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Thread: 45/70 vs 444 Marlin

  1. #1

    Default 45/70 vs 444 Marlin

    Thinking about getting a lever action rifle for bear protection and possibly bear hunting. Plus I just want to buy one. Any thoughts on a 45/70 vs. a 444 Marlin. Just splitting hairs or is there a difference. You can use bigger bullets in the 45/70, but will probably give up velocity. Not a fan of the 450 marlin, but don't know why.

    If you have some good insight let me know. Will probably buy a Marlin Guide Gun, but wouldn't mind lucking into a Mod 94 in 444. Had a chance to buy one several years ago and of course made a mistake and left it at the store.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    Western,

    I posted a 45/70 question in a recent thread. Love my Marlin Guide gun but am not familiear with the 444. There is alot of comparisons with the 300's on the forum but would like to hear from the knowledgable all the pros and cons about the45/70, 444, 457 wild west etc. Let me say that I do not know alot about ballistics and such and thats why I am asking questions. Why would a guide (BRWNBR) use a 416 as apposed to a 444 or 457 wild west, other than distance? Remember guys, I'm handicapted here. Don't make me feel dumber than I am.

  3. #3

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    the 45-70 has a better selection of bullets and loaded catrridge choices, the .444 is fully capeable but out classed by the 45-70. the 416 is a cartridge designed for use with modern powders from day one...the 45-70 was not, the 416 is a far more powerful rifle at distances of 100 yards or more, the 45-70 is at home out to about 100yds and the 444 is a good choice for up close and presonal......imo

  4. #4
    Member nibenza's Avatar
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    A gudes job is to be backup at close range right? So why the 416 as apposed to a 45/70 or 444?

  5. #5
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    Default .45-70 vs. .444 Marlin

    Kept inside reasonable ranges (say 200 yards) the only major advantage a modern .45-70 might have over the .444 is that it tosses bigger bullets. This kind of gun shines because of it's niche anyway..big, heavy bullets at modest velocity= superior penetration. I load my .45-70 with heavy cast bullets (425 grain typically) and keep them around 1800 fps or less..they will shoot through just about anything you care to shoot at. and accurately too! Im not a big fan of scoped lever guns as I believe it defies the purpose. I use a ghost ring setup and I love it. it's a brush gun and should be kept handy like one. If you really want to get the most out of these lever guns, learn to reload for them. Dont be limited by what the manufacturers want you to shoot. Personally, I dont see much point in shooting hollowpoints out of a big bore gun. You need a stronger bullet for tough game and if protection is your concern, it is absolutely key! Beartooth makes the best cast bullets in my opinion, and Kodiak makes the very best bonded jacketed bullets. JMHO

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibenza View Post
    A gudes job is to be backup at close range right? So why the 416 as apposed to a 45/70 or 444?
    cause the 460 weatherby kicks too hard and is too expensive to shoot

  7. #7

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    Looking through my reloading books and the larger bullet is a big plus in the 45-70. I'm used to the velocity school of thought and not the big bore penetration school of thought. I'm used to shooting deer, antelope, and elk at modest to long ranges back in Wyoming and Montana.

    Seems weird that such a slow bullet can penetrate so well. I believe it, but have never experienced it. I'd better go buy the 45-70 and shoot some trees or phone books.

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Try This

    Surely there is someone on this site that would let you fire their 45-70 Guide gun at the local range. Then you'll understand. Just ask nicely.

  9. #9
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    Default western..

    The .45-70 is a wonderful gun when kept within some realistic limits. Personally, I dont plan on shooting anything over 100 yards with mine, and I dont practice to do so. I like to walk the beaches in PWS or Kodiak with my guide gun and sneak up on deer. With those big, slow cast bullets they cut neat little holes right through those guys that you can almost see through, with almost NO meat damage. No expansion required! Hey you already got a half inch hole right? A great little deer gun, and if something bigger wants to play too...I got just the medicine for them. I certainly wouldnt use the rifle for hunting in the open hills or plains, as it literally lobs bullets out like a shot-put. But in a tight, brushy situation I always go for the lever gun.

  10. #10

    Default

    I've got both plus one other I'll describe in a moment. The biggest negative I see for the 444 is it's limited case capacity by the time you stuff 300 grain bullets in it. The 429 300's have much better SD than the 458 300's, but you just can't get them moving. Heavier than that and the choices get really skinny for the 444 while you have lots of options in 458FN.

    The third gun I have is a wildcat on the Marlin, starting with the 45-70 case, bottlenecked to accept 429 bullets with the shoulders blown out to almost straight wall. It tops the 45-70 a fair bit in case capacity while really leaving the 444 capacity behind. With that extra space and a different spectrum of powders it's possible to beat the 45-70 while picking up the extra SD, and it leaves the 444 in the dust. Selection of bullets heavier than 300 is still skinny, but I'm not too worried when using heavy-wall Hawk bullets. ANY 44 cal pistol bullet is a little too lightly constructed when the velocity climbs to well over 2000 fps.

    On that note, you ought to see what the wildcat will do with 240 grain pistol bullets. Dandy varmint loads! You would think the 180's would be even better, but they often leave that nasty old blue streak in the air and fail to reach the target.

    Having been through the exercize, I'm sorely tempted to "improve" a 45-70 by blowing out the shoulders the same way. Probably a really expensive way to duplicate the 450 Marlin, but I've never claimed any wildcat was smart. Just sounds like it might be fun to play with the idea.

  11. #11
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    Default Brownbear...

    So what do you call that wildcat anyway? Sounds like fun.

  12. #12

    Default .45-70 vs. .444

    The .444 is just a .44 Magnum round stretched out and put in a rifle. The bullet selection is the MAIN drawback to the .444. It is absolutely deadly on black bear and deer-size game, but when the game can "shoot back", I want a .45-70 or .338 or .375 at that particular moment. Or a hunting partner with me that I can outrun..........
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  13. #13

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    The wildcat is called a 44 Kodiak. It's a whole bunch of fun, but I could just as well have used all the money for something else. On top of the gunsmithing work, the custom loading dies were close to $200.

    On the plus side, since it's a bottleneck case I get away with a 2-die set for reloading rather than a 3-die set like the 45-70. I also get to shoot all those cheap pistol bullets I have laying around. If you like big, loud plinkers and do a lot of shooting, it's pretty easy to justify. But if you have to get out the slide rule to find enough advantages to justify it for game, then there are almost certainly cheaper alternatives that work just about as well.

  14. #14

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    I have a 338 that I'll do most of my bear hunting with. Most of my guns are for plinking with the exception of my 338 and 270. They are my serious hunting guns. I try to buy at least one gun a year and this year I've been thinking of the guide gun or a 1911. I have a glock that I like and trust plus a bunch of revolvers. I probably won't find time to shoot another pistol so the guide gun it is. The only lever action I have is an old model 88 in 243 so I figure I better get another lever gun for the gunsafe. Have also thought about getting a very long 45-70 barrel for my encore. Do some long range lobbing, but that is a different subject.

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