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Is .45-70 That Powerful?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by lizziedog1, Feb 24, 2011.

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  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    Well, a number of tests have shown otherwise. Garrett .45-70 solids out-penetrate .458 mag solids. I suspect this is more about the cookie cutter design of Garret rounds than anything else, but they do give greater penetration.
     
  2. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    Sure: Book :D

    Then something was up with the bullet. Without being deformed in some way and/or yawing/tumbling that simply isn't possible. Consider this: a .458Wby will have the same velocity after going through a few feet of tissue as a .45-70Govt. (utilizing the same projectile) does at the time of impact, therefore it must have more penetration because they will penetrate the same amount when going the same speed.

    That may be the case, but utilizing the same bullets (that will not deform and/or yaw) it isn't possible. I think it is a simple case of poor projectile selection for the chosen cartridge (in this case the established express cartridge).

    :)
     
  3. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    Why slower bullets sometimes penetrate better...

    The same reason a 45acp bullet only loses 100 fps in 100 yards...and it hasn't got a thing to do with BC.
     
  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    It may not be "poor projectile selection", but simply a necessity for the platform used to launch the projectile. Any 500 grain .45 solid is going to penetrate pretty well, but the traditional round nose design feeds better in a bolt rifle, while in a Marlin lever gun, the shape of the slug doesn't matter.

    At any rate, modern "magnum" loaded .45-70 ammo is pretty hot stuff.
     
  5. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    That is why I stipulated that the bullet be the same. Bullet design and construction is paramount. Indeed, a large meplat (as used in the aforementioned slugs as well as monolithic solids from Barnes and Woodleigh) improves performance because it promotes cavitation, thereby reducing drag and increasing penetration.

    It is a great improvement over the original loading, and pretty fun to shoot if you ask me.

    :)
     
  6. RangerHAAF

    RangerHAAF Member

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    It has been my experience that a 45-70 will put down any North American animal out to about 150 yards with a 250-300 grain bullet. I've test fired them on buck rabbits at about 50 yards and they(rabbits) are disintegrated by the hydrostatic shock of the impact.
     
  7. bobnob

    bobnob Member

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    Can't understand the arguments over comparing the 45-70 with the 458. The 458 obviously "hits harder".

    But Jeeeezus, I used a 308, 303 and 30-06 on feral pigs for 25 years they were great. But the 45-70 was DEVASTATING when I started using it last year! 350 grain flat points at 2100 fps out of a 18.5 inch lever action. 7 shot capacity.

    Unbeatable for hunting big pigs in thick scrub. Never seen anything like it.
     
  8. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Member

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    Well, I can always down load my .458 by a few hundred fps and get better penetration.

    Now I'll really be able to kill those pesky old pressure tanks at work.
     
  9. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    The #1 ruger loads are up to 55 TO 57,000 PSI and with that level they do play in the same ballpark with the 60,000psi 468 win mag. It's up to the shooter then.
     
  10. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    Even with those stout loads they can't match the properly loaded .458WM, there simply isn't enough case capacity. .45-90Sharps gets pretty close, and .45-120-3.25in. Sharps has more than the .458Lott IIRC.

    :)
     
  11. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    "The #1 ruger loads are up to 55 TO 57,000 PSI and with that level they do play in the same ballpark with the 60,000psi 468 win mag. It's up to the shooter then. "

    Similar chamber pressure doesnt mean similar velocity. A small case will build pressure faster, and do it at lower velocity, than a larger case. A 308 will make most of the velocity of a 30-06 when using medium weaight bullets, and do it at higher chamber pressures, until you get to heavier bullets, at which point it can't keep up at any safe chamber pressure.

    I read the commentary, I'd like to see the actual test results. Same gun,/bullet, various velocities. A 458 Lott loaded to various velocities, in the same test medium would do it. Using animals would be more instructional, tho hard to do. Years of experience on game is what's really needed for a good comparison. any test medium still is not animal tissue/blood/bone/sinew. I'm not convinced wet newspaper is realistic for true comparisons of large animals, nor would gelatin. African game is different yet than American game from those that have hunted both extensively. The general comment is that African game is simply "tougher" than American game, not to mentione we have nothing comparable weight/size wise to elephants, and Cape Buffalo arent the same as American Bison.

    There was a problem with some factory 458 Winchester Mag ammo years ago. Somehow it was performing about 300 fps lower in velocity than normal. The guys using it were immediately aware that it wasnt penetrating properly, (enough) to cleanly kill elephants, when the standard stuff did, and it was very dangerous to the guys using it when it didnt kill them cleanly. That doesnt sound like lower velocity penetrates more to me. Nobody told them it was less velocity, they simply KNEW it wasnt penetrating like "normal" ammo, and went about finding out why.

    I'm a big fan of the 45-70, and carry one in grizzly country with heavy loads, but I have no doubt that the 458 is more gun.
     
  12. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    If interested i'll do one better. Exact same gun (modern 1885 Highwall with 28in. barrel) with two different chamberings. It is currently chambered for .45-70Govt. and I load it very hot, it will soon be chambered for .45-120Sharps and loaded to similar pressures. This should put it on par with the well-respected .450NE No.2. Both loads will probably be loaded with 480gr. Woodleigh solids (as well as any bullets that folks might like to donate), with the former using about 50-55gr. of smokeless and the later using approximately 80-90gr. of smokeless to drive it several hundred fps faster. I might also work up a "lever-gun load" that is a bit lighter that the aforementioned load for the .45-70Govt. (because it would likely make your average repeater into a pipe bomb).

    I will, however, have to use a ballistic medium for comparison as elephants are a bit scarce in these parts (anyone that wants to donate a couple, please feel free to contact me :D). This medium is likely to be composed of a couple ceramic tiles (should be a decent analog for bone), as many phonebooks as I can scavenge, and backed up by stacked lumber.

    :)
     
  13. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I think you can get fresh beef bones from butchers and slaughterhouses. Leg bones would be best. Layered in the wet lap paper may be useful, tho still different than animal tissue. You can probably fine enough newspaper to make a good wet lap setup. You need several feet of thickness to stop most rifle bullets of good penetrating ability. They are supposed to be wet the day before I believe to get them to a certain saturation point.

    One guy on the leverguns forum used some cows (whole or halves) that were just killed for butchering to test some loads on.

    Testing is still problematical. I've found fairly fresh beef leg bones and was able to easily shoot through them with a 22, even the knob ends of the bones. It probably wouldnt have happened that way in a live animal that size.
     
  14. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    That is why I chose well-defined standard materials for the testing. A ceramic tile, wet phonebooks/newsprint, or pine boards aren't likely to differ greatly. You have to remember there will be a decent time span between the initial (.45-70Govt.) and final (.45-120Nitro-Sharps)...probably measured in months (will depend on the gunsmith), so I need something that is fairly stable for a decent period of time.

    :)
     
  15. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    Okay, so lets say the .45-70 penetrates better than the .458 Winchester magnum.

    Doesn't that just mean the .458 Win mag will deliver .45-70 performance at ranges a .45-70 can't reach?

    When the bullet speed has decayed to .45-70 levels it will penetrate the same as a .45-70. After all, the bullet doesn't care what it was fired from.
     
  16. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    One of the things that always amuses me is that folks discount the .45-70 for Cape Buffalo. Nevermind that it was one of the main tools responsible for the near-extinction of the American Bison (the bigger, badder of the two bovines) back when it was a blackpowder load making around 1600 ft-lbs. Just cause it lives in Africa doesn't mean it is somehow bullet-retardant.
     
  17. Doc Rizzi

    Doc Rizzi Member

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    The .45-70

    In its day it was the gun to use for Buffalo. The big, slow bullet had tremendous penetration. The thing about that cartridge is that it has a very high arch trajectory. It's not a flat shooter. You have to practice a lot. Mine likes ranges out past 200 yards before the vernier site starts to do its job.
    Another thing regarding loading data. I only shoot silhouette and I load it like they did in the history books; 70 grains of black powder over a 405 grain .45 bullet. It is a huge bullet. I have a mold for a 500 grain bullet too....but for silhouette shooting I don't really need that. If you are going to pump up the load and use smokeless powder your firearm needs to be able to handle it. I have a sharps reproduction model and I don't use smokeless in it. If you have a modern .45-70 like the Marlin, you can use smokeless and get a bigger push. You will still have a heavy bullet moving downrange that only has one thing on its mind......falling to the ground. In my opinion I would only use the .45-70 for large North American Game. If I were going to try it out on something like a cape buffalo I would want my guide ready to go with his dangerous game caliber just in case.
     
  18. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Member

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    Bigger...yes.

    Badder...NO!!!

    Agreed on all other points mentioned...
     
  19. McCall911

    McCall911 Member

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    One of the problems when it comes to published ballistic testing results is that you don't always know the bullet construction or shape (roundnose? flatnose?). For instance, it's been shown that roundnose bullets have a tendency to lose stability and veer inside certain media. (Especially wetpack.) Many flatnose bullets don't exhibit this tendency. (Like Garrett Hammerheads.) So my guess is that .45-70's which have outstanding penetration at relatively low velocities will have flat noses, while .458's which don't fare so well are of roundnose shape. But in either case you also have to consider how easily the bullet deforms, which is always a detriment to penetration.
     
  20. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    We have some test information, but it's relatively limited by practical concerns, not a lot of each round was fired, and it's in a test medium that isnt live or even fresh animal tissue. As noted, so far nobody has been able to duplicate animals in an artificial test medium. The information is interesting, but I'm still not 100% convinced it's directly translatable to animals in field conditions. Still, odd things happen when shooting animals, and it isnt always what would seem apparent. Something Mr Linebaugh said once stays with me, he said "Don't worry about what your bullet does to the animal, worry about what the animal does to your bullet". I think it's good to keep that in mind, escially when discussing African use.

    http://www.handloads.com/misc/linebaugh.penetration.tests.asp

    As far as bullet shape, it does make a big difference, however, I'd suggest that the shapes being used by those making 458 and other African hunting calibers wasnt arrived at by convenience or accident. Some variations in nose shape, even in round nose bullets makes a difference in bullet tracking inside of animals, in artificial mediums, I don't know how they compare, but I'd guess they arent exactly the same. There's decades of hands on hunting experience on large animals there that went into the bullets being used. Read Taylors book African Rifles and Cartridges, he goes into some of it. Capstick and others discuss it also. They also mention that problematic shapes get dropped in favor of ones that work. Their conclusions were based on use on animals in the field, not wet paper. The long round nose bullets used in the heavy British rounds and basically copied in 458 rounds, is what has been found to work in African critters. This isnt new to those guys, they were doing this stuff long before any of us smart guys were born. We may tend to think of the Brits as weenies in the gun world because of their current laws, but they've been building African guns and cartridges when big game to most Americans was deer, and maybe elk hunting.

    This is an interesting discusion, I'm just not convinced anyone has a reliable test medium that compares with live animals, and American animals don't compare to the African species in toughness.
     
  21. True Grit

    True Grit Member

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    I would probably have no problem pulling the trigger on my 45-70 at anything I needed to take care of. I might choose a hotter load possibly a buffalo bore round.
     
  22. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    Not necessarily...

    hu24qq.jpg

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/penetration.html


     
  23. McCall911

    McCall911 Member

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    There's a big study in terminal ballistics going on in the Accurate Reloading Forums. It was started by a member who is an avid African hunter who does ballistic testing on his own time (and with his own dime) just for his own satisfaction. He (michael458) decided to publish his results on an internet forum for all to see, if they wished. He doesn't claim to be an expert or even very knowledgeable in the field of terminal ballistics, just a student.

    http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4711043/m/2861098911

    You'll have to wade through a lot of OT silliness and banter, but he, and some others, make some great points in this thread. He's also garnered a lot of attention, with a view count of well over 100,000!
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, it is true.
    If Brian Pearce said it happened, it happened.

    Keep in mind, Brian was not shooting 45-70 ammo he bought at Wally-world on sale.

    Loaded to +P levels like he loaded it, with the heavy flat nose hard-cast bullets, it would shoot through two buffalo.

    Oh wait, it did!

    rc
     
  25. McCall911

    McCall911 Member

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    Mr. Garrett can hunt with whatever he wishes and come to whatever conclusion he would like, but I've seen enough testing of .458 bullets to know better than what he seems to be insinuating. The .45-70 is not equal to, or superior to, the .458 Win Mag or the .458 Lott. No way, no how!

    If anyone is interested in a more in-depth study and discussion of terminal ballistics, plus an understanding of why I said what I did, check out the link I posted in my previous post. It's also in a forum, so whoever wishes can debate the findings.


    http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4711043/m/2861098911
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
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