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.45-70 Government
.45-70 Government
Country of origin

United States

Manufacturers

US Government
Springfield Armory

Year(s) designed

1873

Year production began

1873

Year production ended

Present

Cartridge type

Rimmed, tapered

Overall length

2.55in (64.8mm)

Case length

2.11in (53.5mm)

Neck diameter

.480in (12.2mm)

Base diameter

.505in (12.8mm)

Rim diameter

.608in (15.4mm)

Rim thickness

.070in (1.8mm)

Rifling twist

1:20in

Muzzle velocity

1,394ft/s (425m/s)

Primer type

Large Rifle

Used by

United States

The .45-70 Government (11.6×53.5mmR) is a rifle cartridge which was originally developed alongside the Springfield Model 1873, one of the various "Trapdoor" Springfield Rifles. The .45-70-405 (Its official name) replaced the .50-70 Government cartridge, which had been in use for 7 years, and remained in use until the Springfield M1903 was introduced 30 years later, although the .45-70 remaines in use to this day in sporting enviroments.

Design DetailsEdit

The .45-70 was manufactured with a brass case which was rimmed and given a very slight taper as it was thought, at the time, that this feature would work better with the breech mechanism. The original bullet used with the .45-70 weighed 405gr (hence the official name .45-70-405) although this was changed to a 500gr bullet after various trials. Both of these bullets were made of lead and would deform slightly to engage with the rifling in the barrel, and both measured .458in (11.6mm) in diameter.

PerformanceEdit

The original 405gr bullet with a standard .45-70 cartridge would achieve a muzzle velocity of 1,394ft/s (425m/s) and was expected to create a group no larger than 4in (100mm) at 100yds (91m). In 1879 a heavier 500gr bullet was tested, performing significantly better than the original in terms of ballistics, shown to be capable of achieving much greater distances (over 3,500yds), although it was still no more accurate against a single target than the original bullet was. 

Once the .45-70 became more of a commercial cartridge in the 20th century various 300gr bullet types became available. The first of these, still retaining the use of blackpowder as the main source of propulsion, would achieve a muzzle velocity of 1,597ft/s (487m/s) and produce 1,700ftlbf (2,304J) of energy. Later, JHP bullet types were produced for the .45-70, distinguished between "Strong" and "Standard". The "Strong" version of the JHP bullet produced a muzzle velocity of 2,275ft/s (693m/s) while the "Standard" produced a muzzle velocity of 2,070ft/s (631m/s).

HistoryEdit

The .45-70 Government rose to prominance in the late 1800's, as the Springfield Armory decided to focus on producing breech loading firearms, named the "Trapdoor" Springfields. Originally the Springfield Model 1866 was chambered to fire the .50-70 Government cartridge (the predecessor to the .45-70) although this was quickly changed as Springfield and the US Government realised that a smaller calibre would be just as effective.

The .45-70 Government was the result of this discovery. Developed alongside the Springfield Model 1873, the .45-70 was more effective than its predecessor as well as being more efficent. Over time the .45-70 was modified, as were the "Trapdoor" Springfields (eg the Springfield Model 1884), and served as the main ammunition of the US Military (both army and navy) up until 1893 (although official navy use extended to 1897). 

Springfield Model 1873

The Model 1873 "Trapdoor" Springfield

The mass movement towards smokeless powders at the end of the 19th century spelt the end of the blackpowder .45-70 as the main ammunition of the US Military, although several firearms continued to use it. Overtime the .45-70 firearms were gradually swept from US Armories, becoming purely hunting and sporting firearms in the 20th and 21st centuries. Nonetheless the .45-70 has remained a popular round, being retained as a training cartridge and as the cartridge for line throwing guns used by the US navy. 

ProductionEdit

The .45-70 Government, by virtue of having been developed by the US Government, was originally produced the the US Government run Springfield Armory, as well as several other contracted gunsmiths. Overtime the number of producers waned down to a limited few, with the most widely known producer of the .45-70 at present being Hornday.

.45-70 FirearmsEdit

Magnum Research BFR

The Magnum Research "Big Frame Revolver" or BFR

Various firearms have utilised the .45-70 Government since its initial enlistment. These firearms include:

Other firearms are capable of chambering the .45-70, indeed several older Springfield rifles were re-configured to accept it. However those firearms that have had a conversion to accept the .45-70 are not generally as efficient as those that were designed to use it, much like any other cartridge

ResourcesEdit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45-70

http://www.chuckhawks.com/45-70Govt.htm

http://www.globaloutfitters.com/Pages/Blog/ArticleDetail.asp?AID=109

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