Woodleigh Hydrostatically Stabilized Monolithic Solids for 45/70 - 400 gr
Despite their somewhat outdated bullet styles, I am a very firm believer in Woodleigh Bullets and rank them as some of the top contenders as the best performing Dangerous game bullets across a variety of calibers. Many of their bullets are designed for the older Nitro calibers, those that typically come in double barrel form - the 1800 thru 2200 feet per second speed band - which makes them perfect for African hunting in heavy cover and at close quarters. Their offerings designed specifically for the 45/70 fits this speed band well with excellent penetration and weight retention at slow speeds.
These NEW HS bullets defied all logic and expectation with their penetration at relatively slow speeds - without a doubt one of the top contenders for Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo when going to Africa in all the classic big game calibers. I only managed to recover 3 bullets out of a box of 20 and would not hesitate to recommend this bullet from a performance point of view.
45/70 Load test for 400gr Woodleigh Hydrostatically Stabilised bullets
Due to the cost of these bullets I did not dare try and do any load testing to work up to a maximum velocity, they simply cost too much and the Woodleigh website suggests that these bullets be loaded using current load data for jacketed bullets in the same weight range.
I settled on using Alliant RL7 which has proved to be one of the top performing powders for me on the bullet tests I did in Africa.
Bullets were seated at different depths and I found this did have alot to say for easy and reliable feeding. The deeper seated bullets proved better of course - I did not try and mess around with seating depth too much except making sure that the first lot were crimped below the first band (these did not feed smoothly) while the rest were crimped in line with the top of the first band.
I don't own a chrono so the speed can only be guessed at and I was hoping for something between 1700 - 1900 fps. The bullets themselves are not overly long as some of the machined monolithics are, they left ample room within the 45/70 case for a decent charge of powder without compression.
Again - these bullets were virtually unstoppable on all mediums or concoctions I fired into - basically a conglomeration of Elephant parts like the feet below the knee, the Skull, the shoulderbone, the hind leg femur as well as the skull and pieces of the hide.
No bullets were recovered from the shots fired into the above elephant leg, they penetrated through and to freedom - only the Northfork and harcast lead bullets also tested were found.
The 2 bullets in the picture above were recovered from the bark of a tree after penetrating through the ultimate set of obstacles - here's what I lined up:
1. the top end of an elephant femur bone
2. a piece of elephant hide
3. a buffalo hind leg
4. another buffalo hind leg
The bullets were fired from 15 yards off into the femur bone and recovered from the tree against which all these body parts were assembled.
Regardless of the absence of a living creature, the performance and penetration was excellent - at least 60 inches of heavy bone, thick hide, meat and gristle.
Woodleigh 405 gr Soft Point - the perfect Lion medicine!
The Woodleigh 405 grain flat nose soft points designed specifically for the 45/70 lever guns proved to be an excellent bullet for the field in Africa. I carried these bullets loaded to about 1800 fps and used them for general everyday hunting and carrying ammo.
What impressed me the most was their penetration on a hippo bull as well as the full carcass of a very large male lion.
One would think that these bullets would not expand at such slow speeds however all bullets recovered had perfect expansion retaining most of their weight in the classic mushroom formation.
Here is a link to a video of a shot through the Lion carcass entering the chest, passing through the whole body length and exiting below the tail. As a PH who hunts Lion and Leopard each year I would have no hesitation carrying the 45/70 Marlin Guide gun after a wounded cat. In fact the carcass in question, although a one shot kill saw me carry the Marlin guide gun after the cat on a short blood trail in the pitch dark before I recovered it.