Written by: Kim Lockhart, Copyright.
The 45-70 dates back to as early as 1865 but it wasn't standardized until 1873, a U.S. Government contract was issued for several thousand Springfield rifles chambered for the 45-70, it was then called the 45-70 Government cartridge. The .45-70 rifle cartridge, also known as .45-70 Government, was developed at the U.S. Army's Springfield Armory for use in the Springfield Model 1873. The cartridge is completely identified as the .45-70-405, but was also commonly called the ".45 Government" cartridge in commercial catalogs. The nomenclature of the time was based on several properties of the cartridge: .45 caliber bullet diameter, 70 grains of black powder and 405 grains bullet weight.
After the .45-70 Sandy Hook tests of 1879, a new variation of the .45-70 cartridge was produced, the .45-70-500, which fired a heavier 500 grain bullet. The heavier 500 grain bullet produced significantly superior ballistics.
The 45-70 Government cartridge is beyond 130 years since its introduction and sales for this cartridge are now ever growing. Simply put the 45-70 Government is a wonderful big bore cartridge, chambered in a newer lever action or single shot rifle like the Sharps Model 1874, where loads can be worked up to higher pressure levels it is powerful enough for all of north America's big game animals.
The 45-70 Government is a heavy hitter able to handle bullet weights up to 500 grains at speeds up to depending on the rifle used 1,800 feet per second (Ruger #1 Single Shot) is the heaviest built action for this cartridge. The recoil is quite substantial from the 45-70 cartridge.
Hornady has been making ammunition that boosts the performance level of many older cartridges such as the .45-70 Government. Hornady's .45-70 Government 325 grain flex-tip bullet in their LeverEvolution ammunition line sports a ballistic coefficient of .230 and is loaded to a velocity of 2,050 feet per second with 3,032 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle of a 24" rifle barrel. This gives excellent ballistics for the .45-70 Government out to 250 yards for hunting in north america with a remaining bullet energy of 1,277 foot pounds. Note: Hornady's patented Flex Tip (FTX) bullets are safe to shoot in tubular magazines rifles.
45-70 Government Barrel Specifications.
Common Barrel Twist Rates - 1 in 18", 1 in 20", 1 in 22".
Bore Groove Diameter - .457" - .458".
45-70 Government Cartridge Case Dimensions.
Neck Diameter - .480".
Base Diameter - .504".
Rim Diameter - .608".
45-70 Government Reloading Specifications.
Bullet Diameter - .458".
Maximum Case Length - 2.105".
Trimmed Case Length - 2.095".
Primer Size - Large Rifle.
Maximum Cartridge Overall Length - 2.550".
45-70 Government Reloading Data.
Hodgdon Reloading Data Center.
45-70 Government Trajectory and Hunting Applications.