45-70 vs 450 Bushmaster – Key Differences & Why It Matters

450 Bushmaster Vs 45 70 header
Alfred Mendoza
In the shooting community, the eternal tussle about 450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 being the better straight-wall cartridge is still a hot topic. Most shooters always find it tough to decide which is better between the two. Although personal preference, shooting styles, and rifle brands are the main deciding factors, having an in-depth comparison might help you decide better.

The 450 Bushmaster is a heavy ammunition with a large diameter and spectrum designed for the AR-15 platform and M16 rifles. It is a fast cartridge with a flat trajectory that shoots perfectly at 250 yards. In comparison, the 45-70 Government cartridge features a smokeless effect with its special gunpowder, which can propel up to 1350 muzzle velocity.

Specification Chart

450 Bushmaster

  • Brand: LeMag Firearms/ Bushmaster Firearms International
  • Model: Bushmaster 450
  • Bullet Size: 250 grains
  • Bullet Diameter: .452 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 1.7 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,274 foot-pounds
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 1,515 feet per second
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,686 foot-pounds
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,200 feet per second


  • Brand: U.S. Army’s Springfield Armory
  • Model: Government 45-70
  • Bullet Size: 300 grains
  • Bullet Diameter: .458 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 2.105 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,355 foot-pounds
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 1,425 feet per second
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,355 foot-pounds
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1,880 feet per second

Detailed Comparison


In this category, the Government 45-70 factory ammo wins against the 450 Bushmaster. The price of a 450 Bushmaster is double the price of a 45-70, which makes it hard for hunters to root for the 450 Bushmaster.

Bushmaster 450 & 45-70 Trajectory

We have tested these high-quality rounds to check which has a better trajectory. After doing so, we have decided to give this point to 450 Bushmaster due to its higher muzzle velocity. The 450 Bushmaster has the flattest trajectory that retains the most energy and outperforms the 45-70 in terms of wind drift.

However, even if the Government 45-70 cartridge does have a relatively arching trajectory, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to use it for long-range shooting. But the downside is, it would be very challenging to do so.

45-70 trajectory

Long Distance Shooting

The 450 Bushmaster earns another badge in this department. The 45-70 falls short, for it performs better in short-range shootings. Although it shoots seamlessly at 250 yards, it makes a drop in shooting in longer ranges. Since the 450 Bushmaster was initially designed to work in an AR-15 and other bolt-action rifles, it can shoot better for long-range hunting games.

Love hunting? Read a comparison of hunting rifles, Remington 783 and 700.

450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 Loading Type

When it comes to loading types, the 45-70 walks over the 450 Bushmaster because it provides more options for loading types in contrast to the 450 Bushmaster round’s limited options. 

The Government 45-70 offers modern loading types such as Ruger No. 1, the Marlin 1895, and Trapdoor Springfields. 

The 45-70 features three pressure/power levels that one can have in the original black powder/trapdoor level, modern lever-action/Marlin level, and bolt action/Ruger #1 level.

450 bushmaster loading

Bullet Weights

Firearms manufacturers produce the 450 Bushmaster and Government 45-70 for the use of the Army. So, both have heavyweights and are dangerous. The 450 Bushmaster has fewer options for weights, for it uses pistol sized bullets. On the contrary, the 45-70 offers tons of weight options for you with its rifle size bullets ranging from 225 to 500 grains, while the Bushmaster ranges from 158 to 300 grains.

45-70 Government & 450 Bullet Energy

Having a muzzle velocity of 2,100 fps to 2,200 fps, the 450 Bushmaster is undoubtedly not a slow cartridge. Even with its 250-grain or 260-grain bullet delivering 2,800 ft/lbs of kinetic energy at the muzzle, it’s no wonder shooters call it a beast in target shooting. 

The 450 Bushmaster has plenty of knockdown power to stop everything from feral hogs to elk and even bears within its designated target range of 250 yards. If you’d look at the chart above, you’ll see that the 45-70 marginally falls short with its muzzle energy compared to the 450 Bushmaster. With this, the 450 Bushmaster takes another point.

Related article: 224 Valkyrie vs 6.5 Creedmoor Comparison

45-70 & 450 bullet test

450 Bushmaster Pros & Cons



45-70 Government Pros & Cons



450 Bushmaster or 45-70 Government - Which is Better?

If the team were to choose between the 450 Bushmaster vs 45-70 Government, we’d say that the 45-70 Government is the better choice. Although it falls short to some aspects against the 450 Bushmaster, having more options in the reloading bench and being more affordable is a huge advantage. The 45-70 round has proven its worth for the past hundred years. 

Anyway, their differences aren’t that significant in most aspects. So if you’d still want to purchase a 450 Bushmaster, the choice is always yours. Either way, both rounds are accurate and worth your every penny.

The 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel are great alternatives as rifle bullets. We recommend to check it out too.

45-70 Government

Our #1 Recommendation

45-70 Government

2 thoughts on “45-70 vs 450 Bushmaster – Key Differences & Why It Matters”

  1. I built my 450 by mistake. I ordered 4, 10.5″ barrels chambered in 556 and received 4 18″ barrels chambered in 450BM. So why not I thought, what the worst that could happen? Well, out of all my hunting calibers from 300blk to 300winmag the 450BM has been a performer time and time again. On my first pig hunt, pigs came in, i took aim. We all counted down 3, 2, 1, and fire on 1. My pig died quickly and right where it was standing. The other guys who were using a 308 and 6.5 Creedmoor lost their pigs, they were hit but ran off. EVERY other time we’d go hunt pigs, id bring my trusty 450 which I have nicknamed “The Hog Hammer”. NOTHING has EVER walked away from the 450. Recoil is obviously more than a 556/223 but very manageable. Ammo, can still be found, even during the “pandemic”. And the best thing is, it takes one round to drop your prey. A 30 round mag will hold 8 rounds. Thats 8 ethical kills, when using proper marksmanship skills. Its a great round and a great choice for a hunting rifle.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Last year I shot a monster of a deer , body wise. When I shot him I could see the shock wave on his body when the bullet struck him. He walked about 20 yards and fell.

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