One of the most popular and talked about rifle cartridges for big game is the 45-70 Government–and for good reason. The 45-70 is a great, hard hitting round that has been around for a very long time.
Because it has been around for so long, there is a massive following with a few different companies making guns for it.
I’m not going to discuss the history or ballistics of the 45-70 Govt this time around, because you can find our in-depth article covering all of that info, when you push on that link.
Instead, this time, we’re going to talk about 45-70 handguns.
Is there a 45-70 handgun?
Yes, you’ll be ecstatic to hear that there are 45-70 handguns made by a couple manufacturers. One of the more famous is the BFR (Biggest Finest Revolver) made by Magnum Research.
If you’re not familiar with the name “Magnum Research,” they’re the ones who make one of the most famous handguns ever produced, the Desert Eagle.
The above-pictured revolver with the 7.5 inch barrel, is the gun in question. It is chambered in 45-70, and holds 5-rounds. There are also 10″ models, as well as one called Thunder Snub, with a 3 inch barrel that is likely suitable for dangerous game encounters, as a last resort.
Why do 45-70 handguns have a long barrel?
The 45-70 handguns (usually) have a long barrel for a couple of reasons. First, is for improved ballistics. Second, is for recoil control.
Taking a more in depth look, the 45-70 Gov is traditionally a rifle cartridge. And because it is, it helps the bullet to reach better ballistics when fired from a longer barrel. That doesn’t mean that the 3″ snub doesn’t do well, because it does.
It’s also well documented that a heavier gun will do more to help absorb a gun’s recoil. Having the longer barrel adds more weight, which, in turn, helps you to control your recoil better.
Also, there is something to be said for the increased accuracy with a longer sight radius, as an added benefit for any firearm.
What do you use a 45-70 Govt handgun for?
Primarily, the 45-70 Government chambered handgun, like the above-pictured BFR from Magnum Research, is used for dangerous animal defense, or handgun hunting where applicable.
It’s also a heck of a lot of fun to shoot if you’re into punishing your hands with a big bore, big powder charge round like this one.
It’s not ideal for self-defense or concealed carry, unless you have no other options.
What is the most powerful handgun?
While it’s hard to give an exact answer, it’d have to be a big revolver like this one chambered in a big bore cartridge like the 45-70 Government, 450 Marlin, or 500 S&W Magnum.
Also noteworthy are smaller cartridges in smaller, more easily attainable revolvers like the Ruger Redhawk in 44 Magnum.
Is a 45-70 worth buying?
That depends on what your needs are. If you find yourself out in grizzly country on a regular basis and have the need to defend yourself against a big, charging bear, then yes. Getting a BFR in 45-70 is a fine option.
However, if you don’t have the need, the ammo is very expensive and can be hard to find, especially during an ammo shortage like we’ve had for the past couple years.
Is there a 45-70 handgun? Yes, there is, but they’re not cheap to buy or shoot, even if they are a lot of fun at the range. At the end of the day, if you find yourself in dangerous game territory, it might be a good thing to have on your hip, just in case.