This is subjective I know, but from a ballistic standpoint, a 45/70 is very inefficient in a handgun to start with.
A cartridge burning this much powder needs all the barrel length it can get in a pistol. At a minimum, I'd go with the 10 inch barrel.
If you want something with a shorter barrel and 45 cal, go with the 454 Casull as it will be more efficient in the 7" barrel by far over the 45/70.
TC Contenders chambering the 45/70, run in barrel lengths of 14" to 16" for this round. This should tell you something about chambering this round in a pistol.
I understand it's exciting to think of this round in a belt gun but IMHO, you would be far better served by a cartridge that burns less powder and hence is more efficient in the shorter barrel length you appear to be interested in.
Recoil would be something to behold in ANY pistol chambered for this cartridge regardless of barrel length.
I have given long thoughts and hours comparing published data about rifle cartridges in handguns.
The published speed data for the BFR in 45-70 I found disappointing.
check by yourself, but my conclusion is that rifle cartridges are ok and work very well if they have a more or less adequate expansion ratio from a handgun, if and only if the gun has a closed breech.
Rifle calibers in the Contender, or Dominator, or Encore do work decently well, but they do NOT work well in revolvers.
The problem (seems to me) is that the peak pressure of a rifle caliber fired from a revolver takes place after the bullet has crossed the cylinder / barrel gap, so the peak pressure is applied to the gap and losses are plentiful.
This explains why the Taurus Hornet gives a much lower speed than a Contender at equal barrel lenghts.
Other calibers that are excellent performers in single shots and exhibit great speed loss in revolvers are
22 Magnum RF
30 M1 carbine
The 454 gives its good performance in a revolver because of its very high peak pressure ( which I suspect happens rather early in the bullet path), but you can have the same or better performance shooting a 45-70 from a Contender at half the pressure.
If you need repeat shooting, there are better options .
I would choose a caliber designed for revolver use,such as 454 Casull, 480 Ruger, 475 or 500 Linebaugh.
Compare ballistics and you will probably agree with me.
If not , we can start a long and fruitful discussion.
4) The lite loads I have developed for shooting on 5 acres with neighbors use even less powder. I have been shooting .454 lead balls with polymer wads I cut, with 1/2 gr Bullseye.
An interesting thing came out of this development. I pushed the ball down into the case and compressed the powder. The load makes the same amount of noise as before, but now goes through 1" of wood instead of bouncing off wood. The price paid for this is in accuracy and peak pressure. Who cares? This is a short range, low pressure load.
5) Also, a good source of 45-70 lite load is "Lyman 41st" 1957. In that old book there are 36 loads for the 45-70, like:
146 gr 5 gr Unique for 50 yard target
250 gr 19.5 gr 2400 for 200 yard target
345 gr 40.5 gr 4198 for bear
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