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Top 10 Reasons the .45-70 is Still King Nearly 150 Years After Its Introduction

The mighty .45/70 cartridge is even more popular than ever.

How often have you heard the phrase: "the .45-70 is "the only govt I trust?" Since its introduction back in 1873, it has become one of the most iconic rifle cartridges in the world. First used by the U.S. Army in the iconic Springfield single-shot rifle, it later made a name for itself in the Remington rolling block and Sharps carbine.

The gov round found staying power in the world of big game hunting because sportsmen and women loved the long range stopping power. For deer and wild hogs, the round is perfect for a classic, brush lever gun. Especially when it comes to hunting rifles and guide guns for some of the most dangerous game on the planet.

These are just some of the many reasons this round has such excellent accessibility and staying power long into the 21st century, which is something you cannot say for many rounds made in the 1800s.

10. Choose your powder.

The .45-70 was originally a black powder cartridge, but the invention of smokeless powder brought it new life as a centerfire round. Many traditional shooters still use black powder it, though, so the cartridge gets points right off the bat for flexibility.

9. Choose your projectile.

The .458 diameter projectiles can be purchased or cast from lead. You can choose your profile for that thick chunk of lead. Various weights are available, along with jacketed projectiles and even more modern heavy penetrating projectiles.

8. Choose your power level.

It is not all about bone-crushing recoil if you are a hand loader. Light loads can be made with even simple cast lead balls that will smack small game or a target just right. Cowboy-style loads contain a moderate level of power that still throws a big chunk of lead. The powerhouse loads will kill any large game animal on the planet.

7. Choose your platform.

Are you a traditional rifle fan? How about the original 1873 Springfield Trapdoor Rifle the .45/70 cartridge was invented for? A Remington style Rolling Block Rifle is a vintage beauty as well. Bolt action rifles, such as converted Siamese Mauser Rifles, can handle a really heavy load; the Marlin or Henry lever action rifles gives you quick hard hitting shots at game and targets alike. The Ruger #1 single shot will take hot loads that will knock your fillings out with recoil. Choose your weapon wisely, as there are many options for this cartridge.

6. The .45/70 cartridge is now legal for big game in more states than ever before.

Here in Ohio, straight wall cartridges specified by the O.D.N.R. are now legal where shotgun slugs only were once the name of the game. The .45/70 makes the cut and rightfully so.

5. It's a bridge to the past.

This mighty big bore cartridge has been shot by hunters and target shooters all the way back to it's infant years in the 1870's. Step back in time to a cartridge your great, great grandfather probably used to feed the homestead.

4. The .45/70 has grown in available factory loads.

Hornady's LEVERevolution FTX cartridges have brought flatter trajectories to this historically rainbow-like trajectory cartridge. The pointed soft polymer projectiles are safe to load in tubular magazine on lever action rifles. Hard cast Xtreme  Penetrators from Lehigh Defense laugh at tough targets. These days you can expect a muzzle velocity of 1,300 fps from traditional flat nose bullets and speeds of 2,000-2,200 fps from jacketed hollow points. 

3. It's the Alaskan choice for close-range brown bear defense.

You know when tough Alaskans pack a quick-firing lever action .45/70 rifle for protection that this cartridge has the power to get any game animal down fast.

2. It's a universal choice.

When hunting abroad, the .45/70 is one of the classic ammo cartridges that should be readily available anywhere, unlike the newest wildcat magnum loads.

1. It has killed more buffalo than any other cartridge on the planet.

Though a dark time in this cartridge's history the .45/70 played a huge role along with it's predecessor the .50/70 in the eradication of wild American bison (buffalo) in the western states. Remember that was with the original lower powered black powder loads. You can't argue with that kind of power. There's a reason you sometimes hear this round referred to as a "buffalo bore."

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