45-70 vs 308: Unveiling the Ballistic Beast!

The .45-70 is a larger, slower round with a heavier bullet, ideal for large game. The .308 is a modern, high-velocity round, suited for a variety of hunting and tactical scenarios.

Understanding the nuances between the. 45-70 and. 308 cartridges can be crucial for hunters and shooting enthusiasts. The. 45-70 Government cartridge, with its origins in the late 19th century, is renowned for its stopping power and has been a favorite among hunters targeting large game such as moose and bear.

On the other side, the. 308 Winchester is a versatile and widely-accepted cartridge that emerged in the mid-20th century, offering a flatter trajectory and higher velocities, making it a go-to choice for hunters and marksmen alike. Selecting the right ammunition involves considering the type of game, the shooting distance, and personal handling preferences, ensuring that regardless of your choice, accuracy and effectiveness are maximized.

45-70 vs 308: Unveiling the Ballistic Beast!

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The Heritage Behind 45-70 And 308

The stories of the 45-70 and .308 Winchester cartridges are rich in history. Each one emerged in different times, shaped by diverse needs and technologies. These rounds have witnessed the evolution of firearms, swaying from battlefields to hunting fields. As we dive into their past, we discover the pivotal roles they have played.

Historical Significance Of 45-70

Born in 1873, the 45-70 Government was a product of post-Civil War America. The round fired a hefty .45 caliber bullet, with 70 grains of black powder behind it. It was the choice of the US Army. The 45-70 saw combat in the Indian Wars. It was also used in the famed Springfield Model 1873. Soldiers trusted it for its reliability and knockdown power. This same power now appeals to modern hunters targeting large game.

  • Designed in 1873 for the US military
  • Used in the Springfield Model 1873 rifle
  • Saw action in the Indian Wars and beyond
  • .45 caliber recognized for its stopping power

The Modern Warfare Legacy Of 308

Introduced in the 1950s, the .308 Winchester became NATO’s pick with the designation 7.62x51mm. It has been a dominant force in the service rifle competitions and in the field. It saw extensive use in the Vietnam War. The .308 remains favored for its accuracy, range, and versatility. It is a top choice for law enforcement, military snipers, and civilian shooters.

Characteristic Description
Adoption 1950s, NATO standard
Use in Warfare Highly used in the Vietnam War
Current Popularity Preferred by snipers and civilian shooters

Comparing The Ballistic Profiles

When it comes to choosing a rifle cartridge, the ballistics profile is pivotal. The debate between the powerful .45-70 and the versatile .308 Winchester has enthusiasts on both sides weighing their pros and cons. Let’s delve into the stark contrasts between these two cartridges, focusing not just on their history or popularity, but primarily on their ballistic performance.

Bullet Weight And Design Variations

  • The .45-70 traditionally features heavier bullets ranging from 300 to 405 grains.
  • In contrast, .308 rounds typically come in weights from 150 to 180 grains.
  • Diverse bullet designs influence performance, with the .45-70 boasting round-nose and flat-nose types, ideal for short-range impact.
  • The .308 often employs spitzer bullets, enhancing aerodynamics for better long-range accuracy.

Velocity And Trajectory Differences

The .45-70’s larger, heavier bullet results in a slower muzzle velocity, averaging around 1,200 to 2,200 fps (feet per second). The .308, with its lighter bullets, reaches higher velocities of 2,600 to 2,800 fps. These statistics translate directly into each cartridge’s trajectory.

Cartridge Muzzle Velocity (fps) 300-yard Drop (inches)
.45-70 1,200-2,200 28-58
.308 Winchester 2,600-2,800 15-30

Thus, the .308 demonstrates a flatter trajectory over distance, enhancing its long-range potential in comparison to the .45-70.

Energy And Stopping Power Showdown

Energy output is crucial, particularly for hunters who rely on stopping power. At close ranges, the .45-70 can unleash over 3,000 foot-pounds of energy, a testament to its knockdown capability. Conversely, the .308 generates around 2,600 to 2,900 foot-pounds, offering substantial stopping power with an advantage in precision and versatility.

Cartridge Muzzle Energy (foot-pounds) Energy at 300 yards (foot-pounds)
.45-70 2,500-3,000 1,500-2,000
.308 Winchester 2,600-2,900 1,600-1,850

Both cartridges exhibit impressive energy stats, but the .45-70 edges out in the close-range stopping power arena, while the .308 maintains a balance between power and precision at varied distances.

Rifle Platform And Usage

The choice between 45-70 and .308 Winchester calibers is more than just about the ammunition. It’s about finding the right rifle platform that fits the shooter’s needs and the scenarios they’ll face. Let’s explore the rifles preferred for each caliber and the various uses in different hunting and shooting sport scenarios.

Preferred Rifles For 45-70

The 45-70 Government caliber has been a favorite for large game hunters and those seeking a powerful round with a rich history. It requires a robust rifle that can handle its punch.

  • Marlin 1895: A classic lever-action that’s ideal for brush hunting and short to mid-range encounters.
  • Henry Lever Action: Known for reliability and smooth action, perfect for traditionalists in the field.
  • Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter: A single-shot platform offering precision and versatility for those who take their time with each shot.

Popular 308 Rifle Models

The .308 WIN reigns supreme for diversity, easily found in a range of rifle styles from bolt-action to semi-auto. It appeals to hunters and competition shooters alike.

Manufacturer Model Type
Remington 700 Bolt-Action
Savage Arms Axis Bolt-Action
DPMS Panther Semi-Auto

Hunting And Shooting Sports Scenarios

Choosing between the 45-70 and .308 largely depends on the hunting environment and the target game.

  1. Big Game Hunting: 45-70 excels in bringing down larger animals like the bison and elk at closer ranges.
  2. Precision Shooting: The .308 is the go-to for long-range targets, favored in shooting competitions for its accuracy.
  3. Varmint and Medium Game: Both calibers perform, yet the .308 offers less recoil, making it suitable for smaller game and repetitive shooting.
45-70 vs 308: Unveiling the Ballistic Beast!

Credit: www.americanhunter.org

Ammo Availability And Cost

When choosing a rifle cartridge, ammo availability and cost are crucial factors. In the debate between the 45-70 and the 308, these aspects can determine the best fit for shooters. This section dives into the current state of these cartridges in the market and compares them in terms of cost-effectiveness and reloading options.

Market Trends In Ammunition Supply

The ammunition landscape is ever-changing, with various factors influencing availability. Both 45-70 and 308 rounds hold a place in the market, but their trajectories differ.

  • 308 rounds are widely used in both military and civilian applications. Their presence in competitive shooting and hunting ensures steady production and availability.
  • 45-70 ammunition, while not as prevalent, benefits from a dedicated following among big-game hunters and historical firearms enthusiasts.

Price Points: A Comparative Analysis

Cost can sway a shooter’s preference, and both cartridges offer distinct value propositions.

Cartridge Average Cost Per Round
308 Winchester Less expensive due to higher production volumes.
45-70 Government More expensive; niche demand affects production runs.

Reloading Considerations For Enthusiasts

Reloading your own ammo can be both a hobby and a cost-saving measure.

  1. Component availability varies, with 308 components being generally easier to find.
  2. Cost of materials for reloading can be less for 308 due to mass-market sizing.
  3. Specialty bullets and casings for the 45-70 can drive up reloading expenses.

The Verdict: Choosing Your Champion

When it’s time to pick between the 45-70 and the 308, the choice isn’t always clear-cut. Each caliber has fans for different reasons. Your perfect match depends on what you aim to do with your rifle. Will you hunt? Target shoot? Collect? Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of each, helping cut through the confusion and steer you towards your true champion.

Application-based Recommendations

Know your goal, and the decision becomes easier. Here’s how each caliber excels in various scenarios:

  • Big-Game Hunting: The 45-70’s heavy bullets knock down big targets fast.
  • Precision Shooting: The 308 wins for accuracy at long distances.
  • Recoil Sensitivity: Prefer less kick? The 308 offers a softer shoulder tap.

Expert Opinions And Shooter Testimonials

What do seasoned shooters say? We scoured forums, interviews, and reviews. Let’s see their take.

Caliber Expert Opinion Shooter Testimonial
45-70 Unmatched stopping power “It feels like firing history.”
308 Great versatility and range “My go-to for all-round performance.”

Long-term Considerations For Gun Owners

Choosing a caliber also means thinking ahead. Consider these points for a wise choice.

  1. Ammo Availability: 308 rounds are more common and often cheaper.
  2. Gun Wear: The 45-70’s power can wear down rifles faster.
  3. Resale Value: Historically, 308s hold their value slightly better.
45-70 vs 308: Unveiling the Ballistic Beast!

Credit: ammo.com

Frequently Asked Questions On 45 70 Vs 308

Which Is More Powerful, .45-70 Or .308?

The. 45-70 is generally considered more powerful, with heavier bullets and higher energy transfer at short ranges. It excels in brush hunting and big game within 200 yards.

What’s The Recoil Like For .45-70 Vs .308?

The. 45-70 typically has a heavier recoil due to its larger bullet size and powder load. Conversely, the. 308 is known for a milder, more manageable recoil, making it suitable for a wider range of shooters.

Is .45-70 Suitable For Long-range Shooting?

The. 45-70 is not ideal for long-range shooting. Its heavy bullets and arching trajectory are better suited for short to mid-range scenarios, typically under 200 yards.

Can I Use .308 Ammo For Big Game Hunting?

Yes,. 308 ammo can be effective for big game hunting. It offers a good balance of power, range, and accuracy, making it suitable for animals like deer and elk at various distances.


Deciding between the. 45-70 and the. 308 hinges on your specific needs. Each caliber boasts unique benefits for different shooting scenarios. The. 45-70 excels in short-range power, while the. 308 offers versatility and distance precision. Your choice should align with your hunting preferences or shooting activities to ensure optimal performance and satisfaction.

Choose wisely and happy shooting!

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