The .45-70-500 was developed to replace the aging .50-70. It was developed to reliably kill horses at 600 yards with the intent of unmounting the greatest cavalry of the day, the American Indian. Pay no attention to the critic. The .45-70 is the cartridge of choice at the Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Nationals at the NRA Whittington Center, at Raton New Mexico. The last shoot I was at has 120 shooters from all over the US and Canada and a few from foreign countries. The shooters strive for small groups at 1000 yards. Even with the rainbow trajectory of the cartridge, some of the shooters are shooting 12 inch groups. In the initial testing of the cartridge at Sandy Hook the maximum extreme range was gauged at about 4200 yards.
Shooters at Whittington preferred the Sharps rifle in .45-70, however, there was probably 20% of the shooters who were shooting Trapdoors.
.40-90's and .45-110's were later developed for the Sharps rifles that had enough weight to absorb the recoil, and then they were not shot in 100 round matches, unless the shooter was begging for a leaking hemotoma. The rolling block does not have the mass to handle the Sharps cartridges. It will do just fine with the -70.
My great grandfather was employed as a hunter by Fort Wallace and shot buffalo as a business for 2 years using the .50-70.
500 gr Govt bullet, 405 hollow base carbine bullet, and 3 ball load.
Original cartridges from Fort Wallace. The first 2 are .50-70 and the rest are .45-70. One of the .50's is a balloon head.
My great great grandfather used the .50-70, in a rifle of about 13 pounds, and killed on the average 70 head a day to feed the 3000 railroad workers and the 400 soldiers at the fort. The intent was to decimate the buffalo herds to force the Cheyenne back onto the reservation. The Sand Creek massacre had happened within about 40 miles of there just 6 years before.
The .50 is not a small cartridge.
solid head and balloon head cartridge.
Being as I possess these cartridges, the rifle that they were used in, and the papers in his writing describing the hunts, I know this to be true. The .45-70 outshines the .50, and by my estimation would shoot through a buff at reasonable shooting ranges. I shot a nice muley buck with my TDS with a 500 at 240 yards and it was a pass through, and the buck was anchored in his tracks. I have no doubt that the .45-70-500 would anchor an American Bison with proper shot placement, and with a pass through at logical range. Buffalo possess a huge amount of blood compared to cattle or horses, and if lung shot do take a minute or so to bleed out. It is all about shot placement and if some pilgrim gut shoots one, it does not matter whether it is a .45-70, or a .45-120, it is still a slob shot.
Bring your RB, Bernie, I will bring my rifle, we will meet Hockey at Whittington Center Black Powder Cartridge Nationals and have a put up or shut up match, what do you say? Make sure you bring your 120!