What kind of loads can .45 leverguns take?


May 22, 2003, 11:05 PM
Specifically the Winchesters and Marlins. Are they only built to take standard factory loaded .45LC or can they take the hunting stuff loaded close to .454 Casull? That would be a heck of a cool gun firing that stuff out of a 24" barrel. Damn, that would have some knockdown power with 10+1 or whatever the capacity is.

I'm also interested in .357 leverguns...

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May 22, 2003, 11:13 PM
A .357 would be cheaper to shoot wouldn't it? I don't see many deals on .45LC ammo...

Can you shoot .38 specials out of a .357 levergun???

six 4 sure
May 22, 2003, 11:54 PM
I think if you did a search you'll find info to back up what i'm about to say. As far as I know every lever-action made today is safe to shoot any factory .45 Colt ammo you will find. The only problems will arise when reloading.

Yes the .357 is cheaper to shoot and you can shoot .38 specials.

Hope this helps.


May 23, 2003, 12:03 AM
I am told that some 357 lever guns feed some 38 Spc ammo just fine but I know there were at least a couple threads on The Firing Line about guys with problems with 38 Spc in the 357 guns. The 357/38 would definately be cheaper to feed whether you reload or not.

As for how high a pressure the 45 lever guns can handle, by all counts, the Marlins are stronger than the Winchesters. Both have their role, but if you go in an handle a Marlin 336 and a Winchester 94, the Marlin seems like a brick in comparison. The Winchester is nice and small and lighter and therefore handier, but the 336

One thing to point out... you can hot load 45 Colt ammo and playing around with a bit slower powders, you could probably get quite a bit more velocity just because you're dealing with a rifle, but there is no way you can approach .454 velocities with a 45 Colt. The standard 454 load includes a 300 Gr bullet at 1,650 fps and I believe that's at 55,000 cup whereas the maximum is 65,000 cup. The 45 Colt's standard load is a 255 Gr bullet at 860 fps. Worlds away from the 454! Now Corbon does offer the 45 Colt in a 300 Gr at 1,300 fps but 350 fps is a fair chunk o' difference. ;)

May 23, 2003, 12:13 AM
The pistol caliber lever guns are not made to take Casull pressures. I personally would shoot any ammo safe for use in a Ruger Blackhawk .45 revolver. The leverguns are intended for ammo loaded to 40,000 CUP or less and like any good reloader you should work up to the top level loads carefully.
My 2 cents, for what it's worth.

Don in Ohio (Who has a M94 in .45 Colt and likes it just fine!)

Ron L
May 23, 2003, 08:46 AM
I own a Marlin in 38/357. The only 38 rounds it has ever had problems with are wadcutters or semi-wadcutters, so I just don't use them anymore. It has fed all other 38 RN, JSP and JHP's just fine and has never hiccupped with any bullet in 357.

If you really want to shoot 454 in a lever gun, Puma (Rossi ? - who can keep up anymore :rolleyes: ) makes one that I was looking at during a recent trip to Jays in Clare.

Desert Dog
May 23, 2003, 11:00 AM
As a rule of thumb, a modern Marlin 1894 and Winchester 94 in 45LC can handle as much pressure as a Ruger Blackhawk 45. (34,500 PSI) and live a long life.

For anything more, you need to look at a gun of Winchester 1892 design (Puma 454 Casull or 45LC, or a modern Winchester 1892 specialty rifle). This action design is a smaller version of the behemoth Winchester 1886 action. The double locking bolts of this action will take a huge amount of punishment before it starts to loosen up.

I have ran over 1000 hotloaded .45 Colt rounds through my Puma 454, and it eats them like they were target fodder... It will take much more pressure than my Blackhawk...


June 9, 2003, 06:07 PM
with new starline brass in the puma 92 454 i have been up to 33 grains of win 296.you do it at your own risk.i could tell it was past the point of a good return.i was getting 61 fps for each grain.at 32 i got 1966 then when i went to 33 grains i only got 1976.that is with a hornady 300 xtp.as you can see 32 was not bad but 33 was maybe crazy and a waste of powder for sure.i used cci small rifle primers,thanks,keith

June 10, 2003, 03:40 PM
I asked similar questions to USRAC last year. Their answer to me was that the current Winchester 94 rifles and carbines can safely fire the high-pressure .45 Colt offerings from Buffalo Bore, Cor-Bon and others, as well as handloads intended for Ruger revolvers.

Dave Markowitz
June 10, 2003, 05:59 PM
Can you shoot .38 specials out of a .357 levergun???

Sure, but depending upon the rifle and the loads, you may need to single-feed them. You may also run into problems with the shorter .38s fouling a .357 chamber, causing problems when you switch back to .357s.

My admittedly limited experience in this dates to last Sunday, when I shot my new EMF/Rossi 1892 in .357. I had no problems as long as I stuck with .357s. When I put some .38s with lead bullets through the gun, they fed fine. However, some .38s failed to prperly eject, and when I went back to .357s I had failures to extract. After I ran a couple wet patches down the bore the gun functioned properly with .357s.

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