Taylors & CO 1886 Ridge Runner Takedown Rifle in .45-70 ~ Gun Review

by Bob Shell
Bob reviews and shot tests the Taylors & CO 1886 Ridge Runner Takedown Rifle in .45-70 with good results.

Bob Shell reviews the Taylor 1886 Ridge Runner Take-Down 45-70
Bob Shell reviews the Taylors 1886 Ridge Runner Take-Down 45-70

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- The 45-70 cartridge has been around for over 140 years and still is going as strong as ever with reproduction rifles like the Taylors & Co Inc. 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle.

Some folks wonder why such an old round is still very popular. One main reason is that it works. It started out as a black powder military round but, has changed with the times and today enjoys the technology that other arms enjoy. Most military rounds are successful due to the fact that components are available as are the guns. It doesn’t matter how good it may be but, the fact that the military used it at one time gives it a boost.

Taylors & Company 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle in .45-70

This rifle is made in Italy by Chiappa and imported by Taylors. They have a wide variety of firearms available, I have purchased a couple through the years, and they always have been very good. For more info on Taylors you can go to www.taylorsfirearms.com One on my very favorites is the Smoke Wagon revolver in 44-40, but that is another article.

Early on, it became evident to me that the 45-70 was a good hunting round, capable of taking large game even with the available black powder loads. With that thought Winchester brought out a couple of rifles in that chambering. One was the model 86 which is a large well made lever action available in a number of chamberings including the 45-70. The model 86 is a strong rifle capable of taking modern loads, which increased its range and usefulness. Today a couple of companies make the model 86 in the 45-70.

The 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle is a modern take down version of the 86 as imported by Taylors. Using open sights, 2” groups at 50 yards are reasonable, perhaps a little better in the hands of a good shot. The 45-70 with good loads is capable of excellent accuracy.

Taylors & Company 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle .45-70, 18.5" Half Octagonal Barrel - Matte Blue
Taylors & Company 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle .45-70, 18.5″ Half Octagonal Barrel – Matte Blue
1886 Ridge Runner Rifle .45-70, 18.5" Half Octagonal Barrel - Matte Blue
1886 Ridge Runner Rifle .45-70, 18.5″ Half Octagonal Barrel – Matte Blue

It is evident that this rifle is made for hunting. It is a heavy frame and rugged rifle suitable for hunting across rough terrain and in all kinds of weather. With the ghost ring rear sight and a fiber optic front it should be easy to acquire a target in the woods. Shooting it shows that the sights are easy to pick up. It is also capable of mounting a scope if desired, with some planning.The problem is it is a top eject rifle so it has to be a handgun scope in order to stay away from the ejected empties.

1886 Ridge Runner Rifle .45-70 muzzle break and front sight.
1886 Ridge Runner Rifle .45-70 muzzle break and front sight.

With the strong 86 action, it will handle any reasonable load. In fact, your shoulder may give out before you reach a load that it can’t handle. The muzzle break may help in the recoil department, although it can be removed.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the breaks but in this instance it may prove its worth. You can try it out with and without the break to see what your preference is. The situation may dictate its use or not. The rifle is black with a composite type of stock and forend which may not be as attractive as wood but would be less prone to damage from bad weather or a fall. Wood has a tendency to scratch or swell in a rainstorm. That could cause the point of impact to change at an inopportune time. The metal isn’t shiny which is another plus.

45-70 Ammunition

Like most guns, 45-70 ammunition has benefited from modern bullet and ammo research. There are lead free and flex tip slugs available as well as a variety of cast bullets.

Various 45-70 Ammo
Various 45-70 Ammo

In all honesty, a good cast bullet will handle most hunting situations. I have had customers shoot large grizzly bears with a 45-70 and a 400-grain LBT bullet. At 2000 FPS, I don’t think that there is much that can stand up to that load.

The handloader really has it good, as light loads can also be made. For really light shooting ammo a 45-60 case can be used as it is shorter so lighter loads can be used without worrying about excess air space. Lead shot loads can be made and they are decent out to 20 yards depending on load. I have used 45-70 shot loads to harvest small game and they are reliable up to about 20 yards depending on the load.

An interesting option is the Hornady Flex Tip bullets
An interesting option is the Hornady Flex Tip bullets

The 300-grain Acme bullet would be ideal for a youngster for deer. It has enough power for close shots and recoil is almost nonexistent. An interesting option is the Hornady Flex Tip Bullets. They come in 250 and 325-grain weights. I am working with the 250 because it has enough weight for deer and, with a moderate load the recoil is very pleasant. Due to the design, a slightly shorter case needs to be used which Hornady produces. Hornady manufactures ammo and reloading components and it has a very long list that you can go to their website to view their many quality products.

Shooting these in the Taylors & CO 1886 Ridge Runner Takedown Rifle I was surprised by the low-velocity loads during testing (see results below) but will add some powder and try again. I listed those slow loads for info purposes. With the pointed design range may increase somewhat.

With this activity I am focusing on light bullet loads with enough velocity to be useful for hunting without excess recoil. I have many heavy loads including one that propels a 500 grain at 1800 FPS, but it has so much recoil that few people can utilize it. For close up bear it would be ideal.

An up and coming company is Double Tap. They make a lot of full power loads that deliver the goods.Go to their website for info on their products. Black Hills has been making new and reloaded ammo for some years now. Any that I have used has worked well, indication good quality at good prices. For more information you can go to www.black-hills.com for a listing of their products. Winchester has been around for many years and like most other companies are updating their line as new products are developed and it always shoots well for information you can go to www.winchester.com for their extensive product line.

Shooting the Taylor’s & Company 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle

Three shot groups at 50 yards were in the 1 & ½ to 2 & ½” are with a rest but not a real good setup. I have no doubt that those groups can be duplicated at 100 yards with a good rest and shooter. A scope and top loads can produce excellent accuracy at hunting ranges. With some of the modern bullets available, the weight can be reduced and still get good results. Such loads will reduce recoil, which is always a good thing. If you are sighting it in be sure that it is the same load as you are going to use on the hunt. For instance, if you are going to use the muzzle break then sight it in with that attached to avoid a change in point of impact.

Most shooters liked the rifle and its handling characteristics.
Most shooters liked the rifle and its handling characteristics.

Most shooters liked the T&C 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle and its handling characteristics. The trigger pull is good which aids in accuracy. Due to the strength of the action virtually any hunting load can be employed. For dangerous game that would be a plus. The only drawback might be the price ( $1700.00 MSRP ). I am aware of what goes into these guns but the average consumer may balk at the tab. It is a gun that I would trust for a large game hunt.

For a serious big game rifle, I would give it a thumbs up.

45-70 Loads as Tested in Taylors & Company 1886 Ridge Runner Rifle

20 Grains Trail Boss250 gr. Hornady906.4Way Too Light
50 Grains H-4198300 gr. Sierra HP1988Nice Load
Win Factory300 gr. HP1741Hunting Load
Mixwell300 gr. Cast1517Accurate
30 grains 5744300 gr. Cast1386Consistent
17 grains Trail Boss300 gr. ACME Cast1312.9Very Consistent
Double Tap300 gr. Barnes1950.1 Nice Load
Hornady Fact325 gr. 2059Potent
47.9 grains IMR 4895325 gr. Hornady Flex1652.73Hunting Load
15 grains Unique 350 gr. Berry 985.2Very High ES
Double Tap400 gr. Cast 1740Nice
52 grains RL #7400 gr. Speer1894Recoil
Black Hills405 gr. Cast1208Mild
Double Tap405 gr. Cast1865.8Potent
11 grains Unique 500 gr. Cast906.4Very High ES

About Bob Shell:

A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit: www.bobshellsblog.blogspot.com.

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Daniel M.

I am always perplexed as to why almost every 45-70 lever gun I see, has a short magazine! Why, if one is going to be using it for potentially dangerous game, would you not want that extra 2-3 rounds available?


1700 msrp



Thank you for the formula and I have ballistic charts to reference but will use the formula in the future. My main “beef” with the article is that although I already have an idea what the muzzle energy is for this caliber, the author should have included it in his article along with other details about the rifle as others have pointed out.

Roy D.

Regarding this paragraph about the 325gr Flex Tip bullets: “Shooting these in the Taylors & CO 1886 Ridge Runner Takedown Rifle I was surprised by the low-velocity loads during testing (see results below) but will add some powder and try again. I listed those slow loads for info purposes.”, I believe that the author mistakenly used 4895 when he should have been using 4198. It happens sometimes when you aren’t paying attention.


The article is written about this rifle and the powerful aspects of the .45-70 round but not one mention of muzzle energy of any of the “various” rounds. This article is very incomete without this information which is vital when discussing the power of any cartridge especially when you mention big game as a good use for this rifle. How the heck was this left out? And muzzle energy is even left out of the ballistics table!!!

Roy D.

You can figure out muzzle energy yourself by doing the following: Take the velocity and square it and then multiply that result by the bullet weight divided by 100. Then divide that sum by 4500 and you will get the ft/lb of energy.
Example from above: Hornady Fact, 325gr,2059fps.
2059 X 2059= 4239481
4239481 X 3.25= 13778313
13778313 / 4500= 3061 ft/lbs


In section listing different loads what does ES stand for?. I am usually confused with the two and three letter abbreviations for who knows what and there seems to never exist in the article a definition of each abbreviation.

Wild Bill

@Bob Shell, Terrific article. Just as an aside, can I get the same performance out of my 6.5 x 55 Swedish as my 6.5 x 47 Lapua, if I use the same charge (say 40 gr of H4350 or something else that you might suggest), same bullet, and same primer?

James Bailey

The article left me wanting as far as the specific attributes of the rifle especially the main attribute: the takedown aspect! Here, one of the key aspects of the entire rifle is left out of the article! I love the ballistic tables, I love the notation on the reloading aspect, which I understand is the author’s forte, but to not address one of the main selling points this rifle and its design is Unforgivable! Basically, the Author left me wanting: wanting to know how many rounds the magazine holds, why the manufacturer did not have a full extended tube for… Read more »


Very nice article, good info and very complete in the info given. Thanks Bob.


Brake. Muzzle BRAKE.

John Dunlap

Nice rifle. Top eject is not a problem. For me, it’s a selling point.


I have a Winchester 94 30-30 with top eject. Over the years I would occasionally put a side mount scope on it but it would never hold zero. I just don’t think it ever wanted optics on it. Looking back and now realizing that wonderful rifle rocks with open sights just as it was intended. I’ve had that rifle so long I don’t even think Winchester made an angle eject yet.