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Has anyone used the Marlin 1895 Cowboy (in 45-70 with a 26" octagon barrel)? I'd like to know if anyone has any impressions of it's accuracy, balance, handling qualities, fit/finish, etc.
 

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Stranger, the year before the M1895 Cowboy appeared I purchased a M1895 LTD-IV, the exact same rifle in all respects except for having a 24" barrel.  I think the balance is just right, and the accuracy is excellent for a levergun.  I shot mine this afternoon using a 405 grain lead fp bullet and 28.0 grains of XMP-5744.  I was shooting offhand from the standing position at plastic pop bottles and cans at 50 yards and hit everyone of them.  I have examined the Cowboy version at gunshows and gunshops and can tell no difference in the handling characteristics of the rifle, even with the extra 2" of length.  One thing I like about the older guns, they are drilled for receiver mounted peep sites, the newest ones are not.  I have a Williams 5D on my M1895 and it improved my accuracy with the rifle greatly.  Odessa
 

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Stranger, Just received my Marlin 1895CB, mounted a Williams WGRS-336,peep sight. ( mounts on top of receiver at rear secures with two screws) just remove rear scope mount plug screws.Very easy installation,looks clean,works well with existing factory front sight. Using Remington 405's with peep sight elevation set in center index mark it was right on at 100 yds. Liked the set-up so much ordered same for my 336 in 38/55. Try it you'll like it and it was inexpensive. $32.80 plus $4.oo S/H.
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Like odessa I shooy 405gr. lead flat points, At the range good rest,I can shoot less than minute of angle. Its as good as any rifle I.ve ever owned. Though with hot loads it does kick, i think due to its straight stock it comes straight back, so straight back that you cansee impacts throught the scope. Every other gun i own stays in the safe, its all i pack
John
 

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I recently purchased my second Marlin 1895 Cowboy. Then length makes it a little unwieldy, but the octagon barrel is tapered and the balance is excellent, and no front heavy at all like I expected.

I shoot only moderate cast bullet loads in this one, with iron sights. I am as accurate with it as with any iron sighted gun.
 

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I'd like to hear more about the lever .45-70s myself. Have been interested for some time (not that I need one where I am living, .30-30 or BLR does it.. not to mention the 7.92 Mauser. But in fact I have never even seen one of these levers. Back in 1972 I did get to take a shot or two with a fellow deer-hunter's .444 marlin. Im guessing from the short barrels that most of them are used in heavy
woods/brush at shorter ranges and the heavy bullet is for brush-bucking.. At any rate it would be useful and fun too.. to hear from others on these heavy hitters.
 

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Over the last several years I've had a resurgent interest in hunting with lever rifles and also big bore lever rifles. I have lever guns in .356, .358 (actually medium bores), .375 Win, .444, 45-70 and 450 Marlin. I also have a couple in .308, one a ME and the other a .308 Win and also have one in .325 WSM. The medium and big bore levers are not really as punishing as some think, when using moderate loads. If you were to compare a typical 180gr 30/06 load with a 405gr 45-70 load (factory 1330 FPS) you would find that in like weight rifles, the 30/06 has slightly more recoil than the 405gr 45-70.

The 300gr 45-70 load at 1880 FPS is slightly heavier recoiling than the '06/180 and 405gr. These loads will kill game at ranges that might be difficult to take advantage of, due to their rainbow trajectories. They will both work well to about 125 yd MPBR. A step up in power, recoil and trajectory is found with the LeverEvolution ammo, giving the hunter a MPBR of about 185 yds or so. There are heavier still loads in 300, 350 & 400gr bullets that will cleanly take anything in N.A., but these are pretty heavy recoilers.

The .444 will recoil slightly more than the lower factory loaded 45-70s due to much higher velocities in it's 240 & 265gr loads. The added velocities do tend to make it a better choice trajectory-wise though with a full 200 yd MPBR found with these loads. The .450 shows heavy recoil with either of it's Hornady factory loadings, being almost exactly the same as a similar weight .338 WM shooting 200-225gr loads. I find the .375 Win and .358 pretty easy on the shoulder, but any Marlin or Winchester lever gun in .375 (or .356) or BLR in .358 will run a good bit more $$ typically than a typical .444 or 45-70. If you were to find one, the .375 is a very fine woods rifle, however. And the BLR in .358 is a great rifle with a lot of versatility, making it way more than a short-medium range woods rifle.

My favorites at the moment are my two Guide Gun sized Marlins (18.5" barrels), one in 45-70 and one in .450. They are very handy to carry and hunt with. I actually sold my 22" 1895 to replace it with a Guide Gun. They did also make the .444 with a shorter barrel for a time (.444P), but they are all also ported and not all hunters are fond of ported barrels.
 
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