The .45-70 cartridge is one of the best big game hunting rounds ever produced. The .45-70 was first introduced immediately following the Civil War in the United States and has remained a popular choice among hunters that seek out cartridges that have significant stopping power.
Known as the .45-70 Government, it was first developed to be used mainly by the United States military. The .45-70 lasted only a few short years in military service before being replaced by the .50-70.
Having a quality scope fitted on your rifle is the key to getting the most accuracy and functionality out of your .45-70. We’ve done the research and combed through a number of major manufacturers of outdoor optics to come up with a list of the 5 best scopes for a .45-70.
Best scopes for a .45-70 on the market reviews:
1 Bushnell Banner Dusk and Dawn Riflescope
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Bushnell is an outdoor optic brand that has stood the test of time and is well-known for producing great optics at a reasonable price that most regular outdoorsmen and women can afford.
The Bushnell Banner provides plenty of clarity in low-light situations as its namesake suggests. This scope is crafted with Bushnell’s patented Dusk & Dawn Brightness coating system that gives it excellent light transmission during those crucial moments during the early morning or just before sunset when big game animals are most active.
The Bushnell Banner also features a wide eyepiece opening and more than three inches of eye relief, which is important for use with a .45-70 round. The scope is ideal for fast target acquisition, even on moving targets.
The Banner features knobs that are designed to adjust the windage and elevation for shooting, but some users have reported issues with these knobs being tough to adjust, especially in colder weather.
The Bushnell Banner is designed for rugged scenarios and will withstand just about anything as the scope is fully waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. Featuring a 40 mm lens and 3-9x magnification, this scope is ideal for hunting big game with a .45-70.
- Dawn & Dusk Brightness coating system for maximum clarity in low light situations
- Good eye relief
- Well crafted for rugged durability
- Waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
- Some difficulty in adjusting knobs have been reported
Overall: This is a great scope for hunters looking to have ideal optics on their .45-70. While the windage and elevation adjustments might cause some frustration, this is a good quality scope that will last for years.
2 Leupold VX-1 Riflescope
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Leupold is one of the top manufacturers for riflescopes and outdoor optics. They have been among the best of the best when it comes to excellent quality optics that will withstand anything you throw at it during the hunt.
The Leupold VX-1 is one of the most affordably-priced scopes made by Leupold because of its limited magnification, but the scope is perfect for pairing with a .45-70.
Its overall construction is well done and the scope will hold up to a wide variety of scenarios in which toughness and durability are key in the field. The Leupold VX-1 also offers a lightweight design that is welcomed by many .45-70 rifle owners who are well-acquainted with the weight of such rifles.
This scope also features the excellent clarity that Leupold is known for throughout the hunting world. It’s optical quality does not overshadow the scope’s overall construction as the VX-1 is nitrogen-sealed to offer a fully waterproof, fog proof and shockproof product, all of which are very important when used with a .45-70.
The VX-1 also features finger knobs that can easily adjust for windage and elevation in the field. This scope, and the VX-2, is an excellent choice for pairing with a .45-70 rifle and is a scope that will last many years in the right hands.
- Extremely rugged and durable
- Excellent sight picture quality
- Easy to install
- Expensive pricing
Overall: The Leupold VX-1 could be one of the best scopes on our list, but the price may be a drawback for most hunters who are not looking to spend a small fortune on a scope. However, this scope is a great choice for pairing with a .45-70.
3 Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5×32 SFP
Vortex has carved a path toward the top of the outdoor optics industry by creating some of the best quality products at a price that most hunters can afford. Many hunters find Vortex scopes to be highly durable while also offering supreme sight picture clarity and brightness.
The Vortex Optics Diamondback 1.75-5×32 SFP is not manufactured in the United States, which might be an undesirable trait for most buyers, but that doesn’t mean it can’t match up to the best scopes available on the market in 2020 for a .45-70.
The Diamondback offers very smooth adjustability, as is the case with just about any Vortex scope on the market today. While the magnification is a bit high for a .45-70 rifle, the Diamondback’s other features make it an easy addition to our list of the best .45-70 scopes. The Leupold’s objective lens is one of the biggest reasons why these scopes offer ideal light transmission.
Featuring a BDC reticle and a durable, one-piece metal tube housing with metal turrets that offer surprising durability, the Diamondback brings a hard-anodized finish which enhances the shock-absorbing capabilities.
- Easy to mount to a .45-70 rifle
- Good brightness
- Durable hard-anodized finish
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Low magnification (should not be too much of an issue for slug gun hunters)
- Expensive pricing
Overall: There are lots of reasons why some hunters might consider this .45-70 scope to be the best of its kind. The Vortex Diamondback’s features are second-to-none and this is a solid choice for anyone willing to spend a little extra in order to purchase.
4 Nikon Buckmasters II
Some sites might shy away from adding two scopes from the same manufacturer at the top of the list, but we would be doing a disservice by not mentioning the Nikon Buckmasters II in relation to the best scopes for a .45-70.
The Buckmasters II is mainly designed for whitetail deer hunting, but this scope is ideal for using with a .45-70 as it functions best at ranges inside 200 yards on rifles that pack a punch. Users report that this scope will remain intact even after taking a beating or shooting dozens of rounds through a .45-70 at the range.
This .45-70 scope features a BDC reticle and has a large field of view that is perfect for staying on target when hunting large game like elk or moose. As is the case with all other Nikon products, this scope is fully waterproof, fog proof and shockproof, and is crafted for maximum durability.
The Nikon Buckmasters II is built for durability and features more than enough eye relief, as well as a reticle that allows for bullet drop compensation, which is crucial when used with a .45-70.
- Bullet drop compensation reticle
- Multi-coated lenses for supreme light absorption
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Affordable Price
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Lack of adjustments
- Tougher to mount on some rifles
Overall: When considering a scope to fit on your .45-70, you’ll want to go with one that is tougher than anything else on the market. The Nikon Buckmasters II fits the bill and offers everything you could want in a great scope option for your .45-70.
5 Leupold VX-2 1.5-4X28 IER Scout Scope
The Leupold VX scout scope is a pretty decent pick for a .45-70 rifle. This scope offers one of the best variable magnifications. It is a perfect choice for long-range hunting and shooting. Besides, the scope is pretty fast and offers undeniable durability. It is a quality optic with a unique design to mount forward on a receiver. Moreover, Leupold scopes are a leading brand in the industry built to withstand harsh weather elements.
This scope is solidly built and compact enough to fit on your rifle without adding a lot of weight. It also features a matte black finish making it look modern and sleek. This is a reliable scope that can deliver a clear sight picture at different ranges. It is a pretty simple scope to install with just a few adjustments. You can shoot consistently at bull’s eyes using this scope.
- Clear sight picture thus precise shooting
- Versatile and works under different conditions
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Sturdy, compact and lightweight construction
- A bit tricky to handle for beginners
- Somehow long and can cover the bolt
Overall: This is a premium quality scope with clear glass and excellent tracking. The scope offers excellent eye-relief making it a suitable choice for the .45-70. You can enjoy better visibility and even shoot with both eyes open. It is a highly recommended choice for anyone looking for a scout scope. There are lots of reasons why some hunters might consider this .45-70 scope to be the best of its kind. The Vortex Diamondback’s features are second-to-none and this is a solid choice for anyone willing to spend a little extra in order to purchase.
6 Primary Arms Classic Series 1-4x24 SFP Rifle Scope
The Primary Arms Classic rifle scope is another excellent scouting scope with generous eye relief. The scope features eye relief ranging from 3.5 inches to 4.9 inches. This can vary depending on the scope of magnification. It is a suitable choice for the big recoil experienced from .45-70 rifle.
In addition, this scope features a simple duplex dot reticle and a second focal plane design. This helps keep the duplex reticle the same size at different magnifications. It is a leading scope that maintains the reticle size while guiding the eyes to the center of the dot. This way, you get to zero in on your target first and shoot at the kill zone. .
- Works perfectly in low-light conditions due to 12 brightness settings
- Particle reticle illumination
- Safe to use due to generous eye relief
- Quick focusing
- A bit long thus dominates the whole receiver
Overall: The Primary Arms scope is everything you need with exciting features. The scope features a generous eye relief and a partially illuminated simple duplex reticle. It keeps the reticle size the same at different magnifications while focusing the eyes to the center dot. This is a premium scouting scope with partial reticle illumination. It illuminates the center dot red. There are also 12 brightness settings to work in different light conditions.
7 UTG 3-9X32 1” BugBuster Scope
The BugBuster scope is by far one of the best .45-70 scopes in the industry to consider buying. It is a best-seller scope with over 2K reviews. The scope features a 1-inch tube and Emerald coating for enhanced brightness. The coating increases light transmission leading to clear and bright images.
Besides, the scope features resettable and zero lockable turrets. It is easy to focus with ¼ MOA per click adjustment. This is a perfect scope for range estimating with a Mil-Dot reticle. It offers users optimal shooting and aiming performances. You can adjust for targets from 3 yards to infinity.
- Completely sealed and nitrogen filled thus weather-resistant
- Versatile applications due to dual red and green illumination
- Easy to adjust with ¼ MOA click per adjustment
- Zero lockable and resettable turrets
- Eye relief is a little limited due to the compact design
Overall: This is a well-built scouting scope designed to withstand harsh conditions and serve you for years. The scope is also easy to adjust and use. It features an objective lens that focuses from 3 yards to infinity. This is a versatile scope with both red and green dual illumination. The scope delivers a larger field of view and accommodates optimal eye relief. This is a waterproof and fog proof scope built on the True Strength Platform.
8 Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope
The Nikon ProStaff is a premium quality scouting riflescope with pretty decent features. It is a compact design scope with 2 -7x magnification. The scope features a 32mm objective lens for excellent focusing. This is a fully multi-coated lens scope to consider buying. This scope can offer excellent light transmission up to 98% of the available light. It ensures you get clear and bright images.
Moreover, the scope comes with zero-reset turrets. The turrets feature a spring-loaded knob adjustment for easy focusing. This is a safe design scope with 3.8-inch eye relief. It works perfectly with .45-70 rifles keeping the eye-safe from recoil.
The scope is also fog proof and waterproof to withstand harsh outdoor elements. It is a nitrogen-filled scope with O-ring sealed housing. You can be sure the scope will last the test of time and offer excellent value for money.
- Waterproof and fog proof
- O-ring sealed housing and nitrogen filled
- Safe 3.8-inch eye relief
- Excellent light transmission due to a fully multi-coated lens
Not the clearest glass
- A bit difficult to focus on maximum magnification
Overall: The Nikon ProStaff is a versatile scouting scope and one that will serve you well. It is a clear and bright scope that works for all shooters and hunters.
9 BARSKA 3-9X40 Huntmaster 30/30 Riflescope
This is a versatile top of the line riflescope with precise and target shooting. It is more of a hunting scope with an accurate target location. It is an affordable choice scope with excellent in-field dependability. The scope features a 40mm objective lens and 3-9X variable magnification.
This is a compact and lightweight scope with a 1-inch tube diameter. It can deliver a wide 36 feet field of view at 100 yards at 3X magnification. You can also achieve 14 feet field of view at 9X magnification at 100 yards. It is a well-designed scope with 3.3-inch eye relief protecting your eyes from recoil.
This is a quality scope with a fully multi-coated lens and a 30/30 reticle. The scope also features an attractive silver finish. It is a complete scope that comes with everything for immediate use. It also includes a lifetime limited warranty.
- Shock-proof and fog proof
- Excellent light transmission due to multi-coated lens
- Attractive silver finish
- Excellent eye relief
- A bit blurry in low light
Overall: This is a versatile and good value for money scope to try out. The scope offers nice visibility, eye relief and stands up well against shock. It has very clear optics and one to shoot accurately at long ranges. In conclusion, these are the best 45.-70 riflescopes to consider buying. They are better suited for that rifle with excellent focusing and eye relief features. Make sure you analyze our picks above and select one that best meets your needs.
Buyer’s Guide for .45-70 Scopes
When looking for a scope for your .45-70, you’ll want one that will stand up to just about anything nature can throw at it. Durability is key when considering the best scope for your rifle as the .45-70 is known to produce brutal kicks that can sometimes jar your scope loose. If this happens, it could mean disaster in the field, which is why we’ve noted some of the top things to look for when looking to purchase your scope.
Here are some key items to consider when looking for a good .45-70 scope for your rifle.
When searching for a good scope for your .45-70, eye relief should be one of the top considerations. You’ll want to select a rifle scope that offers at least 3 inches of eye relief as a .45-70 cartridge can produce a sizable “kick” that can be dangerous for the untrained marksman.
You probably won’t be firing at targets of more than a couple hundred yards with a .45-70, so be sure to keep in mind that you won’t need a very high magnification capability in your scope. The .45-70 is extremely accurate at distances of 100 yards or more and you won’t need to increase the magnification on your scope very much to make an accurate shot.
When looking for the best scope for your .45-70 rifle, make sure you choose one that has superb durability. Veteran hunters of the American West rely on .45-70 rifles as protection from dangerous animals like bears, as well as a hunting tool that can take down just about anything else. Be sure your scope is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof in order to ensure that it will stand up to everything you encounter in the field.
Sight Picture Clarity and Brightness
Choosing a sight that gives you plenty of clarity is key when purchasing a scope for your rifle. For some hunters, this characteristic is most important when shopping for a new scope for any gun. Make sure the scope you plan to mount on your .45-70 rifle offers plenty of clarity in every kind of lighting situation.
The .45-70 was first designed to be a highly accurate volley rifle at the close of the American Civil War. In the right hands, it can reach out and deliver knockdown power at very long ranges of up to 1,000 yards. The .45-70 has minimal bullet drop out to about 150 yards and most hunters will probably want to make sure their targets are within 200 yards in order to make the best shot. With the right scope and plenty of practice, however, shooters could accurately send a .45-70 round out to greater distances.
\The Henry .45-70 is among the best rifles on the market and is highly recommended as a great choice for big game hunting. The Henry .45-70 is highly accurate at distances out to 200 yards and shooters can actually hit targets consistently at greater distances with practice and the right scope.
The Henry .45-70 is capable of firing bullets accurately at 1,000 or more yards. However, the .45-70 has considerable bullet drop at this distance and pairing with a quality scope is key to achieving an accurate shot at distances with the .45-70. The .45-70 was originally intended to be an effective infantry weapon that could extend the reach of normal volley fire. The Henry .45-70 has accurately reached 3,200 yards in testing, but this is far greater than what the cartridge is typically used for in big game hunting.
Finding the best .45-70 rifle is necessary for a successful hunt. The rifles are ideal for taking down big games like grizzlies and bears. Most .45-70 rifles nowadays feature built-in levers or single shots. They are designed to take stronger loads thus the need for a reliable scope.
There is no single best .45-70 riflescope but choosing from our exclusive list above can guarantee you quality. Make sure you consider your needs and carefully pick a .45-70 scope that best serves your needs.