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Marlin 45-70 - What Do I need to Know Before I Buy?

This is a discussion on Marlin 45-70 - What Do I need to Know Before I Buy? within the Lever Action forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I'm looking for some advice from you guys that own 45-70s. There's a Marlin Guide Gun sitting on my FFL's rack that I'm thinking about ...


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Old July 22nd, 2016, 04:40 AM   #1
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Marlin 45-70 - What Do I need to Know Before I Buy?

I'm looking for some advice from you guys that own 45-70s.

There's a Marlin Guide Gun sitting on my FFL's rack that I'm thinking about grabbing when I go to pick up another rifle that I just ordered.

The gun is a new production model from Marlin and if I decoded the serial number properly, it was made in 2014. The fit and finish on the outside seems to be acceptable and the action seems relatively smooth (for the price point). He's got the price set at $550.

From what I've seen online, it seems like the biggest drawback to this is the availability of ammo. I don't currently do any reloading, so I'd have to rely on factory ammo.

In the end, this gun will probably be a range toy that gets brought out a couple of times a year. I figure that everyone should have at least one lever gun in their collection and, if I'm going to do it, I thought it should be something a little "unique"

So, what do you guys think? Should I grab it?

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 04:48 AM   #2
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I bought the 1895 longer barreled version years ago. Made 400 grain bullets from salvaged wheel weights. Dependable, accurate and every deer I shot with it never took a single step.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 04:58 AM   #3
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I bought the 1895 longer barreled version years ago. Made 400 grain bullets from salvaged wheel weights. Dependable, accurate and every deer I shot with it never took a single step.
Would you say that 45-70 is an "easy" cartridge to hand-load? I don't reload now but I've been doing some Googling this morning on this reloading 45-70 and it seems like something that I could handle on a single-stage press given the small volume of rounds that I would be going through.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:11 AM   #4
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I also bought the 1895 "standard" version with the longer 22" barrel, walnut stock, and blue finish. I mounted a Leupold 1x4/20 on it and it is very accurate, especially with my handloads. I prefer the 300 to 350 gr bullets, and the 300 gr Nosler partition-now discontinued-is a hammer on both deer and hogs. I have a few left, although Winchester catalogues a Partition Gold in 300 gr in their lineup I have not tried them.

Velocity is 1980 fps with my load, and you can get similar factory ammunition from Buffalo Bore, Hornady, the aforementioned Winchester, and Remington. Even with the plain vanilla 405 gr at 1300 fps, you will be more than adequately armed for anything up to moose within 100 yards.

500 gr bullets are somewhat more problematic as most are usually too long to function through the Marlin action, but that shouldn't pose any problems as the 400-450 gr selections will get the job done very well.

IMO, if you're looking for a powerful levergun with the ability to take most anything on the continent, you can't go wrong with the Marlin in .45-70.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Medved11 View Post
Would you say that 45-70 is an "easy" cartridge to hand-load? I don't reload now but I've been doing some Googling this morning on this reloading 45-70 and it seems like something that I could handle on a single-stage press given the small volume of rounds that I would be going through.
Yes, just like an oversized pistol cartridge. The beauty of loading your own is the range of loads that you can produce, anything from plinkers with .458 round balls, to absolute hammers using Garrett style 420 gr flat nose cast bullets.

Read this article:

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/pa..._leverguns.htm

Paco probably knows more about leverguns than anyone else I can think of, except maybe Mike Venturino, and has used them for hunting for a very long time.

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Last edited by Mike7.62; July 22nd, 2016 at 05:17 AM. Reason: add'l info
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:25 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mike7.62 View Post
I also bought the 1895 "standard" version with the longer 22" barrel, walnut stock, and blue finish. I mounted a Leupold 1x4/20 on it and it is very accurate, especially with my handloads. I prefer the 300 to 350 gr bullets, and the 300 gr Nosler partition-now discontinued-is a hammer on both deer and hogs. I have a few left, although Winchester catalogues a Partition Gold in 300 gr in their lineup I have not tried them.



Velocity is 1980 fps with my load, and you can get similar factory ammunition from Buffalo Bore, Hornady, the aforementioned Winchester, and Remington. Even with the plain vanilla 405 gr at 1300 fps, you will be more than adequately armed for anything up to moose within 100 yards.



500 gr bullets are somewhat more problematic as most are usually too long to function through the Marlin action, but that shouldn't pose any problems as the 400-450 gr selections will get the job done very well.



IMO, if you're looking for a powerful levergun with the ability to take most anything on the continent, you can't go wrong with the Marlin in .45-70.


Is yours a newer production Marlin (post Remington takeover)?

I'm just wondering since I've seen a lot of YouTube and forum posts where guys are complaining about QC issues with those guns and that you should by a JM stamped rifle or else the world will end.

The rifle that I looked at last night seems fine in terms of fit and finish, so maybe they've gotten past those issues. The action seemed acceptably smooth, so I'd be willing to bet that this gun would function fine


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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mike7.62 View Post
Yes, just like an oversized pistol cartridge. The beauty of loading your own is the range of loads that you can produce, anything from plinkers with .458 round balls, to absolute hammers using Garrett style 420 gr flat nose cast bullets.

Read this article:

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/pa..._leverguns.htm

Paco probably knows more about leverguns than anyone else I can think of, except maybe Mike Venturino, and has used them for hunting for a very long time.


This is starting to sway me towards picking one up


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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:36 AM   #8
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Been using 45-70 caliber for number of years and it is a very versatile hunting round for anything found in North America. Yes, it is easy to load for and unlimited data available for the round has been used for over a century and you can easily say it is a mature cartridge. As for commercial ammo such as Remington, Winchester, etc., etc., such rounds are still loaded on the light side for there are still Springfield Mod. 1873's (Trapdoor Springfields) in use and they won't take the more powerful loads you can purchase. Reloading manuals have separate pages of data per the 45-70 firearm you are using. The Marlins generally are listed as those that can take the stout loads, same holds true for the Win. 1886, and the very stoutest for the Ruger No. 1's. Word of caution here for with the stout loads there is a price to pay in terms of recoil, it is also definitely stout.
For a lever gun the Marlin is a very robust and simple design and removal of the lever/bolt is very easy giving you the ability to clean from the breech end. I never found commercial ammo in short supply, but I do reload on a single stage press and since the components are sizeable versus say the 223/308, the big rounds won't slip out of your hands easily. Hornady is now offering their "flex tip" bullets, spire point if you will, for use in tubular magazines and they do give better accuracy than the blunt nose bullets, but both are more than adequate for hunting purposes. Bullet weights range from say 300-500gr in both jacketed and lead versions. The Remington 405's jacketed bullets are what I use for practice/plinking and work well on thin skinned deer and result is "dead right there..." There are some "tricks" or mods you can do to the Marlin but I have heard recently the newer ones are somewhat lacking in fit and finish, but seems like that has occurred under their new ownership?? Doubt that in your location you will come up on any large bears, but there are suppliers of ammunition for the caliber/gun that will take the largest of bears but the recoil will hurt you as much as it hurts the bear. Good luck with it if you purchase, great hunting rifle and caliber.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 06:19 AM   #9
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Been using 45-70 caliber for number of years and it is a very versatile hunting round for anything found in North America. Yes, it is easy to load for and unlimited data available for the round has been used for over a century and you can easily say it is a mature cartridge. As for commercial ammo such as Remington, Winchester, etc., etc., such rounds are still loaded on the light side for there are still Springfield Mod. 1873's (Trapdoor Springfields) in use and they won't take the more powerful loads you can purchase. Reloading manuals have separate pages of data per the 45-70 firearm you are using. The Marlins generally are listed as those that can take the stout loads, same holds true for the Win. 1886, and the very stoutest for the Ruger No. 1's. Word of caution here for with the stout loads there is a price to pay in terms of recoil, it is also definitely stout.

For a lever gun the Marlin is a very robust and simple design and removal of the lever/bolt is very easy giving you the ability to clean from the breech end. I never found commercial ammo in short supply, but I do reload on a single stage press and since the components are sizeable versus say the 223/308, the big rounds won't slip out of your hands easily. Hornady is now offering their "flex tip" bullets, spire point if you will, for use in tubular magazines and they do give better accuracy than the blunt nose bullets, but both are more than adequate for hunting purposes. Bullet weights range from say 300-500gr in both jacketed and lead versions. The Remington 405's jacketed bullets are what I use for practice/plinking and work well on thin skinned deer and result is "dead right there..." There are some "tricks" or mods you can do to the Marlin but I have heard recently the newer ones are somewhat lacking in fit and finish, but seems like that has occurred under their new ownership?? Doubt that in your location you will come up on any large bears, but there are suppliers of ammunition for the caliber/gun that will take the largest of bears but the recoil will hurt you as much as it hurts the bear. Good luck with it if you purchase, great hunting rifle and caliber.

Thanks - I appreciate the advice

With regard to the gun that I'm looking at on the shelf, I'd classify the fit/finish as "utilitarian" but acceptable to me for the price point. It's laminated wood that is fitted neatly with the steel (not craftsman level by any means); however, in my opinion, this I a plus since I won't have to worry about dinging it up accidentally.

I'm also starting to like the idea that It seems like this may be a good cartridge for me to try hand loading for. I'm not a hunter, so I'd probably want to keep the rounds on the milder side for range use.


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Old July 22nd, 2016, 06:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medved11 View Post
Would you say that 45-70 is an "easy" cartridge to hand-load? I don't reload now but I've been doing some Googling this morning on this reloading 45-70 and it seems like something that I could handle on a single-stage press given the small volume of rounds that I would be going through.
When I was hand loading for my 45.70's I would sit at the rifle range with a Lee hand-loader set and test out different powder loads vs. bullets weights to find the right combination that worked the best with each rifle I used. Then at home I could start the mass loading with my Dillon station. So yes.


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Old July 22nd, 2016, 06:29 AM   #11
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When I was hand loading for my 45.70's I would sit at the rifle range with a Lee hand-loader set and test out different powder loads vs. bullets weights to find the right combination that worked the best with each rifle I used. Then at home I could start the mass loading with my Dillon station. So yes.



I'd love to be able to do something like that someday since it sounds kind of relaxing. Unfortunately, my home range (Fort Dix) charges by the hour so it's all about watching the clock when I'm there to make sure that I maximize my time


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Old July 22nd, 2016, 06:48 AM   #12
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just my thoughts. I would try to find an older JM marked one. much better fit & finish. that being said ,they are great rifles. 45-70, getting it done since 1873.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 07:07 AM   #13
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I've got a new Marlin 1895 and the fit and finish was excellent. I added a Skinner sight for mine because i don't shoot well with open buckhorns. Awesome gun, use it for hogs and deer. It's a hoss at 100 yards.. Never had the opportunity to shoot any longer. But it packs a whollop.

Loading for the 45-70 is pretty easy. Just make sure you have a good crimp because your using your loads in a tube mag. You do not want any kind of bullet setback.

I added a Pachmayer shotgun shock pad for mine. It lessens the recoil quite a bit. My wife likes to shoot it.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 07:39 AM   #14
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45/70 government gets the easy reloading rep not because it's any easier to reload than anything else with a straight wall case, but because it can be reloaded to each end of the power spectrum. It's a great great caliber to reload. You can make some soft shooting plinking ammo, all the way up to moose stoppers.
My Marlin 1895 is close to 50 years old, so I can't comment on the new ones.
I wish it would not cost more than its worth to ship, but I've got a Hornady single stage press I'll probably never need again. I load 4570 on it just because I load that in small quantities, but I could do it on the Dillon.

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Old July 22nd, 2016, 08:17 AM   #15
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Thanks for all of the advice - I think that I've convinced myself to get this rifle.

I'll probably start off shooting factory ammo in order to accumulate some brass and get myself familiar with the gun. After that, I'm going to start looking into picking up a press and start reloading.


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