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What is the range of a 45/70?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by phantomak47, Dec 13, 2006.

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  1. phantomak47

    phantomak47 Member

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    What is the maxium range of the 45/70 shot out of a typical Marlin lever action? Not trying shoot steel plates at 500 yards maxium, rather you basic hunting range.


    I there is something about this round/gun that I love and I would like to learn more about it. thanks
     
  2. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The effective range is quite long. The problem for the shooter is that the trajectory is much like that of a basketball, compared to the flatter-shooting stuff. So, knowing the trajectory and having the abilty to judge the distance is important.

    For such as deer or elk, the basic deal is, if you can hit it, you can punch a hole through it. But, the issue then is the precision of shot placement in order to make an ethical kill.

    Art
     
  3. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    With iron sights, I'd say 100yd. With scope, I'd say 250yds. The only trouble you will have is learning the proper hold-over for different ranges.
     
  4. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    Original testing was done over 2000 yards...with some fairly accurate shooting.
     
  5. one-shot-one

    one-shot-one Member

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    REM BALLISTIC TABLE

    Short-Range Trajectory
    Cartridge Type Bullet 50 100 150 200 250 300
    Remington® Express® 300 JHP zero -1.3 -6.6 -16.5 -32.0 -54.1
    Remington® Express® 405 SP zero -4.0 -14.5 -32.0 -57.5 -90.6


    Long-Range Trajectory
    Cartridge Type Bullet 100 150 200 250 300 400 500
    Remington® Express® 300 JHP zero -4.6 -13.8 -28.6 -50.1 -115.7 -219.1
    Remington® Express® 405 SP zero -8.5 -24.0 -47.4 -78.6 -169.4 -301.3

    so if you site in 6" high at 100 yards you'll be 22.6" low at 250 with the 300jhp.?
     
  6. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    only with factory ammo

    With reloads you can shoot out to around 200 yards with only -4 inches. That is with a 3 inch at 100 yards.



    steve
     
  7. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Art hit it on the nose.

    The round has plenty of energy to take large game way out there, witness what the Sharps rifles did to the buffalo herd in the late 19th century. My own Sharps, using a relatively weak (by modern standards) 530gr blackpowder loading, delivers over 1000 foot-pounds of energy at 400 yards. Even the Sandy Hook tests of 1879 showed the BP .45-70-500 round capable of penetrating 3 one-inch oak boards and burying itself into the sand to a depth of 8 inches at 3,500 yards distance.

    In all fairness, I have a 32" barrel and a 3" rear vernier sight, to get best performance and accuracy out of that big heavy bullet. The typical Marlin or Winchester levergun won't go to that extreme, in order to maintain a compact, handy profile.

    However, those who say the .45-70 is a close-range cartridge just aren't comfortable learning the arched trajectory of the round, and usually hunt using scopes or buckhorn sights with minimal elevation adjustment. We've gotten lazy as hunters, and like the convenience of our .308, .30-06 and .270 rounds, where we can rely on 200-300 yard point blank ranges without having to adjust our sights or even accurately estimate the range to the venison. Note the difference in trajectories, as plotted by a contributor to Wikipedia:

    [​IMG]

    (.45-70-405, BC .21, MV 1350 f/s, 320' elevation plotted against 7.62x51mm 168gr BTHP, BC .484, MV 2500 f/s, elevation 78' Both bullets cross zero elevation about 1580 yards out)

    So, for the average Marlin/Winchester levergun in .45-70, you've got more bullet energy than you do sights for the gun, the latter being the limiting factor on how far a shot one should take while hunting. ;)
     
  8. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    My limit is 200 yards with the 45-70 and iron sights on deer size game.
     
  9. Quigley

    Quigley Member

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    Ditto's to Art Eatman

    Art nailed it the 45/70 is like shooting a basketball. First off the versatility of the round opens it to many shooting types. Hunting the new Barnes 250 grainTriple X and other brands of HP 300-350 grain bullets make for a flat shooting devistating round at 200 yards or less. Those choosing to suffer the recoil of the 500 grain bullet pushed to 1500 fps can expect the
    "Basketball Arc"
    250 yard zero
    25 Yards +4.9" 50 yards +10.3" 100 yards +17.3" 150 yards +18.6" 200 yards +13.2" 250 yards -0- 300 yards -21.9"
    The down range energy stays above 1000 ftlbs out to 300 yards starting at 2259 ftlbs @ 25 yards dropping to 1008 ft lbs @ 300 remaining very effective on deer sized game.
     
  10. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Energy is horse****.

    That big old bullet doesn't need ft-lb's like a little modern bullet. It just doesn't. A large diameter round or flat nose bullet doesn't burn up energy expanding when it hits the target, and the heavy bullet doesn't slow down as much inside the target.

    Now I don't think a lever gun can shoot the 520 grain bullets I've used in a Sharps. But at 1000 fps or so, the 520 will go right through a buffalo, so you can't tell the entry from the exit hole when you're butchering it, turn the lungs to mush, and keep on going. That's a buffalo. A 405 should work fine on deer.:p Hell, I saw it the 405 work just fine on buffalo, not a deer, loaded with GOEX, not some hot modern load.

    You might need 1000 ft-lb to drop a deer with a little .243, but not with a .458" 405 grain bullet. I think that the lower velocity actually has a more devastating effect. How much energy does a hunting arrow have? From what I've seen, a big .45-70 round almost works more like an arrow than a modern bullet. It kinda looks like an arrow, too.

    [​IMG]

    What is difficult to master for a modern shooter who plinks with a .223 is the trajectory. If you can hit the deer, whatever the range, you can kill it. That's the tough part, as the trajectory tables above demonstrate. I've also shot a jackrabbit with a black powder .45-70 Sharps at about 80 yards. Took a few rounds. I had the windage dead on, but I kept shooting over it, then under it, until I finally got the elevation right. That's how tough that trajectory can be, even relatively close in. When I finally connected, it went all the way through, surprisingly little damage to the rabbit, not at all like a modern varmint round. It blew the rabbit back about 8 feet, though.

    Note that the old buffalo guns have marked ladder sights, which compensate for the trajectory much like an A2 sight on an AR, but they're a few inches tall, not a few 16ths tall like an A2 sight.:) Also, the good shooters in the 1800s knew how to estimate range very precisely from the width of the front sight vs. the size of the animal, and they knew the trajectory of that bullet like we know our phone numbers today.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    On another site, a comment was made that in firing a .45-70 at 500 yards, you would "have to aim at the moon."

    I replied that it would be a pretty low moon, since the firing tables show a mere 1 degree 17 minutes elevation for a range of 500 yards with the rifle and a 500 grain bullet. Even at 1000 yards, the elevation is only 2 degrees 58 minutes. (Remember, one degree is one of those little divisions on that protractor you had in grade school.)

    Jim
     
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    [​IMG]

    This sight tops out at 800 or 1000 yards.
     
  13. SDC

    SDC Member

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    At the battle of Adobe Walls (1874), a buffalo hunter named Billy Dixon is supposed to have shot a Comanche warrior out of the saddle at a range of at least 1000 yards, but using a .50-70 Sharps rifle. If you know what you're doing, and are familiar with the trajectory, you can make a shot at well past "normal" hunting ranges.
     
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The difference with the old-time Buffalo hunters and us today is, they had the luxury of looking at Buffalo all day long, day after day, the year around, at all different ranges.
    And they shot a lot, day after day, after day!

    Pretty soon, they could take a gander, set the sight, and start dropping them.

    If they misjudged the range and missed the first shot, so what?
    They could make the necessary adjustments and shoot the next one in the herd.

    That is a lot different then your one shot, once a year, at a big buck you will never see again if you miss.

    So, you need to set a realistic limit with your rifle and choice of sights.
    If that choice involves long range with a 45-70 & scope, you also need a range-finder, and a drop-table taped to your stock.

    And a lot of pre-season long range practice!

    [​IMG]
    rcmodel
     
  15. 5ptdeerhunter

    5ptdeerhunter Member

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    I have my NEF 45-70 sited in with 2" high at 100 yards. And just for the heck of it I fired it from 180 yards on a picnic table using an ammo can for a rest. And with four shots my group was around 1.5" to 2". I didn't measure just estimated, but they were between three and four inches low. But according to the box of Hornady Leverevolution the bullet will drop around three feet at 300 yards if it is sited in at 100.
     
  16. plumberroy

    plumberroy Member

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    I Have A n.e.f. handi rifle cheap 3x9 scope sighted 2"@100 yards dead on at 130-140yards I put the cross hair at the top af a spikes back at 225 yards was eating backstrap that night I'll shoot 250 at a still animal with a make shift rest
    Roy
    p.s. those are not factory loads
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2007
  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    This is not true. They weren't hunting for sport or their own food, and they didn't have day jobs.

    The price of the ammo was such that their profits depended on one-shot kills. Ammo was very expensive, especially where they were.

    They made amazing shots sometimes, and a second shot was typically at a second buffalo.
     
  18. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Did somebody say, ".45-70"?

    1000 yds? 2000 yds?

    Does NASA know about this?
     
  19. Eric F

    Eric F Member

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    ok Every one lets look at the O.P.
    45-70 with smokeless or bp can go 1000 yards with a 405 gr lead no arguement.
    But that is from a 30 to 34 inch barrel not a LEVER GUN!:banghead:

    I would guess max effective range to be with some modern ammunition in a modern levergun to be roughly 300 yards. Past that accuracy most likely wont be good and neither will knockdown with light bullets.
     
  20. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    What's the lightest bullet you can get? 325 grains?

    With modern powder, you may well get more velocity from a Guide Gun than BP through a 32" barrel. Barrel length doesn't magically make the range go from 300 to 1000 yards.

    Based on what?
     
  21. AStone

    AStone Member

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    And who suggested anything different?
     
  22. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    Besides sights that can be changed, what can possible be much of a difference in BP in a 32" barreled gun and a modern lever using modern powder? A few FPS? Which makes for a very tiny trajectory adjustmant and that would be all, terminal effectiveness would be basically equal at all ranges.
     
  23. Eric F

    Eric F Member

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    ability to hit a target. The heavy bullets seem to open up alot after 200 yards(so has been my experience) the lighter bullets hold a good group up to300 but......I have it a deer at 350 with a light bullet IIRC a 350 gr deer did not go down no blood some fur in the snow I saw the hit just rear of the shoulder tracked her for 200 or so yards lost the trail but never saw blood I beleive she did not die from that bullet she was running really well in deep snow, until she got to the woods where the snow was not so deep.
    I agree with that but its the accuracy that counts also. If you cant hit anything its not very effective.
    I thought you did????
     
  24. AStone

    AStone Member

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    No, sir.

    You'll notice that all of my lines in post 18 are questions, and no where in my post (outside of sig line) do I mention "lever".

    Yes, I agree, the OP asked specifically about range of .45-70 in lever guns.

    However, as thread drift is wont to do, several posters subsequent to that discussed the ballistic characteristics of the caliber in general, not necessarily focusing on lever guns, but rifles with longer barrels.

    I "commented" (as question) on the "1000" and "2000" yd figures because others had mentioned them and I found those potential long ranges for .45-70 interesting, even a little surprising.
     
  25. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    BTW this current-production Marlin has a 26" barrel.

    [​IMG]

    My Marlins are very accurate lever guns. I don't have the gun in question, though, so I can't compare it with the falling block Sharps.

    WRT groups opening up at decent ranges, that's a function of the load, how it fits the gun, etc. The long-range target guys get groups that are amazing. A hunting partner's brother does it (and wins titles). He spends 8 hours to load 40 rounds. But the groups don't open up at 200 yards. Or 1000.

    Just like varmint loads, what you get out of your .45-70 depends what you put into your .45-70. It's just not accurate to suggest that the round itself has these limitations.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
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