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Thread: Talk to me about a 45/70 lever

  1. #1
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Talk to me about a 45/70 lever

    I have levers that range from .22 to .44, but I don't have the granddaddy thumper 45/70 version. Since we all cast, the expense of shooting these monsters is modest so that isn't much of an issue. What is an issue is the cost of the rifle (have to work up to that one) and recoil. I can handle a certain amount of recoil. I don't find it pleasant to shoot full house .30-06, but I can do it. .35 Rem in my lever is OK with full jacketed loads and fine with cast. So how does 45/70 recoil compare? Can you shoot lower powered cast loads and get tolerable recoil and a usable 100 yard deer and hog load? If this cartridge always yields a punishing thump, I am OK with saying it is not for me.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The smokeless 45/70 is king of the hill, the best loads all use cast bullets, you save lots there, the 45/70 is one of the few rifles that is more effective with open sights, so you save money there. Buy the gun, check out Skinner peep sights and you are good to go. To reduce recoil, bullets as light as 280 grs. can be used, esp. on deer and hogs, even the collar button bullets can be used to good effect on targets and smaller game, recoil is minimal.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I am at the point with my vision that any rifle I will use at 100 yards needs to be scopable.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    If you don't reload, most of the standard factory loads are mild, but you can get +p loads from some companies. If you reload, the pain you feel is entirely your own choice. I have made up some loads that would rattle the fillings in your teeth, but I got smarter as I went, and found out the 45-70 doesn't have to kill at both ends to get the job done.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    Unfortunately, I am at the point with my vision that any rifle I will use at 100 yards needs to be scopable.
    No problem, just get a scope that can withstand some recoil. I have a Leupold 1-4x20 on mine and it is perfect for a lever gun. It has real good eye relief, which is nice on a 45-70, and it is small and light enough not to be clunky and effect the handling.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    I cast and load, so dialing it in is no problem. I was just wondering if you can have a usable 100 deer and hog load without losing fillings.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Rattlesnake Charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    I cast and load, so dialing it in is no problem. I was just wondering if you can have a usable 100 deer and hog load without losing fillings.
    Yes.
    There are many recipes for using 350 - 380 gr cast bullets that do not exceed 1600 fps. This is low to mid trapdoor territory. Kills deer dead and no dental repairs required.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    405 gr PB bullet, 1 coat of BLL, 11 gr of Unique.

    All you will ever need.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattlesnake Charlie View Post
    Yes.
    There are many recipes for using 350 - 380 gr cast bullets that do not exceed 1600 fps. This is low to mid trapdoor territory. Kills deer dead and no dental repairs required.
    I have been playing with a ballistic calculator and a recoil calculator. It looks like a 405 grainer (which I understand to be a classic boolit for this calculator) launched at roughly 1300 FPS would fly flat enough, have enough energy to be deer legal in my state, and produce modest enough recoil all in one. Meanwhile I am pretty sure that even 1000 FPS at the muzzle with a high tin alloy would probably deform and penetrate a deer end to end.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    You can load mild to wild.
    I like tailboss loads, they shoot straight maybe accurate a little past 100 yards - no recoil.

    I loaded a ladder of gas checked boolits from 10% below starting load to max (compressed with varget) in both varget and 4198. I found that my pain tolerance was below the max load. I did this with three boolits: 350/405/500

    I have been shooting some nice little HP rounds that are 350 grain with 56 grn of varget under them and they let you know they are there but aren't painful.

    The HP 350 grain boolits are the NOE Ranch Dog 350s:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    I have a Pedersoli 1886 sporting rifle, brilliant and accurate!





    Last edited by Bad Ass Wallace; 06-08-2018 at 04:56 AM.
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Trapdoor 45-70 loads will feel similar or have even less recoil than full 35 remington loads. Max loads in 45-70 will feel similar to, or more than 30-06.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Dunno about your max loads....when I first got my Marlin,1970s,a load by Elmer Keith was recommended...... 50 some odd grains of 4895 and a 450gn bullet......I regularly shot a 30-06 M17.....the 45-70 load was an eye opener.......I only fired half a dozen,and pulled the rest.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I've hunted with a Marlin 1895 45-70 since the 80's, not the only rifle I've used. I have shot about a dozen elk with it, wife shot a couple elk, loaned to two different individuals who also killed elk, one a superb 7x7. I reserve most of its use to elk hunting. I do not consider it a 'fun' rifle. I have Leupold 1.5-5x on it. I also consider it good to past 300 yards. I do not consider any rifle or caliber advantageous for iron sights. A properly mounted scope will always be faster and more accurate with the proper practice, even at very close range. Trajectory above 9000 ft is significantly flatter than at lower altitudes. I load a 300 grain Barnes Original over A2015 to 2150+. Recoil is 'significant'. Accuracy is about 1.2 MOA. I have a 300 grain cast bullet load, but recoil is still more than the
    30 calibers and trajectory is extremely arced. If impressing the guys at the range is important than it is impressive, for killing stuff it is also impressive. To run rounds downrange for practice or fun a 30-30, 35 Rem or other lighter calibers are better.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I put a good "Kick EEZ" recoil pad on my Marlin 1895, and it made a world of difference.
    I can shoot some pretty stout factory loads without discomfort.

    Most of my shots, until now, have been in the 15 to 45 yard range. Not much bullet drop in that distance.
    The property I have permission to hunt will not allow a longer shot due to topography and foliage.
    That all changes this year. I am now 1/4 owner of 50 acres that will now allow for shots out past 500 yards.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Well, the nice bit about cast boolits is that almost any rifle can be fun to shoot. I don't fun butt-kicking 30-06 loads to shoot, but a Lee soup can over 12 grains of Unique makes 1 inch groups at a hundred yards, has no more recoil than my 38 special loads out of a lever rifle, and would flatten anything up to a coyote. If I get around to acquiring a 45/70 lever, I suspect the vast majority of what I send through it would be either light boolits, light charges, or both.

    The Pedersoli is beautiful, but I imagine that with two college tuitions to fund it is probably way, way above my budget. Who makes relatively inexpensive 45/70? Seems like if you don't want to fool with Remlins you can search for a JM Marlin or buy a new Henry. Anything else out there I should have on my radar?
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bird View Post
    Trapdoor 45-70 loads will feel similar or have even less recoil than full 35 remington loads. Max loads in 45-70 will feel similar to, or more than 30-06.
    You must have a featherweight '06 if it bucks like a max load in a 45-70. Neither of my 30-06 rifles can match my 1895 with a stiff load.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Marlin 1895 CB 45/70 that I shoot the LY 330 Gould with 30 gr IMR 4198 and dacron filler for about 1400 fps, great accuracy and doesn't kick like a mule. I have this for a 100yd deer rifle, but this is all I need for where I hunt. If you want to turn a large caliber rifle into a long range rifle, you either need to up the speed of the boolit, or have a sighting system that allows for rainbow trajectory. That's why they used tang sights in the old days.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    May I suggest that if you skip the (IMHO) foolishness of shooting the thing from bags on a bench that you’ll find an effective load well before you quit due to the recoil.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I purchased one of the recent Marlin Cowboy 1895's in 45-70 from Bud's under the rebate. It is fitted and finished about like the 8-10 pre-safety 336 Marlins and pre-safety 1895 45-70 and 1894 .44 Mag and 218 Bee I have. Based on this 1895 Cowboy, if I decided I needed another rifle I would consider a current production Marlin (the 1894C in 357 comes to Mind). I too would recommend Limbsaver or Kickeez recoil pad for ANY rifle heavier than a .223 or .357 for 'fun' shooting. I limit my heavy load shooting to 10-15 rounds per session with the lightweight 300 Mag, 45-70 or 358 Savage lever. I finish with a something light and fun to prevent developing a flinch. These options may not be possible for those who still work and don't have convenient range access. (Their own range) Recoil is still brutal with top line loads in the lighter 45-70's. Of course, gun weight can make a great difference in perceived recoil. Heavy rifles for the range, light for the woods. When shooting from a bench, I cheat, a folded towel, some shoulder mounted recoil, anything to help reduce recoil for load development and sight-in. I then check sight-in holding the rifle in both hands from a rest, from kneeling and off-hand. Your results may vary. Take the results and decide where to adjust for hunting from that.
    Last edited by MostlyLeverGuns; 06-08-2018 at 09:44 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check