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Old February 3, 2011, 09:14 PM   #1
shrewd
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454 vs 45 long colt vs 45-70?

after recently acquiring my .357 marlin (which i love dearly) i find myself unable to kick the old west lever vibe. i always thought i'd eventually pick up a marlin guide gun or some such to sate that urge for the big/historic bullet.

however i also find myself compelled to find a caliber where i can pair the lever with a revolver, as i've done with my blackhawk/marlin, and 45-70 revolvers seem just rediculous.

anywho, i've heard alot about 45 colt and, i guess, after finding wikipedia unsatisfactory, i look to you guys to fill in the (massive) gaps in my knowledge.

what are the pros and cons of these three calibers?
mind you my primary purpose here is mostly targets and collection. i dont expect to find myself face to face with a nasty grizzly, but i'm fascinated with all calibers and suspect i'm at the beginning of a terminal bout of gunnutitis.

please add to my knowledge or show me a vaccine!!
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Old February 3, 2011, 09:24 PM   #2
Rob3
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I have a Ruger Super Redhawk in 454/45LC. It is a great pistol, and with 454s I would not hesitate to take a shot at a deer at 100 yards, long gun could push that range even farther. I'm also a Marlin lever action fan, but I don't think they make guns in either caliber. I think Rossi does though.
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Old February 4, 2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Rob is correct Marlin doesn't make a rifle in either of those calibers but their 45-70 guide gun is perfect. It is not however for the faint of heart or shoulder.
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Old February 4, 2011, 11:43 AM   #4
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Rossi makes a .454 M92 and Marlin makes a .45 Colt. For me there is nothing that a .45 Colt will not do and the best gun combo for me would be a Ruger Blackhawk and a Marlin in .45 Colt. But then again a Ruger Alaskan and a Rossi M92 in .454 would be cool.
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Old February 4, 2011, 02:18 PM   #5
shrewd
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but why? what are the differences between the calibers? they have to be significantly different for there to be three seperate 45 based calibers, am i wrong?
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Old February 4, 2011, 03:15 PM   #6
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The 45-70 is a strictly rifle cartridge, that long case makes it too awkward for a revolver and requires a fairly long receiver for a rifle. The 454 is essentially a "45 Magnum", a 45 (Long) Colt loaded to much higher velocities-and pressure-and in a longer case to prevent its being chambered in a revolver not designed for it.
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Old February 4, 2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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The .454 is a lengthened higher pressure .45 Colt case. You can shoot .45 Colt in a .454 like you can shoot .38SPL in a .357Mag. The .45-70, on the other hand, is a different beast entirely.

Everybody wants the guide gun, and it is a fine gun. But with heavier loads, will beat the snot out of you. The regular Marlin 1895 is about an inch or two longer than the regular Model 336 .30-30, and a bit heavier. Other than the half magazine tube on the .45-70 its tough to tell them apart at a glance, until you get closer. I had an 1895 for many years, and recently traded it (excess to needs). The guide gun gives you a slightly shorter, lighter package, but there is no free lunch. Lighter means more felt recoil. Your call.

There are no "original" .45 Colt leverguns from the old west. .44-40, but not .45 Colt. Old time .45 Colt brass had a very small rim, and while it was enough in a single action revolver, it wasn't good in a lever action. Modern brass has a slightly larger rim, and apparently is good enough to work reliably in a lever action. I keep telling myself I'm gonna get one, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

The .45 Colt began in 1873 with the Colt SAA (Model P, Peacemaker) revolver. The original load was a 255gr bullet over 40gr of black powder. Velocity in the 950fps range, depending on barrel length. In those days, in fact until 1935 and the introduction of the .357 Mag, it was the big stick of handgun cartridges. The .454 Casull began as expiriments in the late 50s using custom built 5 shot revolvers (for strength) and some really wild powder mixtures in the .45 Colt case. It became a factory round some 30 years later, with a case dimensioned slightly longer that the .45 Colt case, so the higher pressure round would not fit in a .45 Colt gun.

I don't think Marlin makes a .454, but they make a couple of .45 Colt models, on their 1894 action. One of these is the "cowboy" model, with an octagon barrel, full length magazine tube and nice checkering. Its kind of spendy, though, and not all that common. A Ruger Blackhawk (or Vaquero) and a Marlin 1894 in .45 Colt would be a nice combination. Not authentic old west, but old west-ish, while being safe, modern and effective.
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Old February 4, 2011, 04:20 PM   #8
shrewd
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thanks amp, thats some good info
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Old February 4, 2011, 05:12 PM   #9
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It is helpful to know that 45/70 is cal .458 and 45 colt 454 are .451 so in fact they aren't the same caliber. They're as far apart from each other as a 270 Win is from 280 Rem, 7 thousands.

The 454 is hard on the hand in a revolver but a great asset as a carry gun in AK. I've got the 1895 guide gun and like it ok. Its better for scope mounting than the Puma but I'm wonder if the 45/70s much hotter than the 454 out of a short rifle with factory loads. I've got the Ruger 454 and love it.
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Old February 4, 2011, 05:22 PM   #10
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what about the 44 rem mag it comes in both revolver and lever gun and are very fun to shoot ?
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Old February 4, 2011, 06:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrewd
but why? what are the differences between the calibers? they have to be significantly different for there to be three seperate 45 based calibers, am i wrong?
The 45-70 and 45 Colt were conceived in a time when anti-personnel problems were solved by a big bullet, propelled by a big dose of blackpowder. Their success is no mystery when you consider that many of those 'personnel' practically lived on horses and survived on buffalo. In their most primitive loadings, both cartridges were capable of depriving an enemy of life, transportation and food.

In a strong revolver, the 'modern' .45 Colt can about duplicate the old .45-70 carbine load. In a stout, short barreled carbine the 45 Colt makes an even better showing. In strong rifles, the .45-70 can be a '2/3 throttle' .458 Mag, assuming 500 grain bullets.

The .454 can run with the big dogs mentioned above* but it operates at substantially higher pressures and firearm choices are thus limited. To my thinking, the Casull's primary advantage is that it can do most of the 45-70's chores, along with the ability to use .45 Colt loads for light work. This ability to use .45 ACP and Colt bullets in the .454 sort of tweaks this old hand-loader's 'inner mad scientist'.

*except the .458 WM
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Old February 4, 2011, 06:17 PM   #12
shrewd
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ive been thinking that also, but it seems so close to my .357 and...i dunno...i guess so......normal?

its strange, i feel drawn to the "older," Big bullets. it'll be shot much less than the .357s and my cz75 in 9mm, more of like a fun gun, i guess?


this is all hypothetical at this point, as i think my next purchase will either be a 1911 or ar15 (unless i find a nice mosin and break at the gun show this weekend) but its fun to think ahead
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Old February 4, 2011, 06:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
To my thinking, the Casull's primary advantage is that it can do most of the 45-70's chores, along with the ability to use .45 Colt loads for light work.
True, and due to the wide range of loadings available for the .45/70, it has a similar capability.

You can buy 45/70 loadings as light as a 405gr bullet at 1100fps all the way up to the same bullet weight at 2000fps.
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Old February 4, 2011, 07:50 PM   #14
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After my last post I went to the shooting bench to work on the 06 loads and while the Chrony was set up I made a quick test. 45/70 Govt Federal 300 grain Speer hot core factory load, 18" barrel Marlin model 1895 no porting, 48 deg, 1 round 1714 fps, 15' from muzzle. Ruger Super Redhawk 7-1/2" barrel no ports, Winchester 300 grain jacketed flat point, 1 round 1544 fps, same temp and distance. Should be able to pick up 180 fps in 10" of barrel so I conclude with 300 grain bullets a 454 Casull and 45/70 Govt factory loads are too close to care about.

With handloads the 45/70 should be able to separate it self.
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Old February 4, 2011, 08:11 PM   #15
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the 45-70 is a great round. i have an 1895g and a bfr 45-70 revolver. not as impractical a revolver as you might think. it handles the marlin 405 grain loads with out any more felt recoil than my 44 mag and less than my .454. give it a try if you like the cartridge!
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Old February 5, 2011, 08:52 AM   #16
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Shrewd, there is no vaccine once you start going big bore. In the last 2 years I have picked up a few big bores, 2 45-70s (pretty much the same gun, one SS the other blued since the SS was so dam nice, but with the blued one and Marlins decrease in quality it took MANY to find one that actually looked like it was assembled by someone other than a a highschool kid in woodshop. Sad as that is to say. So just be warned that if you go the Marlin route, and its new, look before you buy.

I also picked up a 454 Alaskan, this started due to moose that we ran into on elk hunt in 09. Thing was ****** off and wanted to charge, all we had immediatly avaliable were 2 45 autos. Moose lost interust but I gained wisdom to get something bigger, was looking at a 44mag but a coworker talked me into a 454 and when I found the alaskan I was set on it. Then came the puma/ LSI 92 in 454. Then this week I was looking for a full size 454 but all the Ruger SRH I found were all target gray even 2 that a shop ordered in for me due to the warehouse saying Satin Stainless Finish. After the 2nd bust, I said screw it, got a 460? The guy smiles and returned with a 8 3/8" version. I will be taking it out tomorrow for its first time, I have shot one before at a range, so I knew what I was getting myself into. I think I'm decently set, but if I find a SRH in SS Ill likely get it, AND if they ever release a 460 lever, again, Ill probally bite. Its only money.

But be forewarned, once you go big, everything else is just not the same.

I've never shot a 45/70 handgun, but a coworker has a T/C in 45/70 that we are going to take out once the weather turn nice. I did eye the BFR however.
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Old February 7, 2011, 11:19 AM   #17
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i got 1941 fps out of my puma m92 .454 300 gr hornady xtp.
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Old February 7, 2011, 10:06 PM   #18
shrewd
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haha, i'd like a nice big bore rifle and handgun, and, at the moment, i'm thinking about a lever/revolver combo in .45 colt but we'll see. i've got alot to buy before this becomes an issue.

that said, i dont think the big bore addiction will take hold. i love my cz75 in 9mm, and i cant WAIT to get my first AR. also, my good ol' marlin 1894c in .357 is a blast so, lets just say i have an affinity for all calibers and firearms
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