Sunday, September 24, 2023

450 Bushmaster VS 45-70 – Detailed Comparison

Review450 Bushmaster VS 45-70 - Detailed Comparison

The 450 Bushmaster and the 45-70 Government are both quite popular. Nowadays, 45-caliber centerfire rifle cartridges are available. While their capabilities are very similar, you should know some significant distinctions between the 450 Bushmasters and the 45-70 Government cartridges. The 450 Bushmaster round is one of the unusual calibers now chambered for the AR-15 platform

History of the 450 Bushmaster

Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms invented the 450 Bushmaster in 2007. He then licensed the round to Bushmaster Firearms, who called it the 450 Bushmaster.

The 450 Bush was designed to function with the M4/AR-15 platform style of upper by just swapping the barrel and bolt.

The 450 Bushmaster cartridges are identical to the 45 Professional cartridges in all but length, which is the single distinguishing factor between the two cartilages.

The 450 Bushmaster was born after Bushmaster requested that the cartridge case be shortened to suit the 250-grain SST flex-tip bullet, and LeGendre authorized the alteration.


The valid claim to fame of the 450 Bushmaster round is its energy on target. After all, the round was designed to be more powerful than the 5.56mm NATO round/.223 Remington.

At 100 yards, the 250 Grain SST round muzzle velocity is 2,214 feet per second with roughly 2,722 foot-pounds of energy on target.

Overview of the 45-70 Government

One of the first centerfire rifle cartridges ever created was the .45-70 Government round, a rimmed straight rifle round. It initially used black powder but has since switched to smokeless powder. The 45-70 Government round is sometimes called the “45 Government” round.

In the modern era, the 45-70 cartridge, like the.35 Remington round, is mainly known as a lever-action rifle round. Most people now equate hunting with big bore rounds.

The caliber and grain weight is reflected in the 45-70 round vocabulary. As a result, the 45 calibers round and 70 grains of powder.

Performance of 45-70 Government

While new cartridges have vastly outperformed the.45-ballistics, 70’s, it nevertheless has a particular place in the hearts of many people.

My favorite big-bore lever-action rifle is a 45-70 Henry Model X.

This rifle has been exceeded in ballistics, but let’s still speak about what the.45-70 Government brings to the table on paper.

You’ll get good ballistics and roughly 150-200 yards with minimal bullet drop with new ammo.

Reloading for a 45-70

Reloading 45-70 has become the norm for many lever-action gun enthusiasts. I’ve even given it some thought.

The dies and reloading presses are the two most expensive initial expenses. However, it may be swapped out for other calibers, making the investment easier to bear.

Many reloading supplies are accessible at websites such as Brownells, but they sell quickly, just like guns.

450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 Government

Are you trying to decide between the 450 Bushmaster and the 45-70 Government cartridges? Everything you need to know about them is right here.

History of 45-70 Government and 450 Bushmaster 

The American Civil War and the years immediately after it witnessed a rise in the invention of new breech-loading rifles and cartridges with metallic casings for civilian and military usage in the United States. With this in mind, the US Army began looking for a new cartridge and breech-loading rifle to replace the muzzleloading and paper cartridges that most American soldiers were still using. As a short-term improvement over the rudimentary muzzleloading rifles used during the Civil War, the Army briefly adopted the 50-70 Government cartridge and the single-shot Springfield Model 1866 breech-loading rifle.

In 1873, they replaced the Springfield Model 1873 with an even better rifle/cartridge combination. The single-shot 1873 Springfield rifle, often known as the Trapdoor Springfield, was the primary service rifle cartridge used by the United States Army until the 30-40 Krag was introduced near the end of the nineteenth century. The Trapdoor Springfield rifle debuted with a new 45 caliber cartridge in a copper case, with a powder charge of 70 grains of black powder. For the cartridge, the Army used a variety of loads that fired either 405-grain or 500-grain bullets.

The name of the cartridge is derived from these performance criteria.

The typical naming convention used at the time was the cartridge caliber, followed by the standard powder load in grains. Because the new cartridge was designed by the United States government-operated Springfield Armory and employed either a 405-grain or a 500-grain.45 caliber bullet (.458′′ diameter) propelled by 70 grains of powder, it was designated “45-70-405” or “45-70-500” depending on the specific load. Commercial publications and catalogs from the time began referring to the cartridge as the “45-70 Government” cartridge as well (45-70 Govt or 45-70 Gov for short).

Use of 45-70 Government in Hunting

In addition to the several varieties of the Trapdoor Springfield rifle and carbine employed by the Army, several early Gatling Gun types fired the 45-70 Government cartridge. The cartridge was also used in a variety of rifles by the US Navy and Marine Corps. Due to its excellent reputation, the cartridge was developed while in use with the Army 45-70 Govt and quickly became popular with athletes in the United States. It didn’t take long for the major manufacturers to start producing decent rifles chambered in the cartridge in response to high demand. 45-70 government guns marketed and designed primarily for civilian hunters. Hunting enthusiasts soon had access to several top-notch lever action, single-shot, and repeater rifles, including:

  • Remington-Keene
  • Remington Rolling Block
  • Sharps 1874 “Buffalo Rifle”
  • Winchester-Hotchkiss
  • Winchester Model 1885 “High Wall”
  • Winchester Model 1886.

 Even with the relatively simple solid lead bullets available at the time, the 45-70 was highly influential on animals ranging from whitetail deer and black bear to the more significant, more challenging, and often more deadly species such as moose, grizzly bear, and bison.

The addition of contemporary smokeless powder has increased the cartridge’s performance even further, and it is still a popular and successful hunting cartridge today.

Hunting enthusiasts soon had access to several top-notch lever action, single-shot, and repeater rifles, including the Remington-Keene, Remington Rolling Block, Sharps 1874 “Buffalo Rifle,” Winchester-Hotchkiss, Winchester Model 1885 “High Wall,” and Winchester Model 1886.

450 Bushmaster

Now let’s discuss the 450 Bushmaster. That story begins nearly a century later, with the: 223 Remington rifle and the AR-15.

Just a few years after replacing the M-1 Garand and.30-06 Springfield with the M-14 combat rifle and 7.62x51mm NATO in the 1950s, the US military began looking for a new weapon and cartridge. The military subsequently agreed on the high-velocity 5.56x45mm cartridge and the M-16 rifle, a military adaptation of the civilian AR-15, a scaled-down version of the AR-10. The initial M193 ball load for the 5.56x45mm was derived from the 223 Remington (commonly known as the223 Rem) fired a 224′′ 55-grain full metal jacket bullet at 3,250 feet per second (1,290-foot-pounds of energy). Unfortunately, the rifle and cartridge had significant teething problems during the Vietnam War. Still, upgrades to the weapon and the fuel used in the cartridge finally resolved most of those concerns.

450 Bushmaster Ballistics

450 Bushmaster

After the Vietnam War, NATO performed considerable research to supplement the 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge with another standardized rifle cartridge for alliance members. They eventually settled on the Belgian SS109 5.56x45mm version. The new NATO ball load, known as the M855, fired a 62-grain full metal jacket bullet at 3,025 feet per second (1,260 ft-lbs of energy). The US Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps formally adopted the M855 and the improved M-16A2 rifle during the 1980s, dubbed “green tip ammo” due to the green paint on the bullet.

The little 223 Remington cartridge did not meet the demand for a strong impacting huge bore cartridge.

However, Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms decided to design a powerful. 45 caliber cartridge intended for use in the AR platform he created by cutting down and necking up a 45 caliber cartridge Winchester case 284.

The new cartridge was named the 45 Professional by him.

LeGendre licensed the cartridge to Bushmaster, who worked with Hornady to bring the concept to market. In the early 2000s, Hornady and Bushmaster made minor changes to the 45 Professional cartridges and introduced it as the 450 Bushmaster (often known as the 450 BM for short).

Use of 450 Bushmaster in Hunting

The new straight-walled cartridge operates in the AR-15 platform and, pushing a.452′′ 250gr bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2,200 feet per second (2,686 ft-lbs of energy), delivers the bone-smashing performance Colonel Cooper initially envisioned from an easy-to-handle semi-auto weapon. Interestingly, while the.450 Bushmaster is widely used throughout the United Areas. It is one of the more common rifle cartridges that satisfied the relatively tight definition of a “straight-walled” cartridge as needed by hunting restrictions in some states.

During the current firearm deer season, states such as Iowa and Ohio, in particular, mandate hunters to use a straight-walled cartridge. This is also true on public lands in Indiana and areas of southern Michigan. Those states have more stringent limits on what constitutes a lawful hunting cartridge, ostensibly because they are more densely populated and prefer hunters to use gun cartridges with a shorter effective range. As a result, many hunters in those states utilize shotguns, handguns, muzzleloaders, and rifles chambered with straight-walled cartridges such as the.450 Bushmaster and, occasionally, the.45-70 (as well as the newer 350 Legend).

Because the 450 Bushmaster cartridge has much better ballistics than rifled shotgun slugs and is available in a variety of competitively priced deer rifles, it has gained popularity in that region of the country.

Cartridge Sizes: 450 Bushmaster versus 45-70

  1. First and foremost, the 45-70 Government is more significant in size than the 450 Bushmaster.
  2. Both cartridges have straight walls. However, the 45-70 has a longer overall length, longer case length, and a more comprehensive case diameter than the 450 Bushmaster.
  3. The 45-70 cartridge has a total length of 2.55″ and a case length of 2.105″. The overall size of the 450 Bushmaster is 2.25, and the casing is 1.7 long. The 45-70 Government has a case diameter of 504, whereas the 450 Bushmaster has a case diameter of 500.
  4. However, the shorter 45-70 Bushmaster will not fit a typical AR-15-style rifle, although the longer 450 Bushmaster would.
  5. Furthermore, the 45-70 Government is a rimmed case with a diameter of.608′′, while the 450 Bushmaster has a rebated rim with a diameter of.473′′.

As a result, the 45-70 has a far larger case capacity than the 450 Bushmaster.

Other significant distinctions between the 450 Bushmaster and the 45-70 are bullet size and weight. The 450 Bushmaster uses rounds with a diameter of 452′′, but the 45-70 uses slightly bigger projectiles, 458′′ rounds.

Most 450 Bushmaster ammunition has bullet weights ranging from 158gr to 300gr, with 250gr and 260gr bullets being the most popular.

While it is possible to find 45-70 ammo with bullets weighing as little as 250 grains and as much as 540 grains (maybe even more in certain situations), the majority of.45-70 factory loads use 300-grain, 325-grain, 350-grain, or 405-grain bullets.

Finally, the 450 Bushmaster has a more significant SAAMI maximum average pressure of 38,500 psi compared to the 45-70 Government’s 28,000 psi.

We’ll go over this in more detail later in the post, but remember that the SAAMI requirements for the 45-70 may be artificially low due to all those older guns.

450 bushmaster vs 45-70 Ballistics chart

Cartridge450 Bushmaster45-70 Govt
Bullet Diameter452” (11.48mm)458” (11.6mm)
Case Length1.700” (43.18mm)2.105” (53.5mm)
Maximum overall Length2.25” (57.15mm)2.55” (64.8mm)
Rim Diameter476”(12.01mm)608” (15.4mm)
Case Capicity5964 cubic inches7615 cubic inches
Max Pressure(SAAMI)38,500psi28,000psi

Which is better: 450 Bushmaster or 45-70 Government?

If the team had to choose between the 450 Bushmaster and the 45-70 Government, we’d think the 45-70 Government is the best option. Although it falls short in several areas compared to the 450 Bushmaster, having more options on the reloading bench and being less expensive are significant advantages. The 45-70 round has established its worth for almost a century.

In any case, their variances aren’t that significant in most ways. So, if you still want to buy a 450 Bushmaster, you have that option. In either case, both rounds are precise and well worth your money.

FAQs – 450 Bushmaster & the 45-70

Why would you use a.450 Bushmaster?

The 450 Bushmaster cartridge was designed for hunting deer, hogs, elk, and other medium-sized wildlife. Another advantage of this cartridge is that it has a straight wall and can thus be used in states where hunting with necked cartridges is prohibited.

How far can a 450 Bushmaster be accurately shot?

Depending on the firearm and conditions, this cartridge will quickly shoot accurately to 250 yards. After 250 yards, the bullet’s velocity will drop dramatically.

What does 45-70 stand for?

The abbreviation for.45-70 Government is 45-70. The numbers 45-70 refer to the caliber and grain quantity of the round. 70 grains of powder and a 45-caliber bullet.

What is the range of a 45-70?

The effective range is between 150-200 yards, while the actual shooting range is probably closer to 400-500 yards, with much-reduced bullet drop and efficacy.

What is the recoil of a 45-70?

It depends on the weapons, but older rifles often have less recoil mitigation. Newer rifles have softer buttstock cushions and are built to tolerate recoil better.
However, lever-action rifles don’t do much to minimize recoil. Therefore, the 45-70 cartridge will likely produce a fair amount of perceived felt recoil.

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