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  #1  
Old 06-30-2011, 11:43 AM
rmr rmr is offline
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marlin 45-70 or 44 mag lever rifle


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I know this thread has been around before but I still have some questions. We have a family place in MT ( in the mountains and somewhat remote) that we are there off and on during the year. We have seen the occasional black bear on/near our place. I have never seen a mountain lion- but neighbors have repoted seeing them.

I have been contimplating getting a multiple round rifle for the "just in case" bad encounter of a aggressive black bear or lion, or even a human that wants to mess with my family.

I had the oportunity to shoot a guys 44 mag winchester trapper gun( 1894 or something) and thought that would be a great type of rifle to have for what I want. However a buddy of mine that lives there told me I should consider a 45-70 instead as it would have much more "knock down " power. I have been looking at a Marlin 44 mag and a Marlin 45-70( standard and guide gun).


Im not planning on going Moose hunting in maine or brown bear hunting in Alaska. But want something for protection if needed around at our place. I like the idea of the 44 mag holding 10 rounds vs the 45-70 holding 4 rounds. I do like the idea of the 45-70 having more take down abilities than the 44 mag -but do I really need that for what Im wanting to accomplish.

FYI I also do have a 44 mag pistol that I usually carry when I go way back into the woods with me. Looking for some advice or others insight. Would you go with the 44 mag or the 45-70
Thanks
RMR

Last edited by m141a; 10-24-2011 at 02:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2011, 12:52 PM
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I did a bit of research a while back when I was looking into a similar thing. Now in Tennessee we don't have to worry about bears everywhere, nor mountain lions anywhere, but we have had as many deaths by bear attacks as any other state in the lower 48 in the last 10 years or so. (2 deaths in Tn and 2 deaths in Montana)

Anyway, I chose the Marlin 1894/.44 mag and liked it immediately once it arrived. It was plenty accurate for my uses and I did decide to put a low power compact scope on it to help my aging eyes. A nice compact and powerful tool with the 270gr SP load I decided on.

I was so impressed, I took my new toy along on a Georgia hog hunt in '09. As luck would have it, I did get a chance at a really large boar and ended up winning, but only after 5 good hits. After we caped him and I saw the obvious penetration failings of two excellent shots and also having to finally add the coup de gras at about 10' while he again attempted to get even, I decided to go another route. I sold the .44 carbine and bought a .375 marlin.

It's my opinion that for the purposes you mentioned, you'd be better off with a .35 Rem 336 (only very slightly heavier than the 1894) an older .375 or the GG. I simply think a .35 Rem loaded properly would give you a middle ground; a good bit more power than the .44 but less than the 45-70. Of the two you've mentioned, I'd go GG and my personal choice would also be (is now) the GG. You can load it with 5 rounds and carry three in a handy stock shell holder if five ain't enough.
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2011, 01:53 PM
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A possible compromise without compromise

How about the new 1895GBL with the full length tubular magazine? .45-70 but with 6 shot magazine capacity and still has the handy 18.5" barrel. That's 7 rounds with one in the chamber.
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Last edited by unclenick; 06-30-2011 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:07 PM
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How bout a Rossi/Puma .454 Casul? You could shoot .45 Colt fodder out of it for 75% of your work and step up to the hot .454 when you are in Bear country. It would get you very near .45-70 power in a ligher option than held more rounds. Just a thought.
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:11 AM
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I never handled a Puma / Rossi . They are reportly light levers so I would suspect the recoil to be great if your dressed in a T shirt .
For some the recoil of the 45/70 is enough !!! .
So from experiance if the gun is going to take a bite out of your shoulder you too are not going to shoot it much ,and most probably learn to finch when you do fire the thing . With that in mind your not going to hit a barn door !!
So why bother buying the thing ?Many black bears in the deer camp have been brought down with @ 40-70 yards with a 30/30 as well as the 35 Remington . Now with the Hornady Lever loads they now too have some extra power to get the job done .

The 338 ME in a Marlin has the power of the 3006 and the recoil- again- does not beat you up , so why does every one think they need something that starts with a four and ends with a Magnum ? How many Grizz are you going to see -and how many Hippo's lurk in the swamp?

One is better off with a gun he "can shoot" than to be over gunned with something that is too much to handle .

Look at Marlins MX series and if needed install a reciol pad on it . I am sure you enjoy shooting the rifle . Besides having some fun at the local gravel pit, I am sure you and also the better half will learn to shoot it well over time, and when and if needed bring down Yogi or Boo- Boo.

The last big huge bear I saw was a few years ago as I jumped a ditch going into the woods I thought I saw a big black dog out of the corner of my eye . How ever it was one of the largest bears I have ever seen, and we were five feet apart now.
Having taken a trappers course , we were taught how to talk down a skunk so with nothing to loose but my life , I sat down and talked to that bear in "a Mono tone."
After a few minutes that bear got tired of the boring story I was telling, and got up and left . I too got up as soon as I found my legs and went home for a pant change .

So that day I did not need a gun at all , Just needed to stay calm and hold my ground . Most bears will avoid you if they hear or pick up your sent . If there is a close encounter I am sure it was not planned , so that bear is probably as startled as you are . Now @ 62 years and about forty of those in bear country where there has been about 8 bears seen that for me were too close . All the bears lived to see another day ,as well as myself . Just saying you don't always need to shoot . Maybe you can talk your way out .

Last edited by Harry Snippe; 07-01-2011 at 03:14 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-01-2011, 10:54 AM
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Bird Dog II,

I thought of the Puma, too, but I'd read somewhere the .454 Casull had disappeared from their web site. I just checked, and they have one again, but labeled "NEW". Not sure how old that "NEW" notice is? I understand they had some durability problems in that chambering, so perhaps they've corrected that.
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2011, 12:24 PM
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I lived in Alaska a long time and finally gravitated to the stainless guide gun. I never had to stop anything with it, but I am confident it will shooting heavy hard cast bullets that I buy from Marshall.

I carry a 44mag cross draw in case a bear disarms me. It happens. That gun has heavy hard cast bullets that I buy from Marshall. there's a trend here.

I deer hunted with a .44 mag hand gun and lever gun for years. The marlin has a 1:38 twist barrel that would not stabilize the weight of bullets I shoot in my handgun. And throw weight is the thing that does the chores in a STOPPING situation. A 405g hard cast from my redhawk will out-penetrate any bullet that the 1894 can stabilize. It's really a no-brainer, in the ubl context.

I know this is controversial, and no, I have never needed to STOP a predator, but I have complete confidence in my choices, having compared their terminal ballistics to my other options.

I like Nick's recommendation. Spendy, but cheap insurance. I've thougt about extending my guide gun's magazine, but it shoots so completely well that I'm chicken to change anything. superstitious I guess.

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  #8  
Old 07-01-2011, 01:06 PM
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The 454 Rossis were loosening up the mag tube from recoil. They've supposedly got that fixed. But I'd keep in mind what was said above about flinching. The one I shot was brutal.
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  #9  
Old 07-02-2011, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmr View Post
FYI I also do have a 44 mag pistol that I usually carry when I go way back into the woods with me. Looking for some advice or others insight. Would you go with the 44 mag or the 45-70
Thanks
RMR
The newer .44M rifles have a faster twist than the early Marlin lever guns, and will keep a 300gr point on as far as you would likely shoot one.

I went for a Ruger 77/44 Stainless, as it weighs in @ 5lbs, loaded, and I'm more of a bolt fan, than a lever fan. It's very handy, and the stainless feature gives some added corrosion resistance.

The Rossi Trapper versions are the same weight and even shorter. Recoil from the meanest .44M rifle is nothing like the recoil from a .45-70 in a rifle you don't mind hauling all the time, and it's still fairly lethal even against larger critters with the right bullet/load.

Myself, if I thought a brown or grizzly bear was on the list, I'd be sleeping and taking care of personal needs with a .45-70, or .444 in my hand. Take those off the list, and I'd feel safe with my .44Mag.
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:11 PM
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Get a 44 mag levergun to go with your pistol. A stout 300gr .429 bullet will penetrate and exit any of the critters you mentioned. I've used the 45colt in a levergun loaded stoutly(its about the same as a 44 out of a rifle) for more than 5 years now and the large bore pistol calibers out of a rifle is more powerful than a person thinks. I've done some penetration tests with my 300 win mag(180gr corelokts) vs my 45colt levergun(300gr xtp mags) and the ole colt will out penetrate it. The only time I've put it to the test on live game was on a crippled deer my nephew gut shot. The 300gr xtp mag hit it in a hip and exited out a front shoulder. A stout 300gr 44mag load in a rifle will give the same qualities as my 45colt lever, a great light weight gun thats hits harder and kills better than it ought too.
Dave
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  #11  
Old 07-02-2011, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMan View Post
The newer .44M rifles have a faster twist than the early Marlin lever guns, and will keep a 300gr point on as far as you would likely shoot one.
Myself, if I thought a brown or grizzly bear was on the list, I'd be sleeping and taking care of personal needs with a .45-70, or .444 in my hand. Take those off the list, and I'd feel safe with my .44Mag.
I do not know too much about the USA but do you have big browns or Grizzy bears in MT ?

It seems when ever the word Bear appears we think of the big boys of the north west .
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:15 AM
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Montana (MT) is northwest (among the lower 48 states). Shares the western part of its northern border with Alberta and the eastern part with Saskatchewan. They do have Ursus Arctos (Grizzly Bear).
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  #13  
Old 07-03-2011, 06:48 AM
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And, for the record, the last two deaths by bear attacks I know of (both in 2010, BTW) were caused by grizzly bears in Montana.
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  #14  
Old 07-03-2011, 07:29 AM
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A .44 Mag is all you'll need and more for the uses you mention. At close range with the right bullet, a .44 will do anything a .45-70 can do. Add to that, a short,light carbine will tend to be with you when/if you need it.

Nothing wrong with a .45-70 at all; but you'll get a heavier rifle, more recoil, fewer shots on hand, greater expense in shooting.
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Harry Snippe View Post
I do not know too much about the USA but do you have big browns or Grizzy bears in MT ?
They sure do, and the ones with bright colored ear tags are quite likely problem grizzlies from Yellowstone, and should be avoided at all costs. A guy I swap info with on Archery talk, has a few pictures of grizzlies taken from his bow stand near Denver, WY. That's 2/3 of the way to Colorado. The guide for the ranch I hunt elk on in Western CO insists that he has seen grizzlies in the Paionia area on occassion.

Grizzlies are doing well in the lower 48.
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Old 07-05-2011, 07:42 AM
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Since we are talking about the power generated from either a .44mag in a carbine or a 45-70 in a shorter carbine, I thought I'd add a "visual aid". Below find a picture of a 270gr .44 mag load @ 1700 FPS flanked by two 45-70 loads. Left of the .44 is a 400gr JSP load @ 1900 FPS and right of it is a 325gr load @ 2050 FPS. I'm pretty sure which I think might be the more powerful choice
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marlin 45-70 or 44 mag lever rifle-.44-vs-45-70.jpg  
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Last edited by Tnhunter; 07-05-2011 at 07:46 AM.
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  #17  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:10 PM
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1. My guide gun is not a LOT heavier than a 44 mag rifle
2. A 44 mag absolutely will NOT do everything a 45/70 will do
3. many 44 mags have the crippling defect of a 1:38 twist rate
4. a 45/70 will shoot collar-button bullets as light as 150g
5. a 45/70 will shoot 700g cast bullets
b. I could draw some conclusions, but I'll refrain
6. when it comes to STOPPING POWER, THROW WEIGHT carries the day
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2011, 05:51 AM
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No gun is any gun if you arent proficient with it. The 4 round capacity of the 45-70 is more than enough when the greater wacking power is taken into account...as long as you put them where you need them.
I would try to shoot both calibers if you can. Without a doubt, the .44 will be easier to shoot, and with appropriate premium bullets (heavier, more expensive) hits authoritatively...but certainly not with the same energy as the 45-70 also with premium rounds. Remember, you are trying to sovle the crises with the first round...not the last, which in the matter of seconds of a bear attack probably would never get fed into the chamber. A perfectly practical and accepted bear deterrent (even in Alaska) is a trusty 12 gauge pump slug gun. Compact, devastating energy at threat ranges, certainly all the accuracy needed in that sort of situation.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Daveboone View Post
No gun is any gun if you arent proficient with it. The 4 round capacity of the 45-70 is more than enough when the greater wacking power is taken into account...as long as you put them where you need them.
I would try to shoot both calibers if you can. Without a doubt, the .44 will be easier to shoot, and with appropriate premium bullets (heavier, more expensive) hits authoritatively...but certainly not with the same energy as the 45-70 also with premium rounds. Remember, you are trying to sovle the crises with the first round...not the last, which in the matter of seconds of a bear attack probably would never get fed into the chamber. A perfectly practical and accepted bear deterrent (even in Alaska) is a trusty 12 gauge pump slug gun. Compact, devastating energy at threat ranges, certainly all the accuracy needed in that sort of situation.
I must agree here . you need to be proficient with the gun you choose , other wise the 505 Gibbs in not enough gun .
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:52 PM
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Well....If a 44 magnum handgun is considered sufficient for bear, I sure don't see why a 44 magnum rifle wouldn't be....
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