The 10 Best scopes for 45-70 (September 2020)

by Steve Coffman, last updated on
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope JM-1 BDC

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24mm

37 Reviews

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Athlon Optics , Argos BTR , Riflescope , 1-4 x 24 Second Focal Plane (SFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated AHSR14 MOA Reticle ,

Athlon Optics Argos 1-4x24mm

5 Reviews

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Nightforce Optics 4-16x42 ATACR Series Riflescope, Matte Black with DigIllum Illuminated First Focal Plane MOAR Reticle, 34mm Tube, Side Parallax Adjust, .250 MOA

Nightforce Optics ATACR 4-16x42mm

3 Reviews

BEST PREMIUM

There are many demands to find the best scopes for .45-70 ammo chambered firearms. An iconic piece of American gun culture and history is a .45-70 round initially loaded as a black powder cartridge in the late 19th century. While today, gun enthusiasts and reenactors are using with nostalgia Springfield rifles and carbines chambered initially for the black powder .45-70 loads, modern hunters and sportsmen have plenty of commercially available ammunition and loads that will be enough for any mammal on this planet.

Such a powerful, high-pressure .45-70 smokeless equivalent work very well in modern lever action or single shot rifles enabling shooters to overtake the old cartridge properties often described as a rainbow trajectory. However, there is a trade-off between handy, lightweight guns and the hard-hitting .45-70 round which reflects in a substantial recoil. The repeaters like the .45-70 Marlin 1895 guide gun need a potent riflescope to make sure that you can shoot quickly and accurately in deep woods.

Recoil is a noticeable factor in choosing 45-70 scopes, but along with decent eye relief there are other considerations such as magnification and durability. Until recent times, a .45-70 was typically considered as a round with big, slow-moving bullets that have a very steep trajectory and as like that, people purchased the scopes with relatively low magnification. Nevertheless, modern projectiles designs such as Hornady “LEVERevolution” boosted the demand for high-powered 45-70 scopes.

Unlike classic flat-nose profiles, the LEVERevolution ammunition is featuring a pointed, flexible, polymer tip to improve the ballistics of the ordinarily flat tipped projectiles and provide extended shooting distances. In any case, all of modern .45-70 loads can be a little rough on the optics and shoulder, so an overall quality of the scopes may be the most critical factor. A .45-70 rifle requires a modern, robust scope capable of taking a beating, so the cheap, unbranded scopes are merely out of the question and you should look for the big names that stand behind their products. With that in mind, we have made this guide based on products of well-known famous optics makers that indeed will hold up to regular use of the 45-70 caliber.

10 Best Scopes for 45-.70 Rifle - Our Review

1. Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24

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Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope JM-1 BDC
37 Reviews
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope JM-1 BDC
  • The Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24 is ideal for short to medium-range tactical applications where quick target acquisiton is needed. The JM-1 BDC reticle with an illuminated center dot facilitates fast, accurate shooting at distances up to 600 yards.
  • The APO optical system delivers stunning image quality through premium, high density, extra-low dispersion glass. All lenses are fully multi-coated with XR plus anti-reflective coatings to increase light transmission for amazing brightness.
  • A locking side illumination dial is located on the left side of the turret. This scope has 11 illumination levels with off positions between each setting, making it easy to find your preferred setup.
  • Capped low profile turrets are quick and easy to adjust and are fully resettable to zero. A fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
  • O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Razor delivers waterproof and fogproof performance while the single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum construction gives shooters a durable platform. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.

While the Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24 is offered as short to medium-range scope for tactical applications, it is a real revelation for hunters using that scope for lever action .45-70 rifle.

Featuring excellent fully multi-coated glass and Vortex proprietary anti-reflective coatings the Razor HD Gen II is the perfect scope for driven hunts.

An intuitive and fast JM-1 BDC reticle (designed by world-renowned competitive shooter Jerry Miculek) is best suited for accurate shooting at distances from point blank to 600 yards.

A second focal plane reticle with an illuminated center dot and the generous 4" eye relief is a great feature for using the Razor on Marlin lever action rifle chambered in .45-70.

The solid 30mm body is constructed from one-piece aircraft-grade aluminum. The scope housing is O-ring sealed and argon purged for waterproof and fogproof performance. However, it being so tough also means it is heavy, at a weight of 25.2 ounces; this Razor is pretty heavy for a 1-6x class scope.

The riflescope comes with easily accessible large capped turrets for windage and elevation whereas the lockable illumination dial is positioned on the left side of optics housing.

The ultra-low profile turrets offer adjustment graduation of1/2 MOA and have maximum adjustments of 150 MOA.

As one of the most versatile configurations available, the Razor 1-6x24mm riflescope allows for close to medium-range shooting making it probably the best scope for lever action .45-70.

2. Burris Eliminator III Laserscope 4-16X50

Burris 200119 Eliminator III Laserscope, 4X-16X-50mm with Wired Remote, Matte Black
31 Reviews
Burris 200119 Eliminator III Laserscope, 4X-16X-50mm with Wired Remote, Matte Black
  • PRECISION RIFLESCOPE – Rely on the Eliminator to determine the distance of your target, factor your trajectory and illuminate the perfect holdover.
  • MAKE HUNTING MORE EFFICIENT – Eliminate the extra variables and guesswork, and make your next hunt efficient and productive.
  • LONG-DISTANCE RANGEFINDER –This laser rangefinder features 1,200+ yards ranging capability, increasing the distance at which you can take an ethical shot.
  • LASERSCOPE TO INCREASE ACCURACY – With precision, this riflescope will significantly extend the range and accuracy of your favorite rifle.
  • STATE-OF-THE-ART OPTICS – Count on the built-in inclinometer to prove accuracy in a variety of conditions, including shooting up or down steep hills.

Burris Eliminator III Laserscope, 4-16X-50mm was shown to the public on IWA outdoor classics show in 2015 and it was the first scope, which paired a laser rangefinder with a ballistic calculator.

This sleek and ergonomically attractive design offers the possibility for any caliber or any loads` trajectory compensation to be perfectly calculated.

The system is based on entering your cartridge's ballistics information, after that, the Eliminator III calculates the perfect holdover at your exact distance, estimates wind drift, and then gives you a new aiming point within seconds.

The Laser range finder capability goes out to 1,200-plus yards for reflective targets and about 750 yards on deer size non-reflective targets. However, ranging targets in adverse, low-light conditions is certainly not entirely foolproof.

The Burris ˝HiLume˝ fully multi-coated lenses are offering good low-light performance and glare elimination.

These scopes feature large 50 mm objective lenses that allow for maximum light collection, but the optics is not as bright as its counterparts from the same price range are. The scope features an average eye relief of 3.5 – 4 in.

The Eliminator III 4-16x50mm is available with glass etched X96 illuminated reticle set in the second focal plane.

The scope comes with low profile capped turrets and a parallax adjustment ring on the objective bell, that goes from 50 meters to infinity.

The new Burris 200119 Eliminator III is now available with a remote cable switch for convenient operation and a new method of windage compensation.

With 4 times zoom range, this sophisticated and versatile riflescope easy can be the best scope for lever action .45-70 and used for any kind of hunting scenarios.

3. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 AR-BDC

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle (MOA)
  • The Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is defined by speed and versatility. Adjust to six power when you need to engage targets at a distance
  • High quality, fully multi-coated lenses deliver a clear, crisp sight picture and optimal low light performance
  • The illuminated, glass-etched BDC reticle features 11 illumination settings to accomodate for changing light conditions. An extra battery can be stored in the windage cap and easily released
  • The fast focus dial on the eyepiece ensures that your reticle is always sharp
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof ensures reliability in all weather conditions

While small magnification and wide field of view are usually more in demand with the tactical crowd, those features are invaluable on a hunting rifle.

Following the trends, Vortex has released another riflescope in that configuration from its budget line called Strike Eagle.

The Strike Eagle 1-6x24 AR-BDC boasts fully multi-coated lenses and an illuminated, glass-etched BDC reticle designed for the popular 5.56 mm cartridges.

However, if you are an experienced shooter, you can use this ballistic reticle with your .45-70 Marlin carbine. Actually, Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is a great optics for in the range of 100-250 yards and this is fully compatible with .45-70 cartridge ballistics.

Placed in the second focal plane, the horseshoe reticle is excellent for close quarters and helps with many different shooting situations.

A true one-power of Strike Eagle provides quick target acquisition in close quarters situations turning out your .45-70 Marlin into one of the best brush guns.

On the flip side, the eye relief of the scope is modest 3.5 inches, which is pretty short for a 6x magnification scope.

The low profile capped turrets for windage and elevation have adjustment value in ½ MOA clicks.

It is made of a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum with 30mm central tube. The scope body is features O-ring seals to prevent moisture from penetrating the riflescope. Due to the nitrogen gas purging the scope is also fogproof over a wide range of temperatures.

4. Nikon P-308 Matte BDC 800

Nikon P-308 Matte BDC 800 Rifle Scopes, 4-16X42mm
  • 30mm main body tube offers additional windage and elevation adjustment range (90 MOA)
  • Built specifically for rifles Chambered for the 308 Winchester round, Nikon p-308 riflescopes integrate reticle Technology developed for long range shooting with this cartridge
  • Multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds on every Glass surface provide bright, vivid sight pictures and optimum light transmission from dawn to dusk

We have included in our .45-70 scope guide one optics designed explicitly for AR style rifles. In addition, it features a second focal plane set a ballistic drop compensating (BDC) reticle explicitly designed to shoot .308 Winchester ammunition. 

However, we presumed every shooter with good practice is capable of making ethical shots in the field.

All Nikon reticles can also be optimized for virtually any cartridge using Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. So when used with a skill these calibers specific ballistic reticles make you feel quite empowered.

The P-308 4-16x42 Model 16307 sports the 30mm body for wider windage and elevation travel of 90 MOA and superior wall strength. The scope has three adjustment turrets equipped with spring-loaded zero-reset function.

Built from aircraft grade aluminum alloy, one-piece nitrogen filled main body tube provides for maximum strength and ensures top performance under harsh conditions.

Nikon 4-16x42 SF comes with generous 4" of constant eye relief and has 4-time power ratio for the versatility to make close or long-range shots. A fully multicoated Ultra ClearCoat optical system delivers superior light transmission for bright, clear images with well-balanced color.

Designed from the ground up for heavier caliber rifles and utilizing the BDC reticle, the P-308 4-16x42SF riflescope is best used for short-range applications of below 500 yards, which coincides with .45-70 specifications.

5. Athlon Argos BTR 1-4x24

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR , Riflescope , 1-4 x 24 Second Focal Plane (SFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated AHSR14 MOA Reticle ,
5 Reviews
Athlon Optics , Argos BTR , Riflescope , 1-4 x 24 Second Focal Plane (SFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated AHSR14 MOA Reticle ,
  • First focal plane reticle stays valid at all power settings allowing you to fully utilize the specially designed reticle that shrinks or grows along with your target as you zoom in or out.
  • Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses gives you better light transmission to bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light spectrum.
  • Reticle etched on the glass that provides excellent backing support for complex reticle design and offers great durability and much higher shock resistance to recoil
  • The 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum tube that has exceptional strength and superior mechanical integrity will protect these world class optics no matter what punishment you throw at it
  • Argon purging gives you better waterproofing and thermal stability

This Athlon Argos BTR 1-4x24 is the ideal optical solution and one of best scopes for Marlin .45-70 considering its compact dimensions and objective lens diameter of 24-mm.

Athlon Argos BTR (Bright Tactical Reticle) 1-4x24 riflescope is best suited for hunters and practical range shooting.

Athlon Argos BTR 1-4x24 is enhanced with a first focal plane AHSR14 MIL reticle etched on the glass for higher shock resistance to recoil and comes with maximal 3.5" eye relief.

In the middle of the scope, you will find the tactical (finger-operated) knobs that offer quick dialing when fast shooting is important.

Compatible with the MRAD-based reticle, the exposed windage and elevation turrets are graduated in 1/10 MRAD values and have maximum adjustment travel of 40 MRAD.

On the left housing side is positioned an illumination control knob, and the eyepiece provides you with a low-profile lever for fast zooming

The lenses are fully multi-coated, making the scope bright and offer a crisp image even in dark environments. The optical system is also protected with XPL coatings keeping it safe from scratches, oil, and dirt.

O-ring sealed and argon purged, Athlon Argos BTR delivers waterproof and fogproof performance while the single-piece, 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum construction gives hunters a durable platform.

Athlon Argos BTR scope has 4 times magnification range, while the very rugged and durable 30mm central tube provides internals to be resistant to shock and recoil of any caliber.

6. Nightforce Atacr 4-16x42 F1 Moar

Nightforce Optics 4-16x42 ATACR Series Riflescope, Matte Black with DigIllum Illuminated First Focal Plane MOAR Reticle, 34mm Tube, Side Parallax Adjust, .250 MOA
3 Reviews

The best scope for Marlin .45-70 should be built like a tank, and this epithet is most often associated with Nightforce ATACR (Advanced TACtical Riflescope) riflescopes. The ATACR 4-16×42 F1 is a compact yet powerful scope intended for the mid-range sniper rifle.

The ATACR series of riflescopes can be equipped with MOA or MIL based reticles and turrets and an F1 mark means that reticle is set in the first focal plane.

This model comes with MOAR reticle coupled with DigIllum digital reticle illumination. An on/off button is located on the outer side of the parallax/focus knob, which is located on the left side of the scope.

This well-designed MOA-type reticle features a floating crosshair and one MOA graduations that matching with Minute of Angle (MOA) turrets.

Whereas the scope has capped windage adjustment knob to prevent accidental adjustment in the field, the low-profile elevation turret featured .25 MOA increments and patented ZeroStop elevation travel.

The maximum elevation adjustment range is 89 MOA and for windage total adjustment travel is 60 MOA.

The Nightforce Company embeds in all scopes in this series fully multi-coated ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass for more light transmission

Eye relief is somewhat tight with only 3.35-3.54 inches. Since the power ring is relatively hard to turn, Nightforce has incorporated in new series a screw-in thumb lever, called "Power Throw Lever", or PRL for short.

The practical magnification range of 4-16x makes it an almost universal riflescope appropriate for the needs of law enforcement, hunters and competitors.

While this good-looking scope is only 12.6″ long, its robust 34mm body adds an overall weight of 30 ounces, making ATACR 4-16×42 one of the best scopes for lever action .45-70 carbines.

7. Swarovski Optik X5I 5-25x56

Swarovski Optik 5-25x56 X5i Riflescope, Matte Black with 2nd Focal Plane Illuminated 4WX-I Duplex Reticle, 30mm Tube Diameter, Side Parallax Focus.
  • Swarovski Optik 5-25x56 X5i Riflescope - Lens Cloth - Ocular Cover - Objective Cover - CR2032 Battery - Swarovski Optik 10 Year Limited for Riflescope and 2 Year for Reticle Warranty
  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 56mm
  • Main-Tube Diameter: 30mm / 1.18"
  • Reticle: Illuminated 4WX-I+ modified duplex crosshair, SFP

Swarovski Optik released the 5-25x56mm X5i riflescope in 2015 and after long time offered a model that is not only suitable for hunting but also shooting.

It`s 5 times zoom ratio and 56mm large over-sized objective give the shooter the best of both worlds, a platform to accurately shoot at long range targets as well as to do it in day's last ray of sunlight.

When we talked about versatility, the Swarovski X5(i) boasts a SUBZERO function which allows you to shoot at closer distances that long-range scopes are unable to accomplish accurately.

Despite the svelte 30 mm body, the X5(i) offers a whopping 86.4 MOA maximum adjustment range for elevation correction whereas the windage turret features a 54 MOA adjustment range.

The Swarovski X5i riflescopes feature new multi-rotational turrets, with 1/4 or 1/8 MOA point of impact correction depending on reticle type.

This Swarovski line is available with illuminated reticles or without, but they are all set in the second focal plane.

Swarovski 5X (i) 5-25x56x50 optics can be ordered with a lot of different reticles choices for all another type of use.

As a standard feature, Swarovski Optik X5I 5-25x56 comes with fully multicoated optics processed with their proprietary SWAROTOP and SWARODUR anti-reflection coatings to create bright, high-contrast images.

Additionally, the scope sports a non-stick coating dubbed SWAROCLEAN, which repels away from the lenses dirt and watermarks.

On the other hand, the robust construction ensures for additional strength and recoil resistance making this series capable of withstanding the stresses of big calibers such as modern high-performance loads for .45-70 and even the .50 BMG.

8. Steiner Game Sensing GS3

Steiner STE-5011 Game Sensing Scope with 3x-15x Mangnification (30mm)
  • CAT (Color Adjusted Transmission) lens coatings amplify contrast in the peak human vision sensitivity range, to spot game in any environment
  • New 5x Zoom Range: provides sharp resolution at long distances for more accurate shooting in wide-open areas
  • Steiner 4A Reticle has three posts and a center dot for quick, uncluttered target acquisition.
  • Waterproof, Fogproof & Shockproof
  • Lifetime Steiner Heritage Warranty

One of the best scopes for Marlin .45-70, without a doubt is a Steiner Game Sensing line of riflescopes designed specifically for hunting big-game.

Steiner GS3 3-15x56mm scope is high-quality optics at an affordable price packed with features.

This scope uses Color Adjusted Transmission (CAT) multi-coating on the lenses to provide images with color and contrast that are optimized for human vision.

In that way, the CAT coating improves visibility and contrast of game animals against their backgrounds.

To boost that feature, even more, the scope boasts a large 56mm objective bell to provide ultimate picture brightness and visibility in low-light conditions.

Located in the second focal plane, the 5011 Steiner model comes with 4A reticle, which has three posts and a center dot for quick, uncluttered target acquisition.

Since this scope is best suited for a hunting rifle, capped low-profile turrets are an excellent solution. The resettable windage and elevation knobs offer 70 MOA adjustments with a 1/4 MOA point impact correction.

While the ordinary European 4A reticle is well suited for big game hunting and varmint shooting, Steiner`s 5x zoom range gives shooters maximum versatility for hunting game in most different situations. A plus bonus is generous eye relief of 3.5 to 4.3".

The 30mm anodized aluminum housing is nitrogen-filled and offers protection against recoil, impact, water immersion, and fogging-up of the lenses.

9. Bushnell Elite Tactical Horus

Bushnell 3.5-21x50 Horus Elite Tactical Riflescope, 34mm
  • 3.5-21X magnification and a large 50mm objective lens and a 34mm tube
  • First focal plane h-59 reticle with side Parallax adjustment
  • Fully multi-coated optics with rainguard HD and Ultra wide band coatings and argon purged
  • 1 mil click value, 5 miles per revolution
  • T-lok locking target turrets and a 2 inch sunshade

Bushnell Elite Tactical scopes originated from Bushnell Elite series and they are engineered as a result of cooperation Bushnell and Horus Vision. Made in Japan, 3.5-21x50 Elite Tactical scope with Horus H59 reticle is the highest end scope Bushnell makes.

Built around 34mm forged aluminum alloy body, the 3.5-21×50 riflescope provides long-range precision without sacrificing short-range capability.

While the housing provides an ample range of adjustments (20 MIL for windage and 30 MIL for elevation), it is very firm since the whole construction is made from a one-piece tube.

The model ET35215 comes with an excellent Horus H-59 first focal plane reticle geared toward rapid, near and far target acquisition using holdovers and wind holds. The scope feature descent 3.75" of eye relief.

The sizeable external style turrets feature a low profile and provide adjustments in .1-mil increments compatible with H-59 reticle. The knobs are positively locked down to prevent inadvertent zero loss. On the left-hand side of the riflescope is the parallax adjustment knob.

Bushnell has also equipped these scopes with a fully multi-coated optics known as an Ultra wide band coating.

Though manufacturer guarantees excellent image sharpness and contrast, the glass can be a little cloudy at highest power with slight aberrations in the lenses.

All external glass surfaces are protected against dew accumulation with Rainguard HD coatings and the unit is argon purged keeping it both water and fog proof.

This short and compact Bushnell/Horus hybrid is an excellent choice for sharpshooters and competitors who demand all the features a tactical optics must have.

10. Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 6-18x40

Introduced in 2015, the Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 6-18x44 115394 is the biggest brother from the Mark AR family. Although they are purpose-built for the AR platform guns, a model 115394 will be equally at home on your .45-70 bolt-action rifle. Using modern .45-70 ammunition construction, this Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 optics may be one of the best scopes for lever action .45-70.

The Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 6-18x40 features a Mil-Dot reticle coupled with the exposed tactical P5 ballistic dials that have 0.1 MIL of adjustment per click. Unlike smaller models that have fixed parallax at 100 yards, the Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 6-18x40mm comes with an AO – Adjustable Objective ring to compensate the parallax error at different distances. The Mark AR MOD 1 is built around the one-inch central tube, machined from a sturdy 6061-T6 aluminum billet. 

While the scope boasts superior protection against the elements, it is also secured with 2nd Gen Argon/Krypton gas blend that nearly eliminates the effects of thermal shock. The scope comes with very good eye relief ranging from 3.7 to 4.7 in. All riflescopes from this series have fully multi-coated lens system, dubbed Multicoat 4, which increases the amount of all available light and provide outstanding contrast and a bright sight picture even in extreme low-light conditions.

Sadly, this scope is no longer available for purchase, as stated on the manufacturer page.

Conclusion

Many .45-70 firearms are currently built lever action or single shots rifles designed to fire modern, potent loads so there is no such thing as a cheap .45-70 scope. Recoil is a noticeable factor in choosing an optics for the .45-70 scope rifle and a rifle like the one the lever action .45-70 Marlin needs a potent optics to make sure that you are able to shoot accurately.

As for the most thing in life, you should probably make some tradeoff between scope price and qualities and that’s the reason why we prepared this guide to facilitate your quest to find the right .45-70 scope.


Related links

> The best AR15 scopes
> Vortex Strikefire 2 Review
> Vortex Crossfire Review
> Burris Fastfire 3 Review
> Vortex Sparc 2 Review

Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API