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Thread: Big Bore Regret..?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy iMigraine's Avatar
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    Big Bore Regret..?

    Asking sage advice from the hardern, grizzled, and cantankerous owners of experience. Those who have either owned or used various calibers of rifles in numerous configurations too.

    A little background information on my humble experiences with rifles. My current rifle calibers I use are .22 LR, 357 Mag, 7.62x39mm, 30-30 and 45-70 Gov. Unfortunately, I donít get enough trigger time with them due to work, living behind the PRK wall (having to drive out the the desert), living without close access to a rifle range. So, I probably use them four to five times a year, sadly.

    When I go camping with buddies out to the California desert, shooting steel, bowling pins and paper targets has been my primary focus. One hundred yards is about the average distance we shoot. Also, I have a love hate relationship for iron sights. I really like using them since they create a challenge for me but my ageing eyes are slowly making it difficult with engaging targets from distance.

    Have you ever wanted a firearm because it looked interesting, historical, futuristic? Made with steel and wood or aircraft alloy and nylon polymer? Maybe seen several movies or videos with a firearm that made you lust for?

    For me, itís a lever action .45-70 Gov but with a short 18.5 inch octagon barrel. Iíve always like older rifles made with wood and steel, especially if they looked like from the cowboy era. My Marlin 1895 CBA is a thing of beauty to me. However, never firing such a large bore caliber (except 12ga with magnum loads) rifle before; the recoil was very stout with HSM Cowboy Action ammo. With no recoil pad or extra shoulder padding, after twelve rounds I was done with shooting it. So, I ordered some reloading dies, Trailboss powder, and recoil pad for the next outing.

    Now, I have some Trail Boss loads and recoil pad on the rifle. Set out a paper target to fifty yards to find my point of impact vs point of aim. Sending three loads down range, I was surprised to see how much my 355 gr lead boolits dropped. About five inches! So, I had to move the rear buckhorn sight up about three notches to get it close.

    After shooting about thirty rounds and my buddies shooting just a few inbetween, I was done for the day. Admittedly, Iím not huge into bullseye target shooting. Therefore, I love shooting steel or golf balls than boring paper which gives no immediate feedback. What surprised me was that shooting the Marlin 1895 CBA became fatiguing rather quickly compare to my other smaller calibers. I naively believed that I could shoot considerably more rounds through it since I was using lighter Trail Boss loads. Maybe if I had bought the heavy Marlin 18945 CB with 24Ē barrel would help tame more of the recoil.

    For now, Iíll work on some more loads and see what kind of distance and recoil I can manage. However, I think I made a possible mistake buying this beautiful rifle for general target use. So, has anyone else bought a big bore but regretted its usefulness for your intention? Any target shooters?

    Thanks for reading my long post.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    NoZombies's Avatar
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    If you're just shooting paper/steel/ etc. and plinking, there's no reason not to use a lighter bullet.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Man Flailguy's Avatar
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    13gr of unique with a 350gr has worked well for me in a ruger #3. (The 405's with imr 3031 will wear you out quick)

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I shoot a lot of BPCR with 45-70 these are loaded with ode ensford 2 f with a 550 grn bullet to around 1100-1200 fps. For plinking and playing try t load you bullet to around 1200fps. Another trick is rifle weight does reduce recoil, if there is a hole in the stock under the butt plate filling it with lead shot and adding 2-3 lbs of weight will reduce recoil. Look in the trap holes of NM M1As/m14s and you find lead to lower recoil and balance the heavy barrels out. Same with Garands and ARs. A good slop on recoil pad will help in a couple ways also one it increses surface spreading recoil out and the cushion softens it also.

    To give an idea my 45-70s are all in the 12 lb range for rifle weight and recoil is very manageable. getting you rifle up to 9-10 lbs may be a big help lowering the load down will help also.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have the Marlin 1895 - the normal one with 4 round mag - barrel is 22".
    I LOVE this gun. I've got a load that is a 350 grain Ranch Dog NOE boolit with the cup point (it ends up being about 320 grn) under about 56 grain of Varget... It goes *BOOM* and blows stuff up. Last time out with this load, I shot about 80 rounds before I shot everything we had to shoot and got bored. So fun to see a grapefruit just turn into a fine mist... Every time I chuckle...

    I made a bunch of 500 grn boolits and powder coated some. I could shoot the lubed ones, but the powder coated ones would not cycle through the Marlin. I am pretty sure those were 40 or 42 grain of varget. So... I gave some to a buddy and he made a video:
    http://www.twonails.com/owncloud/ind...G8bs5v6GVRj3tC
    Last edited by 44Blam; 09-26-2018 at 01:24 AM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a Marlin 1895 guide gun in .450 Marlin that was made the first year they came out and a TC contender handgun in 45-70 with a 15 inch Virgin Valley barrel on it. I donít regret either one.
    I love the big bores and am looking at getting more.
    My next home build is going to be a Darcy falling block in 45-70.
    I have most of the parts and steel, now just need the time.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    Similar thing happened to me. Fell in love with the 1895sbl, came home with the HSM cowboy loads, as well as some kind of bear/dangerous game loads. Shooting just the cowboy loads wasnít fun. The bear loads are still setting on the shelf.

    So I bought a 350g Noe mold. Very impressed with the quality of the mold. I tried the 13+/- grains of Unique load, the IMR 4198 loads, and others recommend by fellow forum members. All seemed harsh.

    I put a new recoil pad on it, WWG trigger, RPP loading gate and lever take down screw. All very good improvements.

    Most of my shooting is off of a bench at the local range, 50 to 100 yards. Groups have been fair to fantastic. I was going to make this gun shot accurately and somewhat pleasantly no matter how long it took.

    I got sidetracked on an experiment. I was searching for the quietest, non-silenced center fire gun I could find, that would still have enough power to drop an elk sized animal at 100 yards or less. I need to dispatch some pigs tearing up the yard, and donít want to disturb my neighbors. I read a story written by Jack Lambert I believe, who was looking for the same kind of gun. He wrote that he settled on a 45-70 single shot, and started dropping the powder charges while using heavy bullets.

    I ordered the Lee 500g mold, and started playing. Using Trail Boss I got the bullets down to 550fps. The gun sounds like a short barreled 22LR going off. I used a dB meter application for my iPhone to compare the noise to a 22 rifle and pistol.

    Anyway I went and purchase a 24Ē 45-70 barrel for my TC Encore, thinking the extra 6Ē barrel would make it quieter than the 1895. It really wasnít much difference between to two guns, either in sound or bullet speed at low velocities.

    So for my slow bullet loads, Iíve settled on running the 500g at 750 to 800fps. Barrel stays very cool, and you can blow through 50-100 rounds very quickly, enjoying every shot.

    For normal shooting I go back to my Noe 350g mold, and run 11-12g of Unique. Havenít chronograph them yet.

    Today I put 50 rounds through the 1895, using Barnes 250g copper bullets. Using 3031, both IMR and H4198 powders, to try to sight in a non lead bullet for California hunting. I wore a Past shooting pad, and my shoulder is a little ouchy tonight, but I was able to shoot without flinching. The loads today ran from 1825 all the way to 2415fps. I settled on a load with H4198 that runs 2200 FPS. Fairly comfortable to shoot and very accurate out of my gun.

    Sorry for the long rant. But I encourage you to keep playing with the Marlin, trying different powders and bullets. The 45-70 is extremely versatile, and my fondness continues to grow for it. I have over 950 rounds through it so far, and itís been fun.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Moderator



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    Keep your CBA, get a collar button mold and powder coat them. Excellent small game and plinking with the 45/70. I prefer PC on these as the lube groove is HUGE (messy).

    http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/index.p...ua878c11586f25

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    In my 1895CB I have settled on the Lee 405, beagled, sized to .459" and lubed with Randy's Tac-X.

    I load them over 11 gr of Unique. Easy on the gun, easy on the shoulder, and puts them into a small group at 100 yards.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I have a Marlin 1895 guidegun in 45-70 and I will never shoot it again. Since I have gotten my pacemaker I'm afraid of pulling wires loose shooting large calibers.
    My 38-55 will kill deer quite nicely thank you.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I prefer to shoot the 45-70 unsupported. The groups are larger, but who cares. From the bench the recoil is pretty well focused on the shoulder, unsupported it can be absorbed by your whole body.

    For the shooting you do, switching to 357mag may make a lot of sense.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    So far good advice on lightening the load and making the rifle heavier.

    I would add, have you considered a peep sight? They take some getting used to but increase the sight radius, and many of us with older eyes like them.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master



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    I have two "JMs" in 45-70 and the recoil can be brutal
    Waiting on a group buy for a "light" bullet 330 grain
    Been using the Ranch Dog 350 grain
    Also have a 500 grain mold and waiting on another. Using 11 grains of Blue dot around 850 fps
    Very accurate and tolerable for 500 grains.
    Don't know where I sit on the recoil tolerance Bell Curve, but not on the far right side for sure. Possibly in the middle or to the left.
    Regardless, no way I will tolerate uncomfortable. The nostalgia of the 45-70 is a bad romance at the high end for me with a lever action.
    Will probably try a Henry single shot .45-70. I like the look.
    But as always, I like big slow bullets.
    Last edited by jmort; 09-26-2018 at 11:10 AM.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I don't like recoil, so I have stayed away from most of the big boomers.

    I did get bit by the Handi rifle bug, and bought a .444marlin single shot.

    This one was intimidating to the max. I still have not dropped the hammer on a factory round.

    13 gr of Red Dot under a 310 gr .430 gas checked bullet gave me the accuracy I wanted. But I was noticing that after about 10 rounds I was starting to flinch.

    So I tried a moderate .44mag load. 200 gr cast boolit, no gas check, 6.5 grains of Red Dot.
    Those I can shoot all day.


    As for the iron sights and old eyes, either scope it, or put on a Red Dot sight.
    I really like the Truglo 2x sight. Brings those 100 yard targets into 50. Quick on target. Not as big or as heavy as a full scope. Its sort of a comprimise.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I don’t regret buying my Guide Gun but my wife copied me and bought herself one and wasn’t too thrilled after shooting my 350gr NOE @1,850fps loads. Then I started loading for her with a 400gr cast over @14gr of Unique. She killed her first deer with that load. She’ll shoot 100+ rounds of 12ga in a round of Sporting Clays so she’s not new to recoil, the little Marlin is a kicker.

    You might look at getting an 1894 in .357 or .44. They work for deer and also keep you tuned up if you decide to hunt with your .45/70.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    For plinking I like the RCBS 300 grain FN GC bullet cast with 1 to 10 tin/lead alloy over a slightly compressed charge of Trail Boss. I lube them with LBT Blue for now but will be powder coating next batch cast.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I'm a long time fan of the .45-70 but I shoot it the least. Reason being, I don't like recoil and .30 WCF will kill anything that needs killin' around here. Not to mention, these things eat alot of lead and my shooting funds are really tight these days.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Have always had a thing for the big bores starting in .356Win, so I do understand where the OP is coming from.

    I do prefer the 444Marlin and even more the .44Mag rifles instead of the 45-70 though; one reason is that it is so straightforward to go down all the way to 200gr bullets in the .429 bore if desired.

    I have went through more 240gr's in my rifles than I can count.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Go to a lighter boolit and see if it makes a difference. Plenty of moulds around 300gr. NOE and Accurate come to mind. Arsenal makes a 170gr "collar button" mold for the 45-70

  20. #20
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    The 300 grain Lasercast RNFP is an excellent lightweight slug for this cartridge.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

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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