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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading a lot on here over the last year or so, but this is my first post. I hope I'm doing this right.. But regardless, I just got laid off from work, and all the sudden find myself with a whole lot of time on my hands. It's got me thinking about the versatility of my rifles. I'm the proud owner of a JM stamped 1895G, and to be perfectly honest, it's my favorite rifle. What I'm wondering though is the versatility of the .45-70 round. I don't currently handload/reload due to financial constraints, so I can't come up with my own recipes for any and all roles a rifle can fill. What I've been thinking is trading my guide gun in for an 1892 or 1894 44 mag or 45 colt. All of the game animals in my foreseeable future really won't be able to tell the difference between any of the 3 in this post, so I'm not worried about that at all, but what I'd like to know is about the factory loadings for the "other" functions a firearm can perform. From what I can tell for factory loads (as again, I'm not set up for hand loading), is that it's rather inappropriate to use the 45-70 for all of those "other" uses. I.E. Home defense, truck gun, backpacking etc. Again, any animal in my area really isn't going to be able to tell the difference between the 3. Dead is dead. So for those of you with more experience, would it be a logical choice to see if I could trade my 1895 for a pistol caliber carbine? And I'm not just talking Marlin, but Rossi and maybe a Henry big boy or Winchester if I could find a good enough deal on one. For the time being, I'm going to be limited to trading what I already have, as there is no way I can outright buy a new rifle right now. As much as I love my guide gun, I might be willing to do. Just wondering if anybody has any advice. Plus, I could really use a project gun to tinker with when I get the chance to.

I'm pretty sure this topic has been covered time and again, but technology and I generally don't get along very well, and the "search" box hasn't been a very big help to me here on the forum. So I apologize if this is just beating a dead horse. But any insights to the versatility of the 3 calibers would be much appreciated. Thanks to all
 

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Welcome to the forum.
Quite frankly....I think your nuts getting rid of the 45-70. BUT.....if you do ? Get a 44mag ! In a 1894 Marlin of course. Very versatile and easily reloadable. 45 colt looks good , but sometimes its a pain getting real good accuracy out of a 45 colt in a rifle...................Factory ammo is cheaper for either rather than the 45-70.
The limiting factor is that you don't reload. If you did you already have a 44mag and 45colt.....just download it to pistol levels.
Whatever you get....make it a 44mag !
 

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Welcome Aboard 19DGG!

The 1895 is a far more capable big game rifle, hands down...That being said, if you live somewhere that there's no large predators (southwest USA for instance) it's conceivable you could be better off with a 44 magnum carbine. I would tend to discount a 45 Colt carbine unless you could handload for it. With a 44, you can purchase ready-made ammo in a huge variety of power levels. Plus, even the carbine length 44's will hold ten rounds in the magazine, and there's no stigma attached to a lever gun the way there is with an AR or AK.

You will have to practice with it extensively however. Skill with a levergun is earned the old fashioned way, with lots of practice. I own a Puma 44 Saddle Ring Carbine, and it's a really good rifle. You should be able to trade your 1895 and get money/ammo in return, along with a 44 carbine....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks gentlemen. I was afraid of both answers lol. In a perfect world, I would absolutely keep my guide gun and just go buy more. Unfortunately... But lucky for me I haven't actually made my mind up about what to do. I'm real hesitant even thinking about trading the 1885, as I know how well it shoots, and I've heard all about recent marlin issues. Just trying to weigh options. Maybe I'll sit tight for the moment until I find a nice rich girl, or maybe I'll end up trading. I don't know. Yesterday at one of the local shops they had a Wichseter '94 AE .357 that was labeled "unfired," but they also wanted $1000 for it. Really nice rifle, but I'd rather stick with a heavier round. Personal preference is all. Again, thanks guys. Food for thought.
 

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The Marlin 1894 and Winchester 1892 are very fine rifles. 45 Colt is an excellent stopper, and can be loaded to near 45-70 performance if there's no chance they will find their way into an SAA or clone - too thin walled for any pressure over 12,000 psi. Of the two calibers, .44 Magnum is probably the most flexible in practice if you want a hunting rifle for larger animals.

Older Marlin 1894s have a slow, 38" twist for both 45 Colt and .44 Magnum. Newer rifles with ballard rifling have a 1:18" for 45 colt, but sadly 1:38" is retained in .44 magnum. That means you may not be able to stabilize bullets heavier than 300 grains. Winchester 1892s have a 1:20" twist for both calibers, which is useful up to 350 grains or so.

The 1892 is designed for pistol calibers, whereas the 1894 has a longer action designed for .38 WCF or .30 WCF (aka 30-30), and is not quite as reliable for pistol length cartridges. Winchester rifles eject through the top of the receiver, and flip cases into the next county regardless of how fast or slow you operate the lever. Something to consider if you reload or want to use a scope. The Winchester must be operated briskly, whereas a Marlin is much more forgiving. Both can jam, but it's much easier to clear a Winchester. The 94 lever must be squeezed and held against spring tension to fire. It's not a lawyer thing, but found in Winchesters since 1873, skipping the 1886 and 1892 models.

You will never forgive yourself if you sell the 45-70. There is no cure for the lever gun itch. Just pretend you're an Alaskan Guide (or Walter Mitty), facing a mama grizzly. What's it gonna' be - a 45-70 or a pistol cartridge?

Thw street price for a Winchester is about $960, comparable to a Marlin Cowboy Limited. The Rossi is about $500, comparable to a pedestrian Marlin. With the Rossi, you will need about $200 in gunsmithing to bring it to Winchester or Marlin smoothness, and have an aggravating safety on top of the bolt. The new 92s have a tang safety, but the 94's an ugly cross bolt like the Marlins. Winchester uses a rebounding hammer, whereas the Marlin retains a traditional half-cock safety.
 

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I say keep the 45-70 and get a low cost Lee reloading setup...You will be surprised how inexpensive it can be if you go with the Lee brand. I have used many of their products and have bought a set up for my son in law to get started on. Down load the 45-70 and have a hoot with it.

Get the 1894 once you go back to work, or find that long lost Sugar Momma!

Ken
 

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Hey 19,

Even if you do not reload now, you may pick it up in the future. (used reloading equipment can be had for cheap, sometimes. Yard sales, gun club bulletin boards......ebay......etc)

Keep the 45/70. Even the mildest of factory ammo, is way more than either of the other two. (not knocking the 44 mag or 45 LC, just stating the facts)

And maybe, a used trade in 1894, may come along for a great price.

Later, Mark
 

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look at the lee loading as others said. You can get the simple hand press version for little money and the 45-70 is easy to reload. somewhere on this site there is a thread of a guy sitting on a stump in the woods reloading a round and shooting. can be done cheap if you are only plinking. keep the 45-70
 

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Another vote in favor of keeping the 45-70. Ammo versatility is available, even you don't handload. Winchester cowboy loads with a 405 gr lead bullet are really mild. For a little more punch, the Winchester 300 grain JHP works good, and I hear that there are hotter loads specifically for the Marlin lever guns (Buffalo Bore comes to mind--please correct me if I am mistaken). As mentioned, you may be able to pick up reloading in the future.


Also remember the one infallible rule when you go to trade a firearm--THEY HAVE GOLD, YOU HAVE TRASH. Just seems like it always works that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
All good input. Reloading is something I've been wanting to get into for a handful of years now, but keeps feet in postponed. And I guess another thing I need to ask about the 1895 is the trigger. I've looked at a lot of the action jobs listed by some of the custom shops, and every one says the trigger needs work to remove creep, clean up the break and all that. The trigger on mine is actually the cleanest, best trigger I have on any of my guns. There is absolutely no squishy, no creep, anything. It's not the lightest trigger the world, but it is CLEAN. If I had to guess, I'd say roughly 6 or 7lb trigger pull. I picked up the rifle used a few years back and the lack of wear on the internals and especially the loading gate led me to believe that somebody had bought the rifle for the cool factor, fired it a couple of times and then put it away. I've put maybe 500 rounds through it since I've had it, and the action has smoothed out quite a bit, so I'm pretty sure it hasn't seen a gunsmith, but did they come from the factory with triggers that good? The other levers I've played with had nowhere near as clean of a break as mine does. I've got a 1911 and a saiga 308 that I put a lot of work into, but still, my guide gun has the best trigger out of the bunch. Is this normal?
 

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My guide gun trigger is very nice. I'd guess somewhere in the 5 pound range but its quite clean. Not sako/tikka clean, but its much better then some other reports I've read. Like you have noticed, the actions can become very smooth with normal use. I used to work the action back and forth while watching tv. Clean it up, oil it up and do it again. It's very smooth now that the mating surfaces were worked together. I wouldn't sell the 1895 either. If the time came to buy another, you'll pay a much steeper price. The 45-70 can be loaded with a variety of bullets and powder charges making it very versatile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I was just down at Cabela's talking to the guys at the gun counter. They're telling me that Marlin is progressively getting worse, so a new Marlin is out. The only one I looked at was one of the new 1895GBLs, and I wasn't very impressed. Between the no-so-perfect wood to metal fit and the magazine tube being mounted a touch to the left at the end of the barrel, I cant say that I disagree with their assessment. I did really like the Henry Big Boy though. That just looked and felt like quality. And there is that octagon barrel. Cant go wrong with that. But it's also out of my price range right now, trade in or not. They also had a custom JM stamped 1894 in 44 mag with scope mounted and engraved with gold inlays and everything. Really nice looking rifle, but they also wanted $1500 for it. Anyone interested in such a thing should be able to find it on the Cabela's website Gun Library. For the time being I'm just going to hang on to my guide gun, piece together a reloading kit, and save for another rifle one day down the road. Now if only the VA would hurry up with my claim... Thanks to all for the responses and feedback. I'll be in touch
 

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Hey 19DGG, you're doing the right thing. When I was young, I sold four guns, two pistols a rifle and a shotgun. It's been over 25 years now and I still regret it and feel embarrassed and ashamed for doing it. I'll never sell another gun in my lifetime. Keep your rifle and learn how to load for it. If you happen to have $20 in your pocket, get yourself a copy of the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook and learn how to feed that rifle properly. You could spend the next 6 months reading reloading manuals and then you'll at least have a good foundation of book knowledge from whence to start out. It won't cost a fortune either, you might even find some at used book stores, I have.....
 

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I bought two new (REM) Marlins last year, a .44 Mag and a 45-70 Guide Gun, and am well pleased with their fit and finish. The actions were very smooth out of the box, and just get nicer with use.

The triggers ran 6.25# and 6.5#, with negligible creep. That is really not bad for a hunting rifle, but I wanted something better, without sacrificing reliable ignition. Thw WWG "Happy Trigger" was highly recommended on this forum, and worked very well for me. The final trigger pull is about 3# (measured with an Hornady spring gauge). Moreover, the Marlin Flop (due to the two piece trigger) is gone. I also have a Cowboy Limited in .45 Colt, marked JM, which had an excellent trigger at 4.5#. The Happy Trigger upgrade brought the pull down to 2.25# - safe (no pushoff) but almost too light, and comparable to what I have on a couple of Ruger bolt action rifles.
 

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I would not worry too much about the +300 grain .44 bullets. Hard cast 240/250 Keith style bullets will go stem to stern in deer size game.
 

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I'd suggest getting the Lee hand tool, a set of dies and some of the Lee dippers. Using a cast bullet and some Unique you can pretty much duplicate the black powder load for cheap.

The gunsmiths buy nice guns, send kids to college and hunt exotic game based on how bad they can make you think your stock rifle is. ;) If you can shoot decent groups with the OEM trigger then don't fix what ain't broke.

I had an 1894 Cowboy in .44 that I wish I hadn't sold and a Winchester 94 in .45 Colt that actually shot pretty well that I shouldn't have traded. Neither was half the rifle the 1895 Guide Gun is.

All IMHO.
 
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