View Full Version : Lever gun 357 or 45LC

March 28, 2007, 10:32 AM
Well, I was going to get a 357 Mag lever rifle to complement my revolver. Now I got a bunch of reloading stuff for free with among other things 45 Colt dies :)
So obviously I need to get a gun that uses that die :D Well maybe anyway... How does the 45 Colt stack up against the 357? Let me put it this way, if you were going to take an average whitetail with one which would you rather have? I plan to reload both, so weaker 45 Colt loads made for older pistols is not an issue.

March 28, 2007, 10:41 AM
45LC in a heart beat.

Depending on the action, the 45 can be loaded purdy warm (near 44mag levels).

March 28, 2007, 11:16 AM
The .45 wins if deer are an option for you. If you want to reload warm loads make sure you get a lever designed for them. The cowboy repoductions usually recommend factory pressure levels only. Marlin appears to be one exception and can handle the warmer loads.

IMO purely for plinking at the range the .357 might be better because it is cheaper to reload.

have fun!!

March 28, 2007, 11:42 AM
Well, I got the 45LC mag (AKA 454 Casull). The Puma seems to be holding up to those ridiculous pressures just fine. I like the '92 action, it's short and smooth.

357 would be better for plinking and would be alright for deer with the 180gr bullets from a long barrel. A 300gr 45 is better.....


March 28, 2007, 11:46 AM

I would buy a handgun in 45LC, and a 30-30 or .308 lever gun.

What is the use of shooting pistol bullets in a rifle? If you are going to have a rifle, shoot a caliber that gives rifle performance.

March 28, 2007, 12:01 PM
Since you are reloading, the cost difference between the .45 and .357 is minimal. Go with the .45 if you plan on whitetail. As previously stated, the .357 would work, but the .45 works better and you can crank them up with your handloads.

March 28, 2007, 03:16 PM
What is the use of shooting pistol bullets in a rifle? If you are going to have a rifle, shoot a caliber that gives rifle performance.

The 454 actually gives performance that's a bit better than the original 45-70.

I get about 1900fps with a 300gr XTP out of my 16" Puma '92 copy. That's more than you'll ever need for deer. The irons limit me to about 100 yards, so the sub 2500fps velocities are not a limitation.


john in jax
March 28, 2007, 03:45 PM
As so many have mentioned above the .357mag will get the job done, but bigger, heavier, 45LC will hit a lot harder. If your really going to hunt with it, I'd go with the 45LC.

March 28, 2007, 03:53 PM
One more vote for the 45 altho there is nothing wrong with the 357.

If you plan on teaching new shooters on this carbine, you might want to choose the 357 since you can load mild 38 SPC in it and have a very low recoil training platform.

If you plan on everything else, the 45 wins hands down.


March 28, 2007, 05:22 PM
Well, now you've got me wanting a 454 pistol to go with a 454 Lever rifle :) But 454 will take 45 Colt well.

I was out today and saw a 454 Casull in a Puma lever rifle. I liked the feel and action. Will the lever rifle eat 45 Colt as well as the 454 revolvers?

March 28, 2007, 05:38 PM
So, are .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, and 45-70 all interchangable? I don't know much about it, I'm a 30-30 man myself. Seems to me though, that a 45-70 would be more powerful than cartridges used in handguns.

March 28, 2007, 06:30 PM
As far as I know 45 Colt and 45 Long Colt are the same thing. 454 Casull is to 45 Colt as 38 Special is to 357 Magnum. The 454 revolvers can fire 45 Colt ammo, but not the other way around. But will a 454 Casull lever gun eat 45 Colt?

I don't believe 45-70 is at all related, though I was considering picking one up at one point.

March 28, 2007, 06:37 PM
dies are so cheap that I would not purchase a certain caliber just because you already have the dies.

March 28, 2007, 06:53 PM
Well, dies really aren't my only reason for thinking about one...

March 28, 2007, 07:30 PM
I've got a Henry Repeating Arms Co. lever rifle in .44 Magnum. It will also fire .44 Special rounds. I was originally going to get the .357 version, but when I emailed the President of the company, and asked which he advised, he said get the .44 Magnum (they are the same price). Recoil with the .44 Magnum loads is practically a non-issue. The rifle weighs in at 8.7 pounds, and that mass absorbs a lot of recoil. It's a solidly made rifle, with a lever action smooth as cake frosting. You will not find a lever rifle with a smoother action than a Henry. Anyway, with the .44 Special rounds, recoil is non-existent. I am a target shooter, and do not hunt, but if I did hunt, I'd rather have the .44 Magnum than the .357 or the 45 LC. Having said that, I am thinking of getting an Uberti re-creation of a Winchester 1873 in 45 LC because I've always wanted the "rifle that won the west". I'd get the 45 LC for the Uberti 1873 because, well, because I've already got a .44 Magnum lever rifle.

The Henry's are recreations of the Winchester 1866 Yellowboy lever rifles.

629 shooter
March 28, 2007, 07:34 PM
Really for deer hunting with pistol cartridge lever action I would get a 1894 in 44 mag.

March 28, 2007, 07:47 PM
My Puma feeds 454 and 45colr just fine.

I have a 30-30 that goes along for deer sometimes. But, the 454 puma is always a back-up gun for Elk. I figure I can get within 100yards of a heard in the dense forest out here just fine and the big 45 cal will put down a big bull or cow just fine.


March 30, 2007, 08:42 AM
So, are .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, and 45-70 all interchangable?

.45 Colt and .45 Long Colt are two names for the same cartridge. The .454 Casull is a lengthened and hotrodded version of the .45 Colt (I think it may have a larger rim too, but I'm not sure). The 45-70 is in no way, shape or form interchangeable with the .45 pistol and revolver rounds. Firstly, it is much longer than most pistol round and therefore wouldn't chamber in a gun chambered for .45 Colt or .454 Casull. Secondly, it uses a different diameter bullet. .45 caliber pistols typically use a .451-.454 diameter bullet wheras the 45-70 uses a .457-.459 bullet. Firing a .45 Colt or .454 Casull in a 45-70 gun would, besides safety concerns, probably yield poor accuracy both because of the undersize bullet and the difference in twist rates in the barrel. .45 caliber handgun bullets are usually no more than 350 grn in weight with 165-180 (depending upon the exact caliber) being the lightest commonly available. 45-70's on the other hand are not commonly available with bullet weight below 300grn and certain custom loaders (Buffalo Bore, Garret, Grizzly) load this cartridge with bullets well in excess of 500grn. It is nearly impossible to have a barrel that will shoot both 165grn and 540grn bullets accurately. Now, if you want a matching pistol/levergun combo, Magnum Research makes a revolver specifically chambered for 45-70 in their single action BFR line and Thompson Center chambers this (along with just about any other popular cartridge) in their popular single-shot pistol line (never can remember if the pistol is the contender or encore). While several manufacturers have produced 45-70 leverguns over the years, my personal preference is a Marlin specifically the 18.5" barrel Guide Gun. You may be limited in how hot you can load the round in the pistol, but you can use very warm loads in the Marlin rifle.


If you read some of the other information on the Garrett page, you'll see that loaded to these levels, the 45-70 is capable of taking the African Big Six (lion, leopard, cape buffalo, rhino, hippo, and elephant).

March 30, 2007, 09:23 AM
Great info Webley, thank you very much. I kind of thought that the 45-70 was a bigger cartridge, but had no idea of the difference in bullet diameter as well. Thanks again.

44 AMP
March 31, 2007, 06:06 PM
No matter which caliber you choose, be careful with the heaviest bullets. It is very popular today for some people to recommend the 180gr .357 and the 300gr .45 cal bullets, but be aware that for decades, the heaviest bullets loaded iin the .357 Mag were 158 (160)gr, and 250gr in the .45 Colt.

Lever action guns (the Marlin especially) will not tolerate rounds that are too long. You can single load them, but if you put one in the magazine, you will have a jam that requires taking apart the rifle to clear it. I HAVE SEEN THIS HAPPEN with the Marlin .357 and 200gr LRN. I have never used the 180gr in .357, 158 does everything I want from a heavy bullet in this caliber.

Likewise I have never used the 300gr in the .45 Colt. The 250gr SWC provides everything I could want.

You might be able to get the long heavy bullets to work in the carbine by seating them deeper, but that has problems of it's own, especially in a tube magazine. I have a Marlin 1894 in .357 Mag, it is a fine little gun. I do not have a carbine in .45 Colt, only Ruger Blackhawks and a Contender barrel.

My advice is to stick with "standard" weight bullets for reliable feeding. If you do choose to use the heavyweights, carefully test them by only loading 1 or 2 in the magazine. They may work, but they may not. If not, then you will have to dissassemble the rifle to get the rounds out. Be aware. The Marlin is strong enough to take any sane load safely, and can go quite a bit hotter than nearly any handgun. But they are critical of OAL. Also, SWC profile bullets often don't feed as smoothly as RN (or JHP). What happens is the round gets slightly tipped on the carrier, and sharp shoulder of the bullet catches on the edge of the chamber. If this happens, don't force the lever closed, instead bump it forward a little. This takes the pressure off the round, which then falls back into its proper place, and the action will then close smoothly. This nearly always works, unless you tried to force it closed first.

el Divino
March 31, 2007, 06:16 PM
45LC without a doubt but I prefer my 44 magnum lever rifle

March 31, 2007, 11:38 PM
The 454 actually gives performance that's a bit better than the original 45-70.

I get about 1900fps with a 300gr XTP out of my 16" Puma '92 copy. That's more than you'll ever need for deer. The irons limit me to about 100 yards, so the sub 2500fps velocities are not a limitation.

That figures out to a Taylor KO number of 36.8. A .30-06 with a 180gr bullet at 2800fps has a Taylor KO of 22.1.

I think it will "work" on deer, up to about a ton or so....:)

April 2, 2007, 11:11 AM
Were do those 2000 pund deer hang out? I should put in for tags there......

And by the way, the 300 grain bullets feed just fine in the puma. Generally, the heavy bullet weights in pistol-caliber carbines are best done with hard-cast lead bullets with a gas check and a wide meplat.