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Thread: 450 Marlin Boolit for Black Bear and/or Elk?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    450 Marlin Boolit for Black Bear and/or Elk?

    Hi!

    I have a Marlin 1895M that I plan to use for Michigan Black Bear next fall. I have 13 preference points saved up so a license is guaranteed and we've got a few big ones (350lb+) around the Camp that are getting pretty bold. I'm also retiring at the end of the year so I'm planning to go to Oregon next fall elk hunting. Some of the area is pretty open so I'll have .375 H&H for that. However, there's some dense areas of Doug Fir regen where I think the .450 might be a better choice.

    I have 4 molds that I think might be appropriate and I'm looking for input on which you think might be the best choice(s):

    RanchDog 350 (Need to finalize the load but I'm expecting about 2050fps)
    BRP 400gr HP (Shot my first cast deer with this two years ago. It was pretty destructive at 80 yards at 1850fps.)
    BRP 420gr RFN 1750fps
    RanchDog 425 (as cast and checked its 438 grains and runs about 1700fps)

    All group around 1 1/2" - 2" at 100 yards. Range for the bear will be about 70 yards. If I'm in the cover with the 450 it'd be a stretch to shoot 150 yards- more likely less than 75. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks for you insight!

    John

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Aug 2009
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    Hi John: Good news on your future retirement and your hunting opportunities for Michigan black bear, as well as elk in Oregon. I wanted to let you know my thoughts on using the 450 Marlin for some of these exploits. Since it is basically a 45-70, I think I am safe in saying that you will "have enough gun". I have used my 45-70 for whitetail here in Missouri and can attest to the penetration and killing power of that round. When going after black bear in eastern Canada, I used a Ruger Model 77 in 35 Whelen with a cast 358009 boolit of about 300 grains of 50/50 (wheel weights/pure lead) + about 2% tin. I shot my black bear at 60 yards and the results were as good as it gets. I believe your 450 Marlin will also perform in a grand way for both bear and elk. I agree that the 375 H&H is a wonderful choice for elk when the distance is long. Now you will undoubtedly get a few differing opinions on the best boolit weight for the Marlin. I would think the 350 grain Ranch Dog would be enough weight and provide ample penetration on either animal. You will be able to achieve a little flatter trajectory and higher velocity with the lighter boolit. That might be in your favor in some shooting instances. I'm just rambling here and can't speak with the experience that others will be giving you shortly. We'll soon see what those in the know has to say.
    Mark 5:34 And He said to her (Jesus speaking), "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    elk hunter's Avatar
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    John,

    Here's to your retirement may you enjoy many years of it.

    As for the choice of bullet for the 450 and given the usual range it would be used at any of them will work. I don't have a 450 but have shot several elk with a 45-70 using the Hornady 350 grain jacketed round nose they all surrendered quickly. My go to elk rifle when the range may exceed 100 yards or so is the 375 H&H stoked with Nosler Partitions. That my friend is a real elk rifle.

    I don't know where you plan to hunt elk in Oregon, most of the tags are awarded by drawing only and you must apply in May, you would be wise check with Oregon fish and Wildlife and anyone else you can about the success rate in the area you choose. We've lost most our Mule Deer and the elk numbers in many areas seem to be going down. It's possible to hunt the whole season in some areas and not see an elk much less a bull. This is not meant to discourage you about elk hunting just a cautionary note about what you may experience. At any rate good luck, I hope you bag a great bear and an exceptional elk.
    BIG OR SMALL I LIKE THEM ALL, 577 TO 22 HORNET.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    dk17hmr's Avatar
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    Sounds like your good to go. Bear and elk are killed with alot less gun than that every year.
    Doug
    .................................................. ........................................
    Sticks and stones may break my bones but hollow points expand on impact.

    Taxidermists are cheaper than surgeons....keep shooting

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master



    cwlongshot's Avatar
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    Any well cast properly tempered WFN style would be my choice here

    I also have both the 350 & 425 RD molds and both are great!! EITHER would be first choice dependent upon accuracy.
    NRA Life member ē REMEMBER, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE its being paid for in BLOOD.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I've killed more than a dozen elk and a moose with a Marlin 45-70 and the Barnes 300gr Original (pur lead, pure copper. The 350 should be plenty, flatter trajectory with less recoil than the heavy bullets. My longest was 340 yards on a 5x7 bull. Very few bullets recovered, most fell where they stood. Obviously the 375 H&H will work, but most are heavy for carrying in the mountains, the 45-70 or 450 Marlin will work pretty far out once you practice enough to know the hold-offs. Now that I am older, I find a Savage 99 358 easier to carry and shoots flat enough out to 350 plus. Unless you are VERY familiar with the country or have an entourage or guide, shooting elk past 300 yardscan lead to lost but dead elk. I have seen DEAD elk run a couple hundred yards.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Itís a dry heat.....
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    Cool

    Any of the OPís bullets will work, although with speeds over 2000 fps he will need a non-brittle alloy. Rather than focusing on power he should focus on flawless feeding, some flat nosed bullets will hang up in M1895s. He doesnít want a single shot rifle....


    .

  8. #8
    Boolit Master superior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elk hunter View Post
    John,

    Here's to your retirement may you enjoy many years of it.

    As for the choice of bullet for the 450 and given the usual range it would be used at any of them will work. I don't have a 450 but have shot several elk with a 45-70 using the Hornady 350 grain jacketed round nose they all surrendered quickly. My go to elk rifle when the range may exceed 100 yards or so is the 375 H&H stoked with Nosler Partitions. That my friend is a real elk rifle.

    I don't know where you plan to hunt elk in Oregon, most of the tags are awarded by drawing only and you must apply in May, you would be wise check with Oregon fish and Wildlife and anyone else you can about the success rate in the area you choose. We've lost most our Mule Deer and the elk numbers in many areas seem to be going down. It's possible to hunt the whole season in some areas and not see an elk much less a bull. This is not meant to discourage you about elk hunting just a cautionary note about what you may experience. At any rate good luck, I hope you bag a great bear and an exceptional elk.
    I hear that. I lived at the foot of the coast range by the Nestucca river for 20 years. Left Oregon in 2010. Back then, it was hard not to bump into elk whenever I was up in BLM but I hear that numbers are down .

  9. #9
    Boolit Master stubert's Avatar
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    I don't have a 450, I have a 45-70 that loves the noe 350 grain gas check flat nose

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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