Courtesy of Tactical Life

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The classic .45-70 Government caliber is one of those golden oldies rooted so deep in both lore and utility that it refuses to die, and while there may have been dips and droughts in popularity during its 144-year history, it’s managed to long outlast many more “modern” and flashier entries along the way by simply doing what it does best—lobbing a big ol’ heavy chunk of metal at moderate speeds, with relatively moderate recoil levels, to make a distinct impression on anything it connects with at the far end of the rainbow.

Today, the old buffalo-stomper is more popular than ever, and we who put the long .45 to any number of uses, from mild Trapdoor Springfield loads on up to bone-busting grizzly medicine in both jacketed and lead projectiles, have a wide-open field in bullets and factory ammunition. Ammo makers produce a good range of rounds for off-the-shelf shooters, and the straight-walled case is easy to find, affordable to buy in bulk and simple to handload for the basement ballistician at home.

Launching platform options may not be quite as ubiquitous as those for the more mainstream bottlenecked calibers like the .30-06 and 7mm Magnum, and there’s a distinct shortage of high-capacity, semi-auto .45-70s with 30-round detachable box magazines. But considering the nature and history of the old caliber, most of us are able to force ourselves to be satisfied with one of the traditional single-shots, or one of several lever-actions either based on older designs or more modern adaptations.


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