View Full Version : 45-70,300 win.mag.,or 300 wsm

Gun freak
July 14, 2012, 04:02 PM
This is my first time on here other than as a guest and I like it!I have a quick question i'm looking at these three guns and don't know which to get.i already have a 270 win.this gun will be used for all the bears and possibly water buffalo.each caliber has an advantage,the 300 wsm 'cause i see as many of them as i see 223.the 300 win mag comes factory loaded with 240 gr.woodleighs.and the 45-70 because it's as old as dirt and its proven.which would you get?

July 14, 2012, 05:22 PM
Well the 45-70 isnt a long range gun, you will have a limit of probably 100 yards max with it. But it has a ton of knock down power. The 300wsm and mag are both better long range guns and fairly equal. Just depends if you want a short or long action

July 14, 2012, 05:26 PM
I'm A big fan of the 45-70. Makes A great package in the Marlin 1895 Guide gun. Short, light, powerfull. Great for the reloader. Powder puff loads for plinking to "oh my gawd!" loads for hunting any thing on this continent,and most on any other.

July 14, 2012, 05:34 PM
For black bears, any of the three will work well. However, for water buffalo, I assume the Cape buffalo, none are really considered big five guns. If you are looking at water buffalo, I believe the .375 H&H is considered the minimum caliber.

July 14, 2012, 06:51 PM
If I already owned a 300 Win Mag I wouldn't sell it for a 300 WSM, but if I had neither I'd go WSM over Win Mag any day. You get 98-99% of the velocity with equal bullet weights, but in a more compact rifle that will have slightly less recoil. It is more efficient in shorter barrels and has proven to be slightly more accurate.

I've owned a 45-70 since 1976. Fun guns with a lot of nostalga, but overrated. They will kill anything in North America including the big bears, but no better than many other rounds including any of the 300 mags when they are loaded with quality 200-220 gr bullets such as the Nolser Partition. When loaded with hot loads a 45-70 generates over 40 ft lbs of recoil compared to the 22-23 ft lbs or so from one of the 300 mags.

They are not really lightweight either. My Marlin 45-70 weighs 1/2 lb MORE than my Winchester 300 WSM in the factory stock. It is now over a full pound heavier with an aftermarket McMillan on the 300.

The 300 WSM would be my choice for anything on this continent, and is versatile enough for smaller game at ranges much farther than 99% of shooters are capable of shooting. If you want anything more effective you will have to go all the way up to 375 Mag.

July 14, 2012, 07:00 PM
The 45-70 is a lot more than a 100 yd gun. My Browning 1885 will get !" or better with about any load . With factory 300 s that I shoot I think it's at least a 200 yd gun.
Please remember when you mention 'rainbow' trajectories, that they used to have [and you still can find them] 1000 yd matches !
And I like it when people see the big hole they ask 'what are you using , a cannon ??' :p

July 14, 2012, 10:30 PM
Lever actions let me get faster follow up shots. If I'm going after bear (and I never have, but want to) that fast follow up is an important matter.

If you are going to use one of the Marlin guide guns, I've seen some that are ported, but I don't think that is a factory offering.

July 15, 2012, 12:39 AM
if you think there is even the slightest chance that it is going to need to take african game then you will need the 45/70. african game generally is hunted with very heavy, low velocity bullets and the 45/70 has the heaviest and slowest of all. there is very little that a 300 WSM or win mag can do that your 270 can't. unless you are taking up very long range shooting and load your own ammo then neither of these options are much better than the 270.

Well the 45-70 isnt a long range gun, you will have a limit of probably 100 yards max with it
I am going to disagree with this just a little. true, the 45/70 is not winning any of those 1000 yard steel shooting matches but it is easily able to drop large game out to 200 yards and I've seen some capable of hitting ground squirrels regularly at 200 yards and beyond. if I recall correctly, the 45/70 was largely responsible for the decimation of the american bison during the late 19th century but I could be wrong there.

July 15, 2012, 12:47 AM
I have read reports of people using the 45-70 in Africa, but most would start with a .458 instead in large bore African guns. The Garret Hammerheads shoot 540 gr at 1550 fps, the .458 pushes that up to 2000 fps with 500+ gr bullets.


July 15, 2012, 02:43 AM
Rich Lucibella took a Cape Buffalo with a 45/70 Guide Gun. Posted pics of it and everything. I also disagree that the 45/70 is a 100 yard setup. Peep sights and handloads will get you to 200 easily.

July 15, 2012, 03:14 AM
The 300 WSM and the 300 WM are quite similar. The 45-70 is about as different from the other two as it's possible to get.

It would be a lot easier to give meaningful advice if you gave us a clue what you intend to do with the rifle.

July 15, 2012, 09:12 AM
The 45-70 with a full-up 405gr Lead/Gascheck load is ± 3" out to 150yds -- point blank for woodchucks-to-water buffalo.

Loaded down to trapdoor levels it's even pleasant to just 'plink' with -- and still take anything on this continent.

It completely covers what few things your current 270 might leave gapped.

Jim Watson
July 15, 2012, 09:55 AM
Water buffalo? Carabao, gaur, seladang?
Are you in Australia or Asia to see such creatures?

I think either of the .300s with tough bullets would do.

But if I were expecting to see a lot of bears and any sort of buffalo, I'd go up to a .338 or .375 to get some real upgrade over the .270.

The .45-70 is as effective as it ever was, and more so with strong actions and smokeless powder; but it is still kind of a niche rifle and a big bolt action is more versatile.

July 15, 2012, 10:57 AM
I've not hunted any really large game, but haved owned all three of the calibers you have mentioned and the winner would be the .300 short mag hands down--the .300 Win mag is a lot of recoil to handle easily, the WSM gives the same performance with more manageable recoil and as mentioned, in a shorter action. In my opinion the 45-70, although a very good round, just can't begin to compare for range and accuracy---got to agree with some of the other previous posts, if your gunning for any kind of buffalo, step up some in power, at least the .375, but the .458 is a little kinder to your shoulder. I've heard from a number of experienced shooters that the .375 is more than a handful and a number of them mentioned they'd rather shoot the .458 any day---just my opinion---John

July 15, 2012, 11:35 AM
I don't know where you are hunting water buffalo, some where exotic I assume. If that's the case I vote for the 300WM. More chance of find ammo in far off places.

The 45-70 is nice, but you have to know the exact range. It's not what you call a flat shooter. Bear at close range it would be fine. But with good bullets a 300 WM will pass through a Water Buffalo from stim to stern.

As to water buffalo, I killed one in SE Asia with one shot from an M16a1 using M193 55 gr. ball.

I wouldn't recommend it, but I had to "one up" my father who killed one with one shot from a M1 Carbine in the SP during WWII.

Careful with head shooting Water Buffalo, their heads (boss) is a lot harder then the head (boss) of our Bison. I bounced a 357 off the head of a Bison and it wasn't pretty. You can really make those suckers mad.

July 15, 2012, 01:45 PM
The 45-70 can be loaded very hot for a modern rifle, however, a .375 is typically the smallest cartridge allowed for hunting buffalo in many areas. I'm not sure how that translates for water buffalo vs cape buffalo but it is worth checking into before you buy.

July 15, 2012, 02:43 PM
Water buffalo in most places are the tamest critters you will find. When I was in the Philippines with my wife, she wanted to get a picture with me riding a water buffalo in a rice field. I passed on that opportunity nevertheless. I suspect he was referring to the Cape Buffalo.

July 15, 2012, 04:55 PM
Water Buffalo ≠ Cape Buffalo...
which may be the root semantics problem here.

As to its effectiveness in either case.......

That said, see here for caliber (not) cartridge minimums and pay careful attention to the accompanying energies required.
For the dangerous game, at least 3,900ft-lbs. You need to push a 500gr solid at least 1,900fps for that, and even the Rock`em/Sock`em Buffalo-Bore folks miss that by 150fps

July 15, 2012, 05:02 PM
45-70 lacks range for anything over 200 yards, .300 WSM and Win Mag is considered too small for most brown bear outfitters. Depends on where you are hunting these bears. Inland, long range shots are more likely, coastal bears, shorter ranges in general. Not sure if the OP is specific enough to really make a true assessment.

In general, Alaska outfitters want .338 or .375 for brown bear. Africa wants .375 and above. Not sure why folks would hunt the domesticated Asian water buffalo, they are quite tame and the farmers probably not very happy about taking their living tractor out of commission. If it is the Cape buffalo, .375 is minimum caliber for this. Not sure any on the list are the right guns for all bear or "water" buffalo.

July 15, 2012, 08:35 PM
One you left out that may fill the gap is the 325wsm. Still more of a long range type gun but has a little more punch, still not like the 45 70 though for close range

Colorado Redneck
July 16, 2012, 08:42 PM
Input Data
Charge Weight: 55.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 2000.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 7.5 lb Bullet Weight: 400.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 20.2 ft/s Recoil Energy: 47.4 ft•lbs

Not very much fun to shoot, IMHO.:D

July 16, 2012, 08:45 PM
Today, 06:42 PM #21
Colorado Redneck
Senior Member

Join Date: January 6, 2008
Location: Northeast Colorado
Posts: 617
Recoil of 45-70 400 [email protected] 2000 fps from JBM
Input Data
Charge Weight: 55.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 2000.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 7.5 lb Bullet Weight: 400.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 20.2 ft/s Recoil Energy: 47.4 ft•lbs

Not very much fun to shoot, IMHO.

NO Thanks. I will pass on that. That is the biggest reason I went with the .444 instead of the 45-70. Recoil, ouch.

July 17, 2012, 07:43 PM
I love the 45/70 but as stated above its not a long range shooter (for most people)

If you plan to shoot long distances I would go with the 300 win mag but that is just my taste.

the 45/70 is a great round and is capable of killing (note I said killing not stopping) any animal on earth. I would not take it to Africa unless you have really good back up that you trust your life on. But killing a cape buffalo with it would be comparable to killing a deer with a 22magnum. While very possible its not ideal. The main difference is if you just injurer the deer it will get away, if you injurer the buffalo you are likely to not live if your back up is not able to stop it.

I am not knocking the 45/70, god knows I love both of mine. But people need to accept it for what it is. It is a great old war horse that is still able to hold its own all over the world but it is not a DG stopping round.

August 18, 2012, 09:31 AM
If you are going to use one of the Marlin guide guns, I've seen some that are ported, but I don't think that is a factory offering.

I don't know if they do anymore (I don't think so), but Marlin at one time offered the 1895G (Guide) with a factory ported, 18 1/2" barrel. Must have been one loud sucker.

August 19, 2012, 07:50 AM
The 45/70 is a great round and is capable of killing (note I said killing not
stopping) any animal on earth.
Correct for a factory-loaded ammunition that is held at Trapdoor pressure/energy levels.

Handloaders with modern Marlin lever actions (and above) begin to approach starting 458WinMag ballistics.

Note the italics above, but one must give the old warhorse its due. ;)

math teacher
August 19, 2012, 02:13 PM
I can't let this slide. I read earlier in this thread that the 45-70 decimated the bison. True that guns were used if you mean by decimated 10%. Guns of many types may have been used to kill off 10% of the bison, much of them wasted, but another 85% died of cattle diseases. Now those same diseases carried by bison threaten cattle. Ironic isn't it.

August 20, 2012, 12:32 PM
This really depends on where and how you plan to hunt. Assuming all are legal where you plan to hunt, the determining factor, for me, would be distance. At close range, the 45-70 can throw a big chunk of lead that will penetrate deeply. In a lever action, it also provides very fast follow up shots. At longer ranges, the trajectory of either 300 will be a lot flatter. Whatever you choose, shot placement and bullet construction are key. Also, the recoil of the 45-70 is not as bad as some are making it out to be.

August 20, 2012, 01:20 PM
I actually like the thought of the 45-70 at closer range....I have 2 Marlins..one ported..one not....The 45-70 is not bad on recoil in either..with Buffalo Bore ammo..if U have a nice soft pad....