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sculker 11-17-2008 10:34 PM

H&R Buffalo Classic produces .45-70 rifle as affordable option


For those who enjoy the nostalgic aspects of hunting big game with historical combinations of firearms and ammunition, the resurgence in popularity of the .45-70 Government cartridge is a welcome trend.

Unfortunately, for several years many of those wanting to hunt with a rifle chambered in .45-70 were priced out of the market. Now, owning a modern version of such a rifle is once again obtainable with the reintroduction of the Buffalo Classic Rifle, first introduced by the Harrington & Richardson Gun Company in 1871, which has a selling price in the $500 range.

Ed Kennedy, who owns Ed’s Sports Shop in Tamaqua and is a firearms vendor at gun shows sponsored by the Forks of the Delaware Historical Arms Society, said the price of an antique .45-70 rifle in shooting condition is almost always more than the listed book value. As for purchasing a new target or hunting rifle manufactured by the Montana-based Sharps Rifle Company, the price can exceed $2,000, and European imported replicas of Sharps rifles usually have a selling price of more than $1,000.

“H&R and New England Firearms manufactured affordable, single-shot, break-top firearms for more than 100 years, but sales began to decline in the 1980s because of the popularity of repeating rifles and shotguns,” Kennedy said. “In January 1986, the companies went out of business, but then reappeared in 1991 as H&R 1871, Inc., and added double-action revolvers to its line of break-open rifles and shotguns.

“In 1999, the company ceased its production of revolvers, but the break-top shotguns and rifles are more popular than ever. A lot of people like the idea of using a single-shot shotgun to teach youngsters safety and the importance of making a good shot, and the Buffalo Classic is a great rifle for hunting deer and bear in the woods.

“Marlin Firearms purchased the companies in 2000, and since then they have merged with Remington. H&R and New England Firearms maintain their own identity, and the firearms continue to be manufactured in Gardner, Massachusetts.”

By the early 1870s, the .45-70 was a standard cartridge in use by the U.S. Military, which issued Springfield single-shot trapdoor rifles to infantry units and carbine models of those firearms to Calvary companies. In addition, because of its effective range of 500 yards in the hands of an expert marksman, the 405-grain bullet available for the cartridge made it the caliber of choice for many buffalo hunters on the Western Plains.

Because spent brass casings could expand from the heat produced in the chamber of trapdoor rifles and become difficult to extract, the loading and ejecting systems in single-shot Sharps and Remington rifles made them the choice for civilian use. According to some historical accounts, the military continued using Springfield rifles because President U.S. Grant’s brother, who was in charge of government firearms purchases, received financial consideration from the company.

When the military switched the .30-40 Krag as standard issue in 1892, the .45-70 was still favored by those hunting large and/or dangerous game of all sorts — including the Arizona Rangers, whose lever-action Model 1886 Winchester repeating rifles were chambered in .45-70.

Then, with the advent of smokeless powder allowing for the production of more powerful loads with higher velocities, the .45-70 was already a dinosaur when the United States entered World War I in 1914.

No longer considered state of the art, new and used surplus military and used civilian rifles chambered in .45-70 became readily available and relatively inexpensive.

This trend continued into the early 1970s. Then the demand for these historical firearms began to grow among hunters and target shooters who reloaded their own blackpowder cartridges.

Modern rifles chambered in .45-70 are capable of firing high-velocity factory ammunition, but for those who prefer using historical blackpowder loads for hunting now have that option. At one time, only those who did reloading had access to blackpowder cartridges powerful enough for hunting, but now factory loads in a variety of bullet weights are manufactured by Goex.

Even Buffalo Bill would have to agree that the reintroduction of the H&R 1871 Buffalo Classic has made hunting with a .45-70 rifle more affordable than ever. 3_spo.txt

I love to read about old guns. And this is good news for hunters. If I was rich i would add some cowboy guns to my collection. LOL.

ScottG 11-18-2008 12:30 AM

Well, the replicas aren't that expensive. I thought about getting one of those 45-70 NEFs, but there don't seem to be many around these days.

matt g 11-18-2008 12:59 AM


Originally Posted by ScottG (Post 51074)
Well, the replicas aren't that expensive. I thought about getting one of those 45-70 NEFs, but there don't seem to be many around these days.

The single shot H&Rs retail for about $250.

ScottG 11-18-2008 11:47 PM

Yeah, I know about the price and it's fine, but there aren't any in my area.... :(

HunterOfAnimals 01-15-2009 03:49 AM

I just bought an H&R Buffalo Classic in .45-70, and hope to test fire it this weekend. Has anyone here added a recoil pad or swivels/sling to theirs? Carrying it in my arms with my climber stand on my back won't be much fun, so I'm thinking of adding swivels and a sling.

Are these rifles truly accurate to 200 yards? My Hornady 325 grain ammo lists a drop of 4.1 inches at that range (it also indicates +3 inches at 100 yards).

What size scopes have y'all put on this mammoth boomstick? I'm thinking of using a 3-12 X50.

cpttango30 01-15-2009 01:05 PM

I want one in 45-70 and one in 500 Smtih. Either would make a great eastern yote gun and deer gun. Slap a 2-7 or 3-9x40mm scope on it and call it a day.

putting a 3-12x50 on one of these bigmouths is odd. why do you need so much power. This is a shortrange cartridge unless you chamber the 45-70 in a big long sharps type rifle.

I am not a fan of the 3-9x40 but it is a very good choice for this application. or something even smaller like a 1.75-5x32mm. You don't always have to have the biggest scope you can afford on top of a rifle. I see guys with 6.5x20x50mm scopes on a 30-06 deer rifle that will never see a shot over 200 yards.

Hawg 01-16-2009 09:31 AM

this sucks but
H&R Handi Rifles are legal to hunt with in MS. during primitive weapons season with scopes and smokeless powder in calibers .35 and larger. You can't find a 45-70 anywhere now.

Benning Boy 01-16-2009 01:35 PM


Originally Posted by Hawg (Post 62993)
H&R Handi Rifles are legal to hunt with in MS. during primitive weapons season with scopes and smokeless powder in calibers .35 and larger. You can't find a 45-70 anywhere now.

I've not heard the phrase "primitive weapons" before. Is that essentially muzzleloader and archery?

cpttango30 01-16-2009 10:45 PM

Benning yes a primitive weapon is a front stuffer or recuve bow.

skullcrusher 01-17-2009 04:07 PM

The State of Ohio used to have a "primitive weapon" season. That included all archery (including crossbows, compound and recurve) and black powder rifles. A few years back, they did away with the term and now have archery, shotgun and muzzleloader seasons. I don't know why, but now muzzleloader season is only 4 days instead of the 4 months of what is now archery season.

These days, the in-line muzzleloaders are hardly primitive.

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