45-70 ballistics ?


May 14, 2011, 10:45 PM
What is the accepted max range for a BP 45-70 rifle for use in the deer woods? I know there are variables like barrel length and bullet weight so I am looking for an average. Thanks in advance.

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May 14, 2011, 10:47 PM
How much are you willing to "hold over"?

Typically, 200 yards is the answer to your question...but it depends on sights and such.

I'm confident in my 45-70 (a Marlin, and not BP loads) to 300 yards with the sights I have.

45-70 Ranger
May 15, 2011, 09:06 AM
I've been shooting this caliber for over 40 years and then some. There are so many loads for this one that it really depends on how much your are willing to devote your time to find one that is right. The rifle, the sights, the loading all come into play as to your "Max range". All my old TD's and the Sharps are gone now and I have only a Marlin Guide Gun with iron sights. I load to BP levels and thus I limit my range to about 150 yards max. Anything over that will be a miss or worse, a wound!

The trajectory of this caliber is like a mortar. You gotta really know your limitations. Never take a shot that you have a hint of doubt with. Find a load that is accruate and learn where it hits at a distance. That's about all I can say on the matter of a max range.


May 15, 2011, 01:23 PM
I think Wade about nailed it...I can shoot mine into a kill zone out to about two hundred yards, but past that, you'd be takeing a chance on a inhumane kill. think of the trajectory of the .45-70 as a rainbow...you can improve things somewhat by useing Triple Seven, or compressed loads of 3 F with a drop tube, but then we're really talking about the difference between a Marlin Guide Gun, and my old Trapdoors, and what's an appropriate load for a specific firearm, and not really answering your original question.

May 15, 2011, 05:58 PM
I consider 150 yards about the maximum with a TD or a Sharps using black powder.

Mr Woody
May 15, 2011, 07:35 PM
The biggest problem is knowing your range and setting your sights according. If your 'holding over' then that will limit your range at lot, as mentioned above. If you practice, and practice setting your sights to the correct range you may be able to be minute of deer much further. If both you and your gun are up to it, that leaves the biggest problem in knowing your range and knowing how to change the sight settings.

That said, I used to limit by deer hunting to no more than a couple hundred yards with a 45-70 because I am not that good. Now that I live in Florida, I am not sure I have ever seen a deer much over a hundred yards.

May 15, 2011, 07:37 PM
My load in my trapdoor would easily kill a deer at 400 yds. The problem is that deer are so small, the arc so great and the sights are only so fine. I've hit a fair number of 500 meter rams with my trapdoor, but gaging distance in the woods or fields is a completely different task. Deer don't often cooperate like a bench rest target does.

May 15, 2011, 07:40 PM
''Deer don't often cooperate like a bench rest target does...'' very pertinent point, there, Zimmer!

May 15, 2011, 10:03 PM
I understand all of the variables very well, and that each gun will be different. H&R makes a version of their Handi-Rifle in 45-70 that has a longer barrel and target sights that is quite cheap I was thinking of trying out. Anyone seen these?

May 15, 2011, 10:13 PM
Yes, I've seen it.
Some folks will put a rear ladder sight on it to extend the sighting range.
The rear peep sight that comes with is somewhat low.
I don't know what the maximum range of the rear sight is, but that Buffalo Model certainly does look to be well worth its price.

May 17, 2011, 12:49 AM
Yeah, I thought it was a good looking rifle and was wanting to try out BP cartridges. Thought at the price it may be a good starting point.

May 17, 2011, 07:15 AM
ontarget What is the accepted max range for a BP 45-70 rifle for use in the deer woods?

Around here the woods don't let you see much more than 100 yards. Often less than half that.

I have a Rolling block that is accurate to many times that distance BUT, the bullet is slow enough most animals could walk away during the time of flight. Okay, maybe not completely away, but enough so a chest shot becomes a miss or worse, a gut shot.

H&R makes a version of their Handi-Rifle in 45-70 that has a longer barrel and target sights

Not sure what one of those weighs but it might be a bit light for developing loads. As a hunting rifle, I prefer them light. For load development, I like them heavy enough to soak up some recoil.

45-70 Ranger
May 17, 2011, 07:33 AM
The H&R Buffalo is a good rifle. If you're going to load with BP or a sub, one has to remember that it will only go so fast and that's it. I load with T7 and am able to get right at 1400 FPS with a 350 gr. RNFP. It gives me a point blank range of about 115 yds. and an MRT of just over 2" sighted at 95 yds. At 125 yds. it has dropped almost 3" or more.
A 405 gr. or heavier, will have even more arc in it's flight. Gravity works...

Yesterday I took out two hogs with this load. It went through one and hit the other behind it killing them both. It was about a 30 yd. shot too. The 45-70 has lots of penetration but it will only go so fast and so flat and that's it. By the way, the manager of my jobsite has me killing hogs there as they are infesting the place and destroying stuff like pigs will do. Kinda a job perk there to go blast them while patroling a huge property.:D

But back to business, even though my loading is hot for it's caliber and powder choice, it still is a 100 yard load in how it can be used quickly without ranging and sight changes and such. The H&R Buff' will have the same limitations too. Ya can't change physics my friend.

Enjoy and be safe!


May 17, 2011, 11:20 AM
I shoot wood chucks beyond 100 yds with a 45-70 with cross sticks. If you practice enough, get proficient at estimating distance and elevation, most 45-70's can be 200 yds guns. The arc is your biggest enemy. Getting sights fine enough to aim at a little deer at 200 is yet another challenge. Home rolled loads can vary all over the place. I have 8 different molds for 45-70 bullets from 191 grains up to 500 grains. They can be loaded down for small game and up for elephant. But no matter what you do, as so well stated up above, gravity and the arc must still be reckoned with.

May 17, 2011, 11:28 AM
Speaking of that H&R rifle, have you considered the .38-55? you might could get it to shoot flatter....

May 17, 2011, 10:17 PM
OK so how does that compare to a .45 kentuckey rifle (which I also currently have)?

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