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Thread: Effective range of 45-70 GVT?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Excellent article edp2k!

    RANGE REPORT:
    Went out to the range where the long range target is 870. I was able to hit a 1' plate at 400 yards pretty consistently and I hit a chicken at 400 yards that was probably the size of an actual chicken (after a few tries). But I had to hold at the base of the sight at that range. So, I have accuracy easily to 400 yards.

    After that I need a vernier sight, I think. I was pretty stoked to spank a 2' target at 300 yards and then went a little further and I am quite happy. I told a guy there and he said that there was a group of old guys that take their 45-70 all the way up the hill with irons... (870 yards...) I told him that I thought that was amazing. I mean, I can hit the target with my .308, but with a 45-70?!?

    I am quite happy with 400 yards. My buddies were still getting stuff out and setting up, etc. I walked up with my Marlin, popped one in the chamber and (PANK!) got a cowboy slihouette at 100 yards.That always makes me smile.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44Blam View Post
    Excellent article edp2k!
    I told a guy there and he said that there was a group of old guys that take their 45-70 all the way up the hill with irons... (870 yards...) I told him that I thought that was amazing. I mean, I can hit the target with my .308, but with a 45-70?!?
    Well, just because your trajectory curves like the edge of a 6-inch teacup saucer doesn't mean it's not a REALLY STABLE trajectory. Mortars can be very accurate if you have the sights to aim them. The Sharps guys do; the '95 Marlin guys don't. Think Silverado vs. Camaro - both might be powered by the same motor, but VERY different machines.

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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bluehorse View Post
    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.
    Some reports had it as a ricochet that accomplished the hit.

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  4. #24
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    Having read what Billy Dixon had to say he was aiming at a large group of mounted Indians, not one indian in particular.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  5. #25
    Boolit Master


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    I once watched an old fella with a 45-70 shoot a deer dead in its tracks at a measured range of 630 yards.
    Gun control is not about guns.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    After reading the army report i see they look to be trying to determine the max range of bullet as most shots missed the target. If you can call something 22 feet by 44 feet a target. Now some snipers in Afghanistan have made some incredible shots. Its hard for me to believe that these large slow bullets can be accurate at the ranges some of the old tales claim. I have a brother who argues with me saying his 45/70 sharps is accurate to a mile all i can say is in your dreams.

  7. #27
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    For actual accuracy they can be very accurate at long range. On calm days it never ceases to amaze me what I can do at a 1,000 yards with my BPCR rifles either with tang sights or scoped. Practical accuracy is more problematic. Due to the long time of flight wind is a challenge. On a known distance range the common answer that the drop is not an issue is only partly correct. The slower the bullet the greater effect that shot to shot velocity variation has on elevation. On unknown distance even a few yards misestimation will cause a high or low miss depending on target size.

    As a kid I reloaded for a 7th Calvary re-enactment group. Other kids had 22's and while I had a 22 I shot many thousands of round through Trapdoor Springfield's at extended range. Once you had the range down and figured out the windage it was easy to keep laying the shoots into what most people would think was an impossible group. The Buffington sights were designed for this type of shooting. First shot might miss by 50 feet or more but you could adjust and walk them in. If you missed a wind change you also missed big.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  8. #28
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    So a 45-70 is considered a 1000yd gun with a standard 405gr @ 1400fps. On the other hand my Winchester Model 70 in 458 Win Mag is barely adequate past 100yds with a 500gr boolit @ 2050 fps. Interesting. Very lnteresting

  9. #29
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    Last edited by M-Tecs; 05-21-2019 at 04:10 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy
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    If memory serves, the 45-70 was designed to be effective on Calvary, i.e. kill a horse at 600 yards. I know it works well past that.
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  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by sw282 View Post
    So a 45-70 is considered a 1000yd gun with a standard 405gr @ 1400fps. On the other hand my Winchester Model 70 in 458 Win Mag is barely adequate past 100yds with a 500gr boolit @ 2050 fps. Interesting. Very lnteresting
    First, I doubt many serious thousand-yard .45-70 shooters are shooting 405 GR bullets. More like 500gr or 530gr. And in BPCR, yes, they are shooting at black powder velocity.
    SE one, accuracy has little to do with accuracy onc adequate velocity is reached for bullet stability.
    Third, apples and oranges. A BP .45-70 can shoot through a buffalo. In the workplace of the .458 Win a ONE-SHOT STOP is needed on game that can weigh tons, or that can eat you. In that realm the .458 is considered entry-level by many.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonH View Post
    First, I doubt many serious thousand-yard .45-70 shooters are shooting 405 GR bullets. More like 500gr or 530gr. And in BPCR, yes, they are shooting at black powder velocity.
    SE one, accuracy has little to do with accuracy onc adequate velocity is reached for bullet stability.
    Third, apples and oranges. A BP .45-70 can shoot through a buffalo. In the workplace of the .458 Win a ONE-SHOT STOP is needed on game that can weigh tons, or that can eat you. In that realm the .458 is considered entry-level by many.
    You telling me that this won't drop pretty much anything that walks the planet with one well placed shot?
    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44Blam View Post
    You telling me that this won't drop pretty much anything that walks the planet with one well placed shot?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Need more information. But since a 22 can kill anything “ ...with one well placed shot... “, sure but why go undergunned?

    Kevin
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    I prefer to use cartridges born before I was.

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  15. #35
    Boolit Grand Master

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    To get an idea of what is taking place on a good day set up a spotting scope and have a friend shoot the rifle spot for him and watch the trajectory at the longer ranges. On a good day you will see the bullets disturbance as it goes down range. Seeing that rainbow trajectory is informative to say the least. At black powder velocities and heavy bullets ( 500-550 grns) 10 mins per 100yds isn't far off. But even at 500 yds a 550 grn bullet that started out at 1200 fps still packs a wallop.
    For what you want to do here I would recommend you chronograph your load at muzzle and 200yds. ( a lab radar makes this easy) with these 2 numbers you can figure your bullets actual B.C. and then a drop chart out as far as you need. This will get you very close to on target from the start. Another help is to build a tall target with the aiming point at the bottom and figure how high the bullets trajectory is at the given range you are shooting sight in so impact is that high above the aiming point. From there its fine tuning.

    The problem I see you running into is enough travel to hold on the target with the hunting style sights. Most long range Vernier's have staffs 4" tall or taller to get enough travel.
    These old rifles are very accurate at long ranges but the shooter needs to read ranges very close (At extended ranges 20 yds of can mean a miss) and know the actual loads trajectory very well. This can be done with some practice and work before hand

  16. #36
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  17. #37
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    The OP hasn't defined what his term "effective range" means. The effective range for shooting gophers with iron sights is different verse shooting deer verse shooting targets verse thumping rocks at great distances. This hunting you need to hit your target on the first shot. With thumping rocks walking your shots in is normal. Once you have the wind and elevation aiming point you can get repeated hits easily. Is that effective range?
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  18. #38
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    The OP hasn't defined what his term "effective range" means. The effective range for shooting gophers with iron sights is different verse shooting deer verse shooting targets verse thumping rocks at great distances. This hunting you need to hit your target on the first shot. With thumping rocks walking your shots in is normal. Once you have the wind and elevation aiming point you can get repeated hits easily. Is that effective range?
    By your comment, "effective range" varies greatly from one person to the next. Even far more so than the caliber or type of gun. For most people with a 45/70 lever with iron sights the effective range is somewhere between 50 and 75 yards. If you have gotten a deer with a longer shot. I would say that you are "above average". My post says "give you some idea" of what that caliber can do. Indeed it should.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffer View Post
    By your comment, "effective range" varies greatly from one person to the next. Even far more so than the caliber or type of gun. For most people with a 45/70 lever with iron sights the effective range is somewhere between 50 and 75 yards. If you have gotten a deer with a longer shot. I would say that you are "above average". My post says "give you some idea" of what that caliber can do. Indeed it should.
    By effective range, I really meant what would be good for my setup. It is a Marlin 1895 with the factory front sight and Skinner peep sight. I learned a few things while at the range and from this thread.
    From my range experience, actually shooting I could hit 2' target at 300 yards pretty consistently. I could smack that cowboy silhouette (which was probably about 2' tall) every time at 100 yards. And I was able to "walk in" some shots at a 1' target at 400 yards. At 400 yards, I was holding the bottom of my sight on the target. I didn't shoot at anything further. BUT I also talked to a range officer there and he said there was a group of guys that come in with their 45-70s shooting black powder out to the 870 yard target... So, about the time I was thinking "effective range: 400 yards", a guy came by saying 870 should be no problem.

    From reading the stuff on this thread, I figured I should buy a flip up vernier sight - so I did. Should be getting it in a couple days and I think the next weekend rec shooting day is June 1 and the next one is June 16. So one of those days, I'll go and see if I can work up to that 870 target.

    EDIT:
    With the loads I was shooting, (at least for me) it is not pleasant to brace against a bench. So, the 400 was a mental challenge and I think going out to 870 is going to be a mix of patience and luck.
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  20. #40
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I am by no means what you would call a good shot average at best. I do have a nephew that can shoot fleas of a tick. But i have a very hard time calling a 45/70 a 1000 yard gun. There is no doubt that the rare person can hit something smaller than a barn door but to be consistent at that range is another matter.

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