View Full Version : 45-70 Recoil question

December 13, 2004, 09:26 AM
I've seen lots of y'all talking about this rifle, so I thought I'd ask...

How's the recoil? Not for me - but for my husband. I have a trusty Marlin 336 30/30 and my husband covets it. He doesn't have a brush gun, and needs one. I figured if he liked the feel of my 30/30, he'd love a little bigger version (sometimes Santa brings firearms in our house).

The husband is not a wimp (big burly Marine, actually), but I don't really want to buy him something so vicious he never shoots it. What would you guys compare it to?

December 13, 2004, 10:11 AM
The first deer gun I used for years was a Marlin 45-70 guide gun. Great gun and I really miss it! (It was my dad's and he sold it).I was 14 years old when I started shooting it and I never had a problem with it. I'm a decent sized guy (I'm 6ft 205 lbs) but If your hubby is used to shooting guns he dig it. I find the 45-70 does not have a hard sharp kick like a .270 or an 06 but more of a shotgun like kick that is a hard push. Not bad at all.

December 13, 2004, 10:48 AM
My 45-70 is a Ruger #1 and I load it up pretty stiff. I'm 5'8" and 165 lbs.
It's not much fun off the bench for me but lots of fun otherwise. Not a vicious round at all.
Abby, you are a Great Santa!

December 13, 2004, 11:40 AM
I agree: the .45-70 Marlin 1895 (that I never should have traded away :( ) gave a firm push - about like a 12-ga with field loads (not slugs or high-brass shot). It was pretty pleasant to shoot off the bench with factory loads.

It was also the most accurate lever I've ever shot.

Why, oh why, did I trade that rifle away?! :(

Johnny Guest
December 13, 2004, 04:44 PM
Last Saturday, several TFLers went to the range. I had my Marlin 1895GS and some rather stout - - Not Red hot, but a 400 JSP at ~1650 - - handloads. Two of the shooters had never fired one previously. Both were impressed with the apparent power, but also with how gentle a jolt came with it. I agree with the observation above - - It's more a heavy shove than a sharp kick.

With Black Hills Cowboy Loads - - A 405 lead bullet at about 1300, it is a puppy dog - - A big, boisterous, puppy.

This particular load gives sub-two inch groups at 100 yards when shot with a 'scope. The rifle now wears an AO Ghost Ring sight set, and I'd feel confident using it on deer at up to 150.


December 13, 2004, 10:24 PM
I agree...... my pals and I all had the oppurtunity to shoot a marlin 45-70 recently (the barrel had been ported) but it was suprisingly milder than we expected

almost exactly like a 12 gauge firing a 3" round
12 gauge firing a slug kicked ALOT harder than the 45-70

Rich Lucibella
December 13, 2004, 10:30 PM
I'm 145lbs soakin' wet......
and I shoot some pretty hot loads in a very light custom breakdown Marlin....Buffalo Bore 430's moving out at 1900FPS+.

Sighting from a bench is doable, but not plinking (I generally sight it from a sit, as I don't get to bench in the hunting field). Shooting in the field? I appear to have more "shoulder" than money, as I'd be willing to keep shooting long after my ammo budget conscience kicks in. As Johnny said, it's a pusher....not sharp recoil. Could (and have) shot more than 40 rounds in a session from field positions.

Caveat Emptor: This was not always the case. Until the stock was properly fit and a good Decelerator mounted, the piece was less than pleasant. AFAIC, proper fit has more to do with variances in reported "recoil" than shooter size ever could.

DT Guy
December 13, 2004, 11:24 PM

Just wondering-does being soaking wet help with the recoil? :D


December 14, 2004, 12:49 AM
... (sometimes Santa brings firearms in our house).

Maybe I should get in the habit of leaving cookies afterall... :D

Long Path
December 14, 2004, 01:14 AM
Keep in mind: A rifle that is brutal off the bench can be quite pleasant to shoot offhand or from field positions. For this reason, I (a kind of huge [6'5", 275] Texan who likes big guns) advocate the use of a recoil pad (like the excellent one put out by Past) or a sissy bag when sighting a rifle in or developing loads on the bench rest.

Seriously-- you never notice the recoil in the field.

December 14, 2004, 07:53 AM
and was pleasantly surprised. I seperated my shoulder a couple years ago, and am somewhat recoil sensative. Even shooting off the bench, it was alot nicer than my milsurps, for example. And as mentioned, its more of a push than a sharp punch. We were shooting "medium" level handloads, and I probably coulda shot all day, did shoot about 25 rounds, without so much as a twinge.

Long Path
December 14, 2004, 01:54 PM
Oh, and also--

Regular (non +P) factory .45-70 ammo is tame. If you just buy some Remington or Winchester standard pressure stuff, it doesn't kick much at all compared to the hot loads that you can hotrod through a modern rifle.

December 14, 2004, 04:57 PM
Years ago i loaded up some 500gr loads for my Ruger #3 carbine, sore shoulder time! The marlin was nice and i took a 250lb boar with it ,sold all of them wish i didnt! The 45/70 is a great cartridge and alot of fun! If you are into reloading you can hand taylor the loads to some lead with hardley any recoil, but beware its addictive!! ;)

December 14, 2004, 06:07 PM
Shot a BFR 45-70 revolver and it wasn't bad at all. The rifles are akin to a 3" 12 gauge round. Noticeable, but hardly brutal.

December 14, 2004, 08:25 PM
Dear Abby,

(I've always wanted to do that!)
I think that my Marlin in 45-70 is easy to tolerate. Shooting factory loads its like a muzzle loader shooting 80-100 grains of Pyrodex. If you worry about recoil, get a PAST recoil pad as a stocking stuffer. It will be a lot cheaper than a rifle. ;)


Long Path
December 15, 2004, 06:45 PM
If you are into reloading you can hand taylor the loads to some lead with hardley any recoil, but beware its addictive!!
No kidding! I have the urge to do something I read somewhere on the net about 5 years ago (maybe here?), in which some guys were loading up some .45-70 loads with a 255g bullet over about 9 grains of Unique, for a nice easy 50 yard deer buster. They were getting about 900fps out of it, which was like a hot .45 Colt load, but more accurate out a rifle, with very little blast, very little recoil, and a pleasantly quiet report. ["bang."]

One of these days when I find myself hunting in a short-range area, I'm going to try that!

December 21, 2004, 03:03 PM
I agree with the 12 gauge comparison. I'm shooting a 405gr Lead bullet at 1600fps using Accurate 5744. The recoil is more push than snap. My Winchester has a steel butt plate, so benching can get a little abusive. From offhand, your body roll removes most of the recoil. I did find the factory 300gr rounds to be a bit more snappy than my handloads. In the thick underbrush where I hunt, the 45-70 is a great answer!

December 27, 2004, 08:04 PM
Abby, Did you get that rifle for your Marine?

December 29, 2004, 12:23 PM
Nope - Santa brought him one of those new GI .45s by Springfield instead (no Kimber fan rants, please - Santa brings the best Santa can afford). :)

Upon further questioning on the subject, I discovered that although he kept folding MY 30-30, he was feeling averse to lever guns! :rolleyes: It's another phase, I guess.

Santa brought me an 870 express magnum youth gun in 20 gauge (with a slug barrel - oh, my man knows me). So it's a happy and more armed household. :D

December 29, 2004, 07:27 PM
Abby, Springfield is a good pistol. I bought one Kimber in my lifetime and will never buy another. Mrs. Santa knows a good buy when she sees one. :D

December 29, 2004, 07:35 PM
Abby, Looks like Santa did a great job at yall's house. :D

January 8, 2005, 11:44 PM
After reading some of these posts I'm beginning to feel like a wimp. My 5 1/2 pound Handi-rifle is uncomfortable to shoot. On the other hand I'm 66 and have lost some meat out of my shoulders in the last 6-8 years. I think I'm going to get enough brass to load up some lighter loads. ;)

January 9, 2005, 05:57 PM
beenthere, you might try a PAST recoil pad. It really works.

Today I went out to the range and finished sighting in my Marlin 45-70, something I'd been postponing for nearly a year. I also sighted in my old Ruger .270 which had been dropped recently when its sling broke.

Iwas really surprised that the .270 stung more through my PAST pad than did the 45-70. I still got a good push from both of them, but the push from the 45-70 was slower and although it was stronger it hurt less, and I'm only moderately sore now.

Also interesting that with factory loads the 2 shot groups I was shooting did about as good from the Marlin as from the .270. (This is significant as my older Marlin 336 tends to string out when it gets warm but the 45-70 doesn't.) I'm talking about an inch and a quarter between consecutive centers at 100 yards, so this is pretty good for a lever action. Of course, the groups themselves tended to wander about the paper as I haven't found a good spot weld on it yet.

Long Path
January 9, 2005, 06:20 PM
+1 for the PAST. When you get one, go ahead and get the Magnum pad-- they're thicker. My father was in the middle of load development for his .338 Win Mag with heavier loads when he had a heart attack with bypass surgery and complications. Boy was he glad, when he got back to the bench in a few weeks, to have that PAST recoil pad! The way we use it is for sight-in off the bench. Once everything's fine on the bench, we remove the pad and go to field positions, which hurt a lot less.

If you can't find a PAST recoil pad, go with a "sissy bag" of lead shot or sand on the bench between your shoulder and the rifle butt. (Again, this is just for sight-in and load development)

ANYONE would notice the thump of a .45-70 out of a HandiRifle! ;)

January 9, 2005, 07:21 PM
The ruger would really shoot well but recoil was a bit stif. The thing about the marlin is that you can always have the stock cut down and add a bigger recoil pad, but I really wouldnt worry, Multple rounds with the marlin is the better way to go than the single shot Ruger, but both are very good guns.
I really dont find the 45-70 to be really that much more recoil than a 30-06, with a straight walled case like the 45-70 there might be a little more recoil but its not as sharp as a 30-06 so the difference is nill.
Buy him the Marlin and make him happy.
Good luck