The top 10 cartridges for hunting deer in Canada

The .45-70 Government pairs perfectly with the Marlin Model 1895

.45-70 GOVERNMENT

Alright, I get it. This isn’t a cartridge most hunters think about when campfire discussions about ideal deer cartridges arise. It’s an old round, tracing its roots back to 1873 and the U.S. military, and with its rainbow-like trajectory, it’s admittedly not a long-range tack driver. Plus, the recoil can be a little much for some. Despite such drawbacks, this old warhorse is arguably the ideal choice for deer hunters who want an effective brush gun. It’s most commonly available in lever rifles, which are well suited for tight quarters.

Typical velocities for this cartridge’s standard 300-grain bullets are just under 1,900 fps, with a muzzle energy of 2,355 foot-pounds. And while the .45-70 carries deer-sufficient energy out to 300 metres, its trajectories suggest it’s best suited for deer closer than 200 metres, with 150 metres a more practical maximum. Of course, those distances are irrelevant anyway when you’re hunting in the thick stuff. Where the .45-70 does shine is in its ability to quickly drop deer. Best of all, the heavy bullets travelling at moderate speeds reduce the amount of ruined, blood-shot meat. And for most deer hunters, it’s all about the venison.

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Perfect pairing: Marlin Model 1895