Shooters Forum banner

45-70 for 200yd deer?

5092 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  brewtcl
I'm new to this website and new to reloading for the 45-70. Question, I'm looking for the flattest shooting load for deer out to 200 yds. I'm thinking of a 300gr. Barnes XFN or 300gr. Hawk custom bullet for this task. Anybody have any suggestions? Also I'm contemplating using IMR-4198, H-4198 or Reloader 7 behind one of these projectiles. I'd like to achieve 2000 to 2100 fps out of my Ruger # 1 which if sighted in to be 3" high @ 100yds should be under 6" low @ 200yds, any input on which projectile and powder will give me the results I'm looking for would be greatly appreciated.
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
My load for my Ruger #1 .45-70 is 58 gr. of 3031 for about 2,000 fps with a 405 gr. Rem bullet. 2" high at 100 yd gives about dead-on at 150 and >6" low at 200. That load shoots less than 1" groups at 100 yds for 3 shots. It Kicks!


I used a 45/70 NEF Handi-Rifle for deer 2 seasons ago in Missouri. The load was 60grains of Varget with a Nosler 300gr Partition bullet. Velocity was about 2100-2200fps. The results were impressive! Although I didn't shoot my deer at 200 yards (more like 17-19yds), he didn't go anywhere. I shot him broadside, the entrance wound was about 2" diameter and the exit wound was about 6" diameter. The bullet then entered a doe standing immediately behind him, and passed through her lungs! The buck fell dead on the spot, and the doe ran a short distance down the hill (before my dad shot her!). Upon post mortem (field dressing), my brother and I cut him open, then lifted him up and POURED his insides out. Literally! Internal damage was incredible, although very little meat was destroyed. THe 45/70 is a fantastic deer rounds within it's range (maybe 200yds). Yes it does kick!

ooooops, wrong charge weight in previous reply


Was down in the loading room tonight and checked my records. The charge of Varget was 63.0grs, not 60.0grs. Sorry 'bout that. Memory isn't great, too many numbers floating around in there!

I have been shooting variations of this load for years.

300 grain Hornady Hollow Point seated to 2.54" and crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp die
Winchester brass trimmed to 2.1", if necessary
CCI 200 primers
55 grains of H4198
2160 fps from a 22" barrel
28,000 CUP
Sighted 3" high at 100 yards it is about 3.5" low at 200 yards.

You might want to look into the new Speer UniCore .458 300 grain bullet. I've seen pictures of text book expansion on hogs at close range.

A Speer 300 grain recovered from a 150 pound hog after travelling the entire body length.

Speer UniCore 300 grain hollow point.

The Speer 300 grain at MidwayUSA
See less See more
That's quite a nice picture, do you have any more details? For example, the exact muzzle velocity, and range?

Reason I'm asking is that I could load these in my .458, but don't want to run them too fast and risk blowup. Since I hunt hogs, I'd like as much detail as possible. Right now I'm shooting the Speer 400gr. flat nose, but I do not believe it is of the Uni-Core construction.

Thanks for bringing this to the forum.
The 300 gr. X bullet is an excellent choice, but go with the Spitzer X, not the flat nose. There is no reason to handicap yourself, as far as flat shooting, with the XFN bullet, not out of the No. 1. I shoot this out of my 15" Contender and get 1890 fps. This limits shots to 175 yards due to the velocity falling below 1600 fps, the minimum needed for expansion with this bullet, but the trajectory is quite flat out to 200 yards. I shoot H322 and get 1.5" groups for 5 at 100 yards. I have not shot this out of my No.1 yet, but I suspect you would have a real deer slayer, or anything else for that matter. I have taken over two dozen deer from 90 to 200 pounds with this bullet from every conceivable angle, and it is absolute murder, and this mind you is out of a handgun. And, I have yet to recover a bullet, they always go clean through and all but one deer dropped in its tracks, and no, there were no CNS shots. All were heart/shoulder/lung from various angles. Meat damage is minimal. Put this puppy in a rifle, get the extra velocity, and you will have a flat shooting S.O.G. on your hands. By the way, the X spitzer bullet expands at lower velocities than most any lead-core bullet, including Barnes and Woodleigh, which both need 2000 fps impact velocity to expand reliably. Barnes states 1500 fps with the .458 300 gr. X spitzer, but my test show that below 1600 fps, in wet newsprint, expansion becomes iffy (the XFN expands down to around 1000 fps, but you give up a lot of range with the flat nosed shape). Stick with 1600 fps as your minimum and they work every time. Plus, the X spitzer shape really holds its velocity and lets you reach out and touch something. Much better for long range work than any flat-nosed bullet, obviously.
See less See more
The Speer .458" 300 grain UniCore is now being loaded in the Federal Classic 45-70 load which is advertised at 1880 fps. This is the load that was used. The shot on the pig was 50 yards.
BigBore, Jackfish, my thanks to you both. This is great information and just what I needed to know.

Looks like I'll have a few more things to try in the .458 now....
I did a little research last night after the puter was shut down and thought you might be interested. In the NO. 1 the 300 gr. X bullet, spitzer or fn, can be loaded up to about 2260 fps. That's cooking. With the X spitzer, this allows a MPBR (6" vital) of 217 yards, with a zero at 185 yards. Of course, that means that all the way out to 217 yards, the bullet is no more than 3" above or below the line of sight, so in effect, it allows a dead-on hold out to 217 with X spitzer bullet. Velocity does not fall below 1600 fps until 300 yards, at which point it is down 16 inches, so you can see it is falling like a rock past 217 yards. With a muzzle energy of 3403 ft-lbs, it still has 1709 ft-lbs at 300 yards.
With the XFN bullet, same velocity, the MPBR is 203 yards with a zero at 175 yards. Not a lot of difference, but some. This bullet is down 22 inches at 300 yards (6 inches more than the X spiter) and while having the same ME as the 300 Xstizer, the FN is down to 1121 ft-lbs of energy at 300 yards, or almost 600 ft-lbs less than the X sptizer. While the FN does not fall below its minimum needed velocity for expansion until 425 yards, the bullet drop is so severe that it pretty much makes the bullet useless (down 77 inches at 425).
I have way too much time on my hands...
See less See more
Thanks guys, some good info here. Any suggestions for powder with 300gr bullets? I'm thinking about IMR-4198, H-4198 or Reloader 7. What do you suggest? Big Bore what kind of expansion do you think your getting with the 300X spitzer and what has been your longest kill on a deer with this bullet.
Whitesmoke, I've been using 50 grains of IMR 4198 in front of a 300grain remington @ 2100- 1"-1.5" groups(4X scope). I've loaded 55 gr. IMR 4198 300 rem. @ 2330fps. But case expansion is a little too much as is recoil in my handi-rifle. Hornady lists 53.3 grains (IMR 4198) for there 350gr. round nose in the Ruger#1.
As far as bullets go, you can buy 100 rem 300gr. hp for what 50 cost from sierra or hornady, and they work just fine on deer.
By the way I use 42 gr H4227 300gr rem for 1500fps in my Magnum Research 45-70 7.5" barrel.


If it hops it drops, If it flies it dies!
On game, the longest shot I have taken on an animal is 50 yards. Yes, I know that is not a real test on long range terminal performance, but I did extensive testing on wet newsprint early on. I downloaded the ammo from my hunting load of 1890 fps all the way down to 1500 fps, and yes, these were measured loads shot over a chronograph into wet newsprint 10 yards away. What I found was complete exansion all the way down to 1600 fps; then things got interesting. Barnes told me they would open all the way down to 1500 fps, but that is not what I found. I shot three bullets at each velocity level. I dropped them from 1890 to 1800, then to 1700, then to 1600 and all was fine. No petal sheding and they opened up all the way. Then at 1500, two bullets could have been shot again, and the third opened up fully. Hum. I uploaded to around 1650 fps, one failed to open, one opened all the way, and one opened about 10%, not even opened to bullet diameter. That was enough to tell me 1600 fps was the limit. The following picture shows two at 1500 fps with no expansion, two at 1550, one fully expanded and one just a little, and the single last one is what they all looked like at 1600 fps and above.

The best accuracy/velocity for my TC was using H322, out of my No.1 and 1895 H335 have been the best regarding accuracy/velocity.
See less See more
I don't think that you need expanding bullets in .458" caliber.
I use hard cast bullets on hogs and they work just fine.
My Ruger #1 likes this load:

Black Lion 398 grain FNGC over 41 grains H4198 and Federal 215 (yes, magnum) primer. I haven't clocked it yet but velocity should be over 1700 fps.
Accuracy is good, and it burns very cleanly; no unburned powder and the cases don't get smudged.
The difference is the magnum primer.

Good Hunting.
Absolutely you do not need expanding bullets out of the .45-70, unless you want to do as the original poster stated and shoot at longer ranges. Then the spitzer shaped bullets come into their own, holding much flatter trajectories out past the normal limits of the .45-70 with traditional RN or FN bullets. See my second post in this series and you will see what I mean.
I got my Ruger #1 in 45-70 this past fall. I had a lot of good advice from people on this board. I first got the throat lengthened. I like Reloader 7 as my powder right now. As far as a '200' yd bullet I shoot the barnes 400 gr. original spitzer. This bullet and the 400 grain speer are both loaded to just over 2000 fps. I have not shot any game but with the barnes, but I have shot decent (~3 inch) groups at 200 yards. I have yet to run any expansion tests with barnes bullet I will try to do so this month and post the results.

Keep me updated on the Hawk bullets I have thought about them before but chose the barnes original instead.

Post or email me any findings, I am new to the 45-70 as well and look for advice all the time.

Good Luck
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.