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.444 Marlin or 450 Marlin or 45/70..for ELK?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Northslope Nimrod, Sep 6, 2005.

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  1. Northslope Nimrod

    Northslope Nimrod Member

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    What are the ballistic possibilities of these calibers? Which is the best caliber for elk? I want the one with the longest effective range....without sacrificing accuracy. Cartidge availability? Range of grain options? Handloading possibilities?
     
  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    None of these are long range cartridges.

    If you go by what most elk hunters use, the most effective elk cartridges are the 7mm Remington Magnum, the .30-06, the .300 Winchester Magnum, and the .338 Winchester Magnum. Those cartridges are all flat-shooting and have much greater range than the ones you listed, as well as more impressive down-range energy. With premium bullets, they're close to idea.
     
  3. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Energy isn't everything though. All of those pumpkin rollers can put a big bullet out at moderate velocities and make an impressive hole. None of them are long range rifles because of their rainbow like trajectories and ballistically inefficent projectiles, but at close to moderate ranges, any of them are fully capable of dumping an elk. In some areas I hunt where it is crawling over lodgepoles and ranges rarely exceed 50 let alone 100 yards, I think I would rather have a Marlin lever action than my 7mm Rem Mag just because that is a lot of power in a more compact rifle.
     
  4. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    All three of these rifles are good short range thumpers. The .444 once suffered from using bullets designed for expansion at lower .44 Mag velocities, but I believe that problem has been solved.

    John
     
  5. Northslope Nimrod

    Northslope Nimrod Member

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    I am only interested in these lever guns. I have my own Rem 700 in 30-06. This will be my second "fun" gun!
     
  6. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

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    45-70. Loaded ammo (and reloading stuff) widely available.
    Very accurate, even if its not that flat shooting.
    Few things match a 405gr slug for knocking down Elk or Moose or Bear or anything else that walks the earth. :)
    -David
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    It's true that energy isn't everything. But when you combine a LOT of energy with a high-sectional density premium bullet and a flat trajectory, you have something that will take elk under any conditions.

    In fact, I'm thinking about a Winchester Classic Featherweight or Compact in 7mm-08 as a nice elk rifle -- if I can bring myself to leave Bigfoot Wallace back at the bunk house.
     
  8. mete

    mete Member

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    Within 200 yds the 45-70 and 450 Marlin make excellent elk rifles especially with some of the hot factory loads available.Garrett, Buffalo bore, PMC make gret loads or you could make similar reloads. The Marlin lever action is good for 1 1/2 " groups at 100 yds.
     
  9. Northslope Nimrod

    Northslope Nimrod Member

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    But which is best? Of the available loads the .444 seems to best the 45-70. OR....should I just get me a 30-30 with a long barrel and have cheaper and more plentiful ammo? Isn't there a good 170 gr cartridge out there that will give my 30-30 what it needs?
     
  10. SamlautRanger

    SamlautRanger member

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    Just get a Mathew Bow :D


    Well, I like the 45/70. Good availibility of ammo and seems to be very popular. But the .444 has a straighter trajectory. Read a good article back in May in one of the Hunting Mags (outdoor life?) about a guy out west and his .444 mule deer hunting.

    Yeah 45/70 and .444 and 450 marlin are really good out to only about 150-175 meters. But, how many times do you really need to take a shot longer than that. The challenge is to get that close or closer. I mean when I bow hunt I am getting within 30 meters. All the hunting shots I have taken with a firearm, here and in Africa have been less than 200 meters.
     
  11. MudPuppy

    MudPuppy Member

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    I think the 30-30 would be enough to get a reasonable clean kill.

    A 308 should do it though, and those are cheap enough--as is the ammo.

    But I've not hunted elk, just read/dream about it, though I have friends who hunt elk. Knowing a typical distance would help make the right call on ammo. If its 150 yards or less it shouldn't make much difference between the 45-70 and the .444.
     
  12. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Assuming you realize that you're limiting your range to 150 to 200 yards max due to trajectory considerations, then all three should work ok.

    The problem with the .444 and the .450 is that if you don't reload, they are both pretty much commercially available in only a single loading each.

    The .45/70, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of commercial loadings up to and possibly slightly exceeding the .450 Marlin's performance.
     
  13. Coltdriver

    Coltdriver Member

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    I just recently purchased a 450 Marlin Barrel for an Encore. I intend to hunt Elk with it this fall.

    The 450 Marlin is essentially a known magnum version of the 45/70. By belting the brass it is not possible to put a 450 Marlin round in a trap door Springfield for example (which would blow up with a heavy load).

    There is only one factory load available for the 450 Marlin. If you reload, all of the 45/70 loads in the medium to heavy load range are essentially valid charges for the 450 Marlin.

    The 45/70 on the other hand has a wide variance of available loads. From mild cowboy action loads to loads so heavy I could not imagine shooting one :D

    My reasons for the 450 Marlin were fairly simple. Everyone I talked to that has taken an Elk with a 45/70 or a 450 Marlin said that the elk died right where they were hit. Nobody I talked to has ever recovered a bullet because they punch a big hole right through the beast. The Hornady factory round with a 350 grain bullet comes out the barrel at 2000 fps and gives a very flat trajectory out to 200 yards. The 18" barrel on an Encore frame with a small scope on it is not only short, it does not weigh much over 7 pounds. Easier to haul around the high mountains.

    A 45/70 would have done the same thing, but since I reload that is not a factor. Having shot the monster just last weekend I can tell you that 50 pieces of brass will last me for the rest of my life! If you can bring yourself to shoot more than 20 at a session you are tougher than me!
     
  14. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom member

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    Well, although I like the .45-70, I'd have to say .444 marlin for your purposes and criteria, just because of the slight edge in trajectory which you want. Elk aren't armor-plated, so you don't need the biggest heaviest bullets made, in order to reach the vitals. But in the end, it's too close to call - they're all much more similar than different.
     
  15. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    "There is no best." Seriously.

    They're all a little different. Personally, I would get the .45-70 because of the range of ammo you can get for it, and its greater overall potential (just in case you ever go to Africa, you know!).

    Load it up with the PMC 350 grain stuff, and call it good. Or do something else. ;)

    John
     
  16. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Now I know Vern's been on this planet for several years...

    But I don't get this:

    Especially when the .45-70 was responsible for decimating so much of the American Bison herd just a few years prior to smokeless powder's development. What's good for bison doesn't work for elk?

    And for those who care how to learn bullet trajectories, the old .45-70 is quite useful, at ranges way out there. It ain't a laser beam like the big belted ubermagnums, but I defy anybody to step up to a Black Powder Cartridge Silhouette Match and tell them they're playing with a short-range cartridge.

    Be they .38-55's, .40-82's, and .45-70's, our shooting ancestors did quite handily using their iron-sighted leverguns, without benefit of Remchester Super Ultra Short Westerner Magnums, scopes with 30mm tubes and 56mm objective lenses, and laser rangefinders. Myself, I'm all excited about Wyoming elk season this fall. My rifle? A Remington Rolling Block Creedmoor, in, you guessed it, .45-70. Using an Axtell Vernier sight set. ;)
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The .50-70 was probably a more common round among buffalo hunters, but that aside, hunting buffalo is different from hunting elk. Buffalo hunters worked on a herd, from a stand. They often killed many buffalo while other buffalo grazed right beside the dead animals. Try that with elk!

    Elk are hunted in more varying conditions than buffalo, often with fleeting shots, and more often than not in very steep and thickly timbered terrain.

    I don't say the .45-70 won't work, but I go with a .35 Brown-Whelen as my primary rifle, with a .30-06 for back up.
     
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