View Full Version : Any one use a 45-70 to hunt with?

January 14, 2007, 09:16 AM
Good morning -

Yesterday I bought a gun and caliber I always wanted, the 45-70 Ruger No. 1.
I always wanted one "trophy" rifle and to me this is it. Damn gun show.

I know the round, for all intents, is only good out to 200 yards for hunting and my main stay rifles are a Savage 7mm Rem Mag and a custom built 308 Herters action. With that said, I curious to hear from other 45-70 owners regarding what game they use their 45-70 to hunt for? Is it too over powered for deer? What ammo recommendations and who commerically loads the hottest rounds? Should I bother with a scope or leave it as a brush gun?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or opinions. It's rained here for going on 4 days and its way too muddy at the range to go shoot the No. 1. With luck, I'll get a chance next weekend.

January 14, 2007, 09:42 AM
I have a Marlin 45-70 and have used it with the 300gr Winchester Partition Golds on 2 elk under 100yds oneshot kills to the boiler room, and killed a buffalo at 80yds, one shot with the same Partition cartridge, double lung hit and down. Killed one mulie doe at just a little under 100 yds with the Rem 405gr SP one shot. Very little meat damage. Very important, I use hearing protection, the kind that lets you amplify sounds, but protects aginst loud burst noise, because this caliber IS LOUD. This rifle is a good deep timber stalking caliber.

January 14, 2007, 11:39 AM
the only reason not to scope a rifle is to make the hunt more challenging.

January 14, 2007, 03:01 PM
I also use the 300 W Partition.Better for deer than the more fragile typical 300.The Ruger , like my Browning 1885 is a very strong action and you can load them very hot if you like but with that comes recoil ! Buffalo Bore ,Garrett load hot and no longer in production was the nice PMC 350 gr.I shoot fairly close range here so I have 1x4 Leupold to see opening in brush [ ANY bullet can be deflected even the 45-70 ,don't assume you can shoot through things !!]. Corbon loads a 300 Barnes all copper bullet at1900 fps which performs like the Partition. No reason why you can't get 1" groups at 100 yds ! And people seeing the big hole in the deer will as k 'what are you using a cannon ??' You don't get some of the high velocity effects or the damage but it's impressive . You'll learn why it's still a winner after 130 years !!:D

January 14, 2007, 05:22 PM
I use the Hornady 350FP as my general purpose load. I push them to 1950 fps with IMR 3031. This load works great on whitetails, everyone shot so far has dropped in it's tracks. Another good deer bullet is the 405 Remington, I load these to 1500 fps and is another fine load for deer.

January 14, 2007, 08:36 PM
I use the 350 grain Hornady round nose under 52 grains of reloader 7. It puts a real whopping on a deer and your should off the bench. I shoot it out of a Browning high wall. The exit hole through the rib cage of a deer was as big as a 50cent piece. The last deer was a little high and hit part of the back bone and the exit whole was two inches accross. The deer droped in its tracks. Actually it was knocked off its feet by the energy at about 50 yards.

January 14, 2007, 10:15 PM
I have a Ruger #1 in 45-70 also. Beautiful gun aren't they. There has already been sever good bullet choices put forth and I agree with all of them. I have used mine on 2 Elk and 3 Deer. I often use heavier bullets cast from wheelweights for targets and hunting. I have several molds ranging from 340 gr to 530 grs. The Ruger being so strong will allow you to fire slugs at some pretty impresive velocities. The only problem is that the standard Ruger "recoil pad" is none to soft and shooting some of the heavier slugs at increased velocities will most definatly get your shoulders attention. I have shot a few for fun, but the recoil sorta takes something (as in pleasure) away when shooting off a bench. Best of luck with yours.

January 15, 2007, 07:25 AM
Thanks for all of the replies. I haven't stopped drooling all weekend looking at this gun. It's still raining here but I hope it clears up by Tuesday and the range has a little time to dry out between now and Saturday because I'm dying to shot this baby.

Anyway - thanks for all the ammo suggestions. I researched the Garrett and they make some real hot loads, great for Africa or hunting mammoth 10,000 years ago if I could just get my time machine working again. :D It still amazes me this gun can be used for African game.

I've never really be interested in handloading before but the more I've read up on it, I think this round might get me started.

Thanks again for the replies. This is the caliber I've always wanted to own. I wasn't sure how handy the cartridge would be for hunting but it sounds like this is the perfect brush gun for any thing from whitetail to Africa. It also sounds like no one would trade the 45-70 for any thing else.

January 15, 2007, 12:19 PM
The 45-70 is good for a lot more than 200 yards! Learn your trajectory table, with some hot loads you are good out to 400-500 yards easy, and if you are good enough plenty farther. I have seen silhouettes shot at 1000 yards.

January 15, 2007, 01:29 PM
I know H&R's Buffalo Hunter Classic rifle was selling like hotcakes because in some states it was allowed during the primitive hunting season. I finally found one. I just shot it a while back with the 405 g bullet in a Black Hills load. My friend says it sounds just like a mortar. :D

January 15, 2007, 09:49 PM
I can't wait to light this thing. I've read in several places it sounds like a mortar going off which is pretty cool. How's the recoil? Pretty rough? Can you get through 20 rounds at a range session?

January 16, 2007, 10:18 PM
hi kreyzhorse,, i been using these guns for years,, and i don't think you need all that velocity for a white tail,, i have been using a lyman 425 gr. bullet at around 1050-1100 fps,, and i have never not had it go through a white tail,,, dumps them real quick,, i have an old 24" barrel marlin that i will pick up every time,,just feels good,, and carries good,, and shoots like a house afire,,, the load i use is an old trap door load,, mild recoil,,,i used it all the time when i was cowboy shooting for the long range lever gun matches.... hope you find a load that you like to play with


January 19, 2007, 05:26 PM
Occasionally use the 45/70 in an old Trapdoor Springfield, no scope, in some thick woods hunting in Pennsylvania. Awesome performance on deer. I still dream about a bear strolling by, in season, of course.

January 19, 2007, 06:08 PM
How's the recoil? Pretty rough? Can you get through 20 rounds at a range session?

The cowboy type loads (1000-1200) feel like a 2-3/4" 12 GA slug being touched off and some of the higher end loads are more like a 3" slugs. I usually shoot between 40 and 60 rounds each range session, some benched, some not.

I haven't hunted with my 1895G yet, too new and not quite dialed in yet. I'm working with a 350gr GC boolit and the 400 gr Lyman PB mostly. It seems to like RX7.

January 20, 2007, 12:32 PM
Krezyhorse, I shoot an NEF Handi in 45-70 and have taken 3 bucks and a doe or 2 with it. It's never seen a factory load . I've used both a Rem. 300 gr. jhp @ 1700 fps under IMR 3031 and a Rem. 405 gr. jsp @ 1475 fps under IMR 4198 . Both loads being sure, quick stoppers and leaves the short blood trail something even Stevie Wonder can follow. Both loads are very accurate, reasonably mild ( shooting 20-30 rounds in a session a breeze ) and good thumpers on our corn fed whitetails .

Jack O'Conner
January 20, 2007, 12:46 PM
When I guided for Jack Achtinson, an elderly hunter and his 20-something grandson used to book a mule deer adventure every year. They had matching lever action Marlin rifles. But I can not recall scope power or brand names.

The older man handloaded flat nosed solid lead bullets that he made from wheel weights and tin. He told me all about his little melting pot and such. I recall that he mentioned something about 405 grains as too heavy for long shots. But the exact weight bullets he made has been forgotten.

These two hunters shot a buck and a doe each and every year. Four shots fired and four mulies on the ground. One carefully aimed shot and the animal toppled over or bounded away and then toppled in mid stride. I've witnessed the same deadly performance occur with rifles such as .243, 25-06, 270, 30-30, and many others. A muley that is struck in both lungs can not remain on his feet for long.

45-70 appears like a good rifle to me. But the largest bored carbine I hunt with is a 44 MAG by Ruger. It always knocks 'em over when I do my part.

January 22, 2007, 04:11 PM
i havent tooken any deer with my marlin gs 45/70. However, federal premium 300 grn hp's or hollow-softpoint's or w/e you want to call them are very accurate out of my gun atleast out to a honest 110 with out a rest. Funny thing is i took the same gun to a bench rest and couldnt hit sqwat that was about 2 weeks before the deer season witch i didn't even get to hunt, and at 100 yards. I have made a amazing shot or 2 with it, one shot was on the second box of ammo witch i sent a round into a very very small tree at almost 175 yards, offhand and it hit dead center about 3 inches low. Had that been a deer it would have been toast, but still with these old school western era cartridges, you generally run out of trajectory before you run out of energy.

January 22, 2007, 04:24 PM
I don't own a .45-70 but if you go to the cabela's forums (http://forums.cabelas.com/) and post this question you'll have a lot of response. VERY popular caliber amongst that crowd.

Boston T. Party
December 28, 2008, 03:43 PM
I've used it two seasons in Africa.
Lots of fun, if kept within 200yds and not fired on DG.

51.0gr of H4198 and 300gr TSX is a good load.


My new book Safari Dreams available from:

December 29, 2008, 06:01 PM
Both Cor-Bon and Buffalo Bore use their solids w/gas checks. The 405 gr bullets group very nicely (1.25 MOA) w/H4198 out of my Marlin 1895 GS. Also see "Kodiak Island Hunt Report" under my handle.

Dr. A
December 29, 2008, 08:36 PM
To get the most out of your 45-70, I would learn to reload if you do not already. Even if you can afford to buy all the ammo you want, you will be amazed at how much fun reloading is with this round. Since I've had my 3 45-70's, (Ruger #1, Marlin 1895 and H&R buffalo Classic), I have developed over 30 loads. I cast about 11 different bullets for it and mess with a dozen powders at least. Everything from 405gr. 900fps to 500gr. 1800fps. for the Ruger to 300gr. 2400fps. You can play with cast or jacketed, 300gr HP., collar buttons, round balls plain based or gas checked cast. The sky is the limit and you will find that even after years of playing with the gun, there is someone that has used it differently than you. Its hard to overload it for deer, as it tends to not destroy tissue the way a high velocity weapon will. Have fun, and watch out with your new toy!

December 30, 2008, 08:25 AM
I saw this old post of mine was rehashed recently so I thought I'd update on my first hunt with my 45-70.

First, put a Nikon Monarch 3x9 on it. Tried to keep it open sights but my eyes just weren't having it. Used the gun during the 2007 deer season and shot a doe with it using 300 gr Winchester solid points.

I took her at roughly 45 yards broadside clipping one lung and hitting the other. She ran up hill roughly 100 yards and collasped. Left a great blood trail that bled profusely from both the entrance and exit wound. Both entrance and exit wounds were roughly the same size.

To be honest, I thought I missed her when I first shot. I guess I was expecting to see that 45-70 knock her off her feet rather than see her take off running.

I killed a buck opening day this year using my Savage 7mm Rem Mag so the 45-70 didn't see action this year. I do plan on experimenting with some Buffalo Bore and Garrett modern loadings for the 45-70 to see what this round can really do. Have toyed with reloading, but without knowing any one who reloads, haven't been able to jump into it.

Dr. A
December 30, 2008, 08:52 AM


Check out this book by Paul Matthews. It should be required reading for those of us with this caliber. It may be just the book you need to get you into reloading. The Lyman reloading manual is the other.

December 30, 2008, 10:07 AM
Thanks Dr A, I'll pick up a copy. The 45-70 govt was the one cartridge that I just had to have. My Ruger No. 1 45-70 really is my trophy gun.

December 30, 2008, 08:35 PM
I got one deer with a 45/70 and the result was much the same as with a .50 caliber muzzle loader: dead deer at the end of a blood trail with another bucket of blood where it fell. My major complaint with the 45/70 is the recoil is excessive for deer hunting (I'd estimate recoil to be about 150% of that of a 30-06) and I have trouble holding it on target due to the recoil knocking me around, knocking my glasses askew etcetera.