The Phoenix Weaponry 1873 45-70 AR

45-70 ar
| December 21, 2017
Categories: Assorted Ramblings

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The Phoenix Weaponry 1873 AR

A 45-70 Government AR Platform Rifle from Phoenix Weaponry

Mike Searson

Phoenix Weaponry of Longmont, Colorado recently announced the launch of their “.45-70 auto rifle platform.” This is a semiautomatic Modern Sporting Rifle chambered in .45-70 Government. Sort of.

The classic .45-70 Government round was developed in MDCCCLXXIII by the Springfield Armory specifically for the breech-loading Springfield Model 1873, or, as it was more commonly known, the “Trapdoor Springfield.” The Army’s minimum acceptable accuracy at the time was approximately 4 inches at 100 yards (4 MOA). A skilled shooter, firing at known distance, could consistently hit targets that were 6 × 6 feet at 600 yards. The 45-70 would go on to be famous for killing buffalo at long ranges.

Phoenix Weaponry has performed what they call a “unique twist” on the classic cartridge by rebating the rim so that it can be adapted to a standard 308 Winchester bolt head and fired through a high pressure AR platform. A rebated rim is one which has a significantly smaller size than the case. In simplest terms, this allows the extraction of larger calibers from a weapon intended for a smaller round, provided there is a barrel conversion. An example of this is the Guncrafter Industries .50 GI round, which can be used with a converted Glock 21, or the .50 Beowulf round. The rim of the latter cartridge matches that of the 7.62 x 39mm, thus sizing it appropriately for customized upper receivers.

Phoenix Weaponry has released a 45-70 Auto AR platform

A 325gr .45-70 Auto round next to a 350gr .458 SOCOM and a 230gr .45ACP.

As we understand it, the standard Phoenix 45-70 will have a 20″ custom profiled Douglas barrel with a 1:14 twist with 8 grooves. Mated with a Phoenix Weaponry billet upper and lower, along with custom trigger and muzzle brake, it will dress out at just over 9 lbs. We’ve seen 6 round magazine so far, though that’s likely not going to be the only option.

Once the rim is rebated, the case can be reloaded easily using existing load information for the .45-70, based on Ruger No.1 loads. An interested reloader can use standard .45-70 die sets with the exception of using a .308 shell holder.  Factory brass will be available shortly, and available for purchase from Phoenix Weaponry.  Each rifle initially will be supplied with 50 pieces of brass to help the new user get started.

45-70 Auto from Phoenix Weaponry

If you have a lathe to modify the brass, Phoenix Weaponry can sell you the form cutter, or you can buy already modified brass from them.

Immediate order slots are available now.  The base price of the rifle is $4,800, and evidently there are a wide array of custom options available to enhance your enjoyment of the new weapon platform.

For more information, contact Phoenix Weaponry at (720) 340-2496, or see this rifle on their website at

Phoenix Weaponry 45-70 Auto Custom AR-15 Breach-Bang-Clear

This version has been built using Cottonwood, for the color of the grain and its light weight (it’s comparable to Balsa wood).


You should wear this while shooting any rifle you’re proud of; also good to have on when running down despicable or depraved assholes on the Naughty List.

Phoenix Weaponry builds a variety of other things as well, including mono-core suppressors (without O-rings, but with end caps that thread directly into the baffle stack), 1911 style grips for the AR-15, and adjustable gas blocks with linear adjustment screws. Everything they make uses built-in-the-USA parts, and, if they need something they don’t make themselves, they require certificates of made-in-the-USA compliance from suppliers.

About Phoenix Weaponry in their own words:

Phoenix Weaponry manufacturers and builds Custom Rifles as well as a full line of pistol and rifle suppressors. Whether you’re an experienced connoisseur or a new enthusiast we can build you a dream rifle or a range blaster.

If you know exactly what you want, or need assistance building a rifle, we can help. Reach out to us and let’s have a conversation about what your trying to accomplish, we build weapons to make you better. 

This article was brought to you today by MadDuoCo: find ’em on Instagram, @madduoco, on Facebook, /MadDuoCo/.

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Searson 1About the Author: Mike “the Mook” Searson is a veteran writer who began his career in firearms at the Camp Pendleton School for Destructive Boys at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire life, writing about guns and knives for numerous publications and consulting with the film industry on weapons while at the same time working as gunsmith and ballistician. Though seemingly a surly curmudgeon shy a few chromosomes at first meeting, Searson is actually far less of a dick and at least a little smarter than most of the Mad Duo’s minions. He is rightfully considered to be not just good company, but actually fit for polite company as well (though he has never forgotten his roots as a rifleman trained to kill people and break things, and if you look closely you’ll see his knuckles are still quite scabbed over from dragging the ground). You can learn more about him on his website or follow him on Twitter, @MikeSearson.


These are really Mike’s feet. He can type with those toes. We’re not even kidding.

1 Comment

  1. Frank Karl

    Ah, no. The density of cottonwood is not comparable to balsa wood.

    Cottonwood density 25 lbs/ft3

    Balsa wood density 7-9 lbs/ft3

    Try bamboo, poplar and American Redwood.


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