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This is a discussion on 45-120 within the Muzzleloaders & Black Powder forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; Im interested in these old BP cartridges; but have to admit that they confuse me when compared to the power ...

  1. #1
    EDELWEISS is offline AH Senior Member
    Aug 2011

    Hunted US, Canada, Middle East(does that count)

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    Default 45-120

    Im interested in these old BP cartridges; but have to admit that they confuse me when compared to the power of the NE rounds. A 45-120 looks very close to 450 NE (3 1/4), and I "know" or at least I know 450NE is powerful enough for dangerous game; but I cant find any comparison between 45-120 and 450NE.

    Are they close? Can a 45-120 be used for dangerous game, in countries that require 375H&H as a minimum?

    Im not interested in 45-70 "nuclear powered rounds". The 45-120 seems to be equivalent to the 450???


  2. #2
    spike.t's Avatar
    spike.t is online now AH Legend
    Sep 2010

    Member of sci int, basc

    Hunted zambia, tanzania, zimbabwe, hungary, france, england


    hi edelweiss from the info i have they are in no way comparable. the 45-120 with 500grn bullet at 1520 ft/sec produces 2561 ft/lbs , and the 450 3 1/4 NE with 480grn bullet at 2150ft/sec produces 4930 ft/lbs.

  3. #3
    ikeda is offline AH Veteran
    Sep 2009

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    The 45-120 is actually equivalent to the 450 Black Powder Express, which with 120gr of Black, shot a 365 gr bullet @ 1700 fps for an energy of 2340fp.
    In a strong modern rifle you could indeed load the 45-120 with smokeless powder to equal the 450 Nitro.

  4. #4
    Dirtdart is offline New Member
    Dec 2012

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    If you can find a copy of, SPG Lubricants BP Cartridge Reloading Primer by Mike Venturino and Steve Garbe it is a very good source of information on black powder cartridges. It was printed in 1992, great velocity, energy, and trajectory tables. You could convert the energy to joules and determine what class of game the cartridge is legal for by the regulations for the desired country. You will find that some of the BP cartridges compare to some of the old BP expresses maybe, but not with anything using smokeless powders.
    Hope this helps,

  5. #5
    577nitroexpress is offline New Member
    Jan 2013
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    I've built three doubles in the modern loading of this cartridge, 500 grain bullet at 2200 FPS and its a real killer. I like it because you can use a very narrow framed action. I did however have a custom reamer that opens the throat and neck up for modern bullets (.458). Loads are exactly the same as a 450NE. I call it a .458 NE American, which it is.

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