45-70 wet newspaper vs Sierra 300, Speer 350+400, 325 FTX...


Nov 3, 2012
45-70 wet newspaper penetration test

I chose 4 mainstream 45-70 bullets for this test as well as two locally produced bullets, made by an Aussie company called The Bullet Factory. They are a bit of a backyard operation but the guy makes good accurate bullets and they are half the price of the American imports.

The contenders...

1. Sierra 300g HP
2. The Bullet Factory 300g HP
3. Hornady 325g FTX (Leverevolution)
4. The Bullet Factory 405g FP
5. Speer Hotcor 350g FP
6. Speer 400g FP Jacketed


Top left is the Sierra, bottom left TBF 300, centre top FTX, centre bottom TBF 405, right top is the 350g Speer and under that the 400 Speer.

I'd had a recent bit of thread talk with Fotis re the 350g FP Hotcor being a 458 Win - intended bullet, which is right as far as I know. It's always been a deeeep penetrator for me on pigs so was keen to see how it went in the wet newspapers.

The 325g FTX has been very accurate in my Marlin GBL and a great performer on pigs and goats. They've got a rep for being soft. So this test result might surprise some.

Of course I was interested in how the locally made bullets stacked up. I've not used many of them on game, but they're as accurate as the Sierras which for me have been unbelievably accurate in the GBL.

So I had 18.5 inches of wet newsprint, interspersed with the some thickly bound, plastic divided folders discarded from the office. Pretty rigorous test media.

I loaded all the rounds to simulate a 50y impact for all these bullets when launched at realistic (fairly mild) lever gun velocities. I go for loads in the 30-35K psi range in my Marlin GBL, even though loads are listed around 40K.

So to the results...

1. 300g Sierra Pro Hunter HP
Impact speed 1850fps
Penetration 9.75"
Retained wt 166g / 55%
Exp. Diameter 0.725

2. 300g Bullet Factory HP
Impact speed 1850fps
Penetration 9"
Retained wt 261g / 87%
Exp. Diameter 0.850

3. 325g Hornady FTX
Impact speed 1825fps
Penetration 14.67"
Retained wt 249g / 77%
Exp. Diameter 0.695

4. 405g Bullet Factory FP
Impact speed 1650fps
Penetration 12.5"
Retained wt 371g / 92%
Exp. Diameter 0.940

5. 350g Speer Hot Cor FP
Impact speed 1750fps
Penetration 18"
Retained wt 327g / 93%
Exp. Diameter 0.675

6. 400g Speer Jacketed FP
Impact speed 1650fps
Penetration 12.5"
Retained wt 388g / 97%
Exp. Diameter 1.05



So what did I figure from all that?

Well the two 300g HPs performed pretty much as expected; though the Aussie version retained a lot more weight than expected. I've recovered a good few of the Sierras from pigs and about 150 to 180g is pretty normal so that was mirrored in this wet newspaper test.

The 325g FTX which has an (unwarranted in my view) rep for being very soft, penetrated the second best, I believe by virtue of the fact that it is maybe quite a hard lead compound in the core. As such it didn't expand overly and penetrated a looong way. These are very accurate too. But I must admit I cannot take to their appearance. I call them "Ronald McDonald bullets".

The 400 Speer and 405g Aussie bullets performed much the same. Quite amirable performance. Huge expansion, excellent retained weight (which I believe becomes a very salient factor when bones are hit), and good penetration.

So what should be said about the 350g Hot Cor?

This bullet is said to be designed for the 458 Win, Lott and so on. And the fact it needs to be seated extra deep in the 45-70 case and the Lee FCD used to hold the bullet (the 325 FTX is in the same boat) supports the notion that it's not designed for the 45-70.

But wow even though expansion was modest, look at that penetration! 18 inches is by far the furthest penentration I've seen in quite a few of these such newspaper tests across numerous calibres. And 0.675 is still a very impressive expanded diameter. Try taking one through the guts!

I'm happy to say they all performed well within their intended purposes. I've used the 300 Sierra (which I am happy to say IS a soft bullet) on many many pigs. And even the big ones drop like a sack of spuds. The rest of these bullets went at least as well in this test.

I think the 350g Hot Cor is in some ways the star of this little show. I'd be keen to see how they went up against some of those North Forks and those other great bullets you have in North America. I sure wouldn't hesitate to shoot a buff or scrub bull with one!
Excellent and thorough review. I'm not familiar with "The Bullet Factory." Is this an Aussie bullet?
Yes Mike the Bullet Factory is a bit of a backyard operation who does small numbers but good quality.

Those 405 grainers by them are going to become a staple for me I think.
Fascinating bullet. I can see why they would vie for your attention.
Interesting results. Thanks for testing and sharing your results.

I should also add that the 350g Hotcor tracked dead straight through the paper. Makes me even more certain it will do the business on heavy, big-boned game. Some of the others appear to have not tracked quite so truly.

I was also very impressed with the weight retention of all these bullets with the possible exception of the Sierra, which in any case is designed for pigs and deer rather than bison or water buffalo.
I've enjoyed shooting the 400 Speer FP bullet for some time. It is very accurate, easy to find, and puts the slap-down on deer and bears with ease. Your test shows that it has a better balance of penetration, expansion and weight retention than I expected. I have never recovered one from a game animal to see the on-bullet results that you observed.
Overall, I'm kind of surprised that I don't see/hear more 45-70 shooters using them.
I agree Charlie. I really like Speers of most varieties. Recently I worked up a load with the 400s and the first group I fired at 125y is the bottom left depicted below.


I can't remember the group size but at 125y it was sub moa at 1850fps. Good bullets for sure.
Excellent work as always, I really enjoy reading your threads. Not a bad bullet in the bunch, with such different performance between them you could really choose the best bullet from a small deer or pig to a large moose or buffalo. Those homegrown Bullet Factory slugs look to be excellent performers.
Surprised by the Jelly Bean Hornady flex tip. Nice performance indeed.
Re 350gr Speer

Two years ago I took my 45/70 loaded with Hornady 350 FP to africa for a plain games safari. I recovered a handful huge hornady mushrooms under the skin on the offside of various PG animals.

Last year I went back and decided I would like to have some Speer 350 FP mushrooms for my collections of recovered bullets. Well I wish I would have read this thread first! I had no idea!

Needless to say, I recovered nothing. All shots were clean pass throughs. A kudu and Waterbuck were DRT (no bone was hit)and an Oryx ran 100 yards.
Thanks R1 that's great real world experience. Backs up the test results I'd say!