Traditions GII Outfitter in 45-70 Gov’t

A Very Accurate Rifle, With a Questionable Optic

When the Traditions GII Outfitter, from Traditions Performance Firearms, was introduced last year, it looked to me like it might be the perfect rifle for the hunter who wanted a solid, safe firearm but didn’t want to spend two car payments on it.  And, a good choice for the deer hunter who’s in a stand the weekend of every hunting opener, but likely not much more. Not a hardcore type and gear junkie, but a hunter nonetheless who wants a dependable rifle without a huge money investment.

And, the GII Outfitter was offered in straight-walled cartridges, so deer hunters could use it in those “slug gun” states like Ohio that will allow centerfire rifles if they employ straight-walled rounds.

The Traditions GII Outfitter, from Traditions Performance Firearms, comes with a scope already mounted, as well as a deluxe rifle case.

The Outfitter GII features a simple, break-open action, fire one round at a time, features a synthetic stock and comes with a Traditions scope already mounted. I requested one for review in 45-70 Gov’t. Simple, function, ready to hit the field. What could go wrong?

The simple, safe break-open action on the Traditions GII Outfitter is extremely functional and dependable.

The scope, it turns out. 

This is a quality and very accurate rifle but is hindered by a poor-quality scope. My suggestion? Buy the GII without the glass.

I’ve reviewed rifle-and-scope packages before, and one thing I learned: never trust that the rings and bases are tight. I checked the screws on the GII’s rings and two were loose. So, I took off the scope, discovered the front screw holding the Picatinny rail to the receiver was also loose, re-tightened and reaffix everything.

McCombie took off the original rings and tightened the base and then the rings.

At my shooting range, I had problems with the Tradition 3-9×40 scope right away.  Despite repeated cleaning of the lens and many adjustments to the eyepiece, the scope still presented a blurred target—at 50 yards. Not terribly blurred, but not clear, either.

Whatever I figured. 

I started the zeroing process. And here I had to turn the scope’s elevation and windage adjustments back and forth, back and forth, to get the reticle to move like it was supposed to move. Well, I told myself, that can happen with a new scope. No biggie.

Once zeroed, the GII grouped three shots of Federal Premium under one inch. I was impressed with the rifle. The trigger broke very cleanly, the hammer came back easily, and it appeared to be very accurate. 

At 100 yards accuracy testing, the scope and its inability to get the job done became very apparent. I couldn’t get three-shot groups tighter than four inches.  The optic wouldn’t stay anywhere near a consistent zero. The target was blurry, the rings kept loosening and the scope’s adjustments just would not track.

I made a decision. I had a strong feeling the rifle itself was very accurate, but that it would never be fair to the rifle to keep the original scope. So, I switched scopes, and installed a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 onto the GII, with Vortex rings.

McCombie replaced the original Traditions scope on his GII Outfitter with a Vortex 3-9×40 Crossfire II—and the rifle’s accuracy was proven to be MOA or better.

At which point I found out that a single shot, break action rifle in 45-70 Gov’t., sporting a 22-inch barrel Chromoly barrel, can be a SUB-MOA rifle! 

For ammunition in my 100 yards accuracy testing with the GII rifle I used:

Barnes VOR-TX, 300-grain TSX-FN bullet, muzzle velocity of 1,829 feet per second (fps);

Federal Premium Power-Shok, 300-grain soft point, 1,768 fps muzzle velocity;

Hornady LEVERevolution, 250-grain Monoflex bullet,  1,944 fps muzzle velocity.*

I shot four, three-shot groups. My best single three-shot group came in at .875-inches with the Federal, followed by a 1.0-inch group with the Barnes. In both cases, two of the shots were touching. The Federal average right at 1.0-inches over the course of my shooting, the Barnes at 1.24-inches

McCombie’s best single three-shot group came in at .875-inches with Federal Power-Shok in 45-70 Gov’t. at 100 yards.
Barnes VOR-TX with a 300 grain, TSX-FN bullet, scored this nice 1.0-inch group.

I couldn’t get the same accuracy with the Hornady, but it still averaged 1.35-inches at 100 yards. That’s a deer killer all day long.

McCombie’s “customized” GII Outfitter with a Vortex Crossfire scope added.

Recoil? Pretty stout. Even with the recoil pad and the muzzle brake, though it would be worse with that brake.

The muzzle brake on the GII Outfitter helps reduce recoil, though the recoil is still significant.

But I expected such recoil, given the round and that the GII is an in-line, big bore single shot. All that recoil must go somewhere, and in this case, it’s pretty much right back into your shoulder.

The good news is, at 150 yards and under, you aren’t going to need more than one shot on most deer, hogs and similar sized game, assuming you do your part as a marksman.

The Outfitter GII also features a patented Quick Detach Forend for easy takedown. It worked, as the name suggests, quickly and made cleaning the underside of the barrel and break action button very easy.

Now, could I have just had a GII with an “off optic? Possibly. I was, I must admit, in a time crunch to return the rifle and didn’t have time to re-order another rifle.

Buy the base model GII—hard pass on the scoped package, though.

However, I’ve used other Traditions scopes and, frankly, they were not very good. And let’s examine the price difference in the suggested retail between the GII scoped-package rifle, at $557.00, versus the GII in 45-70 Gov’t without the scope to $483.00. If you deduct $20 for the rings and rail and time to install the scope onto the package model, and that would mean the Traditions scope essentially has a retail price of $54.00 ($537 minus costs of base, rings, labor, and then subtract the $483 base model cost).

Call me an optics snob if you want, but I have yet to see a $54 retail cost scope I would trust in the field. And, as with the Tradition 3-9×40, they can’t necessarily do the job in the stable confines of a shooting range, either.

The Outfitter GII is also available in .35 Whelen, 35 Rem, .357 Mag, .44 Mag, and 450 Bushmaster. This is a handy little rifle, easy to carry and pack, and will fit nicely in a hunting blind or tree stand. If you already own a decent scope? Buy the base model GII. Your accuracy and hunting success will be more than worth the time it takes to mount and zero the rifle.

**Velocities measured with a PACT Professional XP Chronograph, from Brownell’s, unit approximately six-feet from the rifle muzzle. Average of ten shots per ammunition brand.

Specs: As Tested, Traditions Outfitter G2 Rifle, in .45-70 Gov’t. with Traditions3-9×40 Scope

Action: Break Open

Capacity: Single Shot

Barrel: 22″ Chromoly Lothar Walther, Fluted

Twist rate: 1:20”

Frame: Steel

Finish: Black CeraKote Finish on Barrel
Length: 38”
Weight: 5.8 lbs (rifle only)

Stock and Forend: Synthetic
Safety: Transfer Bar System and Manual Trigger Block Safety

Sights: None. Receiver drilled and tapped for optic

Misc: Barrel features 11-Degree Target Crown; patented quick-detach forend for an easy takedown; Deluxe gun case included.

MSRP: $557.00

For more information visit Traditions Firearms website

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About the author: Brian McCombie writes about hunting and firearms, people and places, for a variety of publications including American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, and SHOT Business. He loves hog hunting, 1911’s chambered in 10MM and .45 ACP, and the Chicago Bears.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • john July 22, 2020, 1:09 am

    Looks like a shoulder breaker, I have 16″ 45-70 barrel for my Contender carbine. I bought a brand new box of ammo put 5 rounds down range. still have the other 15. That was 15 years ago.

  • LONG SHOT 101 July 17, 2020, 4:44 pm

    I’D LIKE TO SEE IT IN THE 338 LAPUA. NOW THATS A RIFLE , AND IT SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST A 26 INCH BARREL.

  • KimberproSS July 17, 2020, 11:21 am

    That is a sledge hammer, probably similar to a 12 ga. slug. Not something you will practice with at the range often.

  • singleshotcajun July 17, 2020, 5:51 am

    I’d bet my last money that is a CVA Hunter branded as Traditions. One can get the CVA Hunter for much less money. I bought my Grandson a CVA Hunter in 243 Win years ago and it is a tack driver and deer killer. The Hunter is also available in 45/70 and other straight walled cartridges.

  • george d bright July 13, 2020, 10:38 am

    Can I shoot the same ammo in my 1884 Springfield?

    • singleshotcajun July 17, 2020, 5:47 am

      I would not do that. I stick with Black Hills 45/70 Cowboy loads or home rolled Black Powder hand loads with cast lead projectiles in my Trapdoor and Rolling block. Best to be safe.

      • Mark N. July 25, 2020, 2:53 am

        Totally agree. The 1884 Springfield, assuming it is an original and not a reproduction, was designed for black powder. The steel was not as good as current manufacture, and there is a high risk of a barrel rupture unless you are using black powder or equivalent loads. As it is, however, the 70 in .45-70 represents 70 grains of black powder (by volume, not by weight) which is a powerful load. With the classic 500 grain bullet, it will knock down anything you want to knock down out past 600 yards. According to Army ballistic testing, the round remained lethal (if not accurate for anything but volley fire) out to 3500 yards.

  • Karl Markiewicz July 13, 2020, 9:23 am

    Nice article. Is it rated for +p ammo (Buffalo Bore). Traditions website has the G3 and crack-shot but no GII (as well as no mention of +p rating). They also have G3 youth model available in 300 AAC with 16.5″ barrel. Assume GII is old model. Wish open sights were an option on the G3s.

    • Mark N. July 25, 2020, 3:06 am

      That was one of the first things I noticed. Most will hunt with this gun at fairly short ranges where open sights are perfectly adequate. But this rifle doesn’t even have dovetails to add your own. I thik that that is a shortcoming.

  • Bill Hackaday July 13, 2020, 9:21 am

    Well done Brian: Good anlysis/test/article ! “Never under estimate the 45/70.” I used Randy Garrett’s 540 grain Hammerhead ammo in Mozambique, South Africa and Argentina. (After 150 yards the trajectory is like a thrown brick, but within range a “hard-cast” 540 grain is a flying sledgehammer.) Cape bufalo, Asian buffalo, Livingstone eland, and a very large Hippo; only the cape buffalo needed more than one 540 grain Garrett..

  • Ron Franklin July 13, 2020, 8:55 am

    Real Nice. Price not bad either.

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