Shooters who use quality .45-70 rounds for hunting will be fully aware of just how effective this ammunition is. This is particularly the case for short range big game hunting, but that is certainly not all. More experienced shooters will tell you that these round can also be effective for longer range shots.
All-in-all the .45-70 round must be classed as a very good, all-purpose round. It is no surprise that those hunters who roam a wide range of environments in varying weather conditions favor it.
Having said this, by matching one of the best .45-70 scopes to your chosen weapon, you will reap rewards.
With this in mind, we are here to help you find the scope that will best suit your shooting circumstances.
A good quality, high resolution .45-70 scope will certainly add to your hunting experience. These optics come at various price levels and with different features.
Our first aim is to take a look at 5 of the best .45-70 scopes out there. After this, we will offer some advice on what to consider before buying this type of scope.
Top 5 Best .45-70 Scopes To Buy 2021 Reviews
1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
In the world of optics, Vortex is a name to be reckoned with. They consistently produce quality scopes at prices to please. This riflescope from the Crossfire II range is one from a good choice of configurations.
This is the 3-9x magnification scope that comes with a BDC reticle and 40mm objective lens.
As with all scopes in the Crossfire II range, quality manufacture is yours. It is made from a one-piece, solid block of aircraft grade aluminum. The scope has been purged, then nitrogen filled and sealed with an O-ring to prevent any fogging issues. You will also find it is waterproof.
With quality multi-coated lens, you are assured of a crisp, clear image when sighting your target.
This is a second focal plane (SFP) Dead-Hold BDC reticle. It has been designed to minimize any guesswork when it comes to bullet hold-over at longer distance shooting.
The reticle comes with three small hash-marks positioned on the cross-hairs. Once the appropriate hashmark is selected, you will benefit from reliable references in terms of bullet drop and range distances. Effective use of this reticle will offer the shooter greater accuracy.
Eye relief is a minimum of 3.8 inches. In our opinion, when using .45-70 ammo, you do not want much less eye relief than 3.5 inches. Indeed, the more, the better. One thing the eye-box does provide is adequate latitude.
Adjustments for windage and elevation is achieved through resettable ‘fingertip’ knobs. You can adjust in 1/4 MOA increments, and each click produces an audible click (although rather quiet!).
- Solid configuration from a respected scope range.
- Effective reticle.
- Vortex VIP warranty certainly worthy of consideration.
- Slight loss of focus at maximum magnification.
2 Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
We have to stay with Vortex for one more best quality .45-70 scopes option. This model comes from their Diamondback range.
Yet again the Diamondback second focal plane (SFP) series of optics shines through. The configuration we are discussing is the 4-12x magnification with a 40mm objective lens and Dead-hold BDC reticle.
Made from the quality aircraft grade aluminum the tube has a hard anodized finish. It has been Argon purged, and O-ring sealed to provide fog and waterproofing.
We are moving up a notch in magnification strength. This ranges from 4x-12x magnification while the fully coated objective lens comes in at 40mm.
This scope is good for all big game hunters. This Vortex Dead-Hold BDC reticle allows for shooting at a wide range of targets where hold-over may be of concern.
Quality, fully multi-coated lenses assure a crystal clear, bright image regardless of what time of day you are hunting at. For those hunters who prefer low light shooting (dawn or dusk), this scope will serve them well. There is also a fast focusing eyepiece which gives quick and easy reticle focusing.
The turrets are precision metal on metal with the full ability to zero reset once sight-in is achieved.
- Crystal clear glass.
- Great eye relief.
- Easy to mount and dismount.
- Occasional quality issues (which are quickly resolved by Vortex).
3 Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC 1in Waterproof Matte Riflescope
Nikon is another scope manufacturer that shooters in all disciplines admire. When it comes to hunting, this solid, reliable optic has to be placed in the best .45-70 scopes category.
You get a very straightforward scope that comes with a BDC reticle. This has see-through ballistic circles which will aid the efforts of long-range hunters. Purged with nitrogen gas and O-ring sealed you will find this scope fog proof. It should also be said that the robust build of this scope also makes it water and shockproof.
Parallax correction is not required due to the fact it has been factory-set at 100 yards. Many find the fully multi-coated lens allow for optimum light transmission. This gives sharp, clear images. Although as you will see in our ‘Cons,’ some have complained of image quality at closer distances.
Eye relief comes in at 3.6 inches. If you are a shooter, who wears glasses do consider this against possible recoil issues. If you are concerned, then look for a scope with longer eye relief.
Anyone looking to optimize the use of their Nikon reticle can take advantage of Nikon’s “Spot on Ballistic Match Technology.” This is an online resource. It will allow a shooter to maintain accurate shooting over various distances dependent upon the ammunition and load used.
Those hunters who are no fuss, no-nonsense shooters will appreciate the quality build. This goes hand-in-hand with the simplicity of use.
- Well priced.
- Spot on Ballistic Match comparison advice available online.
- Some complaints of poor іmаgе quаlіtу at close range.
4 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope
You do not need us to tell you just how big a name Bushnell is in the firearms world. They are very well-regarded when it comes to delivering high-quality scopes with sensible price tags. As the optic model suggests, it offers between 3x and 9x magnification levels.
The high-quality multi-coated lenses offer any shooter excellent brightness with clarity in low light conditions — ideal for dusk and dawn hunters. And adjustable turrets for windage and elevation are easily ‘fingertip’ turned and move at 1/4 MOA per click.
This solidly built scope has been designed to resist repeated heavy recoil while still holding zero. Being nitrogen filled it is also fog and waterproof.
It also offers a fast focus eyepiece. This feature will ensure fast target acquisition and very good accuracy up to around 300 meters. Before purchase, you need to be aware that the eye relief is just 3.3 inches.
- Effective for Dusk and Dawn hunting.
- Solid build ensures zero is held after repeated heavy recoil.
- Non-illuminated reticle.
- Accuracy diminishes beyond 300 yards.
- Eye relief of 3.3 inches.
5 Primary Arms Silver Series 1-6×24 SFP Rifle Scope (Gen III)
Our final best .45-70 scopes review comes from Primary Arms. This company has worked hard over recent years to firmly establish themselves in the weapon optics space.
Giving magnification of 1-6x and coming with a 24mm objective lens this is an illuminated scope. It incorporates an Advanced Combined Sighting System (ACSS) reticle.
The ACSS, second focal plane reticle has been designed to allow for:
- Bullet drop compensation (BDC).
- Windage hold.
- Moving target leads.
- Accurate range estimation.
In short: Ideal for hunters!
This second focal plane (SFP) design ensures the reticle remains the same size. This is no matter what magnification setting you are on. You will achieve fast target acquisition on low power and advanced reticle functionality when on maximum power. And in terms of eye relief, you will get between 3.3 and 3.5 inches.
Red illumination offers 11 brightness settings, and the scope is powered by an included, long-lasting CR2032 battery.
You also get a spare battery which is stored inside the windage turret cap.
This scope offers incredibly fast to focus between 0-300 yards. Taken further, any target between 300-800 yards will be homed in on to allow accurate shot placement.
Made from good quality 6063 aluminum, this scope has been nitrogen purged. It is durable, fog resistant, and waterproof to IP67 standard.
- Effective for close to long range sighting.
- Smart design reticle.
- More costly than other scopes reviewed.
Best .45-70 Scopes Buying Guide
Here are 5 bullet points (sorry!) to consider when looking for the best .45-70 scopes. We will then round off (no more, we promise!) with our conclusion as to which of the above optics we deem most suitable for the majority of shooters.
- Magnification: When shooting at short range, magnification is less of an issue. However, experienced hunters and those wanting to test skills over longer distances will benefit from a scope offering magnification versatility.
- Durability: Consider the environment you regularly shoot in. Any rough conditions mean you need a durable, tough scope. That being said, there is another important reason to choose a highly durable scope with this type of ammunition. The .45-70 round is no pussycat. You will get (and should expect!) some noticeable recoil. Go for a scope that is built to withstand such recoil.
- Clarity: Any scope you choose needs to offer clear imagery. This is where quality optics really count. Look for fully coated lenses, also consider the amount of light the scope offers. This is particularly important for those who enjoy low light hunting. i.e., Dawn and Dusk expeditions. Dependent upon your type of use and preference, you may also wish to consider an illuminated scope.
- Accuracy: It goes without saying that accuracy is of key importance when hitting a target over any distance. For those hunters using .45-70 rounds to hunt larger prey at closer distances, it is absolutely vital! If you are a hunter into this type of activity, then do check the accuracy of your chosen scope, particularly at distances of 100 yards up to 300 yards.
- Eye Relief: The best .45-70 scopes need to offer decent eye relief. The .45-70 round packs quite a kick. Once fired, you will certainly know about the recoil. To our mind, you should be looking for at least 3.5 inches of eye relief, and more is preferable.
So What Are The Best .45-70 Scopes?
Quality abounds in our selection of the 5 best .45-70 scopes options above with each offering its own unique benefits. But, we feel duty-bound to give a decision on the .45-70 scope that will best suit the needs of a vast number of shooters.
As such, our vote goes to the…
It is a robust, hard-wearing, durable scope that will take the punishment this type of round dishes out. Eye relief comes in at 3.8 inches, and the magnification levels are more than ample at 3x-9x. The fully coated optics are quality, and the Dead-Hold BDC reticle provides fast target acquisition as well as accuracy.
Tie all of this together, and use of this best .45-70 scope will certainly build your shooting confidence and expertise.