View Full Version : 45-70 Bullet Question

October 28, 2007, 05:01 PM
I have just finished reading through all of the posts in “The Hunt”, and did not find an answer to this question – Is there any reason I need to use a hard cast bullet of more than 425 grains in a Marlin 45-70 to stop a black bear in the upper Michigan areas should the need arise? Now I am not talking about going out and hunting bears, I’m talking about if I happen to be out hunting deer or just out in my yard which happens to be located in a black bear and cougar area. I have a new Marlin guide gun and being a very experienced reloader, have been looking at Beartooth Bullets 425 grain as a good all around choice to stop and drop anything in Michigan. Now I realize that I am more likely to win the lottery than have to shoot a bear, but I do want to make sure this bullet is adequate for the task. I treat bears just like snakes…."I’m the one trespassing in their neighborhood and will give them their space and leave them alone, if at all possible."

October 28, 2007, 05:18 PM
Those bullets would put a licking on ANY bear if loaded hot enough...Black or otherwise.

October 29, 2007, 12:47 AM
You should be able to shoot a black bear in the nose with that bullet and have it come out his arse.

I personally think you may be better suited with the Speer soft point for blacks than a hardcast bullet. Black bears don't really have that much structure that would require a hardcast bullet to crash through.

October 29, 2007, 07:10 PM
Thanks guys! From your answers as to bullet choices, I take it anything in either hardcast or jacketed softpoint 400 to 425 grains will serve my needs well.

Don't blame me if Hillary gets elected, I'm voting for Ron Paul.:p

October 29, 2007, 08:03 PM
I've been very impressed with the accuracy of Hornady Leverevolution 325 expanding bullets in the 45/70 though I've not shot a bear yet. From what I've read the hunters in the past shot black bear with soft cast lead, or jacketed soft points or hollow points if they used a 45/70.

roy reali
October 29, 2007, 10:32 PM
Nosler makes a 300 grain partition in this caliber. It is pretty accurate and very devastating.

October 30, 2007, 12:21 PM

November 3, 2007, 10:25 AM
I have been using the 300g Nosler Partition for a couple of years. (Misipe has allowed us to shoot .45/70s as primitive firearms..too many deer) Though no experience on bears (they are quite rare here in Misipe) the Partition is definately the most accurate bullet I have fired from my .45/70 and packs a terrible punch on whitetails. Kinda pricey though...

November 16, 2007, 09:56 PM
That Beartooth 425 "pile driver jr" bullet over 37 grains of IMR 4198 performed very well on two bears last spring in Idaho. One was shot in front of the right front shoulder and exited the opposite side ham. Spun him around, attempted to get up but expired before he could get going.

Out of my Guide gun that load jogs along at less than 1500 fps. The Marlin 1895 Cowboy adds another 150-200 fps or so. It leaves an impressive wound channel and travels straight through. Everyone who witnessed the two kills summed it up with one word, "devastating." No skinny bullet I've ever used killed as quickly.

November 16, 2007, 10:12 PM
Any bullet out of a 45-70 will kill a black bear with ease. No matter the size.

Now a grizzly is totally different. I would use a 350 and bigger in a hardcast. preferably a 400 or bigger.


44 AMP
November 21, 2007, 07:14 PM
Any bullet in the normal .45-70 range should do well enough, if you shoot the right place. The "standard" factory load 405gr SP (at blackpowder speeds) has been taking black bear (and lots of bigger things) just fine for well over 100 years. You don't need anything more.

If you want to use something more, by all means go ahead, it won't hurt anything (except maybe your shoulder). One thing you do need to look at is the jacketed bullets when you start pushing the velocity up. A bullet like the Speer 400gr has pretty good expansion at the lower (Blackpowder equivalent) speeds, but when you speed it up to 1600-1800fps it gets rather violent (on both ends), and if you push it up to 2100fps (.458Win) it acts more like a varmint bullet (low penetration, violent expansion)

Any good cast bullet will do fine, and likely penetrate more than needed, as well. One word of caution, don't shoot them in the head, unless you don't have a choice. I once saw a case where six (6) .30-30 rounds bounced off a black bear skull (and at pretty close range too!). It wasn't that the round didn't have the power, it was the angle of impact and the roundness of the skull that deflected the bullets and kept them from penetrating.

November 21, 2007, 09:32 PM
I think that if you shoot them in the head that might damage the skull so that it couldn't be measured for B&C.

What sort of accuracy/precision are people getting with hard cast flat nosed bullets? I know the old style flat and hollow point copper jacketed tend to group pretty wide in my rifle compared to the Hornady pointy tips.

November 27, 2007, 12:15 AM
Consider this: the average 2 3/4 12 gauge Foster type 1 oz. slug has a velocity between 1500 and 1550 fps. They kick, and have NO problem putting a serious hurting on a black bear. That slug weighs 437.5 grains. A 400 gr. 45/70 hardcast bullet at 1800 will do no less a job, will penetrate said bear stem to stern, and still rattle the filling loose in your head. How can you go wrong? Shoot the 400s and worry not about the bear. If you slow them down to around 1600 fps. you still have the punch of the 12 with better penetration and a sturdier bullet with more directional stability. CB.