45-70 bullet weight


There was an earlier topic on how to determine the weight of the bullets used in the 45-70 but I can not find it. The obvious is the amount of bullet exposed but there was a statement that after a specific year that does not work. Any one care to enlighten me? or direct me to the archived post? Thanks Vic


With reference to U.S. military .45 caliber long gun cartridges the carbine and rifle loadings (both using the 405 gr. bullet originally) had the same overall length despite the fact the carbine version carried 55 gr. of propellant instead of 70 gr. At this time the difference in powder charge was made up via a wad so that the OA length was the same for both versions. Shortly after the 500 gr. bullet was adopted for the rifle version (early 1880s) the R for rifle and C for carbine notation in the headstamp was deleted and the wad was deleted from the carbine round (still with 405 gr. bullet and 55 gr. powder). Thus the carbine version was distinctly shorter than the rifle round with its long 500 gr. bullet and the two versions were readily differentiated. So, the 405 gr. bullet can be seen with two different OA lengths, longish in all rifle rounds and longish (up to about 1884) or shortish in the post-1885 (give or take with these dates) carbine loadings. The 500 gr. bullet was loaded to only one single OA length. All the foregoing refers to cartridges produced at Frankford Arsenal; the commercial suppliers are an annoyingly different story. Jack



Here is a thread with a nice picture to add to Jack’s summary of the topic.




Thanks That helped Now for the next question what about the loads put together by USCCo Are they the longer exposed bullet the 500 and the shorter round the 405 carbine? Vic


Vic: The only USC loadings that have purely military-specific headstamps are those from 1879 that carry the L-for-Lowell identifier. These 1879 rounds, as far as I know, are .45-70-405. The later cartridges with the commercial-style headstamps can only be distinguished from commercial sales ammunition if they’re in their original packaging, thus being sure if a round loaded with a 405 gr. bullet is for rifles or carbines is not easily accomplished. Jack


For the commercial USCCO loading was the 500 or 405 the only options for solid lead? What about the lead copper jacket flat lead tip? Thanks Vic


Vic–The .45-70’s with Jacketed Soft Point bullets are Smokeless loads. As far as I know, there are no MILITARY Smokeless loads in 45-70, except the Line Throwing Blanks…


Ron and Vic…Yes, there were smokeless military loads in .45-70…UMC made them on contract, in Ball as well as Multi-ball…I believe FA also made them, late 1890’s

The UMC boxes with white label and red lettering that say 45-500 Government Smokeless ???



Randy–Your right. I forgot the Multi-Ball loads. I really should not have forgot as at one time I had 5 full sealed boxes of the U.M.C. Multiball.


The smokeless .45 rifle cartridge was the Model 1898, produced at FA and by the commercial contractors. The Hill and Frasca Trapbook book vol. 1 shows a sealed box of USC Model 1898 smokeless cartridges but none by any other maker. I have a round by USC that may be this loading; it has a case crimp at the base of the 500 gr. bullet as did the FA version, and with a commercial style headstamp. Jack


As mentioned by Jack the tinned case loads with the knurled cannelure on the case, not a case crimp, which were smokeless, I think three dates in 98 & with 500 gr bullet