.45-90 vs. .45-70


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Montana Billy
May 4, 2010, 11:24 PM
I see a Shiloh Sharps in .45-90 on one of the auction sites. Is there anything to favor that caliber over .45-70? Is there a cost differential in rifles of those two calibers? Why would someone favor the .45-90 over the smaller-capacity round?
Also, there is a Pedersoli Kodiak Mark IV double rifle in .45-70 on the same site. Am I correct that the Sharps inherently would be considerably more accurate than the Kodiak?

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Risky buisness
May 4, 2010, 11:46 PM
THe 45-90 will be more expensive to feed, the main cost being the brass, (I will assume that you reload) while the 45-70 is perhaps more avaliable at a lesser cost. Most of my experience has been with a 45-70, altho a 44-77 and a 45-90 were involved with it. The 45-90 is a superb cartridge BUT, with my full charge ( and you must fill the case!) black powder loads under a 480-535 grn cast bullet the recoil is very substantial and over the period of 50 75 round it will make a difference to you, if your planning on using smokless (yuck) you may be able to alleviate most of that with the proper selection and variety of propellent you use, were it me, all things considered I would select a 45-70 for the versitility and cost savings it offers or opt for a 40-65, or 40-70( a case that may be formed from the basic 45-70) .
I have no knolowdge of the Pedersoli double rifle, but it sounds pretty cool

Maverick223
May 4, 2010, 11:53 PM
Is there anything to favor that caliber over .45-70?More room for BP for those that prefer the sooty stuff, or in some cases more nitrocellulose powder. I plan to convert a .45-70Govt. to .45-120 for just that reason (take note that this is a particularly strong action with enough barrel to accomplish this).

Is there a cost differential in rifles of those two calibers?The rifles are typically comparably priced, but the ammunition cost (or rather the cost to load) the .45-90 is much higher due to increased expense of brass.

Why would someone favor the .45-90 over the smaller-capacity round?Why would you want that gas-guzzlin' 454CI V8 instead of the quaint little 2.0L I-4?

Am I correct that the Sharps inherently would be considerably more accurate than the Kodiak?Doubles are neat rifles, but accurate they are not...they regulate (the alignment the two barrels) them close, not exactly, thus making each barrel shoot to a slightly different POA. This is not a big factor when used for DG hunting, but it wouldn't make a good silhouette rifle by any stretch. OTOH the Sharps (and other falling block rifles) can be quite an accurate rifle when placed in the right hands.

:)

Boomm
May 5, 2010, 12:23 PM
I'd say its more like comparing a 454 V8 to a 383. Both are huge and very powerful, but the 454 is bigger, and thus cooler to have. Do you want a really powerful car (gun), or a really really powerful car (gun)?

Cosmoline
May 5, 2010, 12:25 PM
My understanding is that the longer .45's are for BP cast bullet shooting almost exclusively. Could you even fill a 90 or 110 case with smokeless and live?

MachIVshooter
May 5, 2010, 12:40 PM
Could you even fill a 90 or 110 case with smokeless and live?

Boy, that'd be up there with the .458 Lott. In light of that, if I wanted that much oomph in a .45 caliber straight cartridge, I'd just opt for the Lott.

alemonkey
May 5, 2010, 12:45 PM
What do you plan to use it for? A 45-70 is plenty for silhouette and target shooting out to 1000 yards with appropriate sights. 45-90 will give you a little more legs for longer range.

CraigC
May 5, 2010, 01:01 PM
If the gun can handle the pressure and you are using smokeless powder, the .45/70 will do anything you need it to. The only advantage to the longer cartridges is with blackpowder. There are no guns that chamber the long cartridges that can be loaded to their fullest potential with smokeless powder. Loaded to safe pressures with smokeless, there's a lot of empty space and the .45/70 is more efficient.

Gryffydd
May 5, 2010, 01:17 PM
Why would someone favor the .45-90 over the smaller-capacity round?
If you had posted this in the Blackpowder forum I would have an answer for you. As it is... I can't think of one.

The ONLY reason I would ever get a 45-90 would be as a dedicated BP gun. That's just me though.

T.A.Sharps
May 5, 2010, 01:22 PM
The difference between the 45/70 and 45/90 one is made to push the same bullet with about 20 grains more volume of black powder. As well as availability.

I have never seen a box of 45-90 in a store. Nor have I seen brass for the 45/90 anywhere, it would all have to be mail ordered, or ordered by the gun shop special $$$$.

With black powder there is also the mess to clean up. I can never bring myself to buy a fine firearm and put that stuff through it.

:confused:You don't have to fill the case if you use wads.

The 45/90 will have the advantage when using black powder just because it will be a little faster.

But if I was not planning on hand loading with black powder I wouldn't even consider it. With modern loads the 45/70 can be loaded to near 458 WinMag velocities. The cartridge's weakness is the case is too weak to load to shoot higher pressures to maximize performance, hence the .450 Marlin, about the same round, just with stronger brass.

I don't think the pressure tolerance was improved with the brass of the 45/90.

If you are ever going to want to go buy a box of ammo and head to the range, then you will want the 45/70, you can buy ammo for that almost anywhere, very low pressure ammo though.

www.starlineBrass.com
$102.40 for 250 brass cases for 45-70
vs
$204.80 for 250 brass cases for 45-90

CraigC
May 5, 2010, 01:27 PM
The .450Marlin was only brought about to offer performance equal to heavy .45/70 handloads in a factory case. In guns of equal strength, the .45/70 is still the better option if you handload as it has a little more capacity. Case strength is immaterial.

Maverick223
May 5, 2010, 01:47 PM
My understanding is that the longer .45's are for BP cast bullet shooting almost exclusively. Could you even fill a 90 or 110 case with smokeless and live?Sure, given the right firearm, that is exactly what I plan to do with my Browning 1885, my loads will be in the neighborhood of the .450NE, which is to say, pushing something like a 450gr. solid at about 2200fps. If the gun chambered for .45-70 can take the pressure, the same gun can withstand the .45-90/100/110/120 to the same pressure (as long as there is enough meat on the bbl left to accommodate the longer round). The additional bolt thrust will be negligible because that is almost exclusively a factor of pressure, not powder capacity.

The cartridge's weakness is the case is too weak to load to shoot higher pressures to maximize performanceThat is a myth, testing has proven that the .45-70Govt. brass (as well as all other brass based on .45Basic) is more than strong enough to withstand 70kPSI+, which is far in excess of what any rifle (that I am aware of) chambered for it can tolerate. The advantage to the .450Marlin is the standard loading for all rifles chambered for it. It is slightly weaker than the nuclear loads for .45-70 (only safe in the strongest actions, such as: Ruger No. 1/3, Browning 1885, and Siamese Mauser).

:)

375shooter
May 5, 2010, 07:52 PM
The 45-90 will give 150 to 200 fps more velocity over the 45-70 when using smokeless powders. The extra cost of the cases will not play too heavily because they can be loaded many times over.

You can expect the Sharps to be more accurate. It and the Kodiak have different purposes. The Kodiak is best suited for close range (100 yards or less) hunting where 2 quick shots are desirable.

MachIVshooter
May 5, 2010, 08:15 PM
The cartridge's weakness is the case is too weak to load to shoot higher pressures to maximize performance, hence the .450 Marlin, about the same round, just with stronger brass.

Nope. CraigC got it right

The .450Marlin was only brought about to offer performance equal to heavy .45/70 handloads in a factory case.

The .450 was introduced in the days before Buffalo Bore, when factory .45-70 ammo was loaded to trapdoor pressures. That left non-handloaders who wanted 1895's knowing they'd be unable to wring out the potential of their rifles. The .450 was the solution. Buffalo bore and other companies now loading .45-70 to Marlin levels have pretty much sent the .450 toward obsolecense.

CraigC
May 5, 2010, 11:09 PM
Actually Buffalo Bore was loading heavy .45/70 ammunition before the advent of the .450Marlin.

Ridgerunner665
May 5, 2010, 11:22 PM
Yep...Hodgden tested 45-70 brass (Winchester brass...the thinnest of them all) to 70,000 psi without a single case failure...and the cases fell right out of the test receiver.

45-70 brass is plenty strong...the 450 Marlin was just an attempt to fix something that wasn't broken. (no offense to anyone...but its true)

Maverick223
May 5, 2010, 11:26 PM
the 450 Marlin was just an attempt to fix something that wasn't broken.I agree, if you can keep your firearms straight and load accordingly, the .450Marlin has no real purpose. Not saying that they should ax it, just that it isn't for me, I do just fine with my nuclear .45-70Govt. loads (that best the .450Marlin BTW ;)).

:)

CraigC
May 6, 2010, 12:21 AM
The .450Marlin is the ONLY answer for those who want heavy .45/70 performance out of a levergun but don't handload. Just like many other new chamberings based on old ones, they had to devise a way to ensure that the new, higher pressure cartridges wouldn't end up in an older, weaker design. In this case, the Trapdoor. They couldn't lengthen it as was done with the .38Spl - .357, the .44Spl - .44Mag or the .45Colt to .454, because longer cartridges already existed. I reckon they could've done a bottleneck with a shoulder further forward than the .45-75 but it was easier and more cost effective to add a belt. I don't care for the cartridge at all because I handload but for those who don't, it makes plenty of sense.

saturno_v
May 6, 2010, 12:40 AM
The .450Marlin is the ONLY answer for those who want heavy .45/70 performance out of a levergun but don't handload.

Not true anymore...today you have Garrett, Buffalo Bore, Double Tap and Corbon which all offer nuclear 45-70 loads for use in modern rifles.

CraigC
May 6, 2010, 10:23 AM
I am fully aware of the ammo available from those makers that was on the market BEFORE the .450 was introduced, as I said in my last post. Have you priced ammo from Garrett, Corbon, Double Tap and Buffalo Bore? Hornady .450 ammo is $32-$35 per 20. .45/70 heavy loads from those other makers are $50 and up. Do the math.

Gryffydd
May 6, 2010, 10:44 AM
How can you be fully aware of the ammo produced by those companies and still say
The .450Marlin is the ONLY answer for those who want heavy .45/70 performance out of a levergun but don't handload.
...even putting "ONLY" in all caps no less.

Art Eatman
May 6, 2010, 10:50 AM
No more about the Marlin; it's OT. Think delete key.

Don't quote me, but I have read that the .45-70 ammo can be used in a .45-90. Somebody who knows might verify, please?

ArmedBear
May 6, 2010, 10:53 AM
...even putting "ONLY" in all caps no less.

It could ONLY be because he doesn't LIKE being RAPED for his ammo!:D

...which is what he posted.

Bottom line? Unless I wanted, say, a .45-70 Guide Gun purely for camp defense in the Great White North, I wouldn't even consider a .45-70 unless I handloaded for it. Heavy, light, BPC or smokeless, .45-70 is expensive.

Having hunted with .45-70 black powder cartridges, I see no compelling reason to get a .45-90, either. Note that there's a difference between what you can put in a .45-70 Sharps and a .45-70 Marlin or ".45-75" Winchester lever gun. The loads that will go in the Sharps can push some huge slugs plenty fast enough.:)

the .45-70 ammo can be used in a .45-90

If you can, you wouldn't want to. Usually, .45-70 single shots are loaded with the bullet touching the lands. That much jump would do some funny stuff with your groups.

I know I've posted this before, but it bears repeating. One shot drop, bullet went straight through and kept going, and we couldn't tell the entrance from the exit. I had to think about which way it was facing when I fired, to figure it out. .45-70 BPC, 68 grains of Holy Black under a 520 grain Postell, through a Pedersoli Sharps replica. Why hassle with an oddball cartridge like the .45-90, exactly?:)
http://ellie.crankylabs.com/albums/familyetc/IMG_3071.thumb.jpg

CraigC
May 6, 2010, 10:58 AM
Maybe I should've worded my post a little differently. It is the only option from standard ammunition manufacturers and is certainly the only available even approaching anything affordable. I never consider the ammo from specialty manufacturers a viable option. Most folks certainly can't or wouldn't be willing to pay for enough of that stuff to become proficient and by the time you bought a few boxes, you could've paid for a reloading setup. No, I will always consider heavy .45Colt and .45/70 loads to be in the realm of the handloader.


Don't quote me, but I have read that the .45-70 ammo can be used in a .45-90.
I'm 99% certain this is true.

Maverick223
May 6, 2010, 01:36 PM
Don't quote me, but I have read that the .45-70 ammo can be used in a .45-90. Somebody who knows might verify, please?I am 100% certain that is true...but you certainly don't want to because it causes more leading (from shaving the bullet at the "jump"), reduces accuracy, gunks up the front of the exposed chamber, and will start to damage the throat over time. The same holds true (but is worse) for the .45-100, .45-110/.45Basic, and .45-120 as well.

:)

saturno_v
May 6, 2010, 01:59 PM
A simple question for the experts.....can these old buffalo cartridges other than 45-70 (45-90, 45-110, 45-125, 50-90, 50-110 and others) be loaded at high pressure with modern smokeless powders like the 45-70 nuclear loads?? Does the brass hold??

There are modern rifles chambered for them, capable to handle the higher pressure??

If yes, what kind of performance (velocity and energy) can you get out of it??

Thanks!

Maverick223
May 6, 2010, 02:42 PM
A simple question for the experts.....can these old buffalo cartridges other than 45-70 (45-90, 45-110, 45-125, 50-90, 50-110 and others) be loaded at high pressure with modern smokeless powders like the 45-70 nuclear loads?? Does the brass hold?Don't know how much of an expert I am, but yes, as I said earlier that is exactly what I intend to do with my Browning 1885 when I have it re-chambered to .45-120...I think I'll call the new cartridge my .458 American Express...cause it isn't really a .45-120 anymore but it is an American design (original and my iteration), it is more of a "express cartridge", and it will get you where you want to go (on both ends). ;) I also considered using .45-90, .45-100, or .45-110 but there is no real advantage to these as the .45-90 is still a bit small for the super-nuclear loads that I want (450gr. solid at about 2200fps or so) and the brass cost for all the others is pretty high and the largest case, the .45-120 will last the longest with like loads. The brass strength is the same for all (using like manufacturer) because they are based on the same one. The best brass you can get is for the .45-120, which has Norma available, but of course you can size this to any of the aforementioned.

There are modern rifles chambered for them, capable to handle the higher pressure?I don't know of any (at least any that advertise it as such), but that is undoubtedly due to the lack of a SAAMI specification for nitrocellulose powder in any of the larger .45s.

If yes, what kind of performance (velocity and energy) can you get out of it?I plan to match .450NE performance out of my .45-120, but it could go much higher if I chose to raise the pressure to what I currently load the .45-70 for (about 45kPSI). I have no desire to go that far because the recoil will be substantial with my planned loads and tremendous if I push it higher, the brass will have reduced life (and it isn't cheap at $2.00+ per case), and there just isn't anything that a 450 grain solid going 2200fps can't kill.

:)

ArmedBear
May 6, 2010, 02:51 PM
The only problem with this is that anything you need .450NE to kill, can and will kill you. Quickly.

So I'm not sure about a falling block single shot with a .45-120. It could take a long time just to draw the spent brass all the way out of the chamber...:D

rattletrap1970
May 6, 2010, 02:53 PM
That is correct, you can use .45-70 in a .45-90
I used to have an 1886 Winchester in .45-90 and it shot the .45-70 just fine.

Maverick223
May 6, 2010, 02:56 PM
The only problem with this is that anything you need .450NE to kill, can and will kill you. Quickly...So I'm not sure about a falling block single shot with a .45-120....Very true...I didn't say I needed it...I have no plans for Africa and the .375H&H would be fine for most game, like Cape Buff., that I might go after if I did, as well as a planned big bear hunt...but that doesn't stop me from wanting it anyway. :neener:

FWIW, I would like to use it for a Am. Buff. (Bison) hunt some day. Be sorta nostalgic to use that iron, even with the extra nitro powder (which i'll admit isn't necessary).

:)

ArmedBear
May 6, 2010, 03:33 PM
Want a good buffalo hunt, use black powder. Anything else is cheating yourself of the experience.

Maverick223
May 6, 2010, 04:18 PM
Want a good buffalo hunt, use black powder. Anything else is cheating yourself of the experience.I know, I know, but the stuff is dirty and I don't like cleaning up after it...but I think I have plenty of time to ponder the thought and might do that after all.

:)

ArmedBear
May 6, 2010, 04:28 PM
http://www.rb-17.com/

Cleans black powder with a rod and patch, not a bucket of water.:)

Works great on corrosive milsurp ammo, too.

Cleaning a falling block isn't hard. It's just a bore and a little around the chamber. Cleaning a black powder revolver, now THAT is a pain in the ass.:)

CraigC
May 6, 2010, 05:33 PM
I agree, cleaning a cartridge single shot will be a snap. The metallic cartridge pretty much keeps all the fouling in the barrel and out of the action. Percussion revolvers are much more work and you can't kill a buffalo with one. ;)

Maverick223
May 6, 2010, 07:21 PM
Thanks for the reference, AB. As effective as it may be, water + steel is a combination that I don't like, with this product I might have to start using the black stuff after all.

:)

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