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American Rifleman | Ballistic-Gel Test: Magnum Research ‘Thunder Snub’ in .45-70 Gov’t

by B. Gil Horman – Saturday, April 4, 2020

At the conclusion of the first set of range tests for the Magnum Research, Inc. custom ‘Thunder Snub’ BFR .45-70 Gov’t. single-action revolver, there were a couple of questions left unanswered. First, with so many big-bore revolver rounds to choose from, why chamber this one for a 2.5″ long rifle cartridge born in the 19th century? More importantly, what’s really happening downrange after the bullets leave the barrel?

There’s next-to-no ballistics data available for short-barrel .45-70 Gov’t cartridge performance, and chronograph information only tells part of the story. Instead of confronting a few grizzly bears at close range to see how things worked out, firing the previously tested loads into gel blocks seemed like the best way to evaluate this unusual revolver’s ballistic potential.

I mentioned previously that the idea for building the Thunder Snub came out of a conversation with my cousin Steve. However, the idea took root because there were several advantages to building a big-bore handgun around the .45-70 Gov’t. cartridge. My first thought was that I’m already familiar with the cartridge and shoot it in other platforms. The support gear was already in place and the BFR could be paired up with a rifle chambered in the same cartridge out in the field.

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