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45-70 vs 30-30 – Primary Differences That You Should Know

30-30 vs 45-70
When you hunt and shoot with a lever-action rifle, there seems to be a different level of satisfaction. But, this experience comes only with the right rifle cartridge. In this 45-70 vs 30-30 cartridge review, we’ll find out if either can add that extra unique feel during loading, cocking, and discharging.

The Winchester ammo is a popular black powder cartridge that is lighter and smaller than the Government cartridge. With modern factory ammo, the 30-30Win has a higher velocity, less drawback, less bullet drop, and has a 300-400 fps advantage in velocity. However, the Government round has noticeably more retained energy at hunting ranges because it uses a heavier cartridge.

The 160-grain bullet of Winchester in Hornady LEVERevolution has a muzzle energy of 2,026 feet-per-pound, while the 325-grain of Government magnum ammo has 3,032 feet-per-pound. Both ammo is also available in Federal’s Power Shok ammo line, we can use a 150-grain JSP Winchester ammo and 300-grain of Government round with a muzzle energy of 1,902 feet-per-pound and 2,280 feet-per-pound, respectively. Winchester ammo has 120-170-grain standard ammo weights.

Specification Chart

45-70 Government

  • Brand: Government
  • Model: 45-70 Government
  • Bullet Size: .458 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: .458 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 2.1 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1010 ft/lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 1377 ft/s
  • Muzzle Energy: 2942 ft/lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2350 ft/s

30-30 Winchester

  • Brand: Winchester
  • Model: 30-30 Winchester
  • Bullet Size: .308 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: .308 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 2.029 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,304 ft/lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 1,916 ft/s
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,046 ft/lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,400 ft/s

In-Depth Comparison

Ballistics

The Win 30-30 and 45-70 ammo have a range of 100 yards. The Government magnum ammo has a muzzle velocity of around 2,100 feet-per-pound, while the 30-30 cartridge has approximately 2,400 feet-per-pound, not as good as the 223 Remington round but still, great ballistics.

Although Win ammo is commonly used for North American game hunting rifles for deer, black bear, and brown bear, the Government magnum ammo is heavier than the 30-30 ammunition and 44 magnum. Since the 30-30 ammo has a lesser bullet drop and better wind resistance, it takes another win.

For big game hunting ammo, here’s our 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 Grendel comparison

Purpose

Both ammo perform their best at approximately 150 yards, making them a better cartridge choice for short-range hunting. Since these ammo are heavier than most hunting ammo, they are often used in big game hunting.

But if you expect to hunt at longer distances as the 223 Remington, you may prefer the Winchester ammo because it performs longer ranges than the Government ammo. However, if you wish to pursue larger game animals with better penetration, the heavier and more powerful Government ammo would be a better choice.

30-30 winchester purpose

Trajectory

The Winchester ammo has less downrange drop vs the 45-70 magnum loads. And since the lever-action Government round is more massive, its trajectory drops faster. Lighter ammo stays in the air longer, having an edge in having a flatter trajectory and in reaching longer distances.

If you’re looking for ammo with flatter trajectory, check out this 38 super vs 9mm Luger article

Accuracy

When we tested out the ammo using the Remington ammo line, we noticed a notable difference in their accuracy. Since the 45-70 Government ammo is heavier and has a steeper trajectory vs the Win ammo, we find it harder to hit our targets more accurately because of its drawback, making it harder to place our shots. With this, Winchester deer hunting ammo is more accurate.

Long Distance Shooting

30-30-winchester long range shooting

Both ammo are ideal options for a large game hunting rifle because of their ammo sizes and weights.

Unfortunately, if you aim for longer distance shooting as the 223 Remington ammo, both ammo aren’t right for you.

They perform best in the short distance shooting but have excellent penetration like the 45 Colt.

But the Winchester ammo has a better edge slightly for still performing at 200 to 300 yards.

Pricing

The price of Win ammo is less expensive than the Government magnum ammo. One advantage for the Government magnum ammo is having one of the hottest Government ammo—the 405 grain jacketed flat point ammo manufactured by Buffalo Bore and Remington Core Lokt and is chambered for short-barreled lever-action rifles like the Marlin 1895 and Marlin 336.

You would get more materials with a lever-action 45-70 loads than a 30-30 Winchester ammo, but with the cost per trigger pull, 30-30 Win ammo has the edge. The .30-30 ammunition is still limited, but not quite as bad as .45-70.

Recoil

Even at a shorter range, wherein shooting is generally slower and more meticulous, the drawback still matters to most shooters.

When we used the .30-30 Winchester ammo, we noticed its lighter energy, making our shot easier.

Its less recoil is notable when compared to the 45-70’s heavier recoil. Hence, the 30-30 Winchester ammo nailed this category.

30-30 winchester bullet recoil

Velocity

Neither is considered exceptionally fast like the 223 Remington since they are on the heavier side. However, if velocity is a priority, you will likely prefer the Winchester ammo over the 45-70 Government magnum ammo because it has a muzzle speed of 2,400 feet per second not as high as the velocity of the 223 Remington but relatively higher than the speed of .45-70 Government round at 2,050 fps.

30-30 Winchester Pros & Cons

PROS

CONS

45-70 Government Pros & Cons

PROS

CONS

45-70 or 30-30? We Choose...

In this in-depth comparison between the 45-70 vs 30-30 rounds, our team chooses the 30-30 round because it has significantly reduced drawback and less ammo drop, giving it a flatter trajectory. Since the 30-30 Winchester round is lighter and slimmer, it also has a higher velocity, faster speed, and a slightly more reach than the Government magnum ammo.

Looking for a good read? Here’s our review of the Top-Rated Progressive Reloading Presses in 2020

30-30 winchester bullet

Our #1 Recommendation

30-30 Winchester

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