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Thread: Deer Hunt with Browning BLR .450 Marlin

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    12

    Deer Hunt with Browning BLR .450 Marlin

    This year, I bought a new Browning BLR in .450 Marlin with a Monte Carlo stock and no iron sights. I topped it with a Trijicon AccuPower 1-4x24 scope on Talley BLR rings. The total weight of rifle, scope, and rings is 8.25 lbs. Since this rifle has no sling mounts, I ordered a Blackpowder Products “The Claw” Shotgun Sling. Before fielding this gun for hunting season, I sent it to Robar for a refinish in black Poly T-2, and then to Neil Jones for trigger and action work. I am very happy with both jobs. The black Poly T-2 finish looks good and feels durable, and I am no longer paranoid about maintaining the blued steel finish or worrying about corrosion. I have no idea what the BLR’s trigger felt like before Neil’s trigger job, but I had read many stories about gritty, heavy BLR triggers. In fact, it seems the trigger is the only thing BLR owners generally complain about, so I didn’t want to take the chance. I have custom trigger jobs on my 1911’s and am a bit of a trigger snob, so a good trigger is important to me. I have to say this BLR trigger by Neil Jones is crisp, smooth, and breaks cleanly. I didn’t get a chance to measure the pull weight, but it is reportedly around 3 lbs. Although the Browning BLR is a unique looking gun that others have said is “ugly” or “weird,” I personally find it very attractive. The design isn’t “classic” lever action, but the profile of the stock is thin, the wood looks good, and the short barrel design make it very handy. The Trijicon AccuPower 1-4 scope is just the right size for this rifle, in my opinion, and I like how the black Poly T-2 finish matches the Trijicon scope and the Talley mounts.











    Here is the data for the loads I was shooting on this hunting trip, which were made for me by Custom Ammunition, LLC in Florida:Hornady new brass, trimmed to 2.090
    Hornady 300 Gr. Hollow Point
    IMR 4198 42.8 grains OAL 2.530



    Entering this load in QuickLoad says it is at 83% case fill and should leave the muzzle of my 20” barrel .450 Marlin @1878 fps, @2350 ft.lbs. of energy, @24857 psi, and @88.4% of powder burnt. I ran this load through Hornady’s online ballistic calculator, which showed a drop of -1.7”@125 yards, -4.5”@150 yards, -8.4”@175 yards, and a whopping -13.5”@200 yards. So I plan to keep my shots within 150 yards with this setup, needless to say, absent a lot of practice. The stands I sat in this rifle season didn’t present shots that far, anyway. Shouldering the gun quickly, with its Monte Carlo stock and the Talley BLR rings, brings the scope right to my eye with a good cheek weld on the stock. In various lighting situations, the BDC reticle and crosshairs were easy to spot, and the green dot and segmented circle are nice in low and ambient light. Like all illuminated reticles, it washed out almost completely in bright light, but the etched reticle still remains black and razor sharp. I topped the scope with Butler Creek flip-open covers.Now for the actual hunting performance of this rig: at 8.25 lbs. with a 20 inch barrel and a good sling, it’s comfortable taking on extended walks through the woods. While sitting in the stand or against a tree during the preceding four or five days before I actually shot a deer, I had been practicing quietly and quickly shouldering the rifle and finding the reticle. When it counted, I was able to do so. It was late in the morning when I shot my deer, so I had the reticle illumination dialed to 11, and the illumination was visible. I had tested it against a target in bright, full sunlight before and knew the reticle would not be illuminated under bright daylight circumstances, but pointing the scope at brush, the reticle was illuminated. The BLR is a very handy rifle, and the Trijicon 1-4 balances it very well. I shot my first buck of the season on Thanksgiving morning. The shot was just behind the shoulder, directly through the heart, at about 75 yards. The buck was a medium body four point. Nothing to brag about, but still a buck in a hunting camp that has been pretty low on deer lately. The exit wound seemed to indicate a good expansion without causing excessive damage like a high-powered rifle round might do, and the heart was completely obliterated. The buck ran a short distance before expiring and falling down the hill. I was very pleased, as the ammo did exactly what I wanted: mild recoil, full pass-through penetration, and expansion at .450 Marlin distances on deer-sized game.




    Entry wound:



    Exit wound:



    So there is my report. I am very happy with this set up and will continue hunting with it in this terrain. If I ever hunt at longer distances or in open fields which might present 200 yard or longer shots, I’ll look at a different rifle for that kind of hunting.My future plans for this rifle are to work up my own hard cast load using 420+ grain WFN gas-checked bullets at 1500 to 1650 fps.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Mar 2016
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    Texas
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    Great story and result. The .450 is a great cartridge IMO; an accident free .458x2" American. And that is a nice Browning.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy c1skout's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    Hills of PA
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    372
    nice job on the deer. That's a good lookin rifle too.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
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    SE Ohio
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    I have hunted with BLR in 308 and have owned a 243. I'm curious as to why you picked the 450. Is
    it because of the calibers legal in your state? I'm a Buckeye and we have limited choices of calibers
    for Deer now. The first waves of deer rifle buying was 45/70 Marlin 95s buy far. Now there is more
    interest in 450 and the 45cals that are adaptable to ARs.

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Manitee County, Florida
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    7
    Good shooting! Your buck is a dinner plate trophy for sure.

    TR

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Drm50 View Post
    I have hunted with BLR in 308 and have owned a 243. I'm curious as to why you picked the 450. Is
    it because of the calibers legal in your state? I'm a Buckeye and we have limited choices of calibers
    for Deer now. The first waves of deer rifle buying was 45/70 Marlin 95s buy far. Now there is more
    interest in 450 and the 45cals that are adaptable to ARs.
    Just about any caliber bigger than .22 is legal in VA, I believe. I wanted a 45-70 lever action gun because it suited my hunting conditions: brushy woods at short distances (less than 100 yards), where I wanted higher chances of DRT shots. In my research, I found that I liked the Browning BLR better than any other lever gun, and Browning only makes the BLR in .450 Marlin. Since the .450 Marlin is basically the ballistic twin of the 45-70, that was what I chose.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master RKJ's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    That'a a Good looking rifle.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    NE Wisconsin
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    1,044
    Nice work and a good write up. I have the model 94 Whinchester TD in 450 Marlin and back many years ago rechambered a Number 1 Ruger to 458 X 2 American. Dandy caliber and great performance. One could argue all day about 450 vs 45-70 but why? They are both great calibers and come in several shapes and sizes. At the end of the day it's a personal choice and you made a good one. Nice scope too that is my favorite any Trijicon ......is a favorite.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I've got a Marlin 1895 45/70 that I've had for 40yrs. When Ohio came out with rifle season I owned
    28 deer class rifles from 243 to 35Rem for caliber. I didn't consider a 45/70 deer class cartridge but
    it was only rifle I owned that was legal. The 45/70, 450 Mar, 458 American and other similar cartridges are definitely deer killers and BLR is a slick rifle. Our law is 38cal minimum and cartridge has to be straight case. Our hunting is also in the thick stuff but occasionally you catch one in a hay
    field or right-away. Since I have traded up a 44mg & 375Win. I'm still not satisfied yet on best caliber
    between 45/70 & 375w for the occasional long range shot. For now I'm using Ruger #3/375w with a
    Spitzer bullet, which is as fast as 444 but more accurate. For the thick stuff where most shots are 100 yds or less they all will kill deer.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Jul 2008
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    Middle Tennessee
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    That rifle looks like a LOT of fun.

  11. #11
    Moderator



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    Jun 2013
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    5,185
    Great job all around. Nice rifle, nice rifle set up, nice custom work and some meat in the freezer!

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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