450 Bushmaster VS 45-70

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450 bushmaster vs 45 70

The comparison between a 450 Bushmaster and 45- 70 is an eternal debate in the shooting community. They both are fighting to get the best straight-wall cartridge award. It is a significant challenge for the shooters to decide which one is the best from these two hot ammunitions. That is why the topic is getting hotter day by day.

The main difference between the 450 Bushmaster and 45 70 is that the Bushmaster has more muzzle velocity than the 45-70 and thus flatter trajectory. The hunters have to decide and select one from these two based on personal inclinations, budget, design, and features.

In this article, a 450 bushmaster vs. 45-70 comparison will be conducted for you to decide which one will be best suited to you? So, let us get started with the comparison.


45-70 is over 100 years old straight-walled cartridges. The US army designed it for its Trapdoor Springfield rifles. Initially, it was intended to be used with black powder prepollent. The cartridge has seen its advancement over time, and it was when the smokeless powder replaced the black powder as prepollent, the cartridge gained popularity among civilians.

Today, it is found in new bolt action as well as lever action guns. Also, it is essential to note that the older rifles designed to use the black powder loads cannot be used with the new smokeless powder.

Primarily, it’s a single shot and lever gun, but a lot of doubles are also chambered for it. In an AR platform, 45-70 works better with AR-10.

You can not use a 45-70 In states like Michigan and Indiana because they have limited the case length to 1.8 inches, a criterion that 45-70 doesn’t fulfill.

450 Bushmaster

The 450 Bushmaster is comparatively a new straight wall cartridge. It was initially designed for AR-15 rifles. The idea of the 450 Bushmaster was conceived by Jeff Cooper, who was discontent with the small diameter of the .223/5.56 cartridge. He envisioned a cartridge with a bigger diameter, one that would run in a semi-auto rifle and take down targets in one shot at 250 yards. Later, Tim LeGendre of Lemag picked up this idea and produced a .45 cartridge. Bushmaster also wanted cartridges in a similar pattern and went to Hornady with this purpose. With the modifications in the length of the cartridge, 450 Bushmaster was produced.

A Bushmaster works well with both Ar-15 rifles and is also chambered in reliable bolt-action rifles from brands such as Ruger and Mossberg.  

450 Bushmaster has been in the market for a long-time. Its popularity got a boost when in 2017, several states in the US, such as Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, legalized straight-walled cartridges. The legislation came as a joy for hunters because now they could use a 450 Bushmaster in deer season. After the relaxation, several bolt-action manufacturers like Ruger, Mossberg, and Savage started making affordable bolt-action rifles that could be used with .450.

Also Read: 350 legend vs 450 bushmaster

45-70 vs 450 Bushmaster: Specifications

Although the two cartridges have a similar outlook, they have different specifications.

450 Bushmaster45-70
Brand Lemag Firearms and Bushmaster Firearms InternationalSpringfield Armory
Model450 BushmasterGovernment 45-70
Case length1.71 inches2.105 inches
Bullet size250 grains300 grains
Bullet diameter.452 inches.458 inches

450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 ballistics

Below is the comparison of the ballistics of the two cartridges.

Muzzle Velocity and Energy:

Velocity is an important factor because it determines the kinetic energy and the trajectory of a bullet. A faster cartridge has a flatter trajectory. Also, more kinetic energy allows the bullet to penetrate deeply and kill cleanly.

Using a 250-grain bullet, the 450 Bushmaster has a muzzle velocity of 2,200 feet per second with a muzzle energy of 2,686 foot-pounds. At 200 yards, its velocity is 1,515 feet per second and 1,274 foot-pounds of energy.

A 300-grain 45-70, on the other hand, has a muzzle velocity of 1,880 feet per second and muzzle energy of 2,355 foot-pounds. At 200 yards, it slows down to 1,425 feet per second and retains 1,355 foot-pounds of energy. 

These figures show that a 450 Bushmaster has more velocity and energy than a 45-70. Now let us find out how this affects the trajectory.

45-70 vs 450 Bushmaster trajectory:

A flat trajectory is preferable as it makes it easier to hit the target at long ranges. The 450 Bushmaster has more muzzle velocity than the 45-70; thus, it has a flatter trajectory and retains more energy. So, you can say that hitting a target at a long-range is easier with a 450 Bushmaster than a 45-70.

However, it is to be noted that both the cartridges have a somewhat arching trajectory that makes them ineffective at long ranges. But these big-bore cartridges are meant to take down big game at a short and medium distance; that is something both do effectively.

The following figures will show the trajectory of the 45-70 and a 450 Bushmaster.

  • In 45-70, a 300-grain bullet zeroed at 100 yards will have a bullet drop of 11.9″ at 200 yards.
  • In a 450 Bushmaster, a 260-grain bullet zeroed at 100 yards will have a bullet drop of 9.7″ at 200 yards.

You can see for yourself that the bullet drop at 200 is minimal. But if you move further to 300 yards, the bullet drop of 260-grain Bushmaster zeroed at 100 yards is 37.1 inches, while that of a 47-50 zeroed at 100 yards is 41.8 inches.

These figures validate two critical points: both cartridges have considerable bullet drop at longer ranges, and if you compare the two, then the Bushmaster is flatter than a 45-70.

450 Bushmaster vs 45/70: Bullet weights and load availability

When it comes to bullet weight, both .450 and 45/70 are heavyweight bullets, but they differ in their range. 45-70 offers more bullet weight options; its range is from 225 to 500 grain. Contrary to this, the 450 bushmaster has a smaller range: 158 – 300. It is because the .450 uses pistol-sized bullets, whereas a 45-70 uses rifle-size bullets. Moreover, 45-70 also offers approximately five times more load options than a .450. The examples of loading types of a 45-70 are Trapdoor Springfields, Ruger no. 1, and Marlin 1895. 

450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 govt: Knockdown power

When it comes to knockdown power, 450 Bushmaster is the beast. Both 250 and 260-grain bullets have a muzzle velocity of 2200 fps and muzzle energy of 2700 to 2800, respectively. Due to this, it has immense knockdown power; it can stop an elk, a moose, feral hogs, and even a bear at a specified range of 250 yards. In comparison to this, the 45-70 has less muzzle velocity, energy, and hence less knockdown energy.

450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 Recoil

Both the cartridges here produce a considerable amount of recoil, but how much recoil a particular weapon doesn’t depend on just the cartridge but the rifle-cartridge combination. For example: If you shoot a 450 Bushmaster with an AR-15, it will feel less recoil than when you shoot the same cartridge with a heavier Savage 110. However, if both the cartridges are shot from the same rifle, the lighter bullet will have more recoil than a heavier one.

.450 Bushmaster vs .45-70: Cost

The factory ammo of a 45-70 costs 40 cents more per shot than a 450 bushmaster. In the price department, Bushmaster is the winner.

450 Bushmaster vs 45 70: Rifle use

For the excellent performance of a cartridge, it is crucial to use a suitable rifle with it. A 450 Bushmaster is more compatible to use with AR-15 rifles. In contrast, you can use a 45-70 with short-barreled lever-action rifles.

450 Bushmaster: Pros and Cons


  • Faster cartridge
  • Flat trajectory
  • Better performance at longer ranges
  • It shoots perfectly at 250 yards
  • It gives more punch than the 5.56 NATO at close range.


  • Fewer bullet weight options
  • Few loading types are available
  • Expensive
  • Substantial recoil

45-70: Pros and Cons


  • More loads available
  • More bullet weights are available
  • Less expensive


  • Steep trajectory
  • Substantial recoil
  • Not legal in all states

Which is better: Bushmaster or 45- 70

Both .450 and 45-70 are heavyweight cartridges used for the big game. Despite a similar outlook, the two cartridges have entirely different specifications. But one thing that is similar between the two is that they both are effective medium-range rifles. How you will choose your rifle cartridge depends on the preference of the shooter. A 450 Bushmaster is a fast cartridge; its muzzle velocity is 2200. If you want a hard-hitting cartridge that is fast and has a flatter trajectory at longer ranges, choose a Bushmaster.  

Due to its steeper trajectory, it’s trickier to use a 45-70 at long ranges. If you are a skilled shooter who can shoot longer ranges with accuracy, then you can trust a 45-70. Otherwise, use a 45-70 at short range with its variable available load options.

Moreover, if the price is a consideration for you, then pick a 450 Bushmaster.

Also Read: 450 bushmaster vs 458 socom


.450 and 45-70 have their pros and cons. A 450 Bushmaster has more muzzle velocity and is flatter than the 45-70. On the other hand, the 45-70 gives a strong punch at short ranges. It has more variety of bullet weights and loads available than the Bushmaster. Moreover, a Bushmaster performs better with an AR-15 rifle and a 45-70 with lever-action rifles.

Frequently asked questions

What is a 450 Bushmaster comparable to?

It is fair to compare a 450 Bushmaster with a .223 Remington as it is used in AR-style rifles. 

Is 450 Marlin or 45-70 more powerful?

Both 450 Marlin and 45-70 have the same ballistics. Both are potent cartridges; 450 performs better with Hornady ammo but with a Buffalo bore ammo, .45-70 has an advantage. Both the cartridges are more powerful than the lower end .45-70 Government loads. Neither performs well in long-range but gives crushing performance for hunting at low and medium ranges.

Is a 45-70 overkill for deer?

A lot of people believe that a 45-70 is overkill for deer. But this is not true; 45-70 kills the deer just fine without much meat loss.

How accurate is the 450 bushmaster?

A 450 bushmaster is a high-speed and hard-hitting rifle cartridge. It works perfectly at a specified range of 250 yards. It is powerful enough to kill most big game animals, including a bear. The only complaint about the cartridge is its recoil.

Will a 450 Bushmaster kill an elk?

A 450 Bushmaster works best under low to medium ranges. Hence, within a reasonable range, it can kill an elk.

Will a 450 Bushmaster kill a grizzly?

A .450 Bushmaster can handle bullets as heavy as 300 grains. Also, it has a .308 case head that makes it suitable for most .308 rifles. Provided with the right bullet, it can kill all North American animals, including a grizzly.

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I quit my job as a high-powered lawyer to pursue the outdoors. I spend most of my time fishing and hunting but am also an avid shooter with two years experience writing about firearms related topics.

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