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We've had a hundred posts around here about what cartridge is good for what game. But everyone seems to have left out the big bore levers. So would you guys consider a .45-70 or .450 Marlin a good cartridge to pursue big bears, as long as shots were less than 100 yards ?

I'm once again interested in the idea of a big bore lever myself, and that new Marlin 1895SBL is a sweet one !
 

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Of course, the only bears I've seen round here are koala bears, so I may not be an expert, (lol) but I've killed enough scrub bulls, brumbies and big pigs with the .45/70 that I reckon it should deliver the goods on a bear. I remember many years ago reading an article buy a bloke who took his guide gun to Africa, and shot a cape buffalo with a 540gn lead bullet. From memory, he broke both shoulders and the bullet exited completely.

That oughta sort out a big bruin...
 

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I had a notable fella that frequents this froum, run the numbers on the loads that "theoretically" my 444 Marlin with a 16 1/2" barrel would be able to produce after modification . He has all the computer software programs and expertise to give some very interesting data on ballistics. At the low end, one of the loads was a 325 grain bullet at 2050 fps. According to all his calculations, that bullet hitting a big bear at 150 yards, would produce the ballistics of a 30-06 at point blank! I was amazed! In his opinion, the modified Marlin would be a good bear gun out to 150 yards....providing of course that the shot was well placed. My goal was to have a good maximum 100 yard bear load for the Marlin, so being conservative, this load would do the trick..........Now, just look at the 45-70 or the 450 Marlin in a levergun and compare the ballistics against my load. I would see no problem what-so-ever with the 45-70 or the 450!.........For some great info on the 45-70 go to Randy Garretts site: garrettcartridges.com, and then go to Lupo Safari's...(at the bottom of the box on the left side of your screen).......If you read of his expereinces, you will see that the 45-70 or the 450 which is a ballistic equivelant of the 45-70 can pack enough punch to take anything that walks the earth!!!!

I just went back through some of my research data. It seems that any bullet of 400 grns or heavier at 2150 fps is the "standard" for taking all "large" African game. I have seen some 350 grain loads for the 45-70 that run around 2100 fps, and some 405 grain loads that come darn near close to that, and I would surmise that for the big bears that would do the trick.
 

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45-70 will out penetrate just about any common rifle caliber. Like Flat Top said check out Garrett Cartridges or check out Buffalo Bore - a 400 grain or 500 grain hard cast LBT bullet (like they sell here at Beartooth Bullets) will penetrate like nothing you have ever shot. We are not talking just shooting through on a broad-side, we are talking shooting end to end on a Cape Buffalo. When Veral Smith designed LBT he did us all a big favor. "Pre-expanded" freight trains.
 

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The "old" safari hunters took tons of elephants with small bore rifles (i.e, .256 Mannlicher, etc.). A 45/70 or 450 will take anything on the planet with good bullets and good shot placement. The fast handling benefit of a big-bore lever is just icing on the cake ;)
Dan
 

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Either way, you can;t go wrong.

I have a Marlin Guide Gun in Stainless 45/70 and love it. I'm sure I would love it in 450Mar as well, but I have 2 other 45/70s and didn;t want to buy a new set of dies.

EDIT:
In reading the rest of your post, I checked out that 1895SBL and love it! Big fan of the pistol grip stock. I think I might trade up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Either way, you can;t go wrong.

I have a Marlin Guide Gun in Stainless 45/70 and love it. I'm sure I would love it in 450Mar as well, but I have 2 other 45/70s and didn;t want to buy a new set of dies.

EDIT:
In reading the rest of your post, I checked out that 1895SBL and love it! Big fan of the pistol grip stock. I think I might trade up!
6+1 rounds of .45-70 is a whole lot of medicine !
 

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id consider the .45-70 and .450 a good cartridge to pursue any(ANY) game, considering you can shoot.
 

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I believe the 45-70 or .450M to be more than adequate to task and with good loads, out to 150-200yds too. One thing to consider might be that the .450M also comes in the fine BLR and would allow handloading other bullets, such as Hawk's 350 or 400gr RN or semi pointed for use in the box magazine.
 

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Tang that SBL is a sweet gun I have considered it myself, I would be perfect without that mile long rail on the top, but thats an easy fix.
To awnser your question if you can take it to africa I think it will handel our tinny bears.
 

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I like the 45-70 and .444 Marlin. These both seem really popular here. Did you read the .444 Marlin most versatile big bore story Marshal wrote it I think?
 
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