.45-70: Defensive Carry... for bears?

.45-70: Defensive Carry... for bears?

This is a discussion on .45-70: Defensive Carry... for bears? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've come into possession of the oft deplored Thunder Five. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's a .45 Colt/.410 revolver similar to, but ...

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Thread: .45-70: Defensive Carry... for bears?

  1. #1
    Member Array drh2687's Avatar
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    .45-70: Defensive Carry... for bears?

    I've come into possession of the oft deplored Thunder Five. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's a .45 Colt/.410 revolver similar to, but coming long before, the Taurus Judge. Looks like the one in attached pics (that I pulled off Auction Arms).

    They also made it chambered for .45-70 <This is the one I'm curious about.

    Now to my question. The .45-70 seems to be unanimously aggreed as a worthy big game/bear-defense cartridge, but this is generally out of rifle-length barrels or at the very least 10-14" barrels found on big-bore hunting revolvers. However, being a rifle catridge using slower burning powder, I understand that velocity is going to be decreased significantly in these revolvers. The Thunder Five has a 2" barrel. What kind of velocity loss can be expected here from the powder not having time enough to burn up?

    I'm not neccessarily looking for numbers here, but would the round have enough energy out of that short a barrel to retain a place in the same league as the .454 Casull, 500 S&W, and similar? Could one still count on it to stop large attacking predators of the 4 legged variety (perhaps a bear)?

    I've searched high and low across the net to no avail. It seems the very idea of a .45-70 out of a 2" revolver is so absurd no one even bothers speculating about it. So here I am, asking for those of you heavy into ballistics and reloading what you might speculate. Fire away.

    PS: I have no need whatsoever of a bear defense gun, this is purely a hypothetical. I also don't have much intention of firing this weapon, as I shudder at the very idea of what the recoil might do to my hand. Just a question of shear curiousity.
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    Member Array gilliland87's Avatar
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    As a general rule of thumb on a rifle you can expect a 10 FPS loss for each inch of barrel removed (Very general rule). The 45-70 is a relativly slow moving round 1100-1450fps. So how that would shoot on a 2 inch barrel I don't know but possibly in the 1000 fps range?
    I do know this I wouldn't want to be holding onto that pistol with a 350-500 grain top end load in it

    There are alot of guys out there with some really nice shooting 250 grain (I believe) reduced power loads. I have only spent time with a couple deifferent loads though.

  3. #3
    Member Array gilliland87's Avatar
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    Derringer

    My grandfather won a 45 LC/.410 derringer at a dinner one night and it sat around for years we never really wanted to even try it out. Shot a 2 3/4 .410 out of it one day just because and traded it on a S&W model 15 the next day.

  4. #4
    Member Array Double Naught Spy's Avatar
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    You know, there are just better options than a .45-70 for a pistol to be used as defense against bears. Why go to so much trouble to mismatch a cartridge and barrel length and then want to depend on it to protect your life?
    Considering yourself to be defenseless is the first administrative step to becoming a victim.

  5. #5
    Member Array gilliland87's Avatar
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    Good point

    I was thinking basically the same thing, However i also realize some people want to play and tinker with a new or odd ball cartridge ala wildcat chamberings. I tried to express my opinion of actually carrying it myself ( I didn't do that great of a job at it though) but also gave the OP the information i had available in my brain pan if he still wanted to pursue it for personal intrest.

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    I know at least one person (relative) that carried a T/C in 45-70 for bears in Alaska. It had a 6" barrel, though. Single shot (obviously since it was a T/C).

    I fired the thing once. Only once. There was a small gap between the frame and grip. After I fired the gun, my hand was bleeding due to a chunk of skin being pinched away by that gap. It was no pleasure to shoot. I can't imagine how it would be firing that round out of a 2" bl with a lesser grip. Yikes.
    eschew obfuscation

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    If you get close enough to a 1100 lb grizzly to hit it with that pistol...you'll have much larger concerns revolving around, 'how to clean out your shorts'...

    Do you know how fast those animals can close distance?
    Do you know how tough their skulls are? (the bullet may just ricochet)

    OMO, but I did live in AK for 7 years...hope you're tracking him before he's tracking you.

    I realize that it was just a question...with no intent to go AK hunting, right?
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    Member Array drh2687's Avatar
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    gilliland- thanks for the input. 1000 fps, huh? 'preciate it.

    As far as the practicality of this load/weapon combo, I agree with you guys completely. I tried to make that clear in my original post. As far as cleaning my shorts in a grizzly attack, that's not a situation I would ever want to be in! No bear hunting in AK for me!!

    Like I said originally, it was purely hypothetical. But you're right on, retsupt- that's exactly the kind of situation I was speculating about.
    --Dave


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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I fired a "full house" 45-70 round out of a custom made 8 pound revolver------ONCE----! That was enough!!!!!!

    I cant for the life of me figure out why someone would actually want to own something as impractical as a 45-70 handgun with a 2" barrel.

  10. #10
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    I cant for the life of me figure out why someone would actually want to own something as impractical as a 45-70 handgun with a 2" barrel
    Simple.

    Because they can.
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    Senior Member Array Ragin Cajun's Avatar
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    If I'm not mistaken, the 45-70 cartridge uses black powder, not smokeless powder as traditional centerfire cartridges.

  12. #12
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    It can use black powder. BPCR (Black Powder Cartridge Rifle) matches require it to be loaded with BP.

    However, most modern commercial .45-70 cartridges will be loaded with the standard smokeless powder.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

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