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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this in reply to the take down Marlin question, but have seen a lot of posts concerning Marlins, max loading 45/70's and 50 Alaskan.  Wild West Guns in Anchorage specializes in doing custom work on Marlin Lever Actions.  I guess their claim to fame is the Alaskan Co-Pilot take down.  They have also developed their own chambering the 457 Wild West Magnum.  Kind of a suped up 45/70.  They also rework the Marlin to the 50 Alaskan.  Jeff Cooper is big fan of theirs.  Here's a quote from their web site at www.wildwestguns.com:
"A fast handling take down lever action rifle with an overall length of as little as 35 inches, that weighs as little as 6 1/2 lbs. and has MOA accuracy.
 Now imagine the same rifle firing a 350 grain 45 caliber bullet at 2200 fps with the ability to use standard 45-70 loads...."

I guess if you have a 457 you can still shoot the 45/70 loads.  Looks like they claim about 200 fps increase in velocity for a 350 gr. bullet.  I have never used one, so I don't know too much about it.  I do know that they do top notch work.

Their website has loads of info including case preparation, loading specs, images, case comparisons, etc....

I still haven't figured out how to post images, if someone wants to edit this and post images from Wild West, please do.

They also have scout scope mounting systems, sights, glove loop levers, and trigger kits for the Marlins.

Thought someone might like to know.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Meaning no disrespect for Jim West of Wild West Guns, I think the .457 WWM is somewhat overrated in comparison to the 40,000 psi .45-70 or .450 Marlin. December's American Rifleman tested a 16" Co-Pilot that chronographed 1835 fps with 405-grain bullets and 2034 fps with 350's. Such velocities are easily reached by the souped-up .45 Govt. and .450 with just 2-1/2" more barrel length of the standard Guide Gun. Now granted if an equal length barrel is used in .457 WWM velocities will also imcrease. But in my opinion not enough to justify the great increase in rifle and ammo cost.

There is also the possibility that the slightly longer .457 case won't allow use of 500+ grain bullets that barely squeak into the .45-70 Marlin 1895. I'm not certain of that, but have yet to see load data showing such heavyweight slugs.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #3
Bill,
You may very well be right all the way around.  I've never shot one or know very much about it.  I know that Jim and his crew are a class act and do some incredible work.  I had just noticed several posts relating to heavy loads in the 45/70 and some posts and inquiries about the 50 Alaskan.  Thought it might be of interest.

I'll be completely honest, I'm not a levergun guy myself.  I like the single shots.  I had a 375 Winchester in a Marlin once upon a time, got rid of it and ended up with a Ruger No.1 in 338.  Been shooting the No.1's ever since.  Thought the 45/70 crowd would like to see the post and the other assorted info Mr. West has to offer.
 

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For $75 (less if one has other action work done) the Marlin 1895 45-70 can be modified to cycle a longer cartridge than 2.55".  It can easily be modified to accept a 2.68" COAL without having to touch the throat.  This means the reloader can get 457 WWG Magnum performance with the Marlin 1895 45-70 without having to get an $190 conversion and buy expensive dies and brass.  It also means you can load those 500+ grain bullets in the Marlin 1895 45-70.  I think the 457 WWG Magnum is a dubious and superfluous cartridge.  For anyone who doesn't reload, the HSM factory 457 WWG Mag. ammo only yields 50 fps more than the Buffalo Bore 45-70 ammo and costs as much.  Such a marginal increase does not represent a practical difference on game as that would mean the 457 would have the same energy at 50 feet as the 45-70 has at the muzzle.  No animal is going to tell the difference.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Good info... the action work to increase the cartridge OAL available from Wild West also, or is that from someone else?



<!--EDIT|MikeG|Feb. 20 2002,22:12-->
 

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Any 'smith that works on Marlin lever guns should be able to do it.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #7
While not 100% positive, I think Jim and the gang will do most anything you want done to a lever or bolt action rifle.  They also build a lot of competition handguns.  They do great work, but...they ain't cheap.

The other part of the original post was about the 50 Alaskan package they offer.  I've seen only one or two other 'smiths that actually have that as a package and not a special order type deal.  I've seen several posts about the 50 and 450 Alaskans and that was a big reason of the original post.  Again, I don't have one, I've never shot one, don't have anything more than a cursory knowledge about them.  Just thought you might like to know that someone does offer it as a standard service in the Marlin.  They do have a small amount of reloading info on their website for the 50 and 457, if you are interested.  

Keep your powder dry and your flint sharp.
 

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Am I correct to assume the 336 (444SS or 444P) can also be modified to cycle a 2.68" .444?  I have a feeling however that the loading gate will not allow such a round to be stuffed into the magazine without some gunsmithing.

44
 

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I see no reason why the 444 could not be modified to cycle a longer COAL as well.  Even though the tube might (don't know that it is) be of lesser diameter and the loading gate might (don't know that it is) be smaller than that on the 1895 I don't think that should pose a problem in loading a 2.68" long cartridge into the tube.
 
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