Best .45-70 Ammo For Hunting Deer, Bear, Moose, & Other Big Game

Many people still use the .45-70 for hunting deer and other species of big game with excellent results. Here are a few great brands of .45-70 ammo that should serve you well next time you hit the woods.

Though it was originally loaded with black powder and introduced in the 1870s, the .45-70 Government is still a relevant and heavy hitting rifle cartridge. In fact, due to advances in powder and bullet technology, the .45-70 ammo is now even more effective for hunting than it ever has been. Known for its bone crushing power and excellent terminal performance on virtually every species of North American big game at short to medium range, hunters all over the United States still utilize the .45-70 for deer hunting in thick conditions and it’s also quite effective on black bear, feral hogs, moose, and grizzly bears.

While it can be a very effective cartridge on many species of African game, make sure you read the article below if you’re thinking about using the .45-70 for hunting cape buffalo.

Read This Before Hunting Cape Buffalo With The .45-70 Government

Fortunately, the major ammunition manufactures currently offer multiple varieties of .45-70 ammo factory loads specifically designed for hunting big game. For that reason, regardless of whether you’re using a Marlin 1895, a single-shot Trapdoor Springfield, a converted Siamese Mauser, or a Thompson Center Contender, there is something for everyone on the list below of the best .45-70 Government ammunition for hunting.

In today’s post, I’m going to show you the best .45-70 ammo for hunting and go over the pros and cons of each load

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Hornady LEVERevolution

Similar to the .35 Remington and .30-30 Winchester, the .45-70 Government is relatively popular in lever action rifles. Many of these rifles (like the Marlin 1895 and Winchester 1886) have tubular magazines where the bullets are stacked tip to primer. For that reason, most .45-70 ammo uses flat or round nosed bullets to prevent recoil from causing the tip of one cartridge from detonating the primer of a cartridge stacked on top of it. The downside of that is those bullets aren’t very aerodynamic.

Hornady developed their LEVERevolution line of rifle ammo to solve that problem. This ammunition uses bullets with a flexible polymer tip that increases their ballistic coefficient. However, they remain safe to use in a tubular magazine.

Loaded with either a 325 grain FTX bullet or a 250 grain MonoFlex bullet, .45-70 LEVERevolution ammunition has a flatter trajectory and carries more energy down range than traditional .45-70 Government factory ammunition loaded with round nosed bullets. This doesn’t turn the .45-70 Government into a flat shooting or long range cartridge, but it does noticeably improve the ballistics. This is excellent ammunition you plan on using your .45-70 for deer hunting.

The MonoFlex bullets are also made of a 100% copper alloy, which makes them a great choice if you’re a California resident and need lead free .45-70 ammo for hunting.

Before going hunting with this ammo though, make sure you spend some time at the range with it to ensure it functions reliably and shoots accurately in your rifle. If it does shoot well in your rifle, then this may well be the best .45-70 ammo for hunting deer, black and grizzly bear, feral hogs, and moose.

  • Bullet Type: Hornady Flex Tip Expanding (FTX) or MonoFlex
  • Bullet Weight: 325 grains or 250 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,050 feet per second (325gr FTX) or 2,025 feet per second (250gr MonoFlex)

Buy your Hornady LEVERevolution ammo here.

Also Available At: Brownells (FTX and MonoFlex), Lucky Gunner (FTX and MonoFlex), & Natchez Shooters Supplies (FTX and MonoFlex)

Buffalo Bore

Best .45-70 Ammo For Hunting Deer, Bear, Moose, & Other Big Game buffalo bore

Buffalo Bore specializes in manufacturing high performance factory loaded ammunition that’s loaded right up to the maximum SAAMI specifications. Their .45-70 Magnum ammo performs exactly like you’d expect: this is hard hitting ammunition specifically designed for hunting the biggest bears and moose. Their 300 grain JHP and 405 grain JFN loads in particular are also excellent .45-70 ammo for bear defense and will flatten any bear on this planet with proper shot placement. So, if you’re looking for the best .45-70 ammunition to carry in your Marlin Guide gun for protection in grizzly country, this is the stuff you need to buy.

Note: this .45-70 ammunition is NOT safe to use in a Trapdoor Springfield.

The folks at Buffalo Bore only recommend using this ammo in the following rifles:

Marlin 1895 (1895 Marlins are all model 336 actions, chambered in 45-70) iterations made since 1972, all Browning 1885 and 1886 copies, Rossi Rio Grande, New England Arms Handi Rifle, T/C Encore, ALL falling block actions made of modern steel such as Ruger No. 1 and No. 3, Shiloh, Christian and Pedersoli Sharps, Henry Lever Action Rifles, all Winchester 1886 iterations made since 1915, CVA Centerfire Rifles and all Siamese Mauser bolt actions

  • Bullet Type: Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) or Jacketed Flat Nose (JFN)
  • Bullet Weight: 300 grains or 405 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,350 feet per second (300gr JHP) or 2,000 feet per second (405gr JFN)

Buy your Buffalo Bore ammo here.

Remington Core-Lokt 405gr SP

Standard Remington Core Lokt .45-70 ammo is loaded to the original .45-70 Government specifications of a 405 grain bullet at just under 1,350 feet per second. For that reason, Remington advertises that it’s safe to use in all .45-70 rifles in good condition. Don’t let the performance of this load on paper fool you into thinking that this is an anemic load though: hunters used the original black powder .45-70 cartridge to kill thousands of buffalo in the 1870s. There are better .45-70 ammo choices these days for that task than this particular load, but that example does illustrate the capability of the .45-70 in the right hands.

It’s no barn burning load by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still quite dependable and capable. So if you’re a “meat and potatoes” sort of person who wants some quality ammunition to use in your .45-70 for hunting deer, feral hogs, black bear, and maybe even something bigger, then the Remington 405 grain Core Lokt will probably work really well for you.

Make sure you purchase the standard (not “High Performance”) Core Lokt ammunition if you want to use it in a Trapdoor Springfield.

  • Bullet Type: Soft Point (SP)
  • Bullet Weight: 405 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,330 feet per second

Buy your Remington Core-Lokt ammo here.

Also Available At: BrownellsCabela’s, and Natchez Shooters Supplies

Barnes VOR-TX 300gr TSX

Just like you’d expect with such a popular cartridge, Barnes produces .45-70 ammo featuring their legendary copper X-Bullet. Optimized for rapid expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration, this is an outstanding choice of .45-70 ammo for hunting moose, black bear, whitetail deer, feral hogs, and elk. It’s also 100% copper, which makes the VOR-TX an ideal brand of lead free .45-70 hunting ammo for use in states like California that that don’t permit the use of lead bullets.

  • Bullet Type: Triple Shok X Flat Nose (TSX FN)
  • Bullet Weight: 300 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,925 feet per second

Buy your Barnes VOR-TX ammo here.

Also Available At: Cabela’s and Natchez Shooters Supplies

HSM or Black Hills 405gr Lead Flat Point

Similar to the Remington Core Lokt .45-70 Govt ammo, HSM and Black Hills both produce .45-70 Government ammunition firing 405 grain lead cast bullets loaded close to the original cartridge specifications. Both companies advertise their loads as low recoil rifle ammunition designed for Cowboy Action shooting. However, it will still work really well for hunting (particularly for thin skinned game) if you were so inclined to use it in that role. All in all this is nice factory ammo to use in your .45-70 for hunting deer, feral hogs, and black bear.

  • Bullet Type: HSM Round Nose Flat Point Hard Cast (RNFP) or Black Hills Lead Flat Point (LFP)
  • Bullet Weight: 405 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,300 feet per second (HSM) or 1,250 (Black Hills

Buy your Black Hills ammo here.

Also Available At: Cabela’s (HSM) and Lucky Gunner (Black Hills)

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12 thoughts on “Best .45-70 Ammo For Hunting Deer, Bear, Moose, & Other Big Game”

  1. I have more fun reloading and shooting my 45-70 than all my other rifles put together. Lately I’ve been messing around with some Beartooth Bullets Piledrivers and Piledriver, Juniors (525 gr and 425 gr, respectively), both at around 1600 fps. I’m getting just under 2″ at 100 yards with both. Pretty darned good for a sloppy lever gun.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Jim. While I haven’t used it myself, the HSM Bear Load ammo looks like pretty good stuff for its intended use.
      John

      Reply
  2. I shoot a 45-70 Henry and I make up my own bear load for my 45-70 .i use a 405 gr hard cast from the bullet barn and 41 grains of IMR 4198. Comes out at approx. 1830 FPS … kill at both ends lol… great caliber … I load up it down .’same 405 gr lead and 11 gr of trail boss and it’s 930 FPS for a great bunny load .( we have big bunny’s her in BC Canada ..) and as Brian said it’s the most fun caliber t shoot as well ..and I love my Henry ( brass reciever ,22” octagon barrel . What’s not to like … Happy shooting

    Reply
  3. John, would you recommend the 45-70 as a closup stopper for our buffalo and elephant is South Africa? Max ranges 50 metres and closer? I am a newly qualified PH and am thinkng of developing my own load with a standard .458winmag 400g bullet. I also have a .458winmag but the 45-70 is a much more versatile gun. I have purchased a Marlin 45-70.

    Reply
  4. This is going to be fun! The 45-70 paired with the Marlin 1895ss got me thinking. Delaware has gone to the new pistol caliber rifle for deer hunting with straight walled cases no longer than 1.82in.

    So I had a Marlin 1895 chambered in 45-70 rechambered to 45-60 which is 1.89in. Then cut my 45-70 brass to 1.80in and used the Leverevolution 250gr monoflex bullet with 38.5gr of LiL Gun powder gives me 2,135 fps. Is the 45-70 out dated hell no, we have just started to stretch its legs. Now I would not use this on big game, but for deer, black bear and hogs it will more than do the job!

    Reply
  5. The Hornady LEVERevolution is a fantastic deer load for the woods. I also have both of those Buffalo Bore loads. The 405 grain will make you feel the love. They’re fun for about 3 shots then I’m done.

    Reply
  6. I have several boxes of PMC 45/70 ammo left from when they loaded this cartridge supposedly to +p+ levels with a 350gr fnsp bullet that I have used in my two different Marlin 1895’s , one of these guns have a 22″ barrel while the other one is an 18.5″ ported barrel.
    I have used each of these rifles to hunt deer with and every time that I have shot a deer with the above mentioned load , the deer literally just fell over. I also have a Marlin 1894 in 44 magnum which seems to recoil worse than either of my 1895 45/70’s , which I just can’t quite understand since the 1894 is almost identical to one of my 1895’s . I would have no worries using either of my 1895 45/70’s with the proper load for defense against big bears , but personally the 45/70 would not be my first choice to hunt Cape buffalo , but I can also think of many other cartridges that I would choose it over.

    Reply

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