Article Image 45 90 vs 45 70: Why 45-70 Government is the Best Cowboy Round


45 90 vs 45 70: Why 45-70 Government is the Best Cowboy Round

Written by Sam Jacobs Subject: American History

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The wide-spread adoption of the metallic cartridge shortly after the close of the American Civil War signaled a massive step forward in firearms technology. Many iconic cartridges emerged during the period between 1865 and 1890, cartridges like the 45 Colt, the 38-40 WCF, and the 44-40 Win, just to name a few.

However, two of the most iconic lever action rifle cartridges developed during this time were the 45-90 Winchester Center Fire (WCF) and 45-70 Government. The 45-70 has endured the test of time and is still in use today as a hunting round while the 45-90 has fallen into relative obscurity and is typically only seen in antique firearms or at Cowboy Action Shooting competitions.

Although many of our caliber comparisons are too close to call, this is a rather simple one as the 45-70 is still in use while the 45 90 is obsolete. If you own an older 45-90 and want to shoot it, you have to reload as there are no ammo manufacturers who are currently making factory ammo for the cartridge.

This alone drives away most shooters and custom reloading companies like Buffalo Bore make incredibly powerful loads for the 45-70 that far exceeds the potential the 45 90 offers.

If you really want a 45 90 you can get one, just know the limitations before you drop your coin on an antique rifle.

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