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{TOP 5} Best Scope for .45-70 Guides and Reviews

Best Scope for .45-70 reviews

If you’re hurry, check top 5 scopes for .45-70 on the market:

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout

2. Monstrum P330-B Marksman 3X Prism Scope

3. Leupold VX-3i 2.5-8x36mm Riflescope

4. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope

5. Trijicon RM07-C-700679 RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight

Initially designed in 1873, the 45-70 was one of the first long range rifle cartridges. A skilled shooter could reliably hit the standard Army target at ranges of up to 600 yards. Although this is nothing compared to modern long range cartridges, the 45-70 has still maintained popularity to this day. That is mostly thanks to the 45-70’s combination of stopping power and relatively low velocity. Combined with one of the best scopes for 45-70 rifles, a firearm chambered in 45-70 is still an extremely useful weapon.

The 45-70 cartridge is acceptable for hunting any big game found in North America. However, it does not have to be a dedicated big game rifle. When used on smaller game, such as whitetail deer or wild hogs, the comparatively low velocity of this round will not destroy game meat. This cartridge, also sometimes called the .45 Government, has even been used to hunt the Big Five in Africa. When reloaded with the appropriate bullets and grains, it has even successfully taken down elephants.

The bottom line is that the 45-70 can still be incredibly useful for hunters today. It is especially effective when hunting in thick brush or heavily forested areas where shooting ranges will often be short. Commonly chambered in lever action rifles, a 45-70 in that configuration would make for an excellent hog hunting rifle.

Iron sights can provide plenty of accuracy on a 45-70 rifle especially when shooting at shorter ranges. However, a scope can help shooters extend their effective range while also drawing the most accuracy out of modern 45-70 cartridges. The very steep trajectory of this round makes it more difficult to be accurate with at longer ranges without some sort of optical assistance. Luckily, there are plenty of scope options on the market today and the list below will help you find the best scope for 45-70 rifles available right now.

{TOP 5} Best Scope for .45-70 Guides and Reviews

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout

Vortex Optics is known for making high-quality optics and for standing behind their products. The Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout is an excellent option for a 45-70 rifle and pairs particularly well with lever-action and scout style rifles. With an ample 9.45 inches of eye relief, the Crossfire II Scout allows shooters to take aim with both eyes open. With practice, this can lead to faster target acquisition. If you plan to jump shoot deer or wild hogs in brushy areas with your .45-70, strongly consider the Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout scope.

ReticleEye Relief (inches)Weight (oz)
V-Plex9.4512.0

2. Monstrum P330-B Marksman 3X Prism Scope

For a less traditional option, take a look at the P330-B Marksman 3x Prism Scope from Monstrum. This scope features an illuminated circle dot reticle. Not to be mistaken for a red dot scope where the dot is only visible when turned on, the P330-B Marksman’s circle dot reticle is visible and usable whether the illumination is turned on or off.

When compared to a traditional refracting lens system, prism style scopes offer superior optical quality and light transmission in a smaller package. This scope won’t get caught on anything or otherwise hinder your ability to quickly shoulder your rifle. The single piece, 6061 aircraft grade aluminum housing helps to guarantee that this scope will hold zero on even the hardest kicking rifles. Additionally, the anodized finish on this scope will allow it to endure extremely wet and rough conditions.

ReticleEye Relief (inches)Weight (oz)
Illuminated Circle Dot3 – 3.517

3. Leupold VX-3i 2.5-8x36mm Riflescope

Leupold is another venerated name in the riflescope and hunting optics industry. They are known for quality, reliability, and durability. The VX-3i 2.5-8x36mm model pairs well with many 45-70 rifles. The magnification range is ideal for the capabilities of the 45-70 cartridge. On the low end, it can comfortably be used in thick brush or heavily wooded lots. On the high end, it will get you on target for shots on game out to 200 yards and beyond.

Featuring Leupold’s Twilight Management System is a lens coating that helps to offer shooters 10 extra minutes at both dawn and dusk. When hunting in woodlots and other thick vegetation areas where the light seems to disappear more quickly, this feature can be the difference between success and failure. We all know those big bucks tend to come out just when it’s a bit too dark to shoot!

ReticleEye Relief (inches)Weight (oz)
Duplex4.5 – 3.611.4

4. UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Scope

Durability is the name of the game with the UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope. If you want a scope that can take a beating and keep on performing, the BugBuster is definitely one to consider. In addition to the durability, this scope also features an illuminated mil-dot reticle for range finding and accurate holdovers in any lighting conditions, an adjustable objective, and quick detach mounting rings among several other features.

It would be a challenge to beat this scope when on a low budget. Sure, it might not outperform more expensive scopes, but it will get most jobs done just fine especially when paired with a 45-70 rifle.

ReticleEye Relief (inches)Weight (oz)
Illuminated Mil-Dot3.2 – 4.213.9

5. Trijicon RM07-C-700679 RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight

For the hunter who hunts exclusively in heavy brush, thick woods, or other short range situations, the Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight is one of the best options available. This applies to both rifles and pistols. Yes, there are some handguns chambered in 45-70 and they would also benefit greatly from the addition of this sight.

The Trijicon name needs no introduction. It is well known for producing some of the best red dot sights available on the market today. Extremely rapid target acquisition, superior reticle visibility, and outstanding durability (thank you military grade aluminum forged housing!) set the RMR Type 2 apart from other holographic sights. Don’t be fooled by knock off versions of holographic sights. The Trijicon blows them out of the water in every way possible.

ReticleEye Relief (inches)Weight (oz)
6.5 MOA Red DotInfinite1.17

Buyer’s Guide for 45-70 Scopes

There are a few different things to keep in mind when shopping for a scope for a .45-70 rifle. Let’s dive right into them.

Target Acquisition

Target acquisition speed is key when using a 45-70 rifle. They perform best in thick brush and heavy cover where shot ranges tend to be short. That type of cover also usually means that shot windows don’t last long. If it takes you a long time to find your target through your scope, it will probably be gone before you even get your finger on the trigger. 

Some things that affect target acquisition speed are reticle design, reticle illumination, field of view, and light transmission. A reticle with a more simple design helps to increase target acquisition speed because there is less clutter to confuse your eye. Illumination helps in low light and overcast conditions while field of view and light transmission contribute to locating the target more quickly through the glass of the scope.

Durability

The 45-70 cartridge is a hefty load and can deal a solid punch of recoil. A scope that isn’t durable will have trouble holding a zero after a few shots. That can lead to missed shots or poorly placed shots and no hunter wants that. A 45-70 rifle is also commonly used in dense thickets and heavy brush. Sticks and branches can quickly scratch up your brand new scope.

Look for a scope with a glass etched reticle, a high-quality finish such as anodized, multi-coated lenses, and o-ring sealed scopes that have been purged with a neutral gas like nitrogen.

Magnification

A ton of magnification isn’t really necessary for a 45-70 rifle scope. Although it was designed as a long range cartridge, the trajectory is so steep that ethical hunters will want to keep most of their shots to about a maximum of 200 yards. The margin for error and the range of factors affecting the shot, along with the huge bullet drop, just get too large for anyone except the most dedicated and well-practiced shooters. 

When you are shopping for a variable power scope for a 45-70 rifle, look for one with a max magnification of no more than 9x. For fixed power scopes, somewhere in the 2x to 4x range is ideal.

Scope Mount

When you are shopping for a 45-70 rifle scope, don’t neglect to think about the scope mount and rings. If you are on a budget, make sure to leave enough room to afford a quality scope mount if required along with a set of quality mounting rings. The connection between your new scope and your rifle is very important when it comes to holding a zero.

It might be tempting to cut corners on the mount, but you will be thankful you invested in a solid option when push comes to shove. 

FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about .45-70 rifles answered for your convenience.

What is the effective range of a 45-70?

To answer this question accurately, first we have to understand what our definition of effective is. Are we talking about the range at which the bullet is still technically carrying lethal energy or the range at which the average hunter should limit themselves to remain ethical?

If it is the prior, the 45-70 has an effective range of over 1000 yards. In fact, one early test found that the bullet of a 45-70 carried enough energy to cause lethal wounds at 3500 yards. However, that circumstance was in a volley shooting method for the military. Single target engagements were limited to 1000 yards.

However, most of you reading this article want the answer using the latter definition of effective. The average hunter would be wise to limit their maximum shot distance on game animals to about 200 yards. A 45-70 cartridge with a 405 grain bullet and a muzzle velocity of 1,350 feet per second will drop approximately 22 inches at 200 yards. By the time that bullet reaches 300 yards, it will drop approximately 75 inches! That is just too much drop to make a clean and safe shot on game.

What game animals can I safely hunt with the 45-70?

The 45-70 is capable of ethically harvesting any big game animal in North America including moose, elk, and grizzly bear. It can also be used on smaller game such as whitetail deer and wild hogs without damaging the meat. With the correct loads, the 45-70 has even been used to hunt the Big Five in Africa.

How accurate is the 45-70?

Many different factors contribute to accuracy. Rifle quality, shooter skill, environmental conditions all affect accuracy. While it is nearly impossible to answer this question absolutely definitively without more specific information, it is safe to say that the 45-70 is accurate enough to consistently put shots into vital zones on game animals at effective ranges.

When the 45-70 was developed, the minimum acceptable accuracy was a 4 inch group at 100 yards. That is still entirely obtainable today with modern rifles and cartridges. It can even be improved upon. However, you won’t be covering three shot groups with a quarter like some modern rifles are capable of producing.

What types of firearms can I buy chambered in 45-70?

The most common type of 45-70 rifle is a lever action. These allow for quick follow up shots and are great for jump shooting game animals such as wild hogs. For those who don’t want a lever action, single shot rifles are also available. The 45-70 is so powerful that one shot is more than enough on most game animals with a well-placed shot.

There are even some revolvers chambered in 45-70 out there. While I can’t imagine them being much fun to shoot, they do exist if you want to go that route.

Wrapping It Up

There is a lot of information to take in about the 45-70 and this article barely scratches the surface. However, it will hopefully give you a good idea about what to look for when shopping for a scope, some of the best scopes for 45-70 to consider purchasing, and an idea of what you can expect from shooting and hunting with a 45-70 rifle.

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