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Marlin .45-70 for deer?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ETXhiker, Dec 11, 2006.

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  1. ETXhiker

    ETXhiker Well-Known Member

    I've wanted a .45-70 for years and my beloved has granted my Christmas wish. Honestly, I mainly want it for the fun of just having one, but it occurs to me that I might want to take it deer hunting next year. Obviously, any factory .45-70 load will take a whitetail, especially the small East Texas variety we see around here. But what about meat damage? Will the big slow bullet cut a large neat hole, or make a big mess? Hard cast lead or jacketed? I've been meaning to get the reloading press out of mothballs, but factory loads seem to cover the gamut pretty well in this caliber. If anyone has any experience in this area, I would appreciate feedback, thanks.
  2. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Most factory .45-70 is loaded down because of all the Trapdoor rifles and carbine out there. Of course, there is factory ammo that is unsafe in one of them. Not exactly inexpensive though.
    I doubt you'll have any trouble with meat damage using a lighter than 405 grain jacketed bullet. You're aiming at the rib cage. Mind you, the deer up here can run 2-300 pounds live weight. They're not all that big though. Lots of guys I know use a .45-70 for deer and still get fed for months.
  3. Starter52

    Starter52 Well-Known Member

    Sunray's right. A 300-350 gr. bullet is all you need for deer. FYI the Remington factory load is popular for whitetail in the Northeast.
  4. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    I've used the 45-70 for years now, all with the 300 factory or equivalent.I thought some of the factory ammo opened up too fast so I went to the Win Partition -much better. Even with the most rapidly expanding bullet you'll never get meat damage like the high velocity cartridges such as the 308 etc. BTW Winchester had a load that matched the modern one [ 300gr @ 1850] 100 years ago !!! The Marlin is good for at least 1 1/2" groups .If he ever wants to hunt anything larger he can easily find factory hotter loads .The gun and cartridge are a winning combination !!
  5. Pumpkinheaver

    Pumpkinheaver Well-Known Member

    I handload the 350FP from hornady to about 1950 fps. It wacks deer with authority and does little meat damage. The bullet is a little tougher that the 300s. Another good deer bullet is the 405 remington, I load it to about 1700fps.
  6. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Well-Known Member

    You know, I brag on my .30-30 and lately I've been bragging some about how it did on that buck I killed Thanksgiving evening. That said, that 350gr .45-70's gonna punch a bigger hole through the lungs and they probably get knocked off their feet. One of my shooting buddies was telling me about how he'd been loading his .45-70's and he said it was like the deer got picked up and slammed. That said, put it through the lungs and it shouldn't damage meat. Unless you're big into ribs.
  7. TIMC

    TIMC Well-Known Member

    I took a nice pig this year using my 45/70 and 300 grain jhp ammo with a neck shot. There was no major damage but ther was a pretty good size hole. Shot placement has a lot to do with how much damage you do.
  8. Brass Fetcher

    Brass Fetcher Well-Known Member

    Here is the 300gr Winchester Partition Gold in 45-70 in a block of ballistic gelatin.

    The second image is that of a 165gr .308win Ballistic tip. Not saying that anyone is right or wrong, just wanted to post some scandalous pictures of disorganized protein blocks.

    Can someone tell me how to include the images in the body of the post?



    Attached Files:

  9. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    Even the "downloaded" 45/70 is plenty for deer. It sure did a number on the buffalo...
  10. AStone

    AStone Well-Known Member


    Click on a thumbnail. Copy the URL.
    Now, click on the image icon (mountain with a moon/sun) on your menu.
    Enter the URL into the dialog box. Click OK.

    Thanks for the images. The difference between the slower 45/70 & faster .308 is ... educational.

    I'm going to buy a 336 in .30-30 first, but that 45/70 is very appealing.

    Of course, a slug out of my 870 might do the same as a 45/70.

  11. Brass Fetcher

    Brass Fetcher Well-Known Member

    Thanks Nematocyst-870. I have been wanting to do that with my gelatin pics since I started on THR, I just never asked around.:eek:

    I'm a big 45-70 fan, too.
  12. dodge

    dodge Well-Known Member

    I just got a doe that weighted about 115-125 lbs. with my Marlin guide gun (45/70) and thou I hit her high in the back just missing the spine, she went down like a rock. I was using my handload that puts the Hornady 350 gr fn at 1800 fps. While she was moving around trying to get back up I had to put another one into her to put her down for good. It impressed me just how quickly she went down with a such a poor shot. I had a friend who hit a buck, as near as we could figger out, in the same place with a 243 and he got away. There's something to be said for a big heavy slow moving slug.
  13. ETXhiker

    ETXhiker Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys. That's exactly what I was looking for. Sounds like the factory 300 gr. loads do just fine. I'll probably start with them, but I've been looking for an excuse to get into bullet casting for years - this is probably as good a reason as any. Can't wait to receive this lever gun and get it to the range.
  14. phantomak47

    phantomak47 Well-Known Member

    What is your range with the 45/70?
  15. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Well-Known Member

    I'll have to find the MidwayUSA catalog, but I recall seeing where Lyman makes a .458 mold for a lead Hollowpoint in the 300gr range. It's the exact weight I'm unsure of as it's been a while since I looked.

    I sprung some Remington 300gr CoreLokts on my brother-in-law once... 5rds and he was done.:D That was in my H&R Handi-Rifle. I told him that was my "big and dangerous game" rifle.
  16. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Well-Known Member

    Two seasons ago a pard of mine took his Elk will a 405 gr hard cast bullet pushed by black powder (maybe 1300 fps at the muzzle) in his 45-70 Sharps replica. Busted through both shoulders and exited, and as he would say "is probably still goin..." The Elk stumbled and then expired. Paced off at just under 100 yards.

    My big and slow load chugs along at just under 1500 fps. Plows right through over 12" of wind thrown fir. before burying itself in the hillside.

    In my limited experience there is a lot less "bloodshot" meat with the big and slow bullets. "You can eat right up to the hole."
  17. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Well-Known Member

    In the areas I mostly hunt (Pa and Mi), if a deer isn't dispatched on the spot, you stand a good chance of finding someone else's tag on your deer by the time you catch up with it. For this reason, I generally use a little more gun than necessary for whitetails and this includes employing either my Winchester 1886 in 45-70 or my Savage 99 in .358 cal. Hit in a good area with either of these rounds and it's been my experience a deer doesn't go far.

    That said, when hit in a good spot they haven't traveled far when I've used my Ruger 77 in .257 Roberts! :confused:
  18. pinetree64

    pinetree64 Well-Known Member

    I've used my Ruger #1 45/70 with great success. I shoot 300g Remington JHP. The last three deer I shot with it had much less meat destruction than those shot with my 30-06 using 150g NBT. I do reload mine hotter than factory but not to the max. I now only use my 30-06 when hunting large clearcuts or pastures.
  19. mrrick

    mrrick Well-Known Member

    405 grain cast bullet at around 1500 fps is deadly, with little meat damage.
  20. AStone

    AStone Well-Known Member

    I've read several posts, at least one in this thread, about the 45/70 being a real mule when it comes to recoil.

    Would some of you 45/70 folks kindly offer a rough comparison of felt recoil of a 45/70 (say 300 gr factory load) v. a 12 ga 00 or slug (full load or reduced recoil, your choice, but please specify)?

    I understand that such opinions are pretty subjective, and different people react to recoil in different ways. But still, some range of benchmarks would be useful.

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