1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

45-70 govt vs 500 smith and wesson

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mr Bernoulli, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Mr Bernoulli

    Mr Bernoulli Well-Known Member

    I was looking at some of those H&R/NEF handi rifles and you can get them chambered in either. I want it for a brush gun for deer drives etc. What would you guys get and what do you think the pros and cons of each are?
  2. jbech123

    jbech123 Well-Known Member

    45-70 has many more options for loads. You can get easy on the shoulder cowboy loads to absolute sledgehammers that approach 458 win mag. In a rifle, I can't see what the 500 S&W brings to the table.
  3. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    in a rifle if it is an either/or decision i'd opt for the 45-70 due to versatility...
  4. alemonkey

    alemonkey Well-Known Member

    But with the .500 you can brag to your buddies that you have a fitty.
  5. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    .45-70Govt. is much cheaper to feed (whether you reload or not), is more versatile (someone has been developing loads for it to do whatever you want for the last 136 yrs), you can find ammo locally if necessary, and it is not likely to become obsolete for another 136 years or so. Best of all you can put big holes in big mean things (like big angry trash cans filled with water or the past 20yrs of yellow pages)...though ale is right, you can't brag that you gots a fitty. :)
  6. kragluver

    kragluver Well-Known Member

    If you want to brag about having "a fifty", get a muzzle loader and shoot .50 or .54 cal round ball. Its a hoot and you'll learn more about shooting the way our GG grandfathers did it!
  7. achildofthesky

    achildofthesky Well-Known Member

    45-70, not even a choice really... Much more options in factory and with reloading it breathes fire or rolls them out the bore.
  8. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I am pretty certain that Ale was joking...and I know that I was. There is no magic that a .50cal can perform that a .458 can't. :)
  9. Publius1688

    Publius1688 Well-Known Member

    To my way of thinking, this is an easy one-- .45-70.
    Cheaper up front, cheaper to shoot, cheaper to handload, more applications.
    And cooler.
  10. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    I'm going to say 45/70 but for a diffrent reason than the other posters

    Having shot handi rifles in both chamberings let me tell ya that 500 in a 6lb gun with no brake will lay waste to your shoulder. The 45/70 in factory form has more choices in shoulder friendly loads. There's 45/70 loads that range from mild to nuts cvs 500 loads that go from nuts to hyper shoulder mangulation
  11. BMF500

    BMF500 Well-Known Member

    There are many good points here that lean to the 45/70 being the better choice. I asked myself this very question not long ago. I decided on the .500 mainly because I already had that calibre in a revolver and own none chambered in 45/70.

    krochus is 100% correct, a hot .500 round in these rifles will rock your world.
  12. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Another vote for .45-70. I have two lever guns and find that they are terrific. There are lots of ammo choices out there for you, as noted above, but not just in light and heavy loads, but in a whole range of bullet types from frangible to soft lead, to hard cast, to various jacketed rounds. You can get ball, hollowpoint, soft point, and even plastic tipped spire rounds (Hornady Leverevolution). You can find a loading good for deer, bear, or buffalo.
  13. Mr Bernoulli

    Mr Bernoulli Well-Known Member

    ok sounds like the 45-70! I was more leaning toward this for these reasons such as handloading etc because I would like to get into it very soon. I just wanted to see what everyone thought. Thanks guys!
  14. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    45-70 all the way. Then you can brag about having a 45 2 1/10 and watch people get all kinds of confused.
  15. batmann

    batmann Well-Known Member

    IMHO, go with the .45-70. The .500 Mag ballistics are good, for a pistol round, but the .45-70 has any number of ammo makers the take it up to almost .458 range.
  16. kragluver

    kragluver Well-Known Member

    When you shoot a .45-70, you aren't just shooting any old cartridge, you are shooting history.
  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Another point...

    .45-70 is slightly tapered, even though it's called a "straight wall" cartridge. It will load and extract more easily than a .500 S&W would.

    Also, a single shot .45-70 will take a heavier bullet than a .500. You have to look for some more exotic loads than are listed in the Hodgdon manual.

    While the .500 S&W is an impressive revolver round, the .45-70 is actually more powerful, in a single-shot rifle. And a long heavy bullet like the ~520 grain Lyman in .45-70 does a serious number on big game, even when backed up with standard 1870s black powder loads.
  18. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Well-Known Member

    The only real reason I could see going with the .500 Mag. is if you already have, or want a revolver in that caliber as well. Then you can reload for both. Or if you know someone who has one and you can split the costs for ammo.

    Otherwise, its the .45/70 all the way in my mind.
  19. alemonkey

    alemonkey Well-Known Member

    I agree the only reason to get a .500 rifle is if you already have a .500 revolver. But you could get a BFR in 45-70....

    45-70 is much more versatile and is one of the easiest calibers to handload.
  20. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    I wonder what the answers will be in another decade?

    The .500 is a relatively young cartridge but there's a few folks that are doing some interesting reloads with them. Some of them will not chamber in the revolver due to having such long bullets. If you look at such rifle specific loads then there's a lot of freedom to develop new bullets and loads for them that can duplicate a lot of the 45-70 loadings. One area that the .500 wins is the size. It's a more compact cartridge to carry. And with today's powders the loss in casing room isn't a concern.

    In time and with more load development on the S&W this comparison may not be as sure a slam dunk.

Share This Page