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Thread: Favorite bullet for 45/70?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Favorite bullet for 45/70?

    I’m looking for recommendations for a 45/70 bullets. I want to get a mould in the 300-400 gr range. What does everyone’s use?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master RKJ's Avatar
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    I've got a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun (Remington made with the 18.5 in Barrel) and am using a MP mold 460 350 grain PB that has small & large HP pins as well as a solid. I don't know if it is still available in his shop but it's a dandy (It was a group buy here, and I just looked but didn't see it listed). I've also gotten some Hornady 300 grain JSP but haven't shot them yet. I expect they will be good as the factory Winchester 300 Grain JSP's shot very well.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master knifemaker's Avatar
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    I also use a 350 gr. cast in both my Marlin 1895 and Pedersoli 1874 sharps. It is the Ranch Dog RNFP design that feeds great in lever action. No longer available, but Accurate molds and possibly NOE molds make a copy of it. I size it to .460 and load 43 gr. IMR-4198 powder behind it for almost 1900 fps velocity. One inch 3 shot groups with both the Marlin and Sharps at 100 yards. I have taken several buffalo, bison, and one 225 pound hog with it and all were one shot kills on the spot.
    You will find if you load to a higher velocity in your 45/70, the 350 gr. cast is a lot softer on the shoulder then the 405 gr. cast.
    Penetration is great with this cast boolit.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I shoot a 405 in my Marlin.

    After more than 5-6, at much more than old trapdoor loads,
    I find myself wishing I'd gotten a mold a little closer to 300gr.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit-chat. This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE !!
    Get back to your oars. The Captain wants to water ski.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by knifemaker View Post
    I also use a 350 gr. cast in both my Marlin 1895 and Pedersoli 1874 sharps. It is the Ranch Dog RNFP design that feeds great in lever action. No longer available, but Accurate molds and possibly NOE molds make a copy of it. I size it to .460 and load 43 gr. IMR-4198 powder behind it for almost 1900 fps velocity. One inch 3 shot groups with both the Marlin and Sharps at 100 yards. I have taken several buffalo, bison, and one 225 pound hog with it and all were one shot kills on the spot.
    You will find if you load to a higher velocity in your 45/70, the 350 gr. cast is a lot softer on the shoulder then the 405 gr. cast.
    Penetration is great with this cast boolit.


    As far as penetration, have you been able to recover any bullets? My thinking is a 350 gr. at that speed is going right through, same with heavier at lower speed. I could see a Texas Heart shot stopping at the front end, but a broadside not. I really don't see the need for anything over 350 gr.

    This is just armchair thinking on my part, as I sold my 45-70 quite a while ago. I found the game I hunt just didn't need that much killing. Dumb decision by the way, I now long for another.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by knifemaker View Post
    I also use a 350 gr. cast in both my Marlin 1895 and Pedersoli 1874 sharps. It is the Ranch Dog RNFP design that feeds great in lever action. No longer available, but Accurate molds and possibly NOE molds make a copy of it. I size it to .460 and load 43 gr. IMR-4198 powder behind it for almost 1900 fps velocity. One inch 3 shot groups with both the Marlin and Sharps at 100 yards. I have taken several buffalo, bison, and one 225 pound hog with it and all were one shot kills on the spot.
    You will find if you load to a higher velocity in your 45/70, the 350 gr. cast is a lot softer on the shoulder then the 405 gr. cast.
    Penetration is great with this cast boolit.
    That sounds like what I’m looking for. I will Have to check out the molds you mentioned.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I shoot a 405 in my Marlin.

    After more than 5-6, at much more than old trapdoor loads,
    I find myself wishing I'd gotten a mold a little closer to 300gr.



    I ran the 405 gr. in my 45-70 built on a Siamese Mauser, and with a 9 lb rifle and the stock built to fit me, that was a punisher off the bench. Then again, I just had to see what it take, turned out low end .458 Mag was easily doable.......just not fun after 3 rounds.

    Just thinking of a Marlin with the 405 gr. at anything past trapdoor speed, makes me cringe.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Rattlesnake Charlie's Avatar
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    I've got over a dozen molds for .45-70. Slowly working to find out what the Shiloh Sharps likes. As for the 1895 Marlin Cowboy, it did not take me long to back off to the 300 - 350 gr range. Very light weight and that chintzy plastic buttplate make it not fun with even full bore Trapdoor loads in the 405 gr bullets. Sure wish they would put a respectable steel shotgun style buttplate on it. That plastic one is embarrassing. I like MiHec 350 gr FP/HP. I've not shot anything with the HP, but the FP has never been recovered. I also have a Ranch Dog 350 FP both of my rifles like. I've killed a doe with a Lyman 330 gr Gould design. Actually did expand on the little thing. I've also need to try more with RCBS RFN in 300 and 325 gr. Like others have said, shooting sessions are short due to recoil. I've not shot on target much past 100 yds as I figure I cannot accurately predict drop past that. I have kicked up dust at close to 1/2 mile shooting at boulders on a hillside out in AZ with my nephew. Holdover was about two dump trucks.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by roadie View Post
    Just thinking of a Marlin with the 405 gr. at anything past trapdoor speed, makes me cringe.
    I was at the range with it a few weeks ago. I fired it a few times, and got to talking to a old Army vet.
    He'd been watching. He's a AR guy, but a .45-70 is sort of a novelty at our range.

    As he was putting away his AR, I told him if he'd joined the Army in 1888 instead of 1988-
    he would have been issued a .45-70, and asked him if he wanted to fire it.

    He thanked me, pulled up his shirt to show more scars on his shoulders than the Frankenstein monster,
    And said, "Nah,,, I better not".
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit-chat. This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE !!
    Get back to your oars. The Captain wants to water ski.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    My three favourites are Lyman 'Postell' 520gn, 420gn Hensley & Gibbs, 260gn from CBE!

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  11. #11
    I have a Marlin Guide Gun (bought before their quality went to crap) and it's a tack driver with my bullets made from Lee's 405 grain bullet mold. Lee 2-cavity bullet mold 457-405-f. That and good old IMR 4198 powder and you should be in business. I also have Lyman's 405 grain mold but it lacks a crimping grove, which is nice if your shooting out of a lever action.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy Dapaki's Avatar
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    Nothin' at all wrong with the LEE 340gr mold. https://leeprecision.com/mold-dc-457-340-f.html

    My favorite is the 500gr mold from LEE but I do have to size it down a bit to fit my bore.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    since your barrel may have a bullet length/weight preference, and your shoulder will find some level of recoil unleasant, buy an assortment of jacketed bullets to learn these things, then buy molds to make shooting/experimenting affordable.
    I learned there was little use to cast bullets that weighed less than the "standard" 400 grains.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Norske View Post
    I learned there was little use to cast bullets that weighed less than the "standard" 400 grains.
    Define 'use'.

    I am new to the 45-70. Haven't even fired mine yet. Waiting for brass to show up. But there's nothing on this planet I don't think a 350-grain 45-70 at Trapdoor levels can't kill, and certainly nothing *I* will ever shoot at.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Dapaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Latch View Post
    Define 'use'.

    I am new to the 45-70. Haven't even fired mine yet. Waiting for brass to show up. But there's nothing on this planet I don't think a 350-grain 45-70 at Trapdoor levels can't kill, and certainly nothing *I* will ever shoot at.
    LOL! I need to bookmark this so that in a few months after you get bitten by the long range black powder bug and you came back here asking about favorite heavy boolits....

    I do think you will like the 400 grainers better overall, they just shoot better overall in my own opinion. Reduced loads are plentiful (13gr Red Dot) and accurate.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Its going to depend on the tqist rate in you rifles barrel and length velocity also plays a part in this. My 45 caliber rifles loaded with Old Ensforde prefer the heavier bullets. My favorite 3 bullets are the lymn postell at 535 grns roughly, A old west design by bernie rowels at 547 grns called the silhouette, ANd a Steve brooks adjustable PP bullet with the postel money style nose set at 550 grns. I normally load them into the 1150-1200 fps range. Even here you want a heavy rifle 12lbs or more. But they do perform out to 500yds ( farthest I have shot them). They do make a ram jump at 500 yds.

    In the single shots the bullet overall length isnt a big issue but in the marlins and some repeaters these bullets loaded to book length are to long to feed correctly. Also in the lighter hunting rifles these loads recoil becomes pretty stout.

    In some of the older rifles a slower twist rate and lighter bullet ere used to make an "xpress" cartridge with a higher velocity.

    Put a want add in swapping and selling for test bullets before buying your mould. this way you can test several out in your rifle and see what you want

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapaki View Post
    LOL! I need to bookmark this so that in a few months after you get bitten by the long range black powder bug
    The whole point of the 45-70 was to get rid of the burden of having to clean every time I fire a blackpowder firearm.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I've used the RCBS 300gr FN GC for many years in my 1980 straight grip 1895 Marlin. Excellent accuracy, I prefer the flatter trajectory and less recoil. I use 4227, 4198 or 5744(Buffalo Rifle) for pleasant shooting at 14 -1600 fps and kills deer just fine. I do use Barnes 300gr Originals (pure copper jacket,pure lead) with Accurate 2015 at 2200 fps on elk,moose. Unpleasant to shoot but very effective, all one shot stops, normally full pass-thru. NOE has a 460-315 that looks similar.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

    Rattlesnake Charlie's Avatar
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    I'm glad to see so many responses on this topic. I hadn't seen many threads, and thought I was wandering in the wilderness by myself. It appears the woods are quite crowded. I'll try to post my progress, both positive and negative.

  20. #20
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    I've had good luck with 2400 under 405 and 240 boolits

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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GC Gas Check