The .45-70 For the One Gun Big Game Hunter
In searching for the one gun with which to hunt big game all over the world I have come to the conclusion that the .45-70 in a lever or falling block action is the perfect rifle. With these rifles a hunter has the ability to fire factory ammunition that will take any game animal on this planet, and reloaders can create loads ranging from mild to magnum. Sure, there are other cartridges that are better suited to specific tasks, but the 45-70 can do all of them and has done so well and efficiently.
With standard 300 grain JHP factory loads from the Big Three companies you have ammo for CXP2 class game: deer, sheep, goats, feral pigs and the smaller species of antelope. The Winchester 300 grain Partition gold and Remington 405 grain soft point load will serve for CXP2 and CXP3 class game such as deer, caribou, and elk. The 405 grain load can also take all of the bear species as well as moose.
Then there are the full power and +P loads from Garret, Cor-Bon and Buffalo Bore. With these you can successfully hunt all CXP3 class game, and even Cape buffalo, water buffalo, bison, and elephant. The 405 grain flat point Penetrator load from Cor-Bon has taken Cape Buffalo, zebra, and eland. The 500 grain FMJ flat point from Buffalo Bore and the 540 grain Hammerhead bullets from Garret have taken game up to and including hippo, rhino, and elephant.
With the modern falling block single shot rifles such as the Dakota 10, Ruger No.1 and Browning 1885, you can hand load spitzer bullets without worry. This includes the deadly Barnes 350 grain X-bullet spitzer. The strong action of these single shots lets you use the hottest .45-70 reloads.
A good lever action or falling block rifle with a low powered scope can make 250 yard shots possible. The key here is to practice and know the trajectory your load.
A man looking for one gun with which to hunt medium to large game animals cannot go wrong with a modern 45-70 rifle and ammunition. If I were armed with a modern 45-70 with a good peep sight or a low powered scope, I would not hesitate to hunt any game in any environment on earth.
Note: The .45-70 is covered in detail in several articles on the Rifle Cartridge Page.
Copyright 2004 by Matthew J. Hewett. All rights reserved.