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Old November 9, 2021, 10:36 AM   #1
Polinese
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Strongest 45-70

Wondering what y'all would consider the strongest 45-70 action to be as far as lever guns? Referring specifically to tube magazine models, not single shots. I'd gues it's the Marlin but I'm admittedly basing that on absolutely nothing.
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Old November 9, 2021, 11:55 AM   #2
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Probably so. There aren't many alternatives, Henry and 1886 copies from Winchester/Miroku and Pedersoli are all I can think of offhand.
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Old November 9, 2021, 11:58 AM   #3
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Yeah the henry seemed like it might more or less be a copy of the Marlin, then there was the 86 and wasn't sure which was stronger between the two. Also didn't know if there was any I wasn't thinking of.
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Old November 9, 2021, 01:08 PM   #4
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The MARLIN is weak where the barrel screws unto the frame.
The original 1895 action is strongest.
New models, built on the 336 action, requires the bottom of the barrel be cut down, to allow the magazine tube to be mounted. This is a week spot.

Keep pressures to spec. No need to hot rod this awesome cartridge.

Last edited by Seedy Character; November 11, 2021 at 05:37 PM.
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Old November 9, 2021, 02:30 PM   #5
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I don't reload yet, of even have a 45-70. But when I do I'm just looking at factory loads but was curious on the strength of the few actions available.
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Old November 9, 2021, 02:48 PM   #6
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I don't know if these are still made, but the Marlin Guide Gun was available in 45-70. The Guide Gun, based on the 1895 design, is strong enough to handle the 450 Marlin cartridge, a very powerful round. I would think an action that can handle the 450 Marlin could handle 45-70 +P ammo, if you wanted to go that way.
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Old November 9, 2021, 03:08 PM   #7
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I think the .450 Marlin was introduced to provide factory loads and SAAMI rated load data for shooters who declined to overload the .45-70.
There is hardly any difference in velocity for .450 Marlin and .45-70 "lever action only" loads from Hodgdon. Hodgdon defines "lever action" as Marlin 95 only.
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Old November 9, 2021, 05:37 PM   #8
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Load data is the same for all lever actions. There may be minor differences between the handful of manufacturers, but not enough difference to matter. There are 3 levels of 45-70 load data.

You have original black powder equivalent levels which are pretty mild.

The lever gun data is next.

The really hot 45-70 load data is for single shot and bolt action rifles only. But even that is well below 458 WM power levels.



When I 1st got into 45-70 all the factory loads were loaded to the lowest power level. Manufacturers didn't want to risk someone taking factory loads intended for only modern lever guns and putting those rounds into an original or even reproduction rifle meant only for the old black powder equivalent loads.

To get to that power level you had to hand load. The 450 Marlin was an attempt to get factory loads matching the mid-level 45-70 hand loads in a factory load. Since it wouldn't chamber in a 45-70 there was no danger of loading it in an older gun.

Today some manufacturers are loading 45-70 a little hotter, but still not where you can go with handloads. The best 45-70 handloads will duplicate 450 Marlin. Which was exactly the purpose of the 450 Marlin.

But the 450 didn't take off like Marlin hoped. Most people who shoot 45-70 handload anyway and like the versatility of loading to different power levels. The 450 Marlin level loads will kick the snot out of you in a lever gun and the power isn't always needed.

Since 45-70 usage is so low in single shots and bolt guns I doubt if you'll ever see factory loads ever coming close to that. There just isn't the demand. And most people wanting that much power go straight to 458 WM anyway.
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Old November 9, 2021, 07:24 PM   #9
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Marlins chambered in 450 Marlin have different barrel threads... they're V cut threads...45-70 models have square cut threads.

V cut threads are stronger than square cut.

The above was true when Marlin was still Marlin...I do not know if any of the recent owners may have changed the way they do the threads.

I've loaded a Marlin 1895 to 40,000 psi without issue, lots and lots of rounds fired...405 grain Beartooth bullets at a tick over 1,900 fps.

Loaded to 36,000 psi the 1895 is much more fun to shoot...405's at 1,800 fps.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk

Last edited by Ridgerunner665; November 9, 2021 at 11:39 PM.
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Old November 9, 2021, 11:49 PM   #10
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So the uberti 1886 says its for medium 45-70 loads. That would refer to any of the "lever action" loads?
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Old November 10, 2021, 07:03 AM   #11
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Just FYI, I’ve shot quite a few deer with the 45-70 loaded to just a tad over the Trapdoor loads (405g bullet at 1300-1450fps) and have yet to recover a single bullet from a deer. Regardless of the angle of the shot, all were complete pass throughs. Load what you want, but I learned a long time ago that this round hurts on both ends when shot at anything past Trapdoor loads. I can sit at the bench and shoot thirty or forty rounds of Trapdoor and nothing hurts when I’m done. Best part of this cartridge is that it’s the least fussy cartridge I’ve ever loaded for. Everything shoots great in both my Miroku/Winchester guns, 1885 and 1886.
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Old November 10, 2021, 09:30 AM   #12
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The Marlin 1895, in the 444, is rated at 40,000psi. That will take a 405 to almost 2000fps. Brian Pearce has done extensive work and African hunting with the 1895/45-70 combo.
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Old November 10, 2021, 09:47 AM   #13
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So the uberti 1886 says its for medium 45-70 loads. That would refer to any of the "lever action" loads?
No, not "any." A maximum Lyman "lever action" load is 28000 CUP/psi which is the SAAMI/CIP maximum and is OK by Uberti (Italian) standards. But the maximum Hodgdon "lever action" load (Marlin only) is up to 39000 CUP, well above the industry standards and nobody is going to "rate" their guns for it.

Elmer Keith's favorite smokeless load was in the middle of the range of Hodgdon's "lever action" loads, well above SAAMI spec. I have shot a few in a friend's Marlin, which was a gracious plenty.
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Old November 10, 2021, 11:22 AM   #14
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Elmer Keith's favorite smokeless load was in the middle of the range of Hodgdon's "lever action" loads, well above SAAMI spec.
Isn't every .45-70 load above black powder levels "above SAAMI spec"??
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Old November 10, 2021, 03:05 PM   #15
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No. SAAMI maximum is 28000 CUP or psi (The two gauges happen to give the same numerical reading for .45-70.) Hodgdon gets a 400 gr bullet to 1800 fps with that.

Hodgdon Trapdoor loads are around 19000 CUP.

But in an earlier day, Phil Sharpe showed real .45-70-500 at 25000 (crusher) psi.
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Old November 10, 2021, 10:26 PM   #16
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Suppose what I"m really wondering is if I buy like an Uberti 1886, or a Marlin 1895 and feed it nothing but Federal power shoks, or fusions, or Hornady leverevolution am I going to run into problems?
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Old November 10, 2021, 11:42 PM   #17
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Standard brand factory loads will meet SAAMI and not beat up a modern made rifle at all.
I would limit use of Big Boomer Super Duper +P but even that will not wear out a gun in hunting quantities.
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Old November 11, 2021, 04:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
The Marlin 1895, in the 444, is rated at 40,000psi.
FWIW, 40,000 psi is about standard for any modern lever action. 30-30 SAAMI rating is 40,000 CUP. 32 Special is rted at 40,400 CUP. 444 Marlin is rated at 46,800 CUP. And yes, I understand there is no direct comparison between CUP and PSI. Winchester 94s, early Savage 99s, virtually ANY 30-30 lever action has to be rated at 40,000 in order to handle factory ammo. The Marlin 336/444/1895 is actually not as good of a design as the 1886 (less engagement between the bolt and the locking lug), just uses better metal than was available or was used back in the day.

If you want a really strong 45-70, get a Siamese MAuser that's been converted.
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Old November 11, 2021, 07:22 PM   #19
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If you want a really strong 45-70, get a Siamese MAuser that's been converted.
I had one. And not the Navy Arms "carbine" conversion, a full size sporter with a conventional sporter stock, and a long barrel. Fine gun. Did have feed issues, took some tinkering but it did eventually run well enough. NO SERIAL NUMBER. Did have markings but nothing in arabic numerals or English letters other than .45-70 on the barrel. No idea who built it.

Also had an 1895 Marlin, one of the first of the modern ones that had the stupid crossbolt safety. IIRC conventional rifling. 385-400gr to 1800+, no problem, though it did kick a mite.

Still have a Ruger No.3, its my favorite .45-70. Max loads (for MY specific gun) run 300fps behind .458 Win mag. NOT for casual plinking, or shooting from the prone position, unless you have a desire to physical therapy, possibly after surgery...

its, short, its light, its accurate, has a great trigger and a lot of fun with loads at BP levels, and even with those, will drop any deer like it was hit by Mjolnir.

And, if you WANT something that will drop buffalo (and I'd include Cape buffalo with the right bullet,) the rifle will handle that, too.

The 350gr Hornady at 2200fps is really impressive. DON'T shoot the 400gr Speer above 1800 its not built for that.
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Old November 11, 2021, 07:26 PM   #20
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Scorch so a modern made 1886 is likely to be stronger than a 336/1895?
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Old November 12, 2021, 01:24 PM   #21
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I have to ask, "Why ask the question?" If the rifle is strong enough, that is it handles the maximum pressure of the loaded round with a significant margin of safety, the fact that another rifle has a greater margin of safety is purely academic. Of course, there are examples of pushing the margin, .45 Colt comes to mind. But I think the 45-70 has been pretty well rung out and tested in various guns. Besides, as many have pointed out, heavily loaded the round is a beast, especially in rifles with 19th century style stocks.
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Old November 12, 2021, 03:45 PM   #22
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Really just curiosity
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Old November 12, 2021, 05:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
444 Marlin is rated at 46,800 CUP. And yes, I understand there is no direct comparison between CUP and PSI.
Even at the utter maximum, you should take into account the head area and bolt thrust. .45-70 is a good bit bigger than .444.
Early production .444 barrels were sent out to Remington for heat treatment, Marlin not being equipped for it.
Maybe just a coincidence or convergent methods in an old straight case, but .45-70 SAAMI maximum is 28000 in both systems.

Quote:
Scorch so a modern made 1886 is likely to be stronger than a 336/1895?
Questions like this bring to mind the old time print gunwriter who, when asked about "barrel life" said "That would require systematically wearing out several rifles which I do not have the time, money or inclination for."

There is an outfit, Big Horn Armory, making lever actions in monster revolver magnums like .460 and .500 S&W, .475 and .500 Linebaugh. They are on the mechanical design of 1886-1892 Winchesters, no doubt of good steel and beefed up here and there.

Last edited by Jim Watson; November 12, 2021 at 05:24 PM.
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Old November 12, 2021, 05:39 PM   #24
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Oh that's pretty cool about Big Horn Armory, hadn't heard of them til now.
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Old November 15, 2021, 04:13 PM   #25
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the Big Horn gun is not cheap, and its not a .45-70. The action is kind of an improved, stretched 92 but isn't quite long enough for the .45-70 round. Its a quality build, listed as a production gun but its more like a semi custom item, with a price tag to match.

Discussions of "strength" of rifles always amuses me. Even going back to the P.O. Ackley blow up tests. Other than as a point of academic interest, they are of no practical value. unless, of course, you're planning to blow up a rifle on purpose.

the operating tolerance and the failure strength of a firearm are two separate and different things.

I've got close to half a century's personal, hands on experience with a number of .45-70s, single shots, levers and even bolt actions. Old Trapdoors to modern Rugers, and my experience is, that as loads go up, cases will stick (at which point the smart people STOP! and back off a bit) before they rupture and cases will rupture before the action fails.

Doesn't matter to the shooter if the action fails at 90Kpsi or 117 or 134, what matters is the working pressure limits of the various designs and operating BELOW that.
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