Shooters Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All

I've got this idea in my head (being a 45 Cot fan) that getting a Henry Big Boy in 45 Colt and loading ruger only loads would make a good deer rifle for open sight ranges and since I usually have plenty of 45 Colt around anyway I'd have plenty of practice and plinking ammo.

There's a couple good threads I've read on this already mainly about load creation and it sounds intriguing. I wonder about real world on game performance.

If you've gone down this road, what are your opinions and would you do it again? Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,735 Posts
Well, I can tell you this. I've shot well over fifty deer with the .357mag in various handguns and haven't lost one yet. Your 45 should easily exceed the performance of a .357mag in a handgun since you're loading for a rifle. Your bullet will be bigger, heavier, and have more penetration. It's all about bullet placement anyway, not energy. Just find a reasonably accurate load, pick a good bullet, cast or jacketed...your choice, and keep the range reasonable in regards to your ability to put the bullet on the mark. Deer just aren't that difficult to kill when the bullet hits the vitals. Good luck, sounds like fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,269 Posts
I have gone down this road, with both the 44 Remington and the 44/40, the former in a TC Contender carbine and the latter in a Model '92 Winchester.

What I have learned is that deer with large-diameter holes in them tend to not go very far. The rifle doesn't need MOA accuracy, due to the limited distances at which they are suitable, but you do want to research and load rounds that are sufficiently powerful for the task.

I will tell you that plinking loads and lever-action rifles are some of the best fun you can have in the shooting world. They are a great way of practicing your off-hand shooting technique, since they provide more recoil than a 22, but not enough that you're likely to ever worry about it. It can be especially cost-effective to shoot quite a lot, if you go with cast lead bullets and modest powder charges.

In short: Buying a Henry in 45 Colt to go deer hunting with is a fantastic idea! Great rifle, great cartridge, great game animal...what's not to love? ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
My M1894 Trapper worked well on deer. I used the LEE 255RF cast bullet and the Hornady 250XTP at a chrongraphed ~1600 fps. Both bullets behaved as you’d expect, complete penetration with good wound channels. It is a fun little rifle to carry around.

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
I'm thinking it would be a great choice for the reasons others have noted. Plus with many cast bullet options you have a wide variety of loads and bullet weights to play with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
I too love levers. When I was living in Montana ( for 40 years, moved down to the desert 10 days ago !) in the mountains and wilderness areas there were Elk, Moose, Bears and Bison, so I packed a .45/70.
But growing up in the Texas hill country, and in the valleys in Montana where there were Whitetails, a lever that fires a revolver round works just fine. I haven't used a .357, but it is on my list of things to get.
I've used .44 /40, .44 Mag. and .45 Colt.

My first time hunting small Texas deer with the Marlin .44 magnum got me two deer with one shot.
I was using the Norma soft point with Cupro Nickel jacket. Those things didn't expand much and acted like an FMJ.
Passed through the first deer and knocked down a second deer standing behind, that bullet went all the way through and stopped under the hide on the far side.

I shot a huge Montana Whitetail out my kitchen window with the closest carbine I had on hand, a Cimarron 1873 in .44 WCF. I had 200 grain hard cast 'Cowboy" loads in it, going around 1100 out of the long gun.
The buck went to his kness with the first shot, before he could get up, I put a second one in him and he was done for.
Dressing the animal out, I was dismayed to see how little penetration there was, maybe 8 inches.
Those bullets are barely as long as they are wide, kind of like a round ball with edges.

Now in a stronger .44/40 rifle like the Marlin Century Limited I had, I could drive those same bullets to 1700 fps, and penetration would have been better. But using a 225 or heavier bullet would have been better yet.
The 405 and 500 grain bullets in the .45/70 go clean through a Bison, even at slow speeds, because they are 2 to 3 times as long as they are wide.
The same way a Maxi type conical bullet in a muzzle loader penetrates way better than a round ball.

When the .444 marlin came out, it was loaded with the same 240 grain bullets that were used in the .44 magnum.
Designed to expand at 1200-1600 in a .44, they were overexpanders in the .444 at 2200 plus in the .444.
Handloading a heavier bullet like the stout jacketed Hornady 265 grain or a 285 to 300 grainer made the .444 a much better large game round.

As long as the bullet you choose for the .45 Colt has good penetration, it will do the job. It doesn't need to expand much, it's already .45 diameter. Just place it in a good spot.
It doesn't even need to be loaded to Ruger only velocities, a heavier than normal (over 250 grains) bullet at 1200 or 1300 will do fine.
These 335 grain Cast Performance Wide Flat Nose Gas Check bullets I use in the Bisley Blackhawk when I'm in big game country come out of the 5 inch barrel at 1200 fps., and penetrate like all get out:

Out of a long gun, they'd be getting more like 1400-1500 fps. A "Ruger only" load out of a light, hard butt plate lever gun is starting to have some stout recoil, but for hunting where you'll only fire a shot or two you won't notice it.

One caution is not to slip one of those stout loads into a weaker handgun like a Uberti or Colt sixgun, or a weaker lever like an 1866 or 1873 clone.
You can use brass for your mild loads, and nickel for your Ruger only ones like I do.
Another plus of using "heavy for caliber" bullets like those 335 grain ones, is that they are too long for the Uberti or Colt cylinder. You can slip one into the cylinder, but they stick out the front and you can't turn the cylinder and fire one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
567 Posts
I've got a couple of Uberti leverguns in 45 Colt (as well as a couple of Rossis in .357 Mag) too. Both Ubertis, a 19" '66 Carbine and a 24" '73 Rifle have the toggle link action so I keep the loads to standard levels, i.e., down at a peak of 14,000psi.

Even at that, my 255grn loads produce 1,163fps in the Carbine and 1,209fps in the Rifle which is plenty of velocity to hunt them out to about 100 yds. So, if you load them hotter, even if you stay in the 250grn range, you'll have plenty of velocity and ME to get the job done.

As others have said, a levergun in a pistol caliber, loaded to a level that's comfortable, is a terrific plinker and just tons of fun to shoot. And, loaded up hotter it can hold it's own as a hunter within reason.

Also, your sidearm SA in 45 Colt can be loaded with a couple rds of bird-shot as a precaution against rattlers and such.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sandog

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Thank you all for the information. I have been struggling with buying a .45 LC rifle to hunt with and you guys have given me the confidence to go ahead with it. My Ruger Vaquero led me to love the .45 LC and matching it in a long gun will simplify my life. Now to pick a rifle! Bouncing around between a single shot or lever gun. Hunting in Alabama limits my range usually to fifty yards or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Thank you all for the information. I have been struggling with buying a .45 LC rifle to hunt with and you guys have given me the confidence to go ahead with it. My Ruger Vaquero led me to love the .45 LC and matching it in a long gun will simplify my life. Now to pick a rifle! Bouncing around between a single shot or lever gun. Hunting in Alabama limits my range usually to fifty yards or so.

The lever guns are just a whole lot of fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
I have the Marlin 1894 in 44 mag; great rifle good whitetail rifle. I've killed them out to 90 yards as that is about as far as I can see in thick woods.

The thompson center Contender is another good choice, light weight. Encore is too heavy.

Henry would be another rifle on my short list.

I have a 1-4x Leupold in Weaver flip mounts on my marlin.

Just my thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,779 Posts
Thank you all for the information. I have been struggling with buying a .45 LC rifle to hunt with and you guys have given me the confidence to go ahead with it. My Ruger Vaquero led me to love the .45 LC and matching it in a long gun will simplify my life. Now to pick a rifle! Bouncing around between a single shot or lever gun. Hunting in Alabama limits my range usually to fifty yards or so.
I have owned a Marlin 94 in .44 and it was a very nice rifle, but settled on a Marlin in .444P instead. I recently traded into a Henry BB/.45 all weather and really like it. I had it set to use in Kentucky for whitetail this past season, but ended up taking my buck with a Henry BB in 45-70 (middle in pic). I was going to use a 260gr FNGC bullet in my .45 as my chosen whitetail load and I'm sure it would have done just as well as the 45-70 at the 50 yards away the buck was. I put a Weaver 1-3 on top of the .45 and it suits that rifle just fine.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: broom_jm

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,779 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
Guess we should have said to the OP that a good cast bullet at moderate velocity will smash whitetails down quick. no need for jacketed or premium bullets. 240 grain in my 44 does it easily. and as bullet placement is key, a slightly lighted load/bullet lets many guys (me) shoot better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
My nephew used my Rossi 92 in 45 Colt to take a BIG cow elk a few years ago. 255 grain Keith style, cast bullet with a stout load of W296 powder went completely through the elk and dropped her on the spot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Most anything that walks the woods in North America can be safely taken with the 45 Colt. I don't believe I would tackle some of the bigger bears with one, maybe some of the smaller Black Bears would be ok. There are a lot of Doe's around here and it seems like the perfect time to break my Uberti 1860 (Iron Frame repro) out and see about taking one with it.


Very nice Deer TnHunter.

Steve..........
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top