45-70 recoil wasn't bad at all...


Mossy Bloke
December 26, 2002, 12:02 PM
Shot my brand new 45-70 yesterday afternoon. After reading so much about how bad the recoil was, I expected to get kicked in the shoulder by a horse when I shot it. It wasn't any big deal at all though.

Granted, I was shooting factory Rem 300 Gr bullets, but I still thought it'd make me wince.

I'm not exactly looking to get kicked in the cheek, but just thought I'd share my experience with the rest of you.

Looking forward to getting started reloading for it soon.

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December 26, 2002, 12:16 PM
Wait till you start shooting those 500 grainers----lol

December 26, 2002, 12:20 PM
I had last shot a 45-70 when I was about 12 years old and remembered the kick. I recently bought a Marlin 45-70 GG and was anticipating the kick I remembered. It was obviously nowhere near as strong as I remembered (being 6'1" and around 240). It is actually pretty pleasant to shoot.

December 26, 2002, 12:41 PM
A buddy of mine has a Marlin that he loads to the max. Believe me, it kicks like a mule. I don't remember the load but it was a Barnes bullet, I believe it was right around 400 grains. He set me up the first time I shot it. We were shooting from a benchrest and he asked if I would like to try it. I fired a shot and it blew my hat, ear muffs, and glasses off my head. I pretended that it didn't bother me and fired another round. One the second one I caught the scope in the eye. I turned around and two of my buddies were laughing as they took pictures. Wait till you try some hot loads. It isn't anything to get all worked up about, after all it is just a jab to the shoulder for a fraction of a second, but it definitely beats anything I own including my .338 Win Mag or a shotgun slug by a long way.

December 26, 2002, 05:14 PM
I like shooting 45-70. I find it to be more of a long push than a sharp crack. Sure you can fire some mutant loads through it, but for the most part I think it is pretty mild. But then again, I like shooting shotgun slugs too. :)

I think part of the reputation of the 45-70 being such a kicker is that the average US cav. soldier was around 5'6" 140 lbs, malnourished, and with back problems from riding a horse non stop for months on end. (watched Discovery channel about the Little Big Horn last night).

December 26, 2002, 05:19 PM
Years ago I 'touched off' a Ruger #3 with a HOT 45/70 reload (150fps less than 458 Winchester Mag). I had my Army field jacket on, a bunched-up towel over my right shoulder, and a slip-on recoil pad on the butt stock. I needed every bid of the protection. After the 3rd shot I looked behind me and and the 4 other people at the range had wandered over to see "what cannon I was shooting".:D It was worth it.

December 26, 2002, 06:07 PM
With any rifle, just standing up and shooting it offhand will reduce the "felt" recoil by half. A standing man bends and absorbs recoil, a man hunched over a shooting bench doesn't.


December 26, 2002, 06:38 PM
It also depends on what you are shooting.

Factory loads for 45/70 are generally made to mimic cowboy or mild loads because manufacturers have to cater to the crowd that has the older guns.
The Marlin, Ruger, and most modern firearms can handle greater pressures, much greater than what the black powder loads put out.

A 45/70 handload, or a Garrett load will hurt more... on both ends. :D

December 26, 2002, 06:54 PM
The only one I ever shot is a custom built on a Siamese Mauser action. I beleive the bullets were 500gr lead, recoil was much less than I expected. Fourteen year old son got a kick (no pun intended) out of it too.

December 26, 2002, 07:48 PM
How did it do at the 65-yard range you were speaking of in your other post? Have you scoped it yet?

They're great guns, especially for the brush.

December 26, 2002, 09:17 PM
My son-in-law has a Marlin chambered in .45-70 and handloads a 450gr bullet--no idea what powder charge he uses. Fired three rounds at his invitation, 100-yard range. Happy to say that the recoil was not worse than my 180-grain 30-06 bolt; and that I was able to place 3 rounds (bench, elbow rested) EXACTLY where I wanted to. Damn good rifle.

Recoil? What recoil? We don't HAVE no stinkin' recoil, here....

December 26, 2002, 10:00 PM
I can run a bunch of 405gr swaged lead blackpowder loads all day long without ill effect.

Jacketed or Beartooth hardcast gas-checked 405gr bullets on top of a full case of Reloder 7 will send me home from the range after about 10 rounds, max. Capillaries in the shoulder look real pretty the next morning, too!

Mossy Bloke
December 26, 2002, 10:02 PM
Never did get to shoot it while hunting. Didn't see the first deer. Haven't scoped it yet either. I'm hoping to put a fixed 4 power on it soon. Already installed a Pachmyar decelerator pad. I'll let you know how it does when I get it finished. I sure do like this gun.

December 27, 2002, 09:59 AM
The Marlins and other carbines etc are wonderful rifles, but were not designed to be used with the barn burner cartridges that are coming out today..

That is not to say that they can't handle them by any means..

When the Marlin and Winchester saddle guns were developed it was for black powder loads etc..

They were comfortable to shoot and dammed fine guns, but the were not ergonomically designed to absorb the recoil of the modern cartridges of today.

I think a model 94 Winchester 30-30 is one of the hardest kicking( for the cartridge) rifles there is around.

Somebody mentioned the Cavalry troopers and the need to reduce the bullet weight and powder charges in the carbine rounds. There is a lot of truth in that info.. A 45-70-500 will knock the snot out of you in a cavarly carbine.
The Marlin and Winchesters etc are even lighter than the old Trapdoor Carbine..

If you want to have an enjoyable time with a 45-70.. Load it to the velocity and with the bullet weights it was designed for.. Learn to shoot it using those criteria and you will enjoy shooting it and gain a great respect for the guns and the old timers who used them.

I have taken antelope,coyotes,deer and elk with the ol 45-70 Gummint, I have hit a full size metal buffalo at a 1000 yrds, but not with a carbine..*G*.

I am not demeaning the new uses for the 45-70's for hunting etc by any stretch of the imagination.. I may get one of the new Marlins myself.. I love the 45-70 cartridge and I would guess I have sent a ton of lead down range in 500 grn increments.

I am just suggesting you try the original loads and find out how much fun a 45-70 really is.. Not how bad it hurts..

You can put a Ferrari engine in a Model T and it will probably go 150 mph, but you ain't gonna enjoy the ride!!!

December 21, 2003, 11:10 PM
The other thing is that the Guide Guns are ported.

December 21, 2003, 11:25 PM
When I bought my Marlin GG I thought the same thing you did Mossy. The remington factory 405's didn't kick near as bad as I thought they would. Then I loaded up some 350 grain Hornady's. Those were a little more stout. And a lot of fun. For about ten rounds or so. Vaporized a tin can of apple juice, and I still haven't found the bottom of the tin. hehehe.

December 22, 2003, 12:55 AM
With normal factory loads, the recoil just isn't a big deal. Seems comparable to a .30-06. In my opinion.

Bob C
December 22, 2003, 06:32 AM
I have a Marlin 1895.

My reloads with 300 and 350 grain bullets are in the "Level II" range, and recoil is comparable to a 30/06.

I have fired several of the loads recommended by Elmer Keith in his writings, and their pressures were OK in my gun as I assembled them. Recoil was up to the .300 Winchester level.

Thirty or so years ago a friend let me fire his Ruger #3 with some warmer 500 grain loads, and it was BRUTAL, worsened by the light weight, curved butt plate, and stock which was too short for me!

December 22, 2003, 06:43 AM
I think that "Felt recoil" is VERY subjective. What is bad to one shooter isnt to another and visa versa. For example shooting 12ga slug rounds doesnt bother me at all (although my shoulder complains about it afterwards). But shooting a .357 mag snubbie makes me want to cry.

December 22, 2003, 06:37 PM
I load my own 300jhp max with 4064 imr they make most factory loads
look like 22mag. I only want about 5 out of my marlin and i'am done!

December 22, 2003, 06:43 PM
With standard factory fodder, my 1895G doesn't kick badly, but it does "move" a lot. The scope came back and popped me the first three times I fired, until I learned to really lock my shoulder out. Luckily, I was wearing my Gargoyles!

I imagine something like the new PMC 350 grain .45-70 will be at the upper limit of what I'd like to shoot for any length of time. I have fired a .458 Mag, and didn't think it was horrible, but I felt no need to keep blasting!


Pappy John
December 22, 2003, 07:10 PM
I used to have a Ruger #1 and put some outRAGEous stuff through it. Definitely not fun and games off the bench. You needed to stand up and roll with the punch.

Now my only 45-70 is a Sharps 1874 replica with a 32" octagon barrel that sees a lot saner stuff. 480 gr of lead over 62 gr of BP. A nice thump that you could shoot all day. The low boom...the smoke...the smell...definitely a head turner at the range.

December 22, 2003, 08:29 PM
Now you need to try it (with some hot loads) in a Thompson Contender.


December 22, 2003, 08:47 PM
When the Marlin and Winchester saddle guns were developed it was for black powder loads etc..

The modern Marlin 1895 guide gun is not related to the 1895 Marlin and was designed for smokeless.

December 22, 2003, 09:01 PM
Shoot some good handloads through it and see how you like it! I loaded some 405gr remington bullets to about 1950 fps this summer, too much, it kicked like a damn mule. I shoot to have fun, those loads were not fun trust me. I switched powders and kept the speed down to 1650fps and it was much more managable.

December 23, 2003, 01:21 AM
Sounds about right. I think the PMC are 350 at something like 2100 fps. More 'n that could hurt.

rick newland
December 23, 2003, 01:29 AM
I like the new PMC 350 grain load. It does have more recoil then the rest of factory 300 and 405 grain loads.

December 23, 2003, 02:21 AM

If ya don't mind telling, where did you buy yours?


December 23, 2003, 03:09 AM
Glamdring, Marlin GG is no longer ported....... The 300 factory is no big deal and it is very effective on deer, this year I shot in a very awkward position with butt under my shoulder , twisted around, no problem.

December 23, 2003, 03:35 AM
After getting my little NEF carbine I wanted to work up a good load for Elk, in case I ever needed it for the job. Was working with 300gr jacketed stuff. Got the velocities up around 2100fps. It would beller and snort a bit but recoil was quite manageable.

So I decided to try a fairly stiff charge under a lead 405gr Lazercast. Just to see if it might not work better at range. It was a middling charge for a Marlin, according to my book.

THAT hurt! :uhoh:

rick newland
December 23, 2003, 07:59 AM
John I get mine at Bradfords gun and pawn in Athens AL. They don't normally keep it in stock, when they order it for me they normally receive it within a couple of days.

December 23, 2003, 04:08 PM
The modern Marlin 1895 guide gun is not related to the 1895 Marlin and was designed for smokeless.

This is correct, but I believe that the original poster's point was that the physical platform was designed around black powder loads, and the basic physical platform hasn't really changed since, well, the late 1860s or early 1870s.

Which maybe proves that there's something right about the basic configuration? FWIW I note that the cavalry troopers of the 1870s didn't care for the original infantry load in their carbines!

Bob C
December 23, 2003, 04:23 PM
After following this thread for a couple of days, I was compelled to experiment.

I fired 20 rounds of Federal factory 300 grain hollow points this morning, along with 30 rounds of reloads, all of which were hotter than the Federals.

All shooting was off of a bench, and I was wearing a medium weight jacket

Some were moderately hotter, some were quite a bit hotter. Most were with different 400-405 grain bullets.

I'm tired, but not bruised. It was fun, and all the loads went bang as they're supposed to.

Groups averaged around 1.75", with the largest at 2.5", and a few at or around 1.0".

December 23, 2003, 08:55 PM
I load the 300g Remingtons pretty warm. No it doesn't beat you up, but after shooting it my 30-06AI is nothing. The worst was hot loaded 405g lead FP. I hurt and causedd shoulder fdamage that lasted several months. I realized that there is no need for those loads unless I was in bear country.

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