Best 45-70 Scopes – 2020 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

The .45-70 or simply the .45 Government cartridge was initially designed by the US army for infantry use in 1873. Their goal was better range and accuracy, and at that time, the .45 caliber rifle served the purpose. 

This cartridge has made its way into sports. It’s very common in big game hunting, which involves closer targets. If you are going to use it in hunting, you are going to need a scope that will fit your rifle. Let’s take a look at some of the best scopes for a .45-70 rifle. But, before that, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Comparison Chart of the Best .45-70 Scopes

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC 1” Waterproof Matte Riflescope

  • Variable magnification of 3-9X
  • Best overall scope for .45-70 rifle
  • Includes a 100 yards parallax setting
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Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

  • Runner-up best scope for .45-70
  • Variable magnification of 3-9X for versatility in use
  • Objective lens measures 40mm. for sharper image quality
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BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope

  • Best for money scope for your .45-70
  • 1 inch mounting tube ensures ease of use
  • Magnification scope with a range of 6.5-20X
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UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope

  • Mounting tube is 1 inch long
  • 32 mm lens for a sharper field of view
  • Variable magnification scope with a range of 3-9X
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Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope

  • Measures11.5 inches in length
  • Objective lens measures 32mm
  • Variable magnification with the range of 2-7X
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How Accurate is a 45-70?

A .45-70-405 cartridge means:

  • Caliber is 0.45 inches.
  • Powder charge is 70 grains.

The effective range is about 1,000 yards. The variation of this rifle that uses bullets weighing 500 grains or 32.5 grams has a range of 3,500 yards. Its average speed is about 1,394 ft. /sec.

The range and accuracy of the rifle depends on a lot of things like the windage, elevation, and also the experience of the shooter. At higher altitudes, the bullet trajectory increases due to lower wind resistance. 

The ammunition is what is fired from the gun. It includes a primer, propellant, projectiles, and a casing. When you pull the trigger, it hits the primer, which in turn ignites the propellant, which provides the push or energy for the bullet to move. If the propellant is not ignited completely, it will affect the velocity of the bullet.

It is overall a decent hunting rifle.

Are All .45-70 Scopes The Same? 

Scopes vary depending on their characteristics. They offer different things and are made for certain purposes. Scopes that are good for short-range hunting might not be that good for long-range shooting.

Magnification

Magnification determines how far you can see without getting a blurred image. It is the primary job of the scope, so this is an important factor.

There are two major types of scopes, depending on their magnification i.e., fixed and variable. A fixed power scope will give the option of only one magnification. A variable power scope will give you a range of options to choose from. 

This is just like a camera lens. Some are zoomable, and some are prime/non-zoomable.

Mount

Mounts and rings are very important. They hold the scope firmly in place so that it won’t wobble or move during shooting, and ruin your target. Solid steel mounts will be better and more durable. 

Lens Quality

The lens is what captures the image. If it is low-quality, all other things won’t matter. A bigger size lens allows more light to pass through, creating sharper images. Every lens these days has a coating to reduce light flare, so that should not be a problem, but it won’t hurt to check before buying.

How Do I Choose a Scope For My .45-70?

Some things to consider when buying your scope:

Eye Relief

This factor is probably the more important one. Rifles usually have a strong kick-back reaction, especially this one. If you keep the scope too close to your eye, you might end up damaging it. So it is important to maintain a certain distance.

Quality Lens

As mentioned above, the lens is the most important part of the scope. You use a scope to get a clear image of the target. A lens that has flares or is scratched will not give you the result you want. 

Durability

Since you will probably be using this for hunting, you will be in rough conditions. A little fall or some rocks should not ruin your scope. A .45-70 round has a lot of recoil, so the scope should be able to handle that as well. Also, if you are going to be spending some money on anything, it should last you a long while.

Magnification

The scope does not necessarily need to have high magnification. This is a short-range rifle, so magnification is not as important as accuracy. A parallax adjuster will help you hit the target in one go.

Review of the Best .45-70 Scopes

Now, let’s look at in-depth reviews of our top-picked models to see which one best suits your needs.

Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40 BDC

Pros

  • Provides good eye relief
  • Waterproof, shockproof and fog proof
  • Uses Bullet drop Compensators (BDC)
  • Features positive-click reticle adjustments
  • Has multi-coated lenses for optimum light transmission

Cons

  • Not fit for smaller rifles

What Recent Buyers Report

This product gets great reviews from its users. Nobody had any problems using it. Users report that it zeroes in quickly and gives a clear image. The BDC reticle also works well. The Nikon name and its good warranty give customers confidence in this scope, and it certainly seems to pay off.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Nikon has long proven itself in the field of optics. It uses only good quality materials. This scope uses Nikon’s BDC reticle for better target acquisition. What it basically does is use small circles to allow the shooter to achieve a more accurate target. Its lenses are completely coated, which allows for better images, even in low-light conditions.

Who Will Use This Most

The .45-70 is mainly used for short-range purposes. It should give accurate results up to 1000 yards. It is not that heavy and is waterproof, so if you are planning on shooting in misty conditions, you should be fine.

Bottom Line

This is one of Nikon’s best and most durable scopes. It has sturdy material and also good eye protection. It gives vivid and colorful images that are clear. The positive click reticle adjustment allows it to zero in on the target faster. Its low magnification is great for low range rifles like .45-70.

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm

Pros

  • Eye relief of about 3.3 inches
  • Waterproof as well as fog proof
  • Lenses are multi-coated to prevent flare
  • Hass elevation and windage adjustment option
  • Lenses use Dusk and Dawn Brightness (DDB) for accurate shooting, even in low light

Cons

  • Adjustment Knobs are not smooth

What Recent Buyers Report

For customers, this is a great quality scope at a surprisingly low price. It stays in place, even with strong recoil. The DDB coating also works well and gives clear and sharp images. Many people use it to shoot at 100-yard ranges, where it works great and has received good reviews.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit gives clear images and accurate targets at all times of the day. The elevation and windage adjustment gives the shooter more control. The material is also very strong and can handle harsh conditions. The lenses are also well protected and have multi-coating that gives more vivid results. At a small price, it delivers great quality.

Who Will Use This Most

It has little magnification power, so it is more suited for low range shooting or hunting. Many people use it for deer hunting. If you shoot at night or at dawn, this unit will be good for you. It has been well tested and has proven results when used for shooting at 100 to 200 yards. So, you can use it with your .45-70 cartridge and get precise results.

Bottom Line

This is a very affordable model for your .45-70 cartridge. It is sturdy and durable; therefore, it’s a good investment. It works in all kinds of lighting conditions. The multi reticle adjustment system and windage and elevation adjustment make it precise. The product also has good eye protection, with about 3.3 inches of space between your eye and the scope.

Barska AC10048 Varmint 6.5-20x50 Rifle Scope Target Dot Reticle Adjustable Objective

Pros

  • Decent eye relief of 3.6 inches
  • Objective lens has a parallax adjustment
  • Can be adjusted for windage and elevation
  • Lenses have multi-coating for better optics
  • Water, fog and shockproof, ensuring durability

Cons

  • Does not work well at long ranges

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit is very low-priced and gives good results. For most users, it is better suited for low range shooting. At 100 yards, it seems to work great, which is what we are really looking for in this article. What initially attracts customers is the low-price, but once they buy it and use it, they are surprised by the results. People end up recommending it and buying more.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The crosshair reticle is fine and thin, giving excellent precision. The lenses have multi-coating and give clear images. You can also correct for parallax, windage, and elevation for a more accurate target. These settings allow it to be used in different environments and still give accurate results. All that at an extremely low price is amazing.

Who Will Use This Most

Like most of the models on this list, this one is also suited for low range shooting. But this unit also has variations in magnification if you want a longer range scope. For .45-70 cartridges, it works fine. The 50mm lens also allows great light gathering capability so you can get precise targets, even if the light is not that great.

Bottom Line

This unit is budget-friendly and gives good value for money. For a short-range hunt, instead of buying the expensive models, you can use this and still get precise shots. It covers everything a good scope should have, including parallax, windage, and elevation. So if you don’t want to spend too much on a scope, then this is highly recommended.

UTG 3-9X32 1' BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings

Pros

  • Has an adjustable objective for better focus
  • Water, shock and fog-proof, ensuring longevity
  • ¼ MOA for windage and elevation adjustments
  • Great eye relief ensures comfort and ease of use
  • Comes with two lithium batteries for an illuminated reticle

Cons

  • Not suitable for low-light target acquisition

What Recent Buyers Report

Though this is a low range scope, some users have used it at even 300 yards from the target with good results. It is durable and has lasted for a long time. Its eye relief is good for almost everyone. The fact that it can keep its adjustment settings is a good plus for everyone.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The lock system in this model is very resistant. Your settings will not change accidentally. It uses a Mil-dot reticle for better precision. It can withstand strong weather conditions and recoil. This is good for a .45-70 rifle. It also has 2-inch sunshades and very good eye protection.

Who Will Use This Most

This product will be best suited when there is good lighting. The magnification is not too large but suitable for low ranges. So, any individual shooting or hunting game at day time can use this scope. The weather condition does not matter that much. It gives good control of windage and elevation settings. For an experienced shooter, there should be no problem.

Bottom Line

This has a good one-click MOA adjustment, a mil-dot reticle, and you can also fix parallax error. This makes shooting your target easier and more accurate. The lens produces clear and vivid images. It has a compact and lightweight design, which makes carrying it easier. The material is sturdy and durable at a very low cost.

Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope (Nikoplex)

Pros

  • Good eye relief of 3.8 inches
  • Lenses are multi-coated for durability
  • Designed with a quick focus eyepiece
  • Features ¼ positive click reticle adjustment
  • Water, shock and fog proof, ensuring reliability

Cons

  • Has a lower magnification

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the buyers give it perfect reviews. The ones that don’t get good results are using it for long ranges. But this is not made for that. The lens gives good, clear images. Even older shooters that might have trouble with sight use it easily. The eye relief is also good for most people.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope transmits 98% of the available light, so it can give better optics. It has spring-loaded adjustment knobs and lets you zero in on the target quicker. It also retains its settings. Because it uses Nikoplex reticle, target acquisition is made easier as you can focus your eye on one spot only.

Who Will Use This Most

This is not for long-range shooting. It has a 2-7X range that is used for short ranges, probably around 100 yards. This range is good for hunting. The lens captures and transmits almost all of the light, so low-light conditions may not be a problem. But don’t use it in too dark conditions as its lens is 32mm.

Bottom Line

This is our final choice for .45-70 scopes. It has a suitable magnification for low ranges. This is made by Nikon, so you can expect good quality material and great lenses. The image produced is clear and sharp. The target acquisition is very accurate and fast because of ¼ MOA per click adjustments.

Can You Really Find a Quality Scope That’s Affordable?

Many of the scopes on our list are not that expensive, but are still good quality and allow users to take precise and accurate shots. 

You need to know the difference between low quality and low price. Some trade-offs can be made by removing things that are not essential to the overall function of the product and cost too much. But never compromise on things that will end up making the product not worth buying.

Warranty is also important in these cases. They ensure that you will not lose your money buying something that does not meet your standards.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

To ensure you don’t end up wasting your money, the following are some aspects to consider before finalizing your decision: 

Low Magnification

The scopes listed here might seem to you like they don’t have enough magnification. But do not let that put you off from buying them. Since you are looking for .45-70 rifle scopes, you are probably hunting close range. For that, there is little need to buy huge magnification scopes.

Types of Scopes

Not all scopes are designed and made the same. There are different types of scopes, depending on magnification and variable zoom function. Most people use variable zoom lenses. They provide more control over the situation. You do not have to move around to shoot the target, which might end up alerting the animal, and you may lose your target. 

Reticle

A reticle is a group of fine lines in the eyepiece of a scope that helps to aim better. There are different types of reticles, depending on the shape of the lines.

  • Mil-Dot: for long ranges
  • Cross Hairs: most precise and easy to use
  • Duplex: all-purpose reticle
  • Leupold: heavy-duty reticle for low-light shooting
  • BDC: for long ranges
  • Christmas tree: for longer ranges and wind drift

Which one you choose depends on what you are using it for, and in what conditions. It also depends on your comfort and preferences. They all work fine for what they are designed for.

Conclusion

Scopes are important for hunting because they give you magnification and target acquisition. Different caliber rifles have different scopes. The .45-70 rifle that we talked about has strong recoil, and the scopes are designed keeping that in mind. We have listed the best on the market right now to make your decision easier.

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