The 45-70 is a beast of a bullet. Can it possibly work for all three applications?
The 45-70 was not designed to be a bullet that was designed for every day shooting. It showed more service in the Gatling Gun, than it has on the line of any rifle squad. Most shooters prefer to use the 45-70 for big game hunting because of its massive 2600 ft/lb of energy. So which bullet in 45-70 is really the best kind? In reality, there is no cheap sub $1 bullet that is used for plinking purposes.
For training purposes, I have used the Hornady LeverEvolution 45-70 cartridge. So far it is the most cost effective and the best for training. The 45-70 LeverEvolution bullet is priced nicely around the $1.25 mark and you can find the ammo readily available online. Training with this cartridge can get pricey however you will definitely need endurance as these rounds pack a wallop on your shoulder even when fired appropriately with the best technique.
Always remember that there is always a bigger bullet for a bigger mission. Hunting cartridges require a deeper penetrating bullet than the 325gr LeverEvolution. So let’s look at how the Lehigh Extreme Penetrator in 45-70 performs. Promising 36 inches of penetration, the Lehigh Extreme Penetrator takes the category for the best hunting round.
These rounds don’t care what kind of obstacles come their way as they are boasting 2000 fps, and delivering an astounding 2700 ft/lb of energy to the target. Thats mind blowing energy. The energy alone will shatter bone and pierce thick hides like a 22LR cuts paper. The hunting category goes to Lehigh Extreme Penetrator.
3. Self defense
Since we covered training, and hunting, what is the best self defense round on the market for the 45-70 enthusiast? We can assume that if you use this bullet you’re going to penetrate basically any household material such as 2x4s, drywall, stucco, and even concrete cinder blocks. So what is the best solution for using a 45-70 and not shooting your neighbors fridge in the process? The answer lies in the Ventura Munitions 45-70 Cowboy Load 40o gr, round nose flat point bullets.
If the 45-70 is your preferred rifle cartridge and you intend to use it on a bi-pedal opponent wearing a ski-mask, then the slow-moving bullet is your best friend. Delivering a mild 875 ft/lb of energy out of a 45-70 is definitely the best choice for home defense purposes. You’re basically delivering low end 44 Magnum pressures at this point, but again focusing on the 45-70 bullet this would keep you from over penetrating in a home defense scenario. Realistically, even with body armor, getting tagged by one of these bullets is still going to knock you over.
Stay safe, keep training, and use that 45-70 cannon for all applications. It’s a beautiful cartridge and its definitely versatile in all applications.