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Thread: any thoughts on Marlin's big bores?

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    Default any thoughts on Marlin's big bores?

    i've been dreaming about what to do with my tax return, and had been thinking about picking up a 338win, but today i got the idea that i should maybe look at the marlin options. i don't really know the difference in their three big rounds - 444, 450, 45/70 - i just like the idea of a short, sleek gun. i was thinking that if i got one, i'd go with a receiver peep sight, keeping it simple and quick.

    what is a reasonable expectation for comfortable shooting range on these? or would i be better off going with a 338?

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    My thoughts are as follows.

    I think the lever actions would recoil more, than a bolt action 338.

    I donít like the porting on at least some of those marlins, because Iím afraid the added noise could damage my tender ears.

    Are your eyes still good enough for the iron sights to be useful for you?

    The lever action Marlin cartridges are short range ones, compared to the 338.

    They have a large following, so they must have something going for them. Like, maybe theyíre much faster.

    Iíd like to hear what people who use them think.

    Smitty of the North

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    A 45-70 is certaintly not comparable with a .338 WM. The 45-70 on larger animals is a good stopper when shooting shorter ranges like under 125 yards. I would not hesitate to shoot a grizzly or a moose with mine but the distance would have to be close and the target a good one.
    You are almost comparing apples and oranges. The .338 will shoot a fairly heay bullet at much longer distances than the 45-70 without losing much drop. After 130 yards or so the 45-70 is dropping so fast you would think it is an ugly lady taking off her panties when she see's Brad Pit come into her bedroom.
    Power wise up to 50 yards they are about the same assumming you have the 45-70 loaded to the max with a good bullet.
    Either one is a great cartridge but they each have a different purpose.
    Tennessee

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    Default marlin bigbore

    I bought my marlin Guide gun when they first came out and have run quite a bit of lead through it including stout loads and I've yet to have a problem although I did replace the ejector with the WWG bearproof ejector, but like snowwolfe said they each have a different purpose and I own one of each and wouldn't have it any other way. I've shot mine with the open sights and a scope and the accuracy is pretty good out to 200 yds but there is some drop that far out but I wouldn't hesitate on a moose but for bear I would keep it closer to 100 yds or less. The recoil is more than my 338 winmag when I shoot Garrett hammerheads but if your looking for a compact thumper with a quick action it can't be beat, hence their popularity. My suggestion........buy one of each ;0)~

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    I've been shooting my Marlin since the early 80s. It has taken everything I have asked it to take and without so much as a whimper. I've killed caribou out to 150 yards with open sights. On a side light, I've killed caribou out to 300 yards with the 45/70 in my Sharps. Don't let people tell you that it is only good for short ranges. If I were to shoot longer shots with the Marlin I would put a scope on it. Once you figure the drop it will kill any of the game you would normally take with another round.

    But again, I would keep it under 100 yards for big bears, but I think you should do that with the 338 also. The Marlin is easy to load for too. I've settled on a 350 grain Kodiak bullet at about 2000 fps. I think I can kill anything I'm likely to run into with that load. Afterall, I hunted Kodiak Island in the 70s with a black powder rifle and did not worry about bears. Jim

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    Bothe . 444 & .450 will also produce thye same results with proper handloads & "Specialty" loads from Buffalo Bore.
    I shoot the .444 in a 14" Contender pistol & get 2100 fps from a 270 gr Speer Gold Dot with my standard loads (no pressure problems & not max.).
    with a 175 yd 0 it's 3.5" high at 100 (highest point of the trajectory), 3" low at 200 yds, & 12" low at 250. Easily a 200 yd gun on moose & 250 under the right conditions. And that's a 14" pistol barrell.
    Buffallo Bore shows a 335 gr @ 2025 from rifles if memory serves(in other words somewhere in that area), & 450 Marlin with a 405 @ 1975 or a 430 @ 1900.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Forget to address one part of your post.
    As far as which is the bigger one to choose (444, 450, or 45-70) there is no contest. Choose the 45-70. Much more data and components floating around for it than the other 2 combined. Plus the resale value of the 45-70 is better.
    Tennessee

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    With the 405gr kodiak @ 1925fps out of my guide gun I wouldn't hesitate to shoot out to 150-200 yards. That said it is reallly at its best in close. I'm not terribly impressed with the 338, never had one that really turned my fancy, the 338 RUM is a different story.

    Plus don't overlook the cool factor of a properly outfitted marlin.

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    Default 45/70

    I've had my Marlin 45/70 GG for about 4 years. This fall I was backing up my buddy on a moose at 270 yards on my rangefinder. He shot and the moose started heading for the woods, so I lobbed one in. A 405gr Kodiak punched clean through the moose, breaking an offside rib in the process. I was pretty impressed. I was using a scope and my loads were handloaded pretty stout. John

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    I own 3 lever guns. A Marlin 1895 G in 45-70, a Marlin 336 in 375 Winchester and a Winchester 94AE in 356 Winchester. I enjoy shooting all three os them. My little Marlin in 375 is well used. Home camojob, spray can matte finish and front and rear sight are both gone(scope mounted on it) but that little rifle will lob them 255 grain cast bullets out there.

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    i can't decide what i want...

    i understand that 338 and 45/70 aren't really comparable cartridges, they would just both be able to perform the same task - bear and moose.

    thats a pretty sweet rig, thebear_78. not really my style, but eye-catching.

  12. #12

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    If you have any inkling to do any shooting at longer ranges (beyond 150yd imo) buy the .338WM. I have both a .45/70 1895GS and a Win 70 .338. I use the 45/70 mainly as a bear defense firearm with the ability to "branch out." The .338 is my hunting firearm because I have more options with that caliber at longer ranges. If you hunt in areas where you have no possibility pushing the outer limits of the .45/70, then by all means, get one. A .338 will cover both ends of the spectrum. You can always find a reason to buy both of them too....

  13. #13

    Default That 45-70

    I have had the Marlin 1895 45-70 for many years and think they give a lot of bang for the buck. I put a good recoil pad on it, had the barrel cut to 20" and a full length magazine tube attached so it holds 6 rounds unchambered. The sights were replaced with Ashley Emerson's peep and front post with the white line. I load 405 gr. Kodiak bullets for it. It goes on walks with me and stays in the tent at moose camp. As much as I like that 45-70 I have never killed anything with it yet. I understand it's pros and cons for the type of hunts I go on. As I get older I will end up being the camp cook and I will use it to kill something close to camp and brag to my kids when they come in for the day. If I am hunting I carry my .338 Win. Mag.
    Last edited by .338 mag.; 02-12-2007 at 08:05. Reason: error

  14. #14

    Default The 338

    I've used the 338 for years and it is a much more versitle choice for alaska imho.

    Now unfortunately I'm probably going to stir up a hornets nest but here she goes.

    I've got a 94 winchester in 450 marlin and the 18" barrel.
    Also a modern 1886 saddle ring carbine with the 22 " barrel.
    By sticking to published loading data by Speer and Hornady the 450 marlin outperforms the 45/70. My cronograph readings have supported these results.

    Speer 450 marlin 400 FP @ 1970 24" barrel,
    45/70 for lever actions 400 FP @ 1870 22" barrel so lets give the 45/70 an extra 50 FPS due to barrel length and the 450 marlin still wins.

    Hornady 450 marlin 350 FP @ 2000 18.5" barrel.
    45/70 350 FP @ 1900 22" barrel. To be fair give the 450 marlin another 75-100 FPS here.

    We should all stay within published loading data therefore I prefer the 450 marlin hands down in my experience.

  15. #15

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    a friend and I were hunting deer in a very thick canyon, he had a 7mm rem mag, I had a 45-70 1895, a rut crazed buck came running at us hard! he shot once and missed about 60 yards and closing fast. I put 4 rounds out 3 hit the buck he piled up at our feet. I have no idea what the heck it was thinking but it was nerve wracking. the 45-70 is so quick to get shots off it is sick......in your shoes I would take the 338

  16. #16

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    I have two Marlin 45/70's now, and have owned a 338 in the past. First, with handloads, the 45/70 in the Marlins has quite a bit stiffer recoil than the 338 bolt rifle I had (Win 70). Without a decent recoil pad, yer gonna be hurtin. This extra recoil makes it harder to hit accurately...something to think about. With store-bought ammo, you can select either classic low-pressure loads (Win, Rem, Fed), or modern high-pressure loads (Buffalo Bore) for the 45/70. The B.B. loads for the 45/70 show slightly faster speeds than their 450 Marlin loads, with the same bullets. This makes sense, because the 450 has slightly less case capacity, due to the thicker web, therefore holds slightly less powder (1 or 2 grains is what I heard) However, the bottem-line difference is truly negligable, being maybe 50fps in equal length barrels. Handloaders can accomplish the same thing. My personal choice? It isn't worth arguing about, but I don't like the wide belt on the 450 on the one hand, and I don't like the old-fashioned WIDE rim on the 45/70 either. So it's a toss up....six of one and a half-dozen of the other, neither one look exactly "great" to me. If you are a handloader, then it doesn't matter, the performance is the same, so I'd say just pick one and be happy. If you don't handload, then consider that there is a "banquet table" of different loads available for the 45/70, but only a few for the 450, right off the shelf. I have not used a 444, but it should be right up there also (with proper handloads, or B.B.). But...comparing any of these three to a 338 is like apples and oranges....they aren't in the same league. I remember my 338 was wonderfully accurate out to several hundred yards, had a variable 3-9 Leupold scope, and I could shoot a whole box of ammo without killing my shoulder. Anything out to 300-350 yds was dead meat. Both of my Marlins have a reciever sight, because I bought them for close-in work, not for shooting across a ravine. I like them because of the fine balance and relative lightness...I can carry one all day in the field, and for what I use it for I don't need to shoot a whole box of shells. It's like comparing a Indy 500 race car with a 4X4 mud-bogger....both are wonderful and good, both have 4 wheels and tires and a steering wheel, but are for different purposes. The choice has a lot to do with personal preferences. What rifle will make you most happy? Get that one. My 2 cts worth...

    Marshall

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    Marshall, EXCELLENT post
    Formerly known as one who clings to guns and religion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall/Ak View Post
    ...The choice has a lot to do with personal preferences. What rifle will make you most happy? Get that one. ...
    Marshall makes a whole lot of sense. I would add that I also shoot a Marlin lever action and the Marlin is worth owning just because it is so danged cool. If you buy a Marlin, I would buy the .45-70 because ammo is more versatile and available than the .450 or .444. The .444 is basically a .44 Magnum bullet in a longer case. The .444 is basically obsolete as a rifle cartridge as far as I'm concerned. The .338 definitely has its place and purpose in big game hunting where a flat trajectory and heavy bullet are needed. The Marlin is more of a cruiser that I use for woods walking when I'm not necessarily hunting. Nothing better or faster to have on hand in that case.

    If you don't know which one will make you most happy, you know what to do...get 'em both. Those guns make a good team and I don't think either gun will be jealous when you take the other one hunting.

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    Marshall,

    Yes, very good info. You're correct about the 450 vs 45-70 capacity. I weighed a starline 45-70 and a hornady 450 case and got 76.6 grains for the 45-70 and 74.8 grains for the 450 Marlin case for water capacity. Not enough to worry about, but because of the case shape the 45-70 (being pear shaped) will hold a little more when the same bullet is seated to the same OAL.


    T'bear,

    That is a nice set up. Did you put that together yourself or was there hired help involved? What are those little holes up front in the barrel? l:-)
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by schloss View Post
    ...what is a reasonable expectation for comfortable shooting range on these? or would i be better off going with a 338?
    Any Marlin rifle is likely to be a tack driver out to 150 yards or so. The .338 Win. Mag is easliy a 250 yard cartridge in a good rifle.

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