The 44 Mag vs 45-70: What’s the Difference?

There is a lot of debate surrounding the 44 mag vs 45-70 cartridge debate. Both calibers are popular lever gun choices, but what are the fundamental differences between them? 

In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of each cartridge type. We will also look at which cartridge is better for hunting big game animals and self-defense purposes. 

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – so which cartridge do you prefer and why?

Table of Contents

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Each Cartridge Type?

The 44 mag vs 45-70 cartridge debate is a popular topic of discussion among gun owners and enthusiasts. The 44 magnums were first introduced in 1955 by Smith & Wesson to improve their Model 29 revolver, which had been chambered for .44 Special cartridges since 1934. 

It took some time before other manufacturers followed suit. Today, there are numerous options available for 44 magnum guns – both handguns and rifles alike.  

  1. One advantage with the 44 Magnum cartridge is its size. While not quite as big as other rifle calibers like the 30-06 or 300 Weatherby Mag, this round still packs enough punch to stop large animals like deer elk at relatively close range. In addition, the 44 mag has less recoil than some of the larger rifle calibers, making it a bit more manageable for those who may not be as comfortable shooting a bigger gun.
  2. On the downside, there is some debate over whether or not the 44 Magnum round is genuinely effective for hunting larger game animals at longer ranges compared to other rounds like the 45-70. Some hunters feel that while the 44mag is excellent for taking down deer or elk up close, it may not have enough power to take them down at greater distances. 
  3. The 45-70 cartridge was first introduced back in 1873 and has been used by civilians and military personnel alike ever since. It got its name from being able to fire a bullet .45 inches in diameter and 70 grains of powder. 
  4. The 45-70 has a fair amount of recoil, which some people may find uncomfortable. This recoil may lead to inaccuracy for people not used to handling a bigger recoil cartridge. This makes it a more practical hunting cartridge for taking down larger animals like elk or deer at longer ranges. In addition, many hunters feel that the 45-70 has better terminal ballistics than the 44 Magnum, meaning that it is more likely to cause significant damage to an animal when hit. 
  5. Compared with 44 magnum cartridges, 45-70 rounds can fire much further distances than their 44 magnum counterparts, which makes them ideal for hunting big game like elk or moose at long range. However, they have some drawbacks as a result of the larger recoil force, which could lead to inaccuracy.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get good results if you practice enough. One other negative aspect about these rounds is that not all guns accept both types, so make sure you look into it before purchasing any firearm, because there will be limitations on what ammo you can use.

44 mag vs 45-70

Which Cartridge Is Better for Hunting Big Game Animals Like Elk or Deer?

If you’re an avid hunter, then this question is probably something that has crossed your mind at some point. In most cases, 44 magnum cartridges are better suited for hunting big game animals like elk or moose because they can fire further distances, making them more effective than 45-70 rounds, which only have a maximum range of about 500 yards.

However, if the distance isn’t an issue and accuracy matters more to the user, 44 magnums might not be as good, since those guns usually don’t come with sights attached. So, instead, it would make sense to buy one equipped with open or peep sights (which allow users to see through tiny holes on either side). 

If neither option appeals to you but you still want something that can take down large animals, then 44 magnums might just be what you’re looking for. 

Which Would Be Best To Hunt American Game?

The 44 Magnum and 45-70 are rifle cartridges that shoot heavier bullets than the regular pistol rounds. The heavier bullets mean that these two cartridges can be used for hunting American big game animals like elk or moose. 

Some people prefer 44 Mags over 45-70s because they’re easier on the shooter’s wrist and hand when firing multiple shots in succession (i.e., rapid-fire).

However, if you need better accuracy, this may not matter much – just remember practicing your shooting skills.

What About Self-Defense Purposes? Which Cartridge Is More Effective In Stopping An Attacker Dead In Their Tracks?

Again, this is a question that doesn’t have a definitive answer. In general, though, it could be said that the 45-70 cartridge might be more effective for self-defense purposes than the 44 mags because of its larger size and ability to cause more damage. 

However, it’s important to remember that stopping an attacker isn’t just about using the biggest or most potent round available – shot placement is also crucial. 

People who use single-shot rifles often choose 44 magnum caliber bullets because they’re easier on the shooter’s hand than 45-70 rounds. However, some shooters may opt for 45-70 cartridges instead due to their larger size and ability to cause more damage at further distances (which makes sense if hunting big game like elk). 

45-70 loads also tend to be more accurate than 44 magnum rounds because they have less recoil and don’t require as much effort from the user.

Ultimately, It Comes Down to Personal Preference – So Which Cartridge Do You Prefer and Why?

Overall, most gun enthusiasts agree that 45-70s are outstanding all-around weapons whether they’re being used as rifles or pistols. They have many applications within hunting and self-defense scenarios, making them an excellent option for those who want something versatile. 


Both 44 Magnum and 45-70 rounds have their own unique pros and cons, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference as to which one you prefer. The 44 mag vs 45-70 debate should now be clearer for you, whether you’re aiming for success with a hunting rifle in a single shot or going for self-defense.

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