, but thats because deer is a much less dense medium than alot of other game out there.

    Penetration. Thats my story and im stickin to it.
     
  9. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Without energy there is no momentum. Energy is half of the equation.
     
  10. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Energy, Momentum, Sectional Density, and expansion determine penetion.
     
  11. Moki

    Moki Well-Known Member

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    Agreed but energy is only a small factor in the equation these large rounds will kill large game at amazing distances the limit is the shooters ability to hit his target with the rainbow tragectory of this round.