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Old September 14, 2000, 08:29 AM   #1
Jack Straw
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This came up when one of our hunting club members showed up with a Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70. Since that day I have talked to others who kind of huff that using the old cartridge on GA whitetails is massive overkill. I'm of the opinion that they are over estimating the power of the caliber and that it would (or could) make a good deer round. What do you think? How does the trajectory of the .45-70 compare to the .30-30 or .35Rem? What about the potency of factory ammo: is it kept to lower powers to protect older guns?

Just to keep it on topic, I'm not looking for a discussion on what is "too much gun" or "not enough gun", I'm just wanting to learn more about the practicality of the .45-70 specifically.

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Old September 14, 2000, 10:27 AM   #2
J. Parker
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Jack; Back in '94 I bought a Marlin 45/70. I said to myself-"this gun can be more compact". I had the barrel cut off to 181/2". What a concept! I had a vision and didn't even know it. I never hunted with it but I really like the calibre. Back then if you didn't handload you were stuck with "mild" factory loads. Boy have things changed. Now the calibre is extremely versatile. You can use the mild factory loads for deer, pigs, smaller black bears, etc. There are new loads on the market that are absolutely sledge hammers for use on bigger and more dangerous game. Randy Garrett makes a couple of awesome loads as well as the Buffalo Bore (I think) people. There's others, but they escape me at the moment. Anyway, you can now hunt a full spectrum of game with "MY" Marlin Guide gun (darn). It's a camp gun, truck gun, short hikin' gun, hunting gun, cabin gun. I'm sure you even use it for self defense. Best Regards, J. Parker
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Old September 14, 2000, 11:25 AM   #3
Robert the41MagFan
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I have killed deer with the 45-70 and must say that it does a fine job without the loss of meat. A common factory load from Remington, Fereral and others is only loaded to class 1 or 17500 PSI. A 45-70 at that level is about on par with a 44 Magnum from the same type of gun.

If you are looking for more deer potential and down range ballistics, Barnes just released a 250 grain X-Bullet. A bullet of that weight has the potential of 2500 FPS from the Guide Gun. Which certainly has the ability of extending the range and accuracy, out past 150 to 200 yards and with authority too.


[This message has been edited by Robert the41MagFan (edited September 14, 2000).]
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Old September 14, 2000, 12:23 PM   #4
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I would shoot deer with my .375. Know why? because I TRY to shoot deer through the ribs, right behind the should, where you may mess up about a fist-full of meat, less even. If I shot the deer with a .270 I would only be messing up about .105" more meat (on both sides) and all this meat I waste would probably equal about the weight of a penny. This only works if you hit them through the ribs. If you hit meat, obviously the "shock-wave" meat is no good, the bullet travels through more meat then is on the ribs, and the exit side is really thrashed, but for a good lung shot, you can't have "Too" much gun.
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Old September 15, 2000, 12:24 PM   #5
Keith Rogan
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The .45/70 destroys less meat than even a .243 - I know, having used both. A .45/70 with proper hard cast flatnoses just punches a .45 caliber hole through the target.
You standard high velocity rifle can take out an entire shoulder on the offside.

I would think that a .45/70 would be the perfect deer rifle in thick cover like Georgia. It isn't overkill at all, in thick cover like you have, it could argued that the more typical rifles are "overkill".

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Old September 15, 2000, 03:08 PM   #6
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In my opinion there is no such thing as "too much gun". Make a good shot and there is no need to worry about meat damage. On the other side, the concept of "not enough gun" is an absolute reality.

The 45-70 has more bullet drop than the 30-30 or 35 Rem, but if you know your limitations, it is an excellent round for whitetails or any other game.
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Old November 23, 2004, 11:40 AM   #7
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45/70 results

I received a marlin guide gun for christmas last year and I absolutely love it.
It is the best brush gun you could ever ask for. I shot a whitetail deer with it about a week ago. I hit the spine and it just dropped right where it stood. I then shot it throgh the vital area and it died in about 5 seconds. I like having a little more gun than a 30/30 in a lever gun, but a 30/30 will kill a deer out to 238 yards. That's how far my friend shot one with a 4x scope. (maybe it will kill a little futher) A 30/30 is perfectly adequate, but you can never kill a deer too dead. I always try to remind myself that bullet placement is more important than any other factor. The guide gun carries unbeliveably well. It is much better than lugging a scoped bolt action around through thick brush.
I use a 25/06 for all my long range shots on whitetails.
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Old November 23, 2004, 12:28 PM   #8
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The only question is one of range. If you don't need range, the 45-70 is a damn fine deer gun. Had a 45-70 hunter in camp for years. He reloaded for his custom mauser 45-70 and never failed to flatten a deer. Meat damage was less than the high velocity rounds the other hunters used (.270/30-06).
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Old November 23, 2004, 05:39 PM   #9
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I have used the 45-70 on deer for eight years now and am very happy with it . The 300 factory loads are fine for deer ,no need to go to more potent loads.I am now using Winchester Partition loads. The 300s when sighted in at 100yds drop about 5" at 150 and about 12" at 200.Most of eastern hunting is within 50 yds.The 35Rem is more effective than the 30-30 and the 45-70 is more effective than the 35REm.Everyone who tries the 45-70 for the first time is pleasantly surprised that an old timer, that is far from magnum velocities, is so effective.
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Old November 23, 2004, 05:56 PM   #10
Long Path
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The .45-70 can be a challenge to dope out past 100 yds or so. That said, it's marvelous in heavy brush areas where you have short shots and want to anchor the game before it disappears into the cover. (No, I do NOT favor a "brush rifle" being used to fire through brush; that's a bad practice with any round that easily leads to wounded animals or worse.)

Frankly, there's more challenge to using a .45-70 for deer than using a .270 or a 7mm or a .308 or the like. But the downrange performance makes it worth it.

As for the Guide Gun, it's just a just plain sweet deer stick.
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Old November 23, 2004, 07:39 PM   #11
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If I were limited to having only one caliber, it would be my Marlin 45-70's. As much as I like my .308's and 30/06's and love my Shiloh Sharps 45-90 and
.45Colt rifles. The 45-70 is in my opinion the most versitile cartridge out there. I see fellows in BPCR competitions shooting out to 1000 yards in their
Sharps. Of course, in a shorter barrel lever action that distance is going to be
shorter, but this is a capable cartridge. I have two Marlins, one is a 28"
Cowboy and the other is a 26" half round/half oct limited edition. Both hold
nine round of the best round ever. I don't feel under gunned here in the
Montana Bitterroots with a 500 grain hardcast bullet I load to 1700 fps. Or,
over gunned when I'm hunting in Fla., Ga. or Tenn. with a 300 Grain bullet.
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Old November 24, 2004, 11:06 AM   #12
the possum
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Too much gun? Hogwash. It only becomes too much gun when it's recoil causes you to flinch. There's no such thing as too dead.

They seem to be basing their opinion on the caliber of the bullet or size of the case, rather than the terminal performance on deer. I figure the only way a hunting gun would be overkill for a given animal, is if it has enough power to litterally blow it to smithereens. (though that's what I'd want for varmints. ) And of course, the .45-70 will not blow a deer to pieces. As others have said, it ruins less meat than many of the high velocity rifle rounds.

Meh. Sorry for getting off topic there. Just had to get that out of my system. Though we can't use rifles on deer in IL, we have a lot of experience with shotgun slugs, which offer ballistics in the same range. They bring down plenty of deer each year, but as always placement is paramount. They often go a long ways after taking solid hits.

Just wanted to compliment you on that Shiloh Sharps. One of my best college buds had one, and let me shoot it once. Man, those things are true works of art. Absolutely beautiful execution of fit and finish. Any chance I could be written into your will?
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Old November 24, 2004, 08:53 PM   #13
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As much as I just ranted about the 45-70 and my Marlins, the Shiloh is by far
the best shooting rifle I have ever owned. As you said, fit and finish is
incredible. The gun is also incredible to shoot. With a Lyman 535 grain and
90 grains of Goex 1f, the gun will shoot 1200 yard buffalo targets all day long.
When I take it to the range and am shooting 1 inch groups with tang sights
next to guys with their modern magnums and highpowered scopes, it puts a
big grin on my face.
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Old November 24, 2004, 09:27 PM   #14
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What Bad medicine said. I haven't ever hunted with my 45/70, but the last two deer I have shot were with .44 caliber sabotted bullets driven by 100 and 110 grains of Pyrodex. If you miss the shoulders there is really good effect of removing the blood from the deer without messing up too much meat. OTOH, with a high velocity rifle, even a .243, I have seen massive shock necrosis with a bullet which was only close to the deer's shoulders.

Even the .223 will produce massive necrosis when it comes close to muscle, as studied in the military goat-wound course I took many years ago. This is because of the supersonic shock wave moving through the critter, not the perminent wound channel.
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Old November 25, 2004, 04:43 AM   #15
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Shotgun slugs ? while my 45-70 shoots a partition of 300gr at1850 ,winchester has a partition 12 gauge slug -385 gr at 2000!! Thats awsome !
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Old November 28, 2004, 10:18 AM   #16
Northwest Cajun
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I have a guide gun, I havent shot a deer yet but I have shot a 4x4 Bull Elk . The shot was around 50 yards. The only thing I saw was feet in the air after the the shot.The load was a 405 Rem bullet moving at 1700 fps. We found the bullet under the skin on the far side. The jacket had seperated but was next to the core. The core weighed about 300gr. There was no blood-shot meat from my shot, you could eat right up to the hole. My buddy had shot it first with his 300 WM. You could definatly tell the difference between his holes and mine.

As for range, I'm good to 200 yds off hand, with or without the scope. The range I practice at has a 10" steel plate at 200 yds and I can wack it without a problem.

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Old November 29, 2004, 02:25 PM   #17
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Hunted with some guys this weekend. Using my 1895 in .45-70. These guys had never seen nor heard of such a crazy round - they are....well, no way around it, hicks. There's only 2 calibers for deer as far as they know: 90% "ought six", and 10% .30-30. Well, an occasional black sheep/maverick using .270 win. There was much talk of "have you seen the ammo that dude's gun shoots? Big as your thumb!". When I try to put in laymen's terms why the .45-70 wasn't too much for deer, I kinda lost them - when I tried to explain why off-the-shelf loads have to be "dumbed down" for liability reasons so people won't sue when they blow up their trapdoor Springfields, their eyes started to glaze over and someone quickly changed the subject. I tried though. Didn't get a deer though - only saw one, and it was too little too shoot at, and running to boot (not going to shoot at a running deer unless it has at least 8 points on it's head, and even then probably not unless really close and I have a good shot). Did see 3 dead deer, and 3 more alive on the road at night - yes, if you're wondering said hicks did kill one of these 3 on the road at night, and tried to shoot at the other two, but they ran off first - no I'm not going to hunt with these slobs any more, lest their bad (& illegal) habits rub off on me.
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Old November 30, 2004, 11:34 AM   #18
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The 45-70 will kill deer just fine. The point is...?

Its use is not compulsory, anyone who disagrees with its use is under no obligation to use it.

It seems to me that the more cartridge options available, the more nitpicking we get into about suitability.
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Old December 10, 2004, 12:01 PM   #19
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I think the 45-70 with 300 gr. loads is great for deer. There is a movement to make heavy loads for it with big square fronts. Not what you need for deer. Loaded a bit quicker in a strong Marlin the 300 trajectory is a good improvement. With a round nose bullet or tapered flat nose the trajectory is better too. The real shame is the super heavies with square fronts being touted as do all bullets. In my opinion these flying hammers are good for very close shots on big dangerous game only. Just pick the right bullet for the job.
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Old February 20, 2005, 04:58 PM   #20
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.45-70 great for deer

just like the majority who have posted before me i agree that the old .45-70 is a good deer round. itll do wonders in the bush where the lever action really shines and it can be loaded light enough that it will never damage meat. on the other hand it can be loaded with 500 hardcasts and knock over an elephant. wait a minute did we just discover the ultimate do it all round
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Old February 21, 2005, 02:25 PM   #21
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Look at all the reloading manuals, and you will see that you have a choice from 180gs to about 550grs so if you reload , you can go from short range plinkers to large game cartridge. For one of my single shots, used to use BP some filler and a 459dia rd ball and use channel lock pliers to seat it, fun round. There is so much info on the 45/70 out there you wont have time to shoot.
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Old February 21, 2005, 06:47 PM   #22
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There is no such thing as to much power unless it damages meat

I have had Ruger #3 in 45/70, marlins, and now I have a Rememgtion rolling block action with a new barrel and stock that some one put way to much money into and sold it to the store I worked at. Black power only but its still does a nunber on deer. I agree with a lot of people here that the 45/70 is a great round that will do everything you want it to in north amercia other than dangerious animals like bear.
Black powder I wont go beyond 100 yards on deer.
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Old February 23, 2005, 03:56 PM   #23
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If a .45-70 is too much gun for deer, then any modern blackpowder rifle of .45 caliber or over would have to be considered "too much".

"Too much" gun or caliber is so subjective as to be meaningless. 99% of the time, any deer that is dropped could have been dropped with a cartridge that is smaller, lighter, slower, or somehow "less".

Just for a laugh, ask these prudes if hunting with "barely enough" is better.
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Old February 23, 2005, 07:08 PM   #24
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Just for a laugh, ask these prudes if hunting with "barely enough" is better.
Down here in the deep south we actually have a spear season for deer. I don't know anybody who has ever actually speared a deer, but there is a lot of talk.
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