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Old August 18, 2015, 07:28 PM   #1
Col. Plink
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Honest q: why is the Mag Research 45-70 not taken seriously around here?

So I posted a pretty well-received thread recently on .454 vs .45lc for a pistol/carbine combo. After reading the recoil discussion, I figured maybe 45-70 wasn't out of the question (especially since my thinking was to have a combo that could potentially protect me from brown bear, and allow me to take whatever whilst hunting). Also, being able to have the reputation of a Marlin in the mix had me wanting to go 45-70.

So my inquiry on the Mag Research SA 45-70 was dismissed because many feel it's more a gimmick than a tool, though no one said why. I could see that perhaps Ruger's DA offerings in .454 might outclass the MagRes. for speed of follow-up shots, but this was not mentioned.

Just wondering why the strong negative impressions; the previous discussion lacked specifics. Thanks in advance!
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Old August 18, 2015, 08:58 PM   #2
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45-70 is optimized in long barrels. It is a brute of a round in a handgun when ran at normal pressures but even so it produces a violent flash and deafening blast along with the recoil. Simply put it isn't pleasant to shoot unless you like to feel some pain.
Flip that coin for the .454 and 45lc. They are pistol rounds optimized for shorter barrels. They pack significant recoil, but since they are optimized for short barrel they don't produce nearly as much of a flash or blast because the powder is mostly burnt before it leaves the barrel.
Jump 1 step further and look at the possibility of reloading your own ammo for any of the rounds you mentioned. Use pistol powder is a 45-70 and you will likely blow the gun apart, but if loaded at appropriate levels with appropriate powder you could theoretically have one hellacious pistol round, one that would be unbelievable on recoil though. Load .454 or 45lc, 460, 480...whatever...pistol round with rifle powder and you will get great rounds coming out of a carbine or rifle, but be anemic most likely in the handgun platform.
Suffice it to say that the size of the case is a good bit of what makes for a powerful round, but the powder in the case it what moves the bullet, and if the powder isn't right then performance suffers.
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Old August 18, 2015, 10:15 PM   #3
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I thought we (or at least I) had said why it was being dismissed.

It weighs more than some rifles (4.5lbs) and the performance is lackluster in handguns. Truth: you would be better off cutting the 45/70 cases down to 1.5" and using them in a more normally proportioned revolver. See .475 Linebaugh.
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Old August 18, 2015, 10:16 PM   #4
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I did not see it as "a brute of a round".

I've got a 6 1/2 inch Model 29. With full power loads, I feel the recoil in my wrists.

Got a Ruger Super Redhawk, in 454. With full power loads, I feel the recoil of it in my elbows.

And I have fired a friends BFR 45/70, with Remington 405 jacketed loads. That one recoiled into my shoulders. I only fired five rounds through it, but it was not "deafening", it did not produce a "violent flash".

I don't really see a "need" for that gun - I don't think there is enough barrel to get the bullet up to speed.

And I would not want to go to the range and fire a couple of hundred rounds at one sitting, but then, I would not want to do that with my Trapdoor, either, and it's a heavier gun.

I would not advise buying one, except for the "neatness factor". My friend with the BFR also bought a Wildey .475 and a Stinger pen gun. Just because they're cool.
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Old August 18, 2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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My own criteria for a handgun, for me, is that it be capable of being carried for a long period of time, and be drawn and fired one-handed; a true sidearm in my estimation.

For this criteria I damand a revolver no larger than the S&W N-Frame or ruger's Super Blackhawk. And prefer nothing more potent that the .44 Magnum or .45 Colt. Guns that fall into these parameters are guns of my interest.

I've shot .45-70 handguns, heavily loaded with 500 gr. cast bullets that knock the steel targets winding. But they are really two-hands only propositions, and certainly don't allow anything like a quick follow up shot. They hold only casual interest to me.

I much prefer the .44 Magnum for flat trajectory, adequate power, fine accuracy, and pleasant shooting. In my book, nothing has surpassed that in my experience.

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Old August 18, 2015, 10:35 PM   #6
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The gun is over 15" long, and weighs over 4 pounds.

If you are going to carry a handgun that big?

Carry a 45-70 carbine and save yourself the pain.

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Old August 18, 2015, 10:38 PM   #7
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Because a .454 Casull is a better choice given the circumstances as it was designed to be fired from a handgun.

It's nice to see that someone can make a handgun that fires .45-70, but it literally excels at nothing that isn't already available for less money.
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Old August 18, 2015, 10:38 PM   #8
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If you all don't think that 45-70 is a brute then you must be shooting factory ammo or low powered reloads. Run one near modern gun max loads and try it out, it's a beast. Big name factory loads are typically built to be shot through older weaker guns without destroying them.
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Old August 18, 2015, 11:13 PM   #9
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What, exactly, is the point of pushing the 45-70 to max loads? It will kill most anything with much less abuse, with tolerable, moderate loads.
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Old August 18, 2015, 11:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Col. Plink View Post
So I posted a pretty well-received thread recently on .454 vs .45lc for a pistol/carbine combo. After reading the recoil discussion, I figured maybe 45-70 wasn't out of the question (especially since my thinking was to have a combo that could potentially protect me from brown bear, and allow me to take whatever whilst hunting). Also, being able to have the reputation of a Marlin in the mix had me wanting to go 45-70.

So my inquiry on the Mag Research SA 45-70 was dismissed because many feel it's more a gimmick than a tool, though no one said why. I could see that perhaps Ruger's DA offerings in .454 might outclass the MagRes. for speed of follow-up shots, but this was not mentioned.

Just wondering why the strong negative impressions; the previous discussion lacked specifics. Thanks in advance!
I participated in that thread. From what I and others wrote in that thread it should be no mystery that 45-70 revolvers are too big, heavy, clumsy, and ballistically inefficient to be practical for any use other than as a novelty item. Any utility it would provide in using the same ammunition as a rifle you would carry is absolutely trivial in comparison to all the disadvantages listed. Then there is the fact that carrying one of these monstrosities will get you laughed at behind your back by a great many people.
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Old August 19, 2015, 09:38 AM   #11
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The short answer to why 45-70 revolvers are silly is that riffle cartridges fired from handguns result in disappointing velocities due to their shorter barrel lengths. Couple that with the large size and weight of these guns, and the end result is a very expensive novelty.
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Old August 19, 2015, 10:51 AM   #12
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Why is the 45-70 not taken seriously as a revolver round?

Because you can get the same ballistics as factory 45-70 in a smaller pistol cartridge fired from a smaller, lighter revolver.

Sure you can load the 45-70 to higher levels, but then recoil and blast become unmanageable.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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With the arguable exception of brown bear defense, either probably falls into the novelty cache. Handloading can probably go a ways in mitigating the alleged shortcomings of the .45-70, or it could be cut down to a .460 Ruger. I've no dog in the fight. .44 Mag is more than enough for me.
I actually do some recreation in brown bear country, but have no interest in hunting them, even with a long gun.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:06 AM   #14
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Because it's one of the, if not the, ugliest handguns ever made. It looks like something out of a cartoon.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
So my inquiry on the Mag Research SA 45-70 was dismissed because many feel it's more a gimmick than a tool, though no one said why. ... Just wondering why the strong negative impressions; the previous discussion lacked specifics. Thanks in advance!
In any field the cognoscenti will look to the higher order question or need when evaluating a product or item. "It's better because it's bigger!" won't cut it, because bigger, more powerful, stronger, tougher, all may simply get in the way of getting the job done. Instead elegance, appropriateness, and efficiency (of one sort or another) are valued above the size of numbers on a spec sheet or how impressive something looks sitting still.

So the .45-70 BFR tends to like that neighbor guy we all knew: the one who just had to stuff a big block engine in his Chevette and loved to rev it up in his driveway or burn the tires off in the street out front. But not only is the car now pointless and undriveable for any utility use, it wasn't as good at putting all that impressive power to task as thousands of other more mundane cars which were well balanced and didn't break the tires loose every time you goose the throttle, or threaten to flop over when going around a corner.

So the more erudite gun guy says, if I want a very powerful revolver I could choose from several quality options, some in double-action some in single-action, which come in a controllable package that's sized appropriately for carrying around, and any of which could be loaded more stoutly that I have any desire to shoot. Or, I could buy a .45-70 single-action so large that I have to find a special holster/scabbard thing, can't possibly draw or shoot it as quickly, and which doesn't give me a single benefit over almost any of the other guns.

About all it does better is LOOK huge and intimidating to those who don't know enough to grasp the bigger picture.




The BFRs, by all accounts, are very well made guns. And a .45-70 version will certainly get "the job" done, whatever "the job" is. But the real question is not "why not?" but "why?" Why would you want to choose that over any of the others? If you don't have some compelling reason why that one cartridge is the only one for you, it is more of a novelty than anything else.
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Old August 19, 2015, 12:19 PM   #16
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There is VERY little ground the ungainly BFR covers that Ruger's new 454 & 480 Blackhawk doesn't but in a MUCH more maneuverable (and less expensive) package.

Being said on the powerful single action front, there's nothing that my 45 Colt Blackhawk WON'T cover that I can forsee in my lifetime, properly loaded.

But thats a bit apples to oranges.

The BFR is a highly accurate and powerful revolver, it's fault is that it's horribly inefficient. Especially so in 45-70.

I view the 30 Carbine Ruger Blackhawk similarly, despite different power and weight classes.

There's a reason why pistol calibers are used mainly in pistols, and rifle calibers in rifles.

Looking in Lyman's 49, I quickly see a 300FPS difference in favor of the 460 over the 45-70 when using 300gr JHP's. 45-70 runs very close to 454 Cassul with a slight edge of about 50fps to the old Gov't cartridge.
This is with Contender data section, I should add.

Edited to add, they sell a BFR in 454 with an appropriately sized cylinder. While still a large handgun, it seems much more useful and utilitarian.
That lighter gun will get packed more (and easier) than the larger gun, and has almost identical numbers (300gr JHP@1600FPS for both calibers per Lyman 49). Plus being able to sort plinking 45 colt ammo from full power 454 ammo is handy and much cheaper than 45-70 brass for both reloaders and not.

Last edited by gotboostvr; August 19, 2015 at 12:29 PM. Reason: I actually checked their website
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Old August 19, 2015, 01:31 PM   #17
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A friend whose family were all dedicated outdoorsmen had a brother who had a BFR in .45-70 and they ALL loved it for deer hunting. Said it would hit like the Hammer of Thor, was accurate & fun to shoot.

Though it's far less efficient than "smaller" .45 bores, I think it would be a lot of fun to try with heavy for caliber bullets, 405 gr & up...
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Old August 19, 2015, 10:44 PM   #18
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It dose handle heavy for calibre bullets better than most cartridges, I'll give it that
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:32 PM   #19
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For practical purposes, the .454 does the almost same thing, more efficiently.

First time ever, the word efficiently has been used in the same sentence as .454 Casull.
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Old August 19, 2015, 11:45 PM   #20
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Honest q: why is the Mag Research 45-70 not taken seriously around here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gotboostvr View Post
There is VERY little ground the ungainly BFR covers that Ruger's new 454 & 480 Blackhawk doesn't but in a MUCH more maneuverable (and less expensive) package.


The BFR is a highly accurate and powerful revolver, it's fault is that it's horribly inefficient. Especially so in 45-70.


There's a reason why pistol calibers are used mainly in pistols, and rifle calibers in rifles.

Looking in Lyman's 49, I quickly see a 300FPS difference in favor of the 460 over the 45-70 when using 300gr JHP's. 45-70 runs very close to 454 Cassul with a slight edge of about 50fps to the old Gov't cartridge.
This is with Contender data section, I should add.

Edited to add, they sell a BFR in 454 with an appropriately sized cylinder. While still a large handgun, it seems much more useful and utilitarian.
That lighter gun will get packed more (and easier) than the larger gun, and has almost identical numbers (300gr JHP@1600FPS for both calibers per Lyman 49). Plus being able to sort plinking 45 colt ammo from full power 454 ammo is handy and much cheaper than 45-70 brass for both reloaders and not.

This is well put.

I have owned a BFR in .454 and a FA Model 83 Field Grade in .454: I prefer the BFR for the simple fact that I like the cylinder to spin which ever way you want to turn it when the loading gate is open.

I also don't see the price difference: Field Grade warranties are not lifetime like the Premier Grade.

At one time, rumor had it, the BFRs were SBH frames: I don't know this for fact, but the ones I've handled, and the one I owned, are high quality.

The whole reason I moved away from the .454 was because I thought 44mag +p loads of 300 grn + are adequate: and you get 1 more per cylinder. I haven't been able to prove this theory wrong, but I haven't had fair opportunity to do so.

I swapped over whole-heartedly to 44 mag, but I see adding a .454 back to the fold.

Last edited by hseII; August 19, 2015 at 11:51 PM.
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Old August 20, 2015, 12:35 PM   #21
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I think the preference for a handgun/rifle combo often leads people astray. It is a nice concept but has very little real advantage in about 95% of real world situations. Most people don't roam the plains anymore for months or years with the little they own stuffed in a saddle bag. For the added weight penalty a BFR has over a .454, .45 Colt, .44 magnum, etc, you could carry more than enough extra ammo for both your rifle and revolver to see you thru any realistic scenario.
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Old August 20, 2015, 11:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldon519 View Post
I think the preference for a handgun/rifle combo often leads people astray. It is a nice concept but has very little real advantage in about 95% of real world situations. Most people don't roam the plains anymore for months or years with the little they own stuffed in a saddle bag. For the added weight penalty a BFR has over a .454, .45 Colt, .44 magnum, etc, you could carry more than enough extra ammo for both your rifle and revolver to see you thru any realistic scenario.
Ditto!
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Old August 21, 2015, 12:54 AM   #23
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I'm a big fan of matched pistol/rifle cartridges, I just settled on 44 mag though for deer here in Ohio with a 6" 629, and a 16" SS Rossi M92. They both happen to live 240gr XTPs over the same stout charge of IMR4227.

The 629 may be more than I really want to lug around in a pistol, the BFR would be even worse.

I may work up a load for a new (to me! ) M19 6", but that's a whole 'nuther thread.
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Old August 21, 2015, 02:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldon519 View Post
I think the preference for a handgun/rifle combo often leads people astray. It is a nice concept but has very little real advantage in about 95% of real world situations. Most people don't roam the plains anymore for months or years with the little they own stuffed in a saddle bag. For the added weight penalty a BFR has over a .454, .45 Colt, .44 magnum, etc, you could carry more than enough extra ammo for both your rifle and revolver to see you thru any realistic scenario.
While that is true, it doesn't negate the fun factor of owning such a combination.

I think the only realistic benefit that exists in today's world is the consolidation of loading components. That didn't stop me though.
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Old August 21, 2015, 04:04 PM   #25
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I understand people's hate for it, but I disagree. I have carried some rather beastly handguns in shoulder rigs plenty of times and to tell you the truth it's much more pleasant than carrying a rifle in my opinion. Now, strap it to your hip, and that would be my definition of a bad day. I have owned the BFR both in 500 mag 10" bbl and still have the 45 Colt / 410 7 inch barrel 1 they are both pretty big handguns but I enjoy them and they are extremely well made and accurate. these are both the same size frames and barrels as the 45/70 offerings. i have almost perchased one several times but talked myself outnofbit because, like they say it would be more of a novelty than anything else. i would carry the 500 for any hunting purposes over the 45/70 in a handgun.
I am surprised CaigC hasnt chimed in.
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