The .45-70 Whisper Cartridge

Hrachya H
by Hrachya H

The .45-70 cartridge is created by SSK Industries. The company was founded and is run by famous cartridge designer J.D. Jones. Mr. Jones is the inventor of JDJ and Whisper families of cartridges. The .45-70 Whisper is made of .45-70 Government brass cut down to 1.6″ case length and loaded with long bullets fitting .45-70 Government’s overall length.

As with other Whisper cartridges, this round’s main feature is subsonic loads tailored for a certain weapon platform. Particularly, .45-70 Whisper relatively easily fits in lever action rifles requiring only a barrel change with different chamber dimensions and faster twist rate to stabilize longer bullets. Below is an image of Marlin Model 1895 chambered in .45-70 Whisper and equipped with a suppressor.

Images by SSK Industries

The round was initially designed for the Lehigh Defense 465 grain controlled fragmentation bullet. Maximum muzzle velocity of .45-70 Whisper cartridge with this bullet is about 1400 fps and manufacturer recommended sub-sonic velocity is 1040 fps. The cartridge also can be loaded with a number of other bullets weighing from 300 to 500 grains. For reloading purposes, standard 45-70 dies are suitable. However, a new seater die must be used.

I think the starting trend of suppressing lever action rifles will grow. Although it is nothing new considering that lever action rifles have been suppressed even with first Maxim silencers. As the saying goes: “Everything old is new again”. In fact, a lever action rifle is a good host for a suppressor. There are no moving parts of a self-loading mechanism to make their own noise as in semi-auto firearms. The manual operation also flawlessly works with any kind of reduced subsonic loads.

Hrachya H
Hrachya H

Managing Editor Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at

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  • Bret Brewster Bret Brewster on Jan 15, 2017

    Aside from the shortened chamber not allowing for std length cartridges, the bullet seems very long. I have shortened std 45-70 cases to allow a 500+ gr bullet to be short enough to cycle through the 95 action before, I guess I don't get it. Why not mod the feed to say a 45-90 to comp for the bullet oal and keep the ability to run std ammo also?

  • ToddB ToddB on Jan 17, 2017

    Just a barrel change in a lever gun. Sure those are cheap. And all so the longer, very expensive 465gr bullet can be used. Bet people will line up to get screwed over. Odd I have a 425gr bullet mold, the bullets fit in a standard 45-70 case and fire thru a standard barrel, and will fit in a factory lever gun. Powder coated you can load them hot, 2200fps all the way down to subsonic. Is that 40gr difference worth the additional cost and effort? Unlikely, and doubt anything on the receiving end would notice the 40gr. And if your really in the mood to hurt something down range, there are 510gr molds, some will even cycle thru a factory gun, no special barrel needed. I run mine thru a single shot H&R which cares little how long they are. Im gonna spend the cash this set up is gonna cost, Ill go with 458 SOCOM and can throw them down range as fast as you can pull the trigger AND the upper can be easily swapped out for another caliber.