The 10 Greatest Cartridges Of All Time
Guns Magazine, July, 1999 by Jon R. Sundra
How can any discussion of self-contained metallic cartridges not include the one that started it all? The .45-70 was introduced in 1873 in conjunction with the single-shot "trapdoor" Springfield rifle. What distinguished the .45-70 from its contemporaries was that it was the first cartridge to incorporate a centrally-primed case capable of withstanding higher pressures than previous rimfire designs and it was reloadable to boot.
Even in its original loading of 70 grs. of blackpowder behind a 405 gr. lead bullet at about 1,300 fps, it was a formidable deer and black bear killer inside 125 yards. The fact that this 131-yearold cartridge is still being loaded by all three of our major ammo manufacturers is mind-boggling in itself, to say nothing of the fact that Ruger, Marlin and Browning still chamber rifles for it!
In deference to the few original '73 Springfields and Winchester Model 1886 rifles still floating around out there, commercial .45-70 ammo is loaded to pressure levels approximating the original BP loads -- about 25,000 psi.
In the Marlin Model 1885 handloaders can safely achieve performance levels well beyond factory loadings, and in modern rifles like the Ruger No. 1 and Browning 1885, handloaders can come fairly close to matching the .458 Win. Magnum. All that from a cartridge that first saw the light of day long before electricity, automobiles, telephones and flight. Amazing!
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