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45/70 FTX small game loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Renegade87, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Renegade87

    Renegade87 Active Member

    Has anyone been able to successfully use these for small game hunting? I'm looking for recipes if so. Thanks guys.
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to make your post sound bad but when I hear the caliber 45-70 many things come to mind but small game isn't one of them. I would think a bullet that size would do considerable damage to the meat on a small animal making it practically useless.
  3. Renegade87

    Renegade87 Active Member

    No worries I'm very new to all of this so no offense taken. I have just read here and there that when handloaded, they can be made to hunt anything from squirrels to moose. I will mainly be hunting deer and hog but I was just investigating based on things I've read.
  4. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    I have to agree. What "small game" are you looking to take with 45-70?
    We must have posted at the same time. For deer and hog 45-70 is fine. I took a hog with my 45-70 using the new Hornady Lever gun ammo. I use 45-70 as my primary elk rifle. My hand loads push a 405gr bullet to somewhere near 1900fps. Plenty fast for me. Squirrel? Not so much. Not sure there'd be anything left.
  5. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    you can successfully hunt squirrel, rabbit, etc. with a 45-70 or even a 50 BMG if you want

    you just ain't gonna have much meat left
  6. Renegade87

    Renegade87 Active Member

    Lol thanks Gus. I do plan on using the 325 grain FTX bullets for deer and hog. So basically for anything smaller than deer, I need less bang? Maybe a .22?
  7. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    For Squirrel sized small game .22 is great.
  8. Renegade87

    Renegade87 Active Member

    Thanks all. : )
  9. pdawg.shooter

    pdawg.shooter Member

    MY 45-70 load is a 430gr paper patched lead at a little over 1800. Works great on small game, big game, and anything in between!
  10. now get off this guys back and let him play. anybody who knows trapdoor history knows that the service rounds came in rifle, carbine, reduced range, multi-ball, and shotshell loadings.

    no reason you can't load .452 castings normally used in 45 ACP or 45 colt to about 600 fps. choose a powder like bullseye or green dot and you get reasonably good obturation on these 155-255 grain bullets. minute of cottontail at 25 yards, for sure. 457 round ball castings are a natural, and WERE the small game load issued to trapdoor riflemen back in the day. loaded multiple they are suitable for (?)

    start with about 6 grains of bullseye under a 155 grain .457 round ball seated just inside the case. add cream of wheat between the powder charge and ball for just a bit of compression. chronograph it and adjust for 800 fps and you are shooting a "pre-expanded 38 special".

    try similar powders (flake type are better in this application) with all of the 45 pistol bullets you have handy and see which one comes close to your normal 25 yard zero. choose this combo as your small game load.

    if that ain't enuf, try loading about 8 grains green dot and about 250 grains of # 7 1/2 shot with a cardboard or felt wad between powder and shot and a cardboard wad glued flush with the case mouth. reasonable squirrel killing patterns at 25-35 yards guarranteed. equal to a 410 shotshell.
  11. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    justashooter bet me to it. All I can add is I've been working with Blue Dot in a lot of different rifles lately & it is impressive. I might try Red Dot or Bullseye if you going to load shoot. You can make a wad from newspaper to get a little more range from your rifling. I don't own on but sounds like it should work for squirrel to moose. I would use head shoots on squirrel if you go with a slug.

    I was talking to a guy a few weeks ago about loading a 30-06 down to enough to hunt squirrel & he started to make fun of me & tell me that big of a bullet & there wouldn't be nothing left so I let it go. About an hour later he wanted to show me his squirrel gun(he is into BP) & it was a .32 cal & he shoot ball at them. Some people just don't make since.
  12. Renegade87

    Renegade87 Active Member

    Excellent info guys, I will definitely look into those ideas.
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Deer are hardly small game lol. The 45-70 is just fine for hunting Deer. A friend's Deer rifle is a Marlin levergun in 45-70, it's a great brush gun here in Northeast PA.
  14. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member



    I wanted compressed powder [for high velocity with small powder charge for low noise] AND the bullet to touch the lands [for accuracy]

    45/70, 1 gr Bullseye, 145 gr cast bullet, 22" barrel ... 441 fps sounds like a pellet gun if target is soft.

    This will kill raccoons with a body shot, quietly.

    22 CB shorts are just as quiet in a long barrel, but require a brain shot.
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Au contraire! The .45-70 makes a fine small game round. There are several loads in "Forty Years." For the analogous .450 Marlin load I find a .458" roundball backed by a mild trailboss load is very accurate. You can keep a few roundball shells in pocket and if you see an opportunity while hunting for larger game, you can simply toss it into the chamber of a levergun or single shot. They don't usually feed very well in a tube.

    Just be careful if you're loading very very small amounts of pistol powder that you have enough juice to clear the barrel. Also a filler wad is sometimes employed to keep the small load of Unique or whatnot down on the primer. There have been reports of pressure spikes otherwise. That's one reason I've shifted to Trailboss for these kinds of loads. That and it's dead accurate and consistent with these big shells.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    You can reduce the 45-70 velocity to do anything you want it to do.

    But not with $1 buck each plastic-tip jacketed bullets.

    You are crying out for light cast lead bullets and Unique, or Red Dot, or Trail Boss powder.
    They won't get stuck in the bore like jacketed bullets are almost certainly going to do a very low velocity.

    Look at Hodgdons website for light lead bullet cowboy loads.
    For instance, 14.0 grains of Trail Boss will push a 300 grain cast lead bullet at only 1199 FPS safely.
    Or about like .22 rim-fire velocity.

  17. Renegade87

    Renegade87 Active Member

    Nice! Now I'm really getting some good info. I will check Hogdon's site for that information.
  18. Smaug

    Smaug Well-Known Member

    I would bet that a solid 47/70 would cause less meat damage than a hollow point 22.

    To me, it is more of a price issue.

    I've shot and ate squirrel. The only meat worth anything is on the hind legs. I was worried about meat damage (22 hp ammo) so I took head shots. It turns out , I needn't have worried unless I hit him in the hind legs.

    If you've got the money and patience, go for it.
  19. Smaug

    Smaug Well-Known Member

    Oh, use low velocity, so if you miss, you don't kill someone miles away.
  20. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    next time you clean a squirrel, i'll take those tenderloins you're throwing away. and the shoulders are fine eating after a few hours in a crockpot.

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