A Whole New Animal - Black Hills 45-70 HoneyBadger

HoneyBadger does not have hollowpoints. HoneyBadger doesn't need hollowpoints. HoneyBadger works every time.

That’s how Black Hills Ammunition describes their HoneyBadger line of ammunition. As for the name, it comes from a hilarious spoof on the Nat Geo Wild documentary on the actual honey badger.

Generally speaking, hollowpoints provide better performance than their round nose counterparts. Unlike either of those, HoneyBadgerHoneyBadger ammo is neither round nose or hollowpoint. Instead, it is a non expanding, non deforming solid copper projectile equipped with flutes for superior barrier penetration and terminal performance.

The HoneyBadger line of ammo has been around since 2015, and the .45-70 Government cartridge has been around since 1873, but the .45-70 HoneyBadger is new for 2019.

The .45-70 cartridge has a long reputation of being the heavy-hitting cartridge used by the US Army to tame the West in the 1870s. Whether it was loaded into the cartridge belts of Custer’s 7th Cavalry or relentless buffalo hunters, the .45-70 meant business.

Even though the original design was introduced in the black powder era, its ballistics were quite impressive. A 405-grain projectile loaded in front of 70 grains of black powder had a muzzle velocity of 1,330 fps and 1,590 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.

Despite its power, the round enjoyed only a short run as the top dog. The advent of smokeless powder meant that better performance could be had from smaller cartridges. By 1892, it had been replaced by the US Army in favor of the .30-40 Krag. With arms in short supply, some American troops sent to Cuba in 1893 fielded .45-70s and found themselves outgunned by the longer-range capabilities of the 7x57mm Mauser rounds being used by the Spanish.

While it has been considered obsolete for more than a century, the .45-70 has always had a loyal following. Today, companies like Black Hills Ammunition have given the wild west wonder-round a rebirth in the smokeless age. Knowing the added benefits of smokeless powder, it should come as no surprise that the new .45-70 HoneyBadger cartridge packs more power with less weight than its historic predecessor.

A 325-grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 1,775 fps and muzzle energy of 2,273 ft/lbs. Ballistic tests from a 26-inch barrel provide even better performance, traveling at 1,933 fps with a maximum cavity depth of 33.25 inches. At that kind of speed, the temporary cavity length is 27.75 inches and up to seven inches in diameter. That’ll more than get the job done if you’re headed out west for a modern-day buffalo hunt! ~ T.Logan Metesh

T.Logan Metesh
Logan is a historian with a focus on firearms history and development. He runs High Caliber History LLC and has more than a decade of experience working for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the NRA Museums. His ability to present history and research in an engaging manner has made him a sought after consultant, writer, and museum professional. The ease with which he can recall obscure historical facts and figures makes him very good at Jeopardy!, but exceptionally bad at geometry. For more information, please visit www.highcaliberhistory.com.