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Old December 15, 2018, 10:51 AM   #1
buckshott
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45-70

Thinking about buying a 45-70 for deer hunting in Ohio. Anybody have experience with a Marlin or a Henry? Also thinking which barrel length would be ok. Probably put a scope on it.
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Old December 15, 2018, 11:44 AM   #2
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buckshott, I don't know if you're open to any other caliber suggestions or not, but I'd reconsider your choice for OH deer hunting. I currently own, and have owned several 45-70 rifles and I really like shooting those guns. However, I also own a couple of .357Max rifles and find that there are some serious advantages to that caliber over the 45-70 for deer hunting. It's has nothing to do with lethality, they both kill. It's just that the 45-70 can kill at both ends. The .357Max (not Mag) is flatter shooting, has significantly less recoil, and is more economical to shoot. It's absolutely devastating on deer sized animals, and gives up nothing to the 45-70 on deer sized game. You can drive a 158g bullet at 2300fps and it's pretty flat shooting right out to two hundred yards. Sight it in at 125 and hold right on mid point out to two hundred. Bullet expansion is exceptional. I've killed a bunch of deer with the 45-70 and a bunch more with the 357max. I rarely use the 45-70 any more for deer hunting. It's a fallacy that pistol bullets "blow up" when shot out of a rifle. I've been using Hornady 158g XTP bullets for years and none have "blown up" or fragmented yet. Just something to think about. My last bullet recovered this year expanded to .62" and still weighed 125g. It was perfectly mushroomed. It was driven at just over 2300fps out of a TC Encore with an MGM barrel on it.
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Old December 15, 2018, 12:08 PM   #3
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Given Ohio hunting ranges/condition . . . .

If you reload -- and can tame it down to (cough, cough) horse-killing "cowboy" loadout -- get the 45-70/1895 Marlin.

If not, get the 44Mag/1894 Marlin. Sight it in at 100 and you are point-blank ±2" out to 125yds
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Old December 15, 2018, 12:18 PM   #4
DPris
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I have both, a Marlin Guide Gun & a Henry brass .45-70.

They are both overkill for deer, but with lighter loads both would drop a deer at your typical ranges.
My Marlin has a shorter barrel, and if you're in tight brush that might be fractionally easier to carry & maneuver.

Both are easily scoped, already drilled & tapped.

Both are quality guns, and Marlin is coming back.
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Old December 15, 2018, 12:51 PM   #5
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I have a Marlin Trapper big bore with a 16-1/2" barrel. I consider that to be more of a personal defense rifle than a hunting rifle but I'm sure it would do the job. In your case, I would look at the Marlin 1895CB with the 26" barrel. It's very accurate and while it's probably a stretch to call it a brush gun, it will get the job done. I'd also have a tough time calling it a saddle gun because of it's 44+ inch length. You would probably have to dismount and then pull the rifle out of the scabbard, I don't think you could do it sitting in the saddle. Well I suppose you could but I wouldn't without adding a saddle ring to it and a lanyard.
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Old December 15, 2018, 04:57 PM   #6
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You might want to consider a marlin in 35 Remington great cartridge for deer and black bear.
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Old December 16, 2018, 07:45 AM   #7
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there is just some thing about thumbing large cartiges into the loading gate and levering one of those big babies into the chamber and knowing your ready for what ever you run into in the woods. cut your man bun off and go out into the wild.
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Old December 16, 2018, 08:53 AM   #8
mehavey
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Quote:
...just something about thumbing large cartiges into the loading gate and levering
one of those big babies into the chamber and knowing your ready for what ever . . .
My 45-3¼'s bigger`n your 45-70.
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Old December 16, 2018, 09:19 AM   #9
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yes it is, but it only matters if you are shooting black powder. and what lever action are you shooting a 45-120-3-1/4 in?
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Old December 16, 2018, 09:33 AM   #10
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I feel for you guys who have to be limited this way. A 45-70 would meet the legal requirement, but is one of the most over rated cartridges available. With traditional black powder level loads it is about the same as a 45 caliber muzzle loader. Which is the legal minimum in most states for deer and NOT legal in most places for game larger than deer.

With modern loads it is capable of taking much larger game, but in the 1870's-1880's was considered an under powered cartridge suitable for shooting indians, coyote, and deer.

If forced to limit myself that way and wanted something with a little style I'd buy a Marlin 1894 in 44 mag. If on a tighter budget, or if performance was more important than style I'd buy the Ruger American bolt gun in 450 BM.
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Old December 16, 2018, 11:22 AM   #11
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I've only used the 300 grain bullets . I found the normal loads too fragile [ like a 2" entrance hole ] I solved that problem by using a 300 Barnes factory load. That gave me lower recoil , accuracy, excellent penetration , no excess meat damage. So try a 300 Premium bullet. I rarely see any mention of the 300 premium bullets ! All my shots have been within 100 yds But it will perform well at greater ranges .
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Old December 16, 2018, 12:39 PM   #12
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The 45-70 Govt is one of the most common choices when hunters purchase a Reproduction Sharps rifle or when they choose a true pack rifle that they will depend on in a close quarters defense situation or just basic camp meat hunting. Is it a good choice for taking on a hunt that you've been planning for years or even for you annual hunting seasons. I'd say no unless the circumstances dictate that you should have it.

Why do I own a Marlin 1894CSBL.. Because it's cool and I've always wanted a 45-70. I don't need it for hunting but if I ever get a chance to hunt in big bear country I'll have it along with me if my guide doesn't mind. I wouldn't take it for hunting the game I was going after, I have much better choices in my safe that will do that job much better.

Not all the rifles in your collection need to be specifically designated to a purpose. Some of them are and maybe even should be bought just because you like or want them.
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Old December 16, 2018, 01:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
[45-70] is one of the most over rated cartridges available. With traditional black
powder level loads it is about the same as a 45 caliber muzzle loader.
Uuuuuhhh. . . .
No

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Old December 16, 2018, 01:46 PM   #14
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It's a fallacy that pistol bullets "blow up" when shot out of a rifle. I've been using Hornady 158g XTP bullets for years and none have "blown up" or fragmented yet. Just something to think about.
It's not a fallacy, its just not a constant. It depends on the bullet construction. EVERY bullet will "blow up" if driven far enough beyond its design specs. Try shooting some 125ger JHP bullets out of that .357 Maximum carbine at top speeds and see what they do. The 158s (and the XTP in particular) are built "tougher" than the 125s, and survive rifle velocities better.

Quote:
With modern loads it is capable of taking much larger game, but in the 1870's-1880's was considered an under powered cartridge suitable for shooting indians, coyote, and deer.
Right, that's why the US Army adopted it in 1873. And then developed a lighter load for cavalry use. Horribly underpowered, I'm sure...
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Old December 16, 2018, 01:59 PM   #15
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The .45-70 in military loadings was developed to bring down a horse at skirmishing distances.
It is far from underpowered.

And the Hornady XTP is built as a tough bullet to hold together, which it is & does.
44 is absolutely correct above.
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Old December 16, 2018, 04:05 PM   #16
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45-70

I can’t argue with the recommendations about othe calibers but I took my first deer this year with my Henry 45-70. 150 yards, Hornady FTX 325 grain at 1830 fps. It took out both lungs and dropped the buck where he stood. It is a beast from the bench but not much different from a 12 gauge from field positions.
All the best,
Bill
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Old December 16, 2018, 05:02 PM   #17
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I'm Ohio hunter and found that the only legal rifle I owned when they annouce rifle season was a Marlin 45/70. I had this rifle for 40yrs and only reason it didn't get traded was it was extremely accurate. It just happened to be one of those assembly line cherries, it is a 1970 model. I shoot 300gr JHPs for deer, but feel
45/70 is to much gun for deer. I proceeded to gather up a Marlin 1894 in 44mg
and Marlin 375Win. 1st mistake I made was to scope all three rifles. I should have left Lyman reciver sight on 45/70. The 45/70 & 375w felt clumsy to me with scopes. All three rifles shot well. I started fooling with the 375w and traded the Marlin 375w for a Ruger #3 in 375w and started working up spitzer bullet loads for it. All this came from years of hunting with slugs and seeing bucks in
fields that were out of range. Average shot here in SE Ohio hills is less than 100
yards. I'm still working on 375w loads but realistically the Marlin 1894 is more
practical deer gun for this area. It's got a 3x and loaded up with 240gr JHPs over 22.5gr of H-2400. Rifle will clover leaf at 60yd and do 11/2"- 13/4" average at
100yds. Rested with scope I would be comfortable taking 150yd shot. Why do the Gun Rags make a deer killing machine out of 44mg when used in Pistol and
run it down as marginal in rifle? I hunt sneak method and the 94 is fast even with a scope. The Ruger #3 / scope leaves a bit to be desired in this dept. it frosts me that I have two dozen classic deer rifles that I can't legally use in Ohio.
A plain old 30/30 or similar rifle would be a much better all around gun for this
type of terrain and cover.
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Old December 17, 2018, 06:16 AM   #18
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I will have to say get a Marlin 1895 GBL. Short and would be great for you're use and country setting. Great rifle and better priced than the Henry.
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Old December 17, 2018, 09:31 AM   #19
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Thank you, mehavey. I'm glad you brought the 45/70-muzzleloader comparison comment (along with a couple of stats) to the fore.

Just as a performance comment on the old cartridge, in 2001, using a Sharps repro in 45-70, using a compressed black powder charge of 68 grns. of 2fg GOEX powder, and a 411 grn. flat nosed cast bullet from my Lyman mould (using my 20:1 alloy, the bullets come out at that 411 grn. weight), and at a bit over 60 yds., I killed a good 6X6 bull elk. My shot impacted right behind the near shoulder, and exited through the off shoulder BONE. That bull went about 50 yds., and piled up. I was quite impressed by that handloaded B.P. cartridge's performance. I've killed whitetails, mule deer and antelope with that same rifle and cartridge, and every time, on every animal, that bullet has passed through the critter. They don't travel far, either, if they travel at all.

I'm not so sure a .45 cal. m.l. bullet would've done that. I'm quite certain a .45 cal. patched r.b. wouldn't do that (I have 3, .45 cal., patched r.b. shooters in the safe at home, and have used them quite often for target and hunting), but since I've never used an inline muzzleloader with the powder pellets and jacketed bullets available these days, I can't comment on results on big game. I'm just fairly certain that even the inline m.l.s, can't perform nor compare on the same level as the 45/70, and using black powder as propellant. I'd sure like to hear comparison comments on inline .45 cal. m.l. performance on mature bull elk at under 100 yds.


I also had a Miroku built '86 Winchester (full rifle, pre-tang safety) repro in 45/70, in which I used handloaded smokeless and jacketed bullets. It was a fine hunting rifle, very accurate, but a bit too clunky for me to pack around the mountains chasing elk. I got talked out of it in a trade...a very cool gun, just a bit too heavy for me to pack all day in the mountains. I don't believe I'd ever be convinced that an inline .45 cal. m.l. would come anywhere near performance of my handloaded smokeless rounds for my old '86. I only shoot B.P. in my Sharps.

Looks like these days, Marlin has come a ways in their quality. Get the Marlin in 45/70 (IMO). You'll have a lot of fun with the old historic cartridge. Don't know if your a handloader or not, but seems factory stuff has pretty much been quite available through the years. Maybe you'll even consider a load with B.P. and cast! A real blast!
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Old December 17, 2018, 10:23 AM   #20
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I believe that the real question is about range. Are you shooting within 200 yards, and are you going to find a rifle and load that you can dependably hit the kill zone at that range?

if you are shooting at 200 yards and below, the 45-70 is perfect for the task, as are maybe fifty other cartridges. There are many perfect rifle and cartridge combinations for deer, but accuracy and range are what set them apart from each other.

Decide whether you want to use one of the heaviest rounds available in a lever, or whether you want to move down a step to maybe .444 marlin. The two are quite similar in performance. The other choices are to use a much lower performing round such as .357 or .44 magnum, which both are still adequate and legal, or to find a .357 max or some other such as the casull.

You are limited to straight walled cases, but that isn't a handicap in many cases. If you are in woods, and short visibility, you are doing just fine. If you are in a stand on open fields, it may not be adequate out beyond 300 (because of ballistics) but you can overcome the disadvantages.

I guess that the reason behind the straight wall limitation is the proliferation of long range bottle necked magnums that can easily travel a couple miles as stray shots. There are plenty of people who still carry the .300 magnums in the field around here, where visibility ranges are sometimes limited to 100 yards or less. A miss when shooting into open space at the end of a hill can send a bullet a long, long way
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Old December 17, 2018, 01:03 PM   #21
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You might want to consider a marlin in 35 Remington great cartridge for deer and black bear.
The .35 Remington is a nice choice for hunting deer for sure but, as has already been noted, Ohio hunters are restricted to using only cartridges having straight wall sides (the DNR provides a list of mandated, "approved" cartridges). Most of us Buckeyes are grateful that we can now use centerfire rifles to hunt deer; a welcome change from the "shotgun only" law of recent yesteryear.
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Old December 17, 2018, 01:46 PM   #22
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can you explain for me the reason for straight wall only? Other than the obviously lower velocity and hence range, I could never think of anything.
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Old December 17, 2018, 03:02 PM   #23
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The reasons you posited are the reasons the DNR used. Lots of deer hunting in Ohio is woodlands interspersed with more open meadows and tilled land and their thinking is that slower traveling bullets travel shorter distances and are, accordingly, safer to use in more populated farm country environs.
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Old December 17, 2018, 03:28 PM   #24
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I have, and regularly hunt with a Ruger #3 single shot carbine in 45-70. I have taken many deer, 4 caribou, 2 moose, 3 boar, 1 black bear, and one brown bear with this rifle. Never had to fire twice at any except the brownie. He took 3. 1 in shoulder to anchor, 1 in chest to kill, and one in neck to be sure.
If you can handle the recoil, and can place your shot properly, you can take anything on planet earth with a hot loaded 45-70
Having said this, for deer I would go with the standard 405 gr. load in the Henry. I like it better than any of the new Marlins.
However, A Ruger #1 or #3 is, in my opinion, the classy way to go.
Whatever you choose, good luck and God Bless.
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Old December 17, 2018, 04:33 PM   #25
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It's not a fallacy, its just not a constant. It depends on the bullet construction. EVERY bullet will "blow up" if driven far enough beyond its design specs. Try shooting some 125ger JHP bullets out of that .357 Maximum carbine at top speeds and see what they do. The 158s (and the XTP in particular) are built "tougher" than the 125s, and survive rifle velocities better.
I specified in my post that it was the 158g XTP I used that didn't blow up. Of course any bullet can blow up....shoot any bullet into a steel plate or cinder block and it will blow up. The 158g XTP bullet is chronographed at 2300+fps out of my max.
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