View Full Version : 450 Marlin Recoil

December 14, 2007, 06:16 PM
Has anybody shot a 450 Marlin? I was thinking of purchasing one, but I am a little concerned about the recoil.

December 14, 2007, 07:00 PM
I've only ever shot 2 rounds through one, and it was in the first year I started shooting about 5-6 years ago.

I only had one rifle to my name at the time, an old Winchester 94 in .30-30. I had shot a friend's .30-06 as comparison and found the recoil to be too stiff for my taste.

So, a buddy won a Marlin 1895 chambered in .450 and we went out shooting. First thing I noticed; we would shoot at targets on a hillside about 125-150 yards away and his bullet would hit and the echo would reach us about 1/4 second faster than my bullet would hit and echo. It shoots faster and flatter at least out to 150 yards.

I set up a couple of clay pigeons at about 25 yards and shot two rounds. I flinched really badly from expected recoil on the first one, and I blew the center out of the pigeon on the second round after getting a feel of what the rifle shoots like.

Just last month I shot a 12 guage 3" magnum slug, and I did the exact same thing; flinched really bad from guessing at what the thing would feel like.

They are neat rifles, but were I to buy one I'd get a .45-70 instead, probably a Ruger #1 over a Marlin 1895. A little bit heavier and more rugged, also reportedly more accurate; but only a single shot.

December 14, 2007, 07:10 PM
Buy the .45-70 there are more ammuntion options from the light recoil stuff by Remington and Winchester to the heavy loads from companies lik Buffalo Bore. The .450 Marlin is nothing more than a .45-70 with a belt on it to keep it from being chambered in old actions not capable of handling pressures over the old black poweder loads. You can always work up to full house loads as long as you have the proper firearm.

If you hand load there is nothing the .450 Marlin can do that the .45-70 can't. If you don't handload the .45-70 is much easier to find. Now if you want somthing that is really stout call WildAlaska and get a guide gun in .50 AK.:eek:

December 14, 2007, 09:24 PM
The ballistics are pretty much the same as the .45-70. The only differences are that the .450 is rimless, there aren't as many ammo options, and it will die out quicker than the .45-70.

December 15, 2007, 06:36 AM
Azredhawk44, Is the recoil similar to the 12 gauge with slugs?

December 15, 2007, 07:54 AM

Here is some good info for you.

December 15, 2007, 12:15 PM
Recoil is stiff, the .450 caliber was designed to use hotter
.45 loads that might be dangerous in older .45-70 rifles.
Saying it's comparable to a .45-70 is only half the picture, it's comparable to a HEAVY .45-70 load, and recoil will be in the range of a 12 gauge shotgun. Even that may tell you little since the 12 gauge runs from light skeet loads on up to heavy buck & ball loads.

Old Time Hunter
December 16, 2007, 11:02 AM
I've got a Marlin 1895 Guide chambered for .450 Marlin...I've shot it five times, it makes my .300 Win Mag feel like a BB gun. I let smart *sses use it at the range, love to watch them wince.

A/C Guy
January 7, 2008, 07:07 PM
I just ordered a 450 Marlin, it will be here Friday, so next week I will tell you how it compares to a 30/06 and a 20 gauge shotgun, those are 2 firearms most people are familiar with. I chose it over the 45/70 because the 45/70 SAAMI specs are lower than the spec for the 450 Marlin; the 450 has a higher working pressure limit and the brass is thicker, so do NOT try to load a 45/70 to 450 Marlin pressures.

I reload, so I can download the 450 to plink, and I can use full power loads for hunting.

The 45/70 has more available factory loads, but the 450 factory loads are far more powerful than any 45/70 load. 450 Marlin ammo is not scarce by any means, it just doesn't have 47 flavors like the 45/70; you only get about 10 factory loads to pick from for the 450 Marlin.

450 Marlin ammo ranges from $28 / box to outrageous $$ / box, you can order it from Midway, Cabellas, Bass Pro, ....

January 7, 2008, 08:34 PM
Nope, I'd have to disagree with you. :)
The .450 Marlin is not "far more powerful" than "any" .45-70 load.
The .450 is a stout one, but you have not lived till you've built some high end .45-70 stompers. :D
There's nothing magic about the .450, it was basically designed to provide the equivalent of heavier .45-70 loads in the same basic .457 caliber, but with belted brass to prevent the hotter ammo from being chambered in an older action like the Trapdoor Springfield & causing a nasty mess.
I can safely load my #1 with handloads that'll bring a tear to your eye, a quiver to your chin, and a soreness to your shoulder that can last for days. ;)


January 7, 2008, 09:05 PM
My 450M is a Guide Gun with an 18.5" ported barrel. I also have a Mauser in 300WinMag and the 450 recoils much less, IMHO, than the 300WM. That may NOT be the case for 450s without the porting. I would have gone with the 45-70 for many of the reasons that folks have suggested, but I got this 450M LNIB with the Williams Peep Sights and a great trigger (upgraded??? No real way for me to know) for 3 bills OTD ... at that price I only thought about it briefly. I really like the little guy ... I haven't taken it out to get a hog yet, but I'm pretty sure that it will act with authority when called upon :D

BTW, I do reload, so I have essentially the same range of loads available to me that I would have in 45-70 ... it is just not as popularly available if I ever had to buy ammo off a shelf ... as if I could AFFORD to do that very often :rolleyes:


January 7, 2008, 09:16 PM
I have the Marlin in 444. I don't mind the recoil as much as I mind getting hit hard by the scope. If you scope one, make sure it is a long eye-relief scope!

January 8, 2008, 08:47 PM
I bought the 444 also. Not bad recoil, and not belted. My choice was the 45-70 or the 444.
Different strokes..

A/C Guy
January 8, 2008, 10:12 PM
From Chuck Hawks website:
The SAAMI maximum average pressure (MAP) for the .450 Marlin is 43,500 psi. Hornady factory loads for the new cartridge are reportedly loaded to about 42,000 psi. Here are some other statistics important to reloaders: bullet diameter .458", maximum COL 2.55", maximum case length 2.10"

The .450 Marlin will normally be reloaded with bullets weighing 300-405 grains. Heavier (and thus longer) bullets must be seated very deep in the case to feed through the modern Marlin 1895 lever action, unduly restricting powder space.

Relatively fast burning powders such as H4198, H322, RL-7 and VIHT N-130 are indicated for use in the straight wall .450 case. Hornady testing revealed that H4198 and VIHT N-130 gave the best results.

Hornady reloading data from the sixth edition of their Handbook of Cartridge Reloading shows that the 300 grain Hornady FP bullet can be driven to a MV of 1700 fps by 38.5 grains of H4198 powder, or a MV of 2100 fps by a maximum load of 51.2 grains of H4198. This bullet weight would be most appropriate for CXP2 class game.

The Hornady 350 grain bullets can be driven to a MV of 1600 fps by 39.9 grains of H4198, and to a MV of 2000 fps by a maximum load of 47.9 grains of H4198. These figures were achieved in the 18.5" barrel of a Marlin 1895M carbine and used Hornady brass and Winchester WLR primers. Velocities should be higher from the more efficient 22" barrel of the Marlin 1895MR rifle.

Hodgdon reloading data shows that the 400 grain Speer FP bullet can be driven to a MV of 2023 fps by a maximum charge of 52.5 grains of H322 powder at a MAP of 41,900 psi. This load also used Hornady brass and Winchester primers; velocities were taken in a 24" test barrel.

From the SAAMI book 45/70 Max Pressure is 28,000 psi.

Also from Chuck's site:
Three American cartridge companies, Cor-Bon, Buffalo Bore and Garrett, all load very hot, commercially available .45-70 ammo for big game use. These companies limit cartridge pressure to 35,000 cup, due mainly to fall safely within the Marlin lever gun's receiver strength limitation, which is around 44,000 cup. One cannot expect a lever gun to be as strong as, say, a Model 98 Mauser action or a modern falling block rifle.

SAAMI MAP specs for the .45-70 are set at modest 28,000 cup due to the number of ancient Trapdoor Springfield .45-70 rifles in circulation. Ammo manufacturers like Remington, Winchester and Federal simply don't want lawsuits, so standard commercial .45-70 factory ammunition is actually loaded to about 21,000 cup.

However, the 45-70 can realize its true potential with careful handloading. The round can be loaded to pressures in excess of 40,000 cup, but strictly for use in strong bolt-action and falling block rifles.

Since we are talking about lever actions and SAFE loads, the 450 Mariln is much more powerful then the 45/70 as I previously stated.

January 8, 2008, 10:48 PM
The .450 Marlin was designed so that a magnum class of 45 70 load could be sold commercially without fear of someone blowing themselves up by putting the charge in a trap door springfield.

There is one excellent reason to have a Marlin .450 and that is if you also own a Trapdoor Springfield and you want to shoot magnum class loads. You cant get them mixed up because the belted .450 Marlin cartridge will not fit in a 45 70.

If you reload it is essentially identical to a 45 70 and you can use all of the 45 70 bullets.

I owned an Encore barrel in .450 Marlin. It was 18 inches long and ported and it kicked like a proverbial mule. If not for the Limbsaver pad I could not have shot the little monster. It was only about 7 1/2 pounds with a scout scope. Well over 50 pounds of recoil.

I sold the barrel and got a 45 70 barrel for the Encore because although I do like to reload there is only one commercially available .450 round that I know of and it is hard to find. On the other hand if you need 45 70 ammo there is a wide variety available about everywhere.

The 45 70 is a reloaders dream. The .450 can do the same thing but if you were ever out hunting and needed .450 ammo, good luck.

January 8, 2008, 11:34 PM
I still stand behind my statement that your assertion that the .450 Marlin is more powerful than ANY .45-70 load is erroneous. :)
I saw no indication that "we" were talking only about leverguns.
I've fired the .450 Marlin in a Steyr boltgun & found recoil was noticeable, but hardly unpleasant, and I don't consider it to be a huge thumper.
On the other hand, I have loaded (and safely, after discussion with a couple ammomakers) my Ruger up stoutly enough with various .45-70 handloads that it took several hours to get over the headache and a good part of a week to get over the shoulder pain after a typical range session with it.
Those loads were not even max in the books, and a couple of the Sierra loads were already compressed enough that I didn't even try to get near max in the figures I got from a couple manuals and confirmed directly with Sierra.
No signs of excessive pressures in the brass, and the Ruger rifle's action can handle it easily.

I was producing around 2150 FPS with 300-grainers, 1890 FPS with a 400-grainer, and so on, in the loads that worked best. Those were also not necessarily the fastest loads done with each bullet, just the most accurate.
And, no 24-inch test barrel.

The 28000 SAAMI max figure you quote from Hawks regarding the .45-70 ceiling is strictly for the older style Trapdoor and similar guns, as it clearly states. In the Marlin, there is no reason why the .45-70 cannot be loaded to exactly the same velocities, and safely, as the .450 Marlin.
In a Ruger #1, both can safely exceed Marlin level loads.
The entire reason for the .450's existance is to produce hotter .45-70 level loads in brass that can't work its way into a weaker action than the Marlin chambered for it, it was not created to be "more powerful" than the .45-70.
If the two calibers were ONLY available in the Marlin leverguns, you'd see identical pressure ceilings from SAAMI. Since they're not, SAAMI doesn't mind releasing a realistic figure for the .450, but won't go any higher than Trapdoor level in the .45-70.
Not trying to put the .450 down, just taking issue with your statement that it's more powerful than any .45-70 load. :)

January 9, 2008, 02:47 AM
I've shot one in a NEF Handi rifle and it's a thumper even with the mercury recoil reducer but that's a pretty light rifle. Even so it's not real bad. It won't send you home crying to mama like a really hot loaded 45-70 will. :D

January 9, 2008, 10:04 AM
The ballistics are pretty much the same as the .45-70

You obviously have not read the ballistic table. I own a Marlin 1895M in .450. I do not find the recoil to be too terribly bad, however I have not shot a firearm where I really did not care for the recoil. (I am 6'4" and 300lbs) It is a thumper and has noticeably more recoil than my .30-06. I love it, and I think you will too. It is always fun to let a new guy shoot the thumper.

January 9, 2008, 10:17 AM
I'll go one further, A/C Guy is just plain wrong. The .450Marlin was brought about strictly as a factory load alternative to heavy .45/70 handloads. The guns are IDENTICAL. There is no strength difference between the two. If you handload, the .45/70 is the way to go because you can cover the entire load range with more common brass. If I remember right, the .45/70 has a slightly higher case capacity due to the .450's thicker brass.

Chuck Hawk is NOT the last word on anything.

January 9, 2008, 10:50 AM
Recoil is an entirely subjective thing. i have seen men larger than me that thought that the 30-30 was recoil!

The 450 Marlin was a development to be able to offer cartridge that could be lawyer-safe and able to offer an improvement over the 45-70 factory ammo at pressures low-enough to function in trapdoor and similair BP guns.

Ballitically, it falls almost perfectly between the 1400fps of low-pressure 45-70 and 2500fps 458 Win-Mag loads. it is actually an outgrowth of a wildcat cartridge called 458 x 2" American, which is just a 458Winne-cut to 2". the 450Marlin has a slightly different belt and uses Hornady specialty-formulated powders to achieve it's results

Thus, if you handload, then the 450 Marlin offers no advantage whatsoever over 45-70. Thanks to custome loaders, the 45-70 is actually much more versatile.

A/C Guy
January 10, 2008, 09:58 AM
The OP asked about the recoil of the 450 Marlin, then the thread degraded into a 45/70 vs 450 Marlin bash.

Let's stick to answering his question.

January 10, 2008, 12:37 PM
Who hijacked this thread?

...but the 450 factory loads are far more powerful than any 45/70 load.

YOU hijacked the thread with your false claims. Don't whine about it now that you have been corrected.

then the thread degraded into a 45/70 vs 450 Marlin bash.

No one is "bashing" the .450. It's a fine cartridge. You simply made a false claim regarding it.

I believe you made your decision based strictly on the availability of factory ammunition. Since the only heavy factory .45-70's are from the specialty loaders like Buffalo Bore and CorBon and are pretty expensive. That's fine and no one will blame you for that. Then you only read far enough into it to feel good about that decision. Anybody that has read any amount of loading data for the two cartridges can see that the .45/70 does what the .450 does and at less pressure. It doesn't 'need' to be loaded to the .450's pressure, although it certainly can be. As an example, your quoted Hodgdon load data from Chuck Hawk:

Hodgdon reloading data shows that the 400 grain Speer FP bullet can be driven to a MV of 2023 fps by a maximum charge of 52.5 grains of H322 powder at a MAP of 41,900 psi.

That same 400gr Speer bullet, by Hodgdon's own data, uses 55.0gr of H322 to drive it to 1984fps at 39,200CUP. So only 50fps slower and at 2700CUP less pressure with three more grains of powder. That's levergun data, not Ruger No. 1 data, just the bigger case with more capacity strutting its stuff at less pressure.

Buffalo Bore even shows the .450 at a slightly lower velocity (25fps) than .45/70 loads with the same bullet.

As I said before, the .450 is strictly to obtain heavy .45/70 ballistics in a standard factory cartridge that can't possibly find itself into an old Trapdoor. It holds absolutely no ballistic advantage with comparable pressure factory loads and no advantage whatsoever for the handloader.

Let's stick to answering his question.

Yes, let's.

January 10, 2008, 02:23 PM
I certainly was not bashing the .450, or touting the .45-70 over it.
Just, as mentioned, taking issue with the erroneous statement about the .450 being far more powerful than any .45-70 load.
Both have their places. :)
While I'm a .45-70 shooter (three rifles currently), I would have bought a nifty little Steyr boltgun in .450 Marlin I tried out a couple years ago if it'd had iron sights on it. It was a very handy big-bore brush gun & I quite liked it otherwise. I would not have hand-loaded for it & would have felt quite comfortable with factory ammo for most small to medium bear encounters.
There is absolutely nothing whatever wrong with the .450 Marlin, it's just not a hugely superior round to the .45-70. :)

January 10, 2008, 05:54 PM
What an informative and entertaining thread. I gotta side with Craig & DPris on this.:D

I've never shot a .450M but I handload for my 1895G and looked at the ballistics charts for the .450M and I don't see any advantage to the .450 all things considered. The 45/70 does the same thing with lower pressure, and with the 45/70 brass & data availability vs the 450M...it's a no brainer for me.

Oh yeah, I loaded a 350 gr bullet to 1886 fps in my GG and it felt like a 12ga 3" slug. Manageable but not something you'd want to shoot more than 20 rnds from the bench with. (The trajectory charts didn't even show a real advantage to a 350 @ 1886 vs a 350 @ 1200 fps so I toned that one down some!)

Bottom line is that at 28 bucks for a box of ammo for your .450M, it sure wouldn't take long to pay for a reloading press & dies. (But if you're going to do that the 45/70 componants are a heck of a lot cheaper and more available.) Maybe it's not to late to get the 45/70 version instead?:D

Watch out for those factory undersized lead bullets, Marlins like fat bullets. Those .457 lead bullets leaded up my GG real bad. I assume it's the same with the .450M's.

A/C Guy
January 13, 2008, 09:39 PM
Got my 450 on Thursday, finally got to the range today. I bought the Marlin 1895 stainless w 24" barrel. The gun is very well balanced and recoil is very manageable. It kicks a little more than a 20 ga. shotgun, but it is definitely easy to shoot.

January 13, 2008, 10:37 PM
Hope you enjoy it, there's nothing wrong with your choice & it should give you many years of good service. :)

January 14, 2008, 12:16 AM
It kicks a little more than a 20 ga. shotgun, but it is definitely easy to shoot.

IMO it kicks more than a 12 gauge. It is the stoutest recoiling firearm I own, however it is still very manageable.

January 14, 2008, 03:08 PM
i dont know about kicking a little bit more then a 20 gauge. I thought it was a little more stout myself. but everyone has their own opinions

January 14, 2008, 08:03 PM
It's funny but I always thought that velocity was based on case capacity and bullet weight, all things being equal. The "Hot" loads for the 45/70 like Buffalo, Garrett, Corbon do crank up the horse power. But if you use the same-same, powder and bullet weight you will have the same velocity, and kick assuming same rifle bla, bla, bla. Felt recoil again will be base on the same criteria, except for one major thing, stock shape!! The more drop in the stock the more facial recoil add that to horse power and wham, recoil that hurts. Remember that the good old 458 was always tested in a 24in barrel. Sold in 22, 23 , 24 in barrel. Subtract 25fps per barrel inch and velocity drops, not to 450/45-70 but closer. We ran early 458 loads over a good chrono and 2100fps-500 grn loads made 1975fps much of the time. I digress however, felt recoil is just that what a shooter feels, some more than others. The lbs of recoil and and gun shape, weight, etc. all will play a part. Have fun with the 450/45-70 do. Doc:p

January 14, 2008, 09:28 PM
It's funny but I always thought that velocity was based on case capacity and bullet weight, all things being equal. The "Hot" loads for the 45/70 like Buffalo, Garrett, Corbon do crank up the horse power. But if you use the same-same, powder and bullet weight you will have the same velocity

The case capacity is where the difference is between the two. The slightly lower case capacity of the .450 produces more pressure. Smaller capacity equals more pressure for similar velocities with less powder. More capacity equals more powder for the same velocity at less pressure.

Kinda like how .375WCF shooters use .38/55 brass for a little more case capacity.

June 30, 2014, 04:08 PM
While both rounds can produce the same energy levels using the same weight bullets, what no one seems to understand (or know) is that the 450 is originaly designed to handle those pressure levels where the 45-70 was not. Yes you can jack the 45-70 up to 450 levels, but the 45-70 brass is weaker than the 450 brass and will wear out faster. You could do the same thing by jacking up a 308 to 30-06 levels..........but I wouldn't advise it because the original catridge case is not designed for it.

The case belt on the 450 is not the only physical difference between them. The web and wall thickness of the 450 brass is thicker than the 45-70. That's why it holds slightly less powder than a 45-70. Those three features were DESIGNED INTO the cartridge to handle that kind of pressure. The brass case is the most important difference between the two rounds and I certainly prefer the heavier brass of the 450 at these levels.

June 30, 2014, 07:44 PM
The ballistics are pretty much the same as the .45-70. The only differences are that the .450 is rimless, there aren't as many ammo options, and it will die out quicker than the .45-70.

It depends. If you compare ballistics of SAAMI level factory ammo the 450 is far more powerful. If you compare ballistics of 450 ammo to custom or handloaded 45-70 ammo, then they are very similar.

The whole idea behind the 450 Marlin was to provide SAAMI factory ammo that would compare with warm 45-70 handloads, which it did.

Unlicensed Dremel
July 1, 2014, 02:21 PM
It's the same as level 2 .45-70, which is to say, stout bordering on harsh depending on rifle weight. It will let you know you're alive - seriously.... about like a 3.0" 12 ga turkey load in an auto-loading shotgun, or a smidge less.

July 1, 2014, 03:12 PM
Old thread, but to put some numbers on it. a 450 Marlin from a 7.5 lb rifle firing a 400 gr bullet @ 2000 fps generates 44 ft lbs of recoil. There are some loads showing 400 gr bullets from both 450 and hot 45-70 @ 2100 fps, that is closer to 50 ft lbs

Just for perspective typical recoil

308 15-17 ft lbs
30-06 17-20 ft lbs
300 mag 26-30 ft lbs.
12 ga slug 30 ft lbs

July 2, 2014, 01:38 PM
Old thread, but I feel like chiming in anyway.
I have a Marlin 1895M with an 18 1/2" barrel. The extra 5 1/2 inches on the barrel (A/C Guy with 24" barrel) must make a huge difference if you think it kicks like a 20 ga. The recoil IMO is very comparable to my 12 ga single shot with slugs, and it is a light gun so you feel every bit of the recoil.
For hunting I love the .450, but it is not the gun to go to the range and burn a couple hundred rounds through. Even being used to the gun, by the time I get 15-20 rounds in I am just wasting ammo because my accuracy sucks due to my sore shoulder.
I chose the .450 because I do not reload, I love the round but can see how a handloader could have more versatility with the 45-70. Also, nobody else I knew had one, and I have to admit I do like just being different. I just hope the round doesn't go the way of the Dodo and leave me hanging.:eek:

July 2, 2014, 02:22 PM
Back from the dead.....

I now have a ported 450, whereas back in 08 I had a non ported model. The porting doesnt really do that much for recoil. :D

Super fun gun to shoot and very accurate. Problem is, it is very hard to find anything but LE ammo for it.