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Thread: Do I need 405 grain for my 45-70, or will 350 have plenty poop for what need's it?

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    Default Do I need 405 grain for my 45-70, or will 350 have plenty poop for what need's it?

    I have 2 different bullet designs, that fit in my short throated gun.

    Both weigh a few grains short of 350, but 405 grains is traditional.

    Thanks
    SOTN
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    My guess is that it would depend on what one is hunting and the construction of the bullet. I would suspect that the 350 grain would handle most game to be hunted. I have used 405 grain jacketed bullets for some of my hunting and have not had any issues. I also have some 430 grain hard cast bullets, loaded a little on the warm side, that I would use for any game animal in Alaska.
    I have also played with some 300 grain bullets. They grouped real nice and were comfortable to shoot, however I would question the bullets construction and if they would stay together.
    One of the nice things about the 45-70 in that it can be loaded to where ever power level one wants, real easy. Besides it can be fun to shoot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    My guess is that it would depend on what one is hunting and the construction of the bullet. I would suspect that the 350 grain would handle most game to be hunted. I have used 405 grain jacketed bullets for some of my hunting and have not had any issues. I also have some 430 grain hard cast bullets, loaded a little on the warm side, that I would use for any game animal in Alaska.
    I have also played with some 300 grain bullets. They grouped real nice and were comfortable to shoot, however I would question the bullets construction and if they would stay together.
    One of the nice things about the 45-70 in that it can be loaded to where ever power level one wants, real easy. Besides it can be fun to shoot!
    Yes, it might depend on those things. But I'm using Cast Bullets and I'm pretty sure that the original loads were also. 405 and 500 grain bullets were decided on for some reason. I'm wondering what it was.

    Did the 45-70 earn it's reputation with 400 to 500 grain bullets? Did it gain it's CURRENT popularity by what can be accomplished with 300 to 350 grain?

    The trouble is, even though 45-70 bullets are widely available, I can't just use ANY 405 grain bullet. Because of the short throat on my rifle, I need one with an ogive that allows it to be seated to the Crimp groove.

    That means, I gotta obtain a Sample, before buying. Big Ole Bullets require a lotta lead and are spendy.

    On the other hand, I would think that 350 grain is heavy enough for most anything.

    Smitty of the North
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  4. #4

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    I'm using the 300, 405 and 500 grain "45-70" bullets, but more in my 450 Alaskan and 458 Winchester than my 45-70. No dish on the 45-70, I just seem to use those two rifles more. The 500 is more accurate in all of them, but I don't particularly like that round nose for hunting. Give me a flat nosed cast any day. I've taken more game with the 405 than the 300 in all of them including the 45-70, but nothing has ever complained about "not enough bullet" when hit with the 300.

    In all three rifles with all three bullets I'm keeping velocities below about 1550fps. I just like it that way. I'm just not interested in super power when I'm shooting cast. Gotta add that with the 500 grain bullet my Ruger Tropical in 458 and it's 1.5x5 Leopold scope is the single most accurate cast bullet gun I've ever shot. If there's more than a ragged hole for a group at 100 yards, it's MY fault and not the rifle or load.
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    Thanks BB:
    For the reassurance on 350 grain.

    I've been reading about 45-70 bullet weights. Someone suggested a lack of penetration with the lighter bullets.

    Apparently, in olden days of Volley Fire, the 500 increased the effective range, (penetration and accuracy) over the 405. 45-70 is a great long range cartridge if you know the range and can account for it.

    I shall find a 405 grain soon. Needed or not.

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I've been reading about 45-70 bullet weights. Someone suggested a lack of penetration with the lighter bullets.
    There's been so much written about the 45-70 that I don't believe any of it without trying it myself. The same guys will tell you their 45 Wombatmasher Revolver is an incredible penetrator and killer launching 350 grain bullets at 1200fps, then beat their chests and tell you real men don't use 350 bullets in a 45-70 because they don't penetrate well. Can't be that much difference between a 452 bullet and a 458 bullet.

    Color me a skeptical oldphart until I've seen the results myself with my own dimming pair of peepers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    There's been so much written about the 45-70 that I don't believe any of it without trying it myself. The same guys will tell you their 45 Wombatmasher Revolver is an incredible penetrator and killer launching 350 grain bullets at 1200fps, then beat their chests and tell you real men don't use 350 bullets in a 45-70 because they don't penetrate well. Can't be that much difference between a 452 bullet and a 458 bullet.

    Color me a skeptical oldphart until I've seen the results myself with my own dimming pair of peepers.
    There ya go. If a .452 350 grain bullet penetrates just fine from a .45 Colt at 1100 or 1200 fps, why wouldn't a .458 350 grain bullet penetrate equally well from a 45-70? And where can I git me one oh them Wombatmashers??
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    The 45/70 killed more bison than any other caliber during the heyday of the bison hunting era.
    Most used heavy for caliber bullets i.e. 500+ grains. That said, I usually use the 400 grain Speer bullet at between 1600 - 1700 fps. It will cleanly take anything I am likely to run into. The 350 grain should do just as well, I've shot the Hornady variety and they print very well at about 1900 fps. Should do well on whatever you will find in Alaska.

  9. #9

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    I think a heavy constructed 350 or 400 grain jacketed 45-70 bullet will kill any North American animal all day long and the same goes for a hard cast of the same weight. The grand old 45-70 offers plenty off the right stuff to reliably get the job done and most animals killed with it weigh far less then a plains bison and will be shot well under 100 yards.

    I have not settled on my "ideal" 350 grain Alaskan 45-70 load as I have so many 405 grain jacketed and heavier hard casts to shoot up, what a dilemma! I know a hard cast 45-70 bullet has killed tons of game and is a good choice due to the large diameter of a 45-70 bullet. Yet I am still not sold on their superiority in killing North American critters over a good jacketed bullet.

    They may be cheaper and slide down a barrel faster with similar powder charges and lots of nostalgia surrounds hard casts and many a knowledgeable shooter swears by them. I like them for my .44 mag. revolver as it lacks power and the hard cast boosts the rounds penetration capabilities.

    I also think if a hard cast bullet was superior to a properly constructed expanding bullet more hunters would use them in other calibers. I would like to see wound channels from hard cast and jacketed bullets of the same bullet weight fired into a test medium and look at the damage done by both bullet types and not just penetration.

    My real problem is there is not much opportunity to view large samples of killing effectiveness with any 45-70 load in the age we live in.

    Don't we use non expanding bullets in wars so we don't hurt someone as bad when we shoot them?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338 mag. View Post
    Don't we use non expanding bullets in wars so we don't hurt someone as bad when we shoot them?
    Those are pointy bullets. Shoot a pointy hard lead bullet and you'll get much the same result. Even round nose such as ball pistol ammo.

    But put a big flat nose on the same weight and diameter of bullet at the same velocity, and wound channels can rival expanding bullets while going deeper. I came around to the flat noses (big meplat) after lots of game whacking with expanding pistol bullets. Sure the wound channels are awesome, but short. When bullets fail to expand, they act just like the hard lead flat nose. Being cheap at heart, I'd much rather cast my own and shoot free or almost free lead bullets that kill as well or better.
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    Smitty,

    Look back at the discussion we had about the 45-70 from a few years ago. Tim S. From buffalo bore was in on it. I think that will answer all of your questions.

    one day closer to alaska.
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    Quote Originally Posted by .338 mag. View Post
    I think a heavy constructed 350 or 400 grain jacketed 45-70 bullet will kill any North American animal all day long and the same goes for a hard cast of the same weight. The grand old 45-70 offers plenty off the right stuff to reliably get the job done and most animals killed with it weigh far less then a plains bison and will be shot well under 100 yards.

    I have not settled on my "ideal" 350 grain Alaskan 45-70 load as I have so many 405 grain jacketed and heavier hard casts to shoot up, what a dilemma! I know a hard cast 45-70 bullet has killed tons of game and is a good choice due to the large diameter of a 45-70 bullet. Yet I am still not sold on their superiority in killing North American critters over a good jacketed bullet.

    They may be cheaper and slide down a barrel faster with similar powder charges and lots of nostalgia surrounds hard casts and many a knowledgeable shooter swears by them. I like them for my .44 mag. revolver as it lacks power and the hard cast boosts the rounds penetration capabilities.

    I also think if a hard cast bullet was superior to a properly constructed expanding bullet more hunters would use them in other calibers. I would like to see wound channels from hard cast and jacketed bullets of the same bullet weight fired into a test medium and look at the damage done by both bullet types and not just penetration.

    My real problem is there is not much opportunity to view large samples of killing effectiveness with any 45-70 load in the age we live in.

    Don't we use non expanding bullets in wars so we don't hurt someone as bad when we shoot them?
    I'd say, yup, and expanding bullets can do more damage, but maybe too much, or too little. It depends on the velocity among other things. And what is impacted.

    I think there are more variables with jacketed bullets in general. Which is why people are suckered into using all these new Premium bullets. Some folks are never satisfied.

    45-70 and Cast Bullets keeps things Simple, and Cast bullets don't wear out my gun barrels like jacketed bullets do.

    Smitty of the North
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    45-70 and Cast Bullets keeps things Simple, and Cast bullets don't wear out my gun barrels like jacketed bullets do.
    Once you settle on a model, play a little with your alloy. Small adjustments in alloy can have huge impacts on accuracy, and if you want it, expansion. I'm really fond of the original Lyman #2 alloy because it seems to work better than anything else in most guns. But some guns just don't like it, with most of them wanting something a little harder. I need to shoot more guns to improve my prejudice, but it seems like faster twists and narrower lands want a little bit harder than #2. My 44 Kodiak wildcat HATES #2 but loves straight wheelweights. Not a great big difference between the two, but the rifle knows what it likes.

    I'd start with #2 and work up the hardness scale, especially if you're playing with a little higher velocities.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    I used a 515 grain Lyman bullet in my 50 2 1/2 with close to pure lead to take my largest moose. One bullet I did recover went through the chest, hit a bone and ended up in the lower ham. It weighed right at 80% retention and expanded from .500 to .65. I've never seen a moose go to the ground so quickly, all at 1500 fps.

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    Wal, fellers, I preciate the inputs, all ov'em.

    When it comes to these old catridges I always lean towards what the norm was, and became popular, back when.

    This, even the gun is a Modern one, and has a Scope Sight. I want to use Trapdoor loads, although it's spose to handle the pressures of LA loads.

    This CVA APEX handles recoil really well. I had a Trapdoor carbine many years ago, and I never thought it kicked much. Not with the 405 grain FLs. It was pretty well beat up, and I sold it.

    Soon as I scout out a suitable 405 grain, I gonna try AA 5744. I'd be happy with 1300 fps with the 405. Meantime, I'm SR 4759 with 350 grain.

    It's fun having a 45-70, again. I always wanted to load that round, and sorta kept up with it over the years. I just didn't have a gun. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed, it got popular.

    Smitty of the North
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    Using a modern .45-70. 1886 or stronger, using a jacketed bullet, the folks who seem to know recommend H322.
    Just a thought.

  17. #17

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    H322 and 405 grain Kodiak bullets is what I have shot the most. It is my favorite 45-70 powder.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338 mag. View Post
    ...405 grain Kodiak bullets....
    Those are superb bullets! I've never tried them in a 45-70, but I drive them a whole lot faster from my 450 Alaskan, and they hold up just fine. At the top end velocities (2200 or so) most cup and cores are pretty tender. Not so the Kodiak.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    I ordered samples of some 405 grain bullets last night.

    If they fit the short throat of my gun, I'll get more.

    The heavier bullet might do better than my 350s at Long Range. If that even matters at the distances I shoot at.

    SOTN
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  20. #20

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    There's another good reason for doing it, or at least it's the pointy end of my thinking whether good or not.

    You don't have to drive heavier bullets so fast to get the same kind of penetration as even well-built lighter bullets. By shooting 405's I'm dropping velocities and recoil from what I feel is necessary to do the same job with lighter. Just a whole lot more fun to shoot that way.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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