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View Poll Results: What would your do-it-all levergun chamber?
44 Mag 31 23.31%
45 Colt 7 5.26%
45-70 Gov 78 58.65%
Other 17 12.78%
Voters: 133. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 29, 2012, 06:02 PM   #1
wilkup
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44/45 Magnum VS. 45-70 Do_All-Levergun

I want a lever action rifle and here are the rifles in the running:
Rossi M92 44 Mag or 45 LC
Marlin 1895GBL 45-70

I plan on using this rifle for camping, plinking, and hunting (deer, elk, black bear - We don't get anything bigger than that here in WA that I know of.). Sort of a do-it-all short range woods gun to test the waters of long gun ownership I'll be reloading my "fun rounds" whatever caliber I end up with, and would like to stay under $.25/round. Is that even possible with the 45-70? I won't be mounting a scope on it as it will not be used at ranges over 150 yards. I don't know if I covered all the bases, but it's enough to get the thread started.

On a side note - I'd be interested to know is whether or not there's a kit to convert the Rossi to a pistol grip stock similar to the Winchester 92 Trapper Takedown that came out a couple years ago. See link below.

http://www.armeriafontana.com/wp-con...g_1024x292.jpg
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Old August 29, 2012, 06:26 PM   #2
WIN1886
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I'm partial to the 45-70.....I can regularly hit a 8" gong with my 1886 Winchester w peep sites at 250 yards with factory Fusion 300 grain ammo ! Of course I shoot a lot and also own a Marlin 1895 cowboy that gets a steady diet of handloads using 400 grain cast bullets which can produce very impressive groups at 100 yards for a good ole lever gun ! The other two choices ( 44 mag and 45LC ) sound like they would be good for a nice light lever gun......I've been thinking of getting a model 92 in 357 mag for a camp rifle !
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:12 PM   #3
tahunua001
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45-70 can be loaded, hotter and heavier than 45 or 44 so for heavy game and longer range shots the 45-70 beats the others out. but in addition you can also load extremely low velocity and extremely light ammo for plinking and close range varmints. my favorite is 45 round ball with a .22 charge behind it. sounds like a 22lr going off but it decapitates squirrels
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:01 PM   #4
Salmoneye
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It's pretty clear to all of us right-thinking individuals...

You require a 336 in .35 Remington...

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Old August 29, 2012, 08:26 PM   #5
wilkup
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tahunua001 - I'm leaning towards the 45-70, but would like to know what I can expect to shell out as far as reloads go. Can I put 8-20 grains of powder with <300gr bullet and shoot softer, less punishing rounds like your .22lr loads without blowing anything up?

Salmoneye - There's a sort of irrational nostalgia I associate with the calibers I listed and right now there's not really anything I can think of that would change my opinion. Thanks for another option though
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:13 PM   #6
mehavey
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I own both -- `94 Marlin in 45 Colt, and a`95 Marlin GBL in 45-70.

For fun and light packing for most things -- including short range deer: the `94.
For what you mentioned, however: "deer, elk, black bear" it's the `95 in 45-70

As a reloader w/ a 45-70, you can put a Lyman 295gr LFN over 22gr of AA5744 and get a very pleasant 1,150fps out of the Guide Gun.

Or you can hammer out a RCBS 500gr FN at 1,500fps over pretty much a full case of Alliant ARComp and kill anything on this continent.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:16 PM   #7
B.L.E.
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Quote:
I'm leaning towards the 45-70, but would like to know what I can expect to shell out as far as reloads go. Can I put 8-20 grains of powder with <300gr bullet and shoot softer, less punishing rounds like your .22lr loads without blowing anything up?
10 grains of Unique makes a 300 grain cast lead bullet go about 1000 fps. Trail Boss is another good choice for light bullet plinking loads. Unfortunately, .45 pistol bullets don't work well in a .45-70. The pistol bullets are .452-.454 diameter, the .45-70 rifle needs .458-.459 diameter bullets. Therefore, 300 grains is about the lightest bullet you can buy for the .45-70. I tried shooting .45 Maxiballs for muzzleloaders in mine and accuracy was very poor. Ditto with .457 round balls. One of these days, I'm going to try loading cloth patched roundballs in a .45-70 case and a light charge of black powder + filler just to see what happens.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:17 PM   #8
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I don't normally reload, when I do I do it under the close supervision of my brother in law. he is constantly fiddling with loads for 4570 and if I recall correctly it does not require a whole lot of powder to push a bullet. I know that he has been working on a proprietary load that includes birdshot behind a round ball that is very low recoil and low velocity that is a blast to shoot but I don't recall his charge.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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Of those you listed the 45-70 for all that you want to do. I haven't priced components for loading, seems to me it might cost more than .25 a shot depending on bullet selection. The other cartridges are marginally acceptable for deer and black bear. They are light for elk unless the shot is close, perfectly placed, the correct angle and bullet type. I would not recommend a novice hunter use the lighter calibers for elk. If nostalgia is your determining factor what about 30-40 krag. It is a cartridge from the black powder days and is a good elk round.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:41 PM   #10
wilkup
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Quote:
Today 07:16 PM B.L.E.
10 grains of Unique makes a 300 grain cast lead bullet go about 1000 fps. Trail Boss is another good choice for light bullet plinking loads. Unfortunately, .45 pistol bullets don't work well in a .45-70. The pistol bullets are .452-.454 diameter, the .45-70 rifle needs .458-.459 diameter bullets. Therefore, 300 grains is about the lightest bullet you can buy for the .45-70.
Could you guess what a box of those light loads would cost? I'm just trying to get an idea how much more than 45 ACP this new hobby is going to cost me

I did know pistol and rifle fire different calibers, but wasn't aware the smallest .458-.460 is around 300 grain. Oh well, it appears this is the caliber for me and what I'm trying to do. No use asking so much of the 44/45s by loading to super magnum status.

Thanks. Keep the info coming!
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:40 PM   #11
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The major cost is the bullet and if you want to get the price of shooting under .25/shot, you will pobably have to cast your own.
I checked prices from Oregon Trails and others and it looks like around 20 to 25 cents per bullet for 300 grain cast bullets.
Primers will cost you about 4 cents each. Smokeless powder is about $28/lb and a pound is 7000 grains so a 10 grain charge is about 700 shots out of a pound.
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:53 PM   #12
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Thanks for the quick math. Checking out cost of casting my own now. No wonder this round cost so much in the store! It'd cost as much as premium 45 rounds to load my own! YIKES! Being able to have just one gun makes it all worthwhile though.
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Old August 29, 2012, 11:16 PM   #13
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A 405 grs Lee mold is around $26 a bottle of Alox and some WW lead and you can make all the bullets you want. The LR primers are 4 cents and your powder around 5 cents depending on which loads you choose. If you want a soft lead bullet use the flat stick ons they are close to pure lead. I load 45-70s for around ten cents per round.
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Old August 29, 2012, 11:20 PM   #14
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Bear River - Thanks for the information! That is right around what it costs to reload for my 45! That's amazing and I'm happy to hear that! 45-70 here I come!

Just to be clear - I'm fine paying a premium for the stuff I'm going to be hunting with, whether or not it's my own recipe, but for my fun-gun plinking rounds cheaper is better. 10 cents a round is perfect and WAY lower than I would have thought possible!
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Old August 30, 2012, 12:58 AM   #15
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I've got both a 1895 Guide Gun, and a Rossi M92, so I suppose I'll weigh in. They are both good, but for different reasons.



Rossi

Pros:
1)Extremely light (I have revolvers heavier than this thing)
2)Short lever stroke
3)More rounds in the tube
4)Cheaper factory ammo
5)Costs less
6)Stock has good LOP
7)Decent factory trigger break (imo)
8)Better balance

Cons:
1)Dove tail on the barrel is oversize (most aftermarket sights will not seat snugly)
2)Nightmare to take down and clean, complex dissassembly, lost of small parts.
3)Cannot mount sight base, or aftermarket sight on top of the receiver (though bolt and tang mounted sights exist for it)
4)No factory previsions for a sling
5)Wood the stock and forend are made from are of inferior quality
6)Brass goes flying everwhere upon ejection (fun to watch but if you're going to reload that brass it's annoying)
7)Safety is miniscule poorly made (can even unlock itself if the hammer falls on an empty chamber). It's far better to rely on an empty chamber or the half-cock.

Marlin

Pros:

1) Dissassembly involves taking out just one screw
2)Stronger round
3)Great quality stock
4)Stronger action
5)Smoother action
6)More maneuverable in the brush (shorter overall length)
7)Sling studs
8)Crossbolt safety (Works like any old crossbolt safety and is superior to the Rossi bolt-safety)

Cons:
Heavy
1)Newer ones tend to have defects (I had to have the front sight holes re-drilled on mine)
2)More expensive
3)Less rounds in the tube
4)Long stroke
5)Stock has a sort LOP
6)Trigger pull is heavier than it needs to be
7)Trigger can flop forward and backward (there is a part to fix this)


I like them both a lot. If you have bear in your area and want to take a companion pistol of the same caliber, your options are limited for the 45-70. Although there is always the BFR.

Factory .44 is cheaper than factory .45 iirc. Definitely a lot cheaper than factory 45-70. I usually get HSM 430 grain for bear loads in 45-70, that's 42$ for a box of 20. Leverlution is probably the best deal at 30$ for a box of 325 grain rounds that are quite accurate.

For .44 I get the cheap blazer stuff mostly. I want to say they're 240 grain, something like that. 35$ for a box of 50, but they're steel case so you can't reload them. For bear rounds I go with 305 grain hard casts also from HSM, which are 47$ for a box of 50.


Another thing to consider is the recoil. Since you'll be loading that won't be such a big deal, but 45-70 can be either very pleasant to shoot (Leverlution is), or very unpleasant. The .44 on the other hand is always pleasant. The overpressure and muzzle flash are worse on the 45-70 as well. It's just a louder, more powerfull round.

Of the two I'm tempted to say the Marlin comes with a better stock sight set, although being collapsible I've found it prone to collapsing when firing rounds which exhibit heavy recoil, this problem was solved when I replaced the stock stuff with Skinner Sights (can't say enough good things about these).

The Rossi buckhorn covers up the a good deal of it's sight pictures, which is obtrusive. The front sight on the Marlin also has a nice sight hood.

Another interesting thing to note is that I think .45 colt can be loaded for more muzzle energy than .44, I've heard that at least, although I don't have any experience with that caber. I'm partial to .44 myself.

It's a decent round, but compared to the 45-70 it doesn't look so beefy.



The .357 Magnum on the far right looks like a .22 by comparison.

At the end of the day I happen to think the Rossi is more fun at the range, but I'd rather have the 45-70 with me when I'm out in the back country, fishing, hunting, and so forth.
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:02 AM   #16
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nix the elk

Had you not said "elk" I would vote .44 mag. believing your bears are black ones. Also, did I read right and gather this is your first long gun?

A .44 mag lever will not do it all, but it's a pretty good all arounder. But if you include critters over say what.....300 lbs, I guess the .45-70 crowd is right.
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:44 AM   #17
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I picked .444 Marlin for my all'round lever gun. I can use the same bullets as .44mag with light loads for plinking or heavier bullets with stiff loads of X-Terminator for "wish I hadn't shot that prone" type stuff. You can't do that with the .45/70 and .45 Colt because of the different bullet diameters.

And I seem to migrate away from mainstream cartridges anyway. Not on purpose, it's just worked out that way.
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Last edited by Sport45; August 30, 2012 at 05:39 AM. Reason: typo
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Old August 30, 2012, 04:40 AM   #18
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About the .444 Marlin, some of the older rifles in that caliber had something like a 1 turn in 38" rifle twist and would not stabilize bullets heavier than 240 grain, or so I understand.
Maybe some of the newer guns have faster twist to take advantage of the newer heavier .429 bullets.

The ultimate plinking round for .44 magnum and other guns using a .429 bullet is a .433 muzzleloading round ball, weight about 122 grains.
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Old August 30, 2012, 05:37 AM   #19
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Mine has the 1:38 microgroove rifling and Hornady 265 FP and 300 XTP bullets seem to work just fine. I've read reports of folk using even heavier cast bullets, but they must be sized to about 0.432 inches.
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Old August 30, 2012, 08:55 AM   #20
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Plant me with the 45/70 crowd here. I use Lees 405 also and that boolit does shoot. The Lyman 400gr FP is another good one.

For light loads or small game there is always the 155 gr collar button moulds. I have this mould in a six cavity and I'm not done working it up yet but I expect to be able to make a 50 yd small game round round out of it.
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Old August 30, 2012, 01:48 PM   #21
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444 Marlin has peaked my interest...

Only because it takes the same caliber rounds a 44 Mag would. What's the trade-off when it comes to power between 444 and 45-70 though? It seems the larger case would offer the option for increased performance, if in the off-chance I ever needed a Whooly Mammoth killer.
Are they cheaper to be found in this caliber?
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:02 PM   #22
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How about the 30-30?

It's not one of the poster's stated choices, but wouldn't a 30-30 suffice? I recently purchased a Marlin 336 XLR SS in 30-30. With a 24" barrel, it's a little heavy, but should, with proper reloads, carry the needed foot-pounds to 300 yds. I'm reloading Hodgson's Leverevolution powder and Hornady's FTX flex-tip ammo in 160 gr. It's suitable for tube-guns. If your max ranges are 150 yards or so, this might suffice, and ammo is cheap and plentiful. Good plinker, and classic deer cartridge.

Any thoughts from the group?
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:10 PM   #23
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For what O/P describes a .30-30 would be an excellent choice. Up to 100 yards, there would be little difference as the .45 Colt and .44 Mag with a 300 plus grain hard cast LBT WFN will shoot stem to stern on any critter and will shoot through any game animal on a broadside. Beyond 100 yards, the .45-70 would be better. The revolver calibers make more sense to me as you can get a matching handgun. Cost less to reload as well.

Last edited by jmortimer; August 30, 2012 at 02:29 PM.
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:23 PM   #24
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my 45-70

i have a contender carbine that weighs about 5lbs. reloading makes sense if you shoot other calibers as outlay for gear can be significant depending on your shooting activity.

i cast and load lee 405 gr. with starline brass. initial cost for brass--about .50 each. lead i got for free, powder and primer--you can do the math. the brass can be shot a number of times depending on how hot you want--this gets the cost per shot down.

my accuracy load is 35-36gr. 3031--it doesn't punish me--its accurate to 100yds and my hunting will be limited to 50-75yds. i've loaded hotter--but my shoulder looks like hamburger after several rounds and it's not much fun. i think you have more hunting/target options with the 45-70.
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Old August 30, 2012, 03:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
there would be little difference as the .45 Colt and .44 Mag with a 300 plus grain hard cast LBT WFN will shoot stem to stern on any critter and will shoot through any game animal on a broadside. Beyond 100 yards, the .45-70 would be better.
Well, theoretically anyway. In the real world out in the field, if you shoot a .45-70 at ranges longer than 100 yards, you better know the exact distance and know the exact holdover needed for that distance.

There's a big difference between clanging a steel ram at a known 500 meters and making a clean kill at real game at "that looks like between 300 and 400 yards away" ranges.

The higher velocitys achieveable with the 300 grain bullets makes for a flatter trajectory and may make them better choices for taking game at shooter estimated ranges.
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