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Thread: Effective range of 45-70 GVT?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Effective range of 45-70 GVT?

    I'm going to go out to the long range this weekend and I am going to bring my Marlin 1895.

    Last time I took my Henry in 44 Mag. I was able to hit 400 yards just fine, but I could not take it out to 600 yards...

    My 44 mag rounds are 240 grain and going about 1700 fps in the rifle. My 45-70 round are in the 350 range going right around 2000 fps... I am thinking I should be able to reach out a little longer...

    I'll give a range report Sunday nite or Monday, but what do y'all think the effective range of a fairly hot loaded 45-70?
    WWG1WGA

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Weren't some of the Sharps sights graduated out to 1000 yards? Ive never owned a 45/70 but I would think that chunk of lead should be able to accurately hit 600 or 800 yards. Is this going to open sights or scoped? If a scope, what kind and what magnification?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Well, not sure what 'effective' means, but in the 1880's the army tested the Springfield Trapdoor out to two and a third miles. The 500 grain bullet would penetrate an inch of oak and then bury itself six inches into the sand. Blackpowder, so maybe less than what you're loading.


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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigep1764 View Post
    Weren't some of the Sharps sights graduated out to 1000 yards? Ive never owned a 45/70 but I would think that chunk of lead should be able to accurately hit 600 or 800 yards. Is this going to open sights or scoped? If a scope, what kind and what magnification?
    With this rifle, I went with Skinner sights. They are on at 100 yards. No scope but with irons, I can generally hit in the 3-400 yard range with some of my other rifles.
    WWG1WGA

  5. #5
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    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Bullet drop/trajectory is going to be your biggest challenge. Using a BC of .350 here's the drop. Actual BC I am guessing is going to be closer to .3

    Range Drop
    100- 0
    200 -9.5"
    300 -32.6
    400 -73.2"
    500 -135.5"

    While I shoot BPCR out to a 1,000 yds at target for hunting with my 45/70 lever guns on deer sized targets I consider 175 yards about max.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 05-17-2019 at 02:34 PM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    There is a youtube video of a guy in Australia shooting at a target with a Marlin .45-70 at a mile. He was hitting pretty close.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigep1764 View Post
    Weren't some of the Sharps sights graduated out to 1000 yards? Ive never owned a 45/70 but I would think that chunk of lead should be able to accurately hit 600 or 800 yards. Is this going to open sights or scoped? If a scope, what kind and what magnification?
    I’ve always thought that those sights in those days were intended for volleys rather than single shooter precision.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    No one is going to bring up the Adobe Walls long shot? tsk tsk

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Your 2000 fps load will shoot a lot flatter than mine if you can handle the recoil, particularly in an 1895 Marlin. Much depends on how well you can estimate range, something very critical with the .45-70, even with high velocity loads.

    For years, I used the Lyman #457193 420-grain flat nose loaded to around 1300 fps in several .45-70s. I zeroed my 1895 Marlin to shoot about 3" high at 100 yards. Bullet drop with this zero at 200 was considerable, probably about 18" or so as I recall. For me, that meant effective hunting range was no more than about 125-150 yards. My Shiloh Sharps with its longer barrel would likely shoot this load a bit flatter, but I doubt the difference in trajectory would be significant.

    I now use only the Lyman #457122 hollow point 330 grain loaded to about 1500 fps. I don't believe I've tried this load at 200, but don't think it would be much flatter than the heavier bullet load.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy hockeynick39's Avatar
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    I load a 400 gr FNPB at about 1600 fps from my Winchester 1886 and can consistently hit man sized targets out to 300 yds. That's the furthest I have shot and that is using the original graduated ladder sight. Good luck and stay safe!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master 1bluehorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    No one is going to bring up the Adobe Walls long shot? tsk tsk

    That shot was taken with a "borrowed" at the moment 50-90 Sharps. Billy Dixon had a 45-90 and didn't think it would reach. He never stated that it was anything other than a "lucky" shot. However he is known for his shooting skills at other than that event.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    It may be but i can't imagine a 500 grain slug going 2 1/3 miles what did they do aim at the moon. I can't imagine the drop for that slug at that velocity. I have to say that i think mr dixon is right it was indeed a lucky shot.
    Last edited by RED BEAR; 05-17-2019 at 11:51 AM.

  13. #13
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    If you read the Army report they had the angle figured for maximum range, in fact if the angle was increased the range decreased. At that point they build the oak "target", which was also at an angle. They were firing a varitey of rounds, including the British 450 Martini round. It is an interesting read. There is a link to it somewhere on the board.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    It's a fun exercise. . .

    The long range properties of the .45-70 are well documented.

    The long range capabilities of a Marlin 1895, however, are not. They're plenty accurate, but considering that the gun is built for <200 yard point blank shots on deer-sized critters, the iron sights are going to run out of "up" well before you start having discussions of reaching to the round's target range potential. The scopes that one would typically attach to those eastern woods guns are not going to have massive amounts of elevation. I don't know for a fact that nobody is making a slanted "long range" scope base for the '95; seems like a bit of a niche market item. That, combined with a large target scope and graduated reticle would help you extend things greatly, as would a tang-mounted "Quigley" sight, but that would put you well outside what most would consider the missions a '95 was made for.

    Sooooo. . .I'd define your effective range by either whatever you can point-blank your round to on the size of target you intend to hit (zerored so the arc of the bullet stays within the top and bottom edges of the target without holding over or under) or where your scope runs out of adjustment.

    I'm calling your bullet's B.C. as .266, pulling the figure from one of NOE's 350 grain molds and fiddling with Hornady's online calculator.

    If you're going with a military point blank (anywhere on the torso/head is good enough), you've got about 36" of vertical space to work with. Zeroing at 325 yards will put you about 18" high at 175 yards and 18" low somewhere between 375 and 400 yards. Holding on the top of the head keeps you on target (crotch level) to about 425 yards.

    If on the other hand, you're killing deer, your vertical space drops to about 8", and there your load is probably good for 4" up or down to about 220 yards with about a 180 yard zero. Without holding completely off the deer, you've got maybe 250 yards to work with before things get "freakaaaay".
    WWJMBD?

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bluehorse View Post
    That shot was taken with a "borrowed" at the moment 50-90 Sharps. Billy Dixon had a 45-90 and didn't think it would reach. He never stated that it was anything other than a "lucky" shot. However he is known for his shooting skills at other than that event.
    Yep, and wasn't it around 1600 yds?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master 1bluehorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenH View Post
    Yep, and wasn't it around 1600 yds?


    I believe it was measured by a survey crew shortly after at 1538 yds. It's also stated that with a 14mph wind blowing Mr. Dixon would have had to aim approx. 30 feet towards the direction the wind was blowing from and 37ft (I believe that's what I read) higher than his target. I also read it was his third attempt when he struck "paydirt". Which doesn't matter one way or the other, it was one he!! of a shot even if were a "scratch" shot.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    A fantastic read
    The 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests of 1879.
    https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazi...i54partial.pdf

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master


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    "My 45-70 round are in the 350 range going right around 2000 fps... I am thinking I should be able to reach out a little longer..."

    Guestimate you'll need 40 - 50 moa sight adjustment to go from a 100 yard zero to a 600 yards zero. Also a lot depends on what you mean by "effective".....
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    For effective range of a 45-70 ask a buffalo.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by edp2k View Post
    A fantastic read
    The 45-70 at two miles, the Sandy Hook tests of 1879.
    https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazi...i54partial.pdf
    Quite excellent! Thank you

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

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