45-70

Discussion in 'Lever Action' started by TXWheeledShooter, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. TXWheeledShooter

    TXWheeledShooter Active Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Does anyone own a 45-70, and if so can you please share some stories? I've done some research and it turns out it has more distance ability than I originally thought. According to what I read, it is accurate up to a little over 150 yds and can take down any North American animal. Does that mean it's ok to use it on any US animal? If I shot a white tail w/ one, would there be any meat left or just a big hole and some antlers? If hunting w/ one, should I use it on elk sized animals and up or what? All opinions and stories are appreciated.
     
  2. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    Oh, jeeze; my friend a 45-70 is a powerful round. You can shoot and kill any animal in the US or Canada. The thing can be loaded up to just about 458 power. I have many 45/70 rifles, from old trapdoor muskets to carbines ao old Marlin rifles and modern Ruger No. I rifles. All are not equal. Some, however can be loaded with very powerful rounds. My Ruger No. 1 can be loaded with a 500 grain bullet and shot hard enough to take on an elephant.

    You can load your rifle light enough to almost plink with it. Try a 405 bullet at 1300 fps and you can enjoy an afternoon shooting it at beer cans. Load it up and it'll shake your eye teeth.

    I would never scope an 45/70, but I'm sure some have. At a 150 yards plus with heavy loads I would not hesitate to take on a brown bear, or a cape buffalo.
     

  3. Zerbe

    Zerbe Super Member

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    Well, I just got my Christmas present early. Its a Marlin 1895GBL 45-70. I haven't shot it yet, but have mounted a fixed 4x scope on it. I do plan to use it for white tail deer even though I know that its kind of overkill. As far as meet damage goes, I really can't imagine that it would do any more damange than I've done on front shoulders of deer with a 6mm Rem at 30 yds. I don't intend to load up to the same pressures that are recommended for the #1s.
     
  4. TXWheeledShooter

    TXWheeledShooter Active Member

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    Zerbe,

    Thats the gun I have my eye on. If you could tell me your opinion on it, once you've put it through it's paces, it would be much appreciated. I'm with you, I'm getting the Marlin 30/30 lever action and even though it'll only shoot 150 yds I'm putting a scope on it, and I feel no shame. I'd rather put a bullet exactly where I want it.
     
  5. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    A Marlin 336 in 30/30 is as powerful a gun anyone needs for most game. With the scope you can shoot at 150 yards or more. Just learn the drop. Sight it in about 2 inches high at 100 yds and she'll be about 3 inches low at 200 yds (I'm not looking at a charte, so I'm off a bit.) So if you "hold on hair" you'll get a good hit. They are also easy to carry.

    If you get the Marlin 1895 in 45/70 you will have essentially the same rifle, but she'll pack a real wallop! I probably would not scope it. Nor would I have any reservations about shooting a brown bear with one. You will be surprised when you shoot it. Nor will you want to plink with the thing. Plink with the 30/30.
     
  6. Zerbe

    Zerbe Super Member

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    Thumbuster,

    There is no suprise here. I sighted in my dad's 45-70 1895G for him with Hornady LeveRevelution ammo. I could get about a half inch center to center groups at 100 yds with a shotgun scope on it. Yes, it has considerably more recoil than a 30-30, but no more recoil than my 300 Weatherby. Will I do what most people consider "plinking"? Probably not. Will I shoot it at the range enough to be what I consider "proficient" with it? Most definitely. Is it more than what is really needed for white tail deer? :twisted: Absolutely!! If I want to use a 336 30-30, I'm sure that either of my kids would let me borrow one that I got for them for Christmas a few years ago. In fact, I may do just that to get to a point where I can pull up on a target, work the hammer and safety by reflex and put a hole in the appropriate place in my targets.

    Finally, does this gun need a scope on it? For me, yes. PA has antler restrictions that bring about the need for magnification for the final check to see if a particular deer is legal to shoot. I know that in some areas people use binoculars to look at deer from afar to determine if they are good to shoot. In the woods of western PA, you typically only get seconds to make that decision, and its through the rifle scope. If I plan to hunt in an area where I can see more than 100-150 yds, I'll switch to a different rifle. (.270Win, 30-06, or 300wby)
     
  7. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    Zerbe: I have never fired a .300 Weatherby Mag, but I did own and shot a 7mm Weatherby mag. I sold it. It kept cutting "C" shaped dents in my forehead from the scope.

    I think your 45/70 will be a fine hunting rifle and a killer. Go ahead and scope it. If I did it, I'd ease the rear eyepiece a bit forward. Those "C" shaped scars in my forehead have healed and I wouldn't want any more.

    B.S. aside, a 45/70 is a wonderful shooter and a great hunting round. It's not a flat shooter, but we shoot most game at under a hundred yards. I generally load a 405 half jacketed round that I buy bulk from Remington. I shoot mine in a Ruger No. 1 and it's great.
     
  8. Wyo. Coyote Hunter

    Wyo. Coyote Hunter Super Member

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    :D Zerbe, nice to hear you got a .45-70 for Christmas..used my Christmas money last year to buy a Marlin 1895 in 45-70..Also have a Marlin in .30-30 and another in .25-35.. They are all fun, but I have considerable use for a caliber that is much flatter shooting than either of these..someone remarked most game is shot less than 100 yards..not in this country..but back to the .45-70. I used mine on a doe whitetail this fall and an antelope buck..the doe was maybe 75 yards,but the buck was over one hundred..didn't measure it, but the 45 seems to shoot flat enough for 150 yard shooting, but more shooting will be required before I could say for sure..I scoped my rifle with a 2.5 Weaver and a post..the only scope I had lying around that was suitable..I used 350 grain Horn. on game..Any rifle that I am going to use hunting game wears a scope...I would like something like a 1.5 - 6 for this rifle, but doubt I ever buy one for this gun..too many other guns l like better to spend the money on that project.. the amount of meat ruined was no worse than a .243 and a whole lot better killer..these are fun guns...I took mine with me to Pa. this fall..Planned to try it on a doe if I got the chance..hunted bear with it one day, but other than that didn't take it out..after 40 years of western hunting, when I hunt Pa. I still gravitate to the most open country I can find..paid off this year...One thing I would suggest if you want to do some reading on the 45-70, a guy from Pa. wrote two neat books about rifles...one is 60 Years with Rifles, and the other 50 years with the 45-70(?)..his name is Paul Mathews..he used to write for Pa. Game News when it was a pretty decent read..I believe he is still alive..he lives in Northeast Pa. and I think his books can be had from Wolf Pub. if you can.t locate them and are interested maybe I can dig up some more info..In some of the material he gets into cast bullets quite heavy..I never used cast in my rifles..but it was interesting..hope you enjoy that rifle..it is a fun gun..
     
  9. Pat T

    Pat T Moderator

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    Congrats on the new rifle, Zerbe! In reference to your quote, a friend of mine has a Marlin 1895 he planned to take as a backup gun on a caribou hunt a few years ago and asked my brother to load him up some "really good loads" for the hunt. My brother complied. Four scope rings and two trashed Tascos later revealed:

    1: When loaded up these things kick like you never felt anything like it before!
    2: If you spend $500 on a rifle don't think you can get away with a $50 scope & ring setup.

    Broski ended up reducing the loads for him and cheapskate friend popped for a slightly more durable scope and mount. He actually did get a caribou, not with the .45-70 though.

    It's a great gun and caliber, you'll have much enjoyment with both.
     
  10. Zerbe

    Zerbe Super Member

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    Pat T,
    What "more durable" scope did your friend end up using on his 45-70?
    I'm thinking of a shotgun scope of some kind, but I'm open to suggestions for one that is durable, relatively low power, light weight, and as much eye relief as possible.
     
  11. Pat T

    Pat T Moderator

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  12. Zerbe

    Zerbe Super Member

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    he he.... #3.... he he....

    maybe if I didn't have two teen agers eyeing up some rather expensive colleges to start within the next year....


    I was actually eyeing up this as an inexpensive possibility:
    http://swfa.com/Nikon-2-7x32-ProStaff-Shotgun-Scope-P42190.aspx
    It supposedly has a lifetime warrenty. I should probably call them and find out if putting this on a 45-70 constitutes "abuse" as far as their warrenty is concerned.
     
  13. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    Shooting the 45/70. Generally I shoot cast bullets in antique rifles, a Sharps and a Trapdoor. However, when I get serious with one I shoot a Ruger No. 1. I NEVER shoot maximum loads in it. Even with my 38 grains of 3031 and a 405 grain bullet (going off of memory here, so I may be incorrect with that load) which is about half power in the reloading manual, the rifle rocks me back pretty good. Frankly, it kicks like hell.

    Now the Ruger is light and has a short barrel. I've shoot several 375's and they don't kick nearly as much, but they are longer and heavier.

    However, when we are hunting and shooting for real recoil is never an issue. You just don't notice it. I have a wonderful Ruger No 1 in 357 mag, the pistol round. I plink and practice with that so I don't develope a flinch. Then I shoot the 45/70 with no problem.

    I have never fired the Marlin 1895 but I'm told by those with the bruises, that if fired with hot loads it kills at both ends. Luckily the 45/70 can be loaded down and enjoyed.
     
  14. Pat T

    Pat T Moderator

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    That's true at the bench for sure, TB. Once you have Mister Big Antlers in your cross-hairs you won't know it recoiled.

    The Nikon Omega looks like a nice pick also, Zerbe. You can also get that one with a BDC reticle if you like. May as well spring for the Butler creek caps while you're at it. Anyting else I can spend your money on? :mrgreen:
     
  15. Zerbe

    Zerbe Super Member

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    All right, I made the first trip to the range today.

    I opted to see of the old tasco 4x would hold up the 300 gr Win factory load.
    So far, I couldn't be happier. I don't have any sort of bore sighting setup, so I just put a target on a big piece of cardboard at 50 yards.
    The first shot was on the cardboard, but not on the 8 1/2 x 11 paper target I printed from my computer. I guessed on the distence from the bulls eye and adjusted the scope for shot #2. That shot hit dead center and 1.5 inches high. That was close enough for me to move the target to 100yards. Shot #3 ended up about 3 1/2 inches to the right. I forgot to take my spotting scope with me so I was goiing by what I could see through the 4x scope. I clicked left 8 clicks and fired again. Shot #4 was about 3/4 inches right. Two more clicks to the left and I shot #5 an inch and a half above the bulls eye. I'm sure it will take a few more trips to the range with it to determine if the old Tasco scope is really going to hold up or not.

    First impressions from this trip are that this thing is going to be fun to shoot. With these loads, it really doesn't kick that hard from the bench. My impression of recoil was somewhere between my 30-06 with 165 gr loads and my 300wby with my 190 gr handloads.
     
  16. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    I just looked up my load for the 45/70 in a modern rifle. It was 48 grains of 3031 with the 405 grain bullet. It hit very hard and could not be fired from the bench. I fire it sitting or off hand. I like sitting best.

    Years ago I used to shoot factory Winchester loads in my trapdoor musket. In those days all 45/70's even with jacketed bullets were loaded with the trapdoor in mind, so they were very meek. No so today. I have never scoped a 45/70, but there's no reason not to, I guess.

    I'm going to load up some loads that the manual says are safe to shoot in my old trapdoor, which is in great condition and try some jacketed bullets in it...as a plinking load...ought to be deadly on beer cans. I'm death on beer cans.
     
  17. Pat T

    Pat T Moderator

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    You won't be bothered by the factory ammo, Zerbe. It's when you start cranking up the throttle at the reloading bench that things get interesting. Great report, hope you enjoy it for a long time.

    Merry Christmas to my Shootingworld buddies.

    Pat :)
     
  18. DisinterestedThirdParty

    DisinterestedThirdParty Active Member

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    I have a Ruger #1 in 45/70 as well as 375 H&H. The 375 is MagNaPorted, which certainly "tamed the beast." The 45/70 will be as soon as I can pick up enough pop bottles to afford it.

    Most loads you read about talk about using 3031. I've used 3031 with 300gr Jacketed, 300gr cast (RCBS), the aforementioned Lyman bullet as well as the 405 gr Speer. Frankly, I found accuracy unimpressive. Must be me...
    Mine certainly is...

    As for down loading, 45/70 is the most down-loadable center fire I've ever seen. My current load uses Unique, a fiber wad and 366 Lyman cast round nose. A real pleasure to shoot.
     
  19. thumbuster

    thumbuster Super Member

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    How much Unique do you pour in there? Do you push the fiber wad down over the powder? Doesn't that leave a gap between the wad and the base of the bullet? Or is it not enough of a gap to worry about?