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  1. #1
    Member asdaven is on a distinguished road
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    Default best lever gun caliber .45-70 vs 44 magnum vs 45 colt

    I'm looking to buy a new lever gun. I have a Martin 336 in 30-30 already. I'm mostly into Target shooting and plinking. I maybe get into deer hunting someday though. I don't reload my ammo, so what cartridge would be the best money per round in factory loadings? I think 45-70 would give me the most range and power. But I read in factory loadings, that 44 magnum is almost as powerful as 45-70 and a lot cheaper. I read the 45 colt has a lot of potential, but as with 45-70 is "tuned" down for use in vintage gun whereas 44 mag isn't. Factory .45-70 is pretty expensive, so I'm wondering how much more range .45-70 will give me over .44 mag in factory loadings?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Awesome Moderator 220combat will become famous soon enough 220combat's Avatar
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    The 45-70 is the most powerful of these cartridges, and as you stated it does cost the most. If you are a handloader the 45-70 is great. Otherwise, the 44 mag or 45 Colt are very close to each other, especially in a carbine.

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  3. #3
    Member asdaven is on a distinguished road
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    Thanks-
    What kind of range are you going to get from 45-70 at factory loadings? Is it a lot more than .44 magnum? The high power "Buffalo Bore" 45-70 ammo looks really expensive. I believe most commercial ammo is "loaded" down to fire in the Trapdoor Springfield. I have read that .44 magnum may even be more powerful than the low power .45-70 factory ammo plus it the .44 is a lighter bullet, which maybe more flatter shooting and offer more range? Is this true?

  4. #4
    Senior Member NGF Addict! coach1299 will become famous soon enough coach1299 will become famous soon enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdaven View Post
    Thanks-
    What kind of range are you going to get from 45-70 at factory loadings? Is it a lot more than .44 magnum? The high power "Buffalo Bore" 45-70 ammo looks really expensive. I believe most commercial ammo is "loaded" down to fire in the Trapdoor Springfield. I have read that .44 magnum may even be more powerful than the low power .45-70 factory ammo plus it the .44 is a lighter bullet, which maybe more flatter shooting and offer more range? Is this true?
    If you're looking for power than you do need to stay with the bigger bore calibers that you guys already discussed. The 35 Remington, 454 Casull and the 444 Marlin can also be considered in lever actions if power is the sole objective, but if you're talking about plinking for fun without getting into rimfires, then you might want to consider the 38/357 levers. That's about as cheap as you're going to get for centerfire, with very good factory load availabilty, and with high end premium 357 factory loads you can still hunt some medium game like deer and boar at close ranges.
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    Senior Member NGF Addict! coach1299 will become famous soon enough coach1299 will become famous soon enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdaven View Post
    I'm looking to buy a new lever gun. I have a Martin 336 in 30-30 already. I'm mostly into Target shooting and plinking. I maybe get into deer hunting someday though. I don't reload my ammo, so what cartridge would be the best money per round in factory loadings? I think 45-70 would give me the most range and power. But I read in factory loadings, that 44 magnum is almost as powerful as 45-70 and a lot cheaper. I read the 45 colt has a lot of potential, but as with 45-70 is "tuned" down for use in vintage gun whereas 44 mag isn't. Factory .45-70 is pretty expensive, so I'm wondering how much more range .45-70 will give me over .44 mag in factory loadings?
    Thanks
    One other thought; If you're looking for range and power then forget about lever actions and get yourself a good high power bolt action rifle chambered for 30 cal or higher. Playing around with levers for that purpose will give you marginal results at best with special very expensive high end ammo (like Lever Revolutrion), but that's aboout. It would be like trying to tow a 30 foot boat with a six cylinder vehicle.
    Last edited by coach1299; 03-23-2011 at 10:41 AM.

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    .45 Long Colt to me is the funnest to shoot out of a lever action. But the .45-70 Government Round is more powerful. But i would go with the .45 Long Colt. The .45-70 Government is to big, and its like for taking down buffalo's. But I still love the .45-70 Government. The .44 Magnum to me is only good in Revolvers.

  7. #7
    Member asdaven is on a distinguished road
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    I guess i'll save my Garand for longer range shooting. I plan on getting a 1903A3 as well. 45-70 is just way too expensive. I already have a 30-30 lever action marlin, which is decent with distance. I just didin't know if a 45-70 would go father than a 30-30. So, maybe I should look for a shorter distance lever gun with a shorter lever throw like in the pistol calibers or even .22 LR.
    Thanks-

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdaven View Post
    I guess i'll save my Garand for longer range shooting. I plan on getting a 1903A3 as well. 45-70 is just way too expensive. I already have a 30-30 lever action marlin, which is decent with distance. I just didin't know if a 45-70 would go father than a 30-30. So, maybe I should look for a shorter distance lever gun with a shorter lever throw like in the pistol calibers or even .22 LR.
    Thanks-
    Now I think you're seeing the light as far as the difference in big special purpose center fire (like 45-70) and economic plinking with a lever gun. For starters try this ballistic chart to answer some of your questions: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. As far as your 30 30, I think that's an excellent chambering for deer, boar, black bear, and other medium game. You can even cheat up to small elk at closer ranges. It's also one of the most available and cheapest 30 cal center fire cartridges that you'll find on the shelves, and you can have some fun shooting that once in a while without breaking the bank, but your other big bore center fires for lever actions can get be hard to come by and expensive for plinking. Now for inexpensive shooting you can't come close to beating the 22LR, however it's limited to small game like squirrels rabbits, maybe some foxes and similar, and fun shooting, but being that you already have a center fire lever, I recommend that you get a lever action 22 LR. Later on you can consider expanding your lever collection to something else like the 38/357 which lies somewhere in between a lever 22 and your lever 30.30, although categorically it's much closer to the 30-30. It's just an option to have a little more fun and versatility for some medium game hunting and plinking at a better cost than your 30-30, but your 30-30 does already have that medium game hunting category well covered. I'm just passing these thoughts along because it's the most practical route if your a lever addict like me. I actually purchased my levers in a little bit different order than what I suggested to you because I started off with the 22 LR, then went to a 357 lever, and then just recently got my 30-30, which is a must have for all lever fans IMO. Good choices for 22 levers are offered by Winchester (the 9422) not currently in production, Browning has a nice little lever 22, not sure if it's currently in or out of production, and Henry seems to be currently making a nice 22 lever which has all the outer appearances of the Winchester 9422. Marlin also has a lever 22. I think it's the Model 39 off the top of my head but not sure if production is on going or not. From what I've seen on the shelves, Henry is the most commonly available. I think Dicks Sporting Goods and Walmart carry them for about $400.00 give or take depending on sales and deals, but don't rule out your smaller stores for a few bucks. I got my treasured 9422 from a small but well stocked local gun shop (Meltzers, Garfield, NJ), and the personal atmosphere, assistance, and service was worth it for the few extra bucks, rather than dealing with someone form one of the typical discount stores like I mentioned above, who probably doesn't give a hoot about guns, but would rather be stocking shelves with underwear or baseballs. Just some thought for you to digest from one lever guy to another. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Member Spar07 is on a distinguished road
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    Another caliber larger than a .30 that is interesting to shoot is the .338 Win Mag. I shot the 200 grain BTBT at 3K fps and it is a cooker. My Ruger 77 MK1 had a muzzle break on it and the officer I bought it from stated that I should leave the break on. He told me that he took it off and ran a round through it. He went on to say that the recoil woke him up. I never tried it like that so I can't say. But, it did come with an Limb Saver kick pad which made it comfortable to shoot.
    The 225 grain loaded up places the .338 within the .375 H&H Mag class as far as energies go. It is a good heavy hitter and fun to shoot.

  10. #10
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    .338 Win Mag is chambered in a lever action rifle?
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