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New Marlin 1895 Cowboy

2954 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Chuck Smith
Seems like Marlin's newest rifle, the 1895 Cowboy with the 26" octagon barrel (long backordered in these parts)comes pretty close to being the ultimate, do-it-all rifle. Except, perhaps, for varmint shooting and shooting at long ranges.

It's capable of being lightly loaded for mild CAS loads for fun and plinking all the way to loads equivalent to Garrett's 540g Hammerheads which are quite capable of harvesting the largest game on earth.

Is this a complete battery rolled into a single rifle?
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In fact, let's take this "thought experiment" one step further...

If you were on an African Safari and your ONLY rifle was a Marlin 1895CB (or similar) chambered for the 45-70 what kind of loads would you develop for hunting the African "Big Five?"
Hey, Jack, my 1895ss will "do it all" as well, though I suppose you are including the CAS stuff in there.  I personally don't have any need for the Cowboy look.  

If I were going to Africa, I think I would load that 325 grain Beartooth up to around 2,000 or 2,100 fps, and buy a couple boxes of Garrett 540 gr. Hammerheads for buffalo.  

Then again, if I could afford to go to Africa, I wouldn't hunt with just the .45-70.

What about that extra 4" in barrel length? Does that make any difference in squeezing every last bit of performance out of the 45-70?

Also, wouldn't you want something heavier for elephant?

I've been sharing a load for many years that will do just what you are asking.  The great thing is that most everyone who shoots it out of their Marlin .45-70's report accuracy tighter than they can shoot with iron sights, and under an inch isn't uncommon at 100 yards.


.460"-405g LFNGC/56.0g H335/WLRP/Win Brass/2000+/- fps

This load is proven in many guns over the years, and is well within the safe pressure limits of the guns listed above.  Under no circumstances should this load be used in older guns, antiques or antique reproductions.

Here's your "do anything load"

God Bless,

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Thanks Marshall. I read, more and more, that Marlin lever actions are not such an unusual sight on African dangerous game hunts anymore.

I don't think I'll ever get to have this kind of an adventure but it's always fun to daydream about the possibilities.
Ah, so true, but when we fail to dream, then we no longer have a goal, or vision, once those are lost we lose direction!  Dream on friend!

God Bless,


If you have seen any info on that Garrett load, you know that it is impressive.  A 540 grain hard slug at 1600 fps or so will take any thing down that currently walks the earth.  Garret posted info from a guy who shot his buffalo in Africa with that load.  The first one penetrated both shoulders.  The buffalo went down, then got up facing him.  The second one entered his chest, and exited his rear.

I think that would take an elephant!  From what I understand, with an elephant, you have to find the exact spot where the brain is located inside that big head.  All that is needed from there is adequate penetration.  Elephants have been killed with much less gun than a .45-70, especially with that load.  I think it was Bell who killed many elephants with a .257 Roberts (I think that's the caliber).

The weight of .45-70 bullets is what makes them so effective.  I wouldn't think that 4 inches would make much difference.  Depending on the powder used, it might not make any difference at all, but then, I'm on shaky ground there.  I'm going by what I've read, not tested.  A lot of bison fell to a 500 grain .45 caliber bullet, backed with blackpowder, and operating at lower velocities.

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Being an avid fan of the .45-70 cartridge may leave me a little biased....being a Marlin lever gun fan(atic) does more of the same. I am the proud owner of the new Cowboy model .45-70 and I like it very much. I have installed a Lyman 66 rear sight and Pachmayr pad and just shoot it! I like the long oct.barrel and full as well as the smooth wood and straight grip that combined has that classic look and feel. It has proven to be a good rifle so far.

Chuck Smith
Owner of more Marlin lever guns than I need!
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