Anyone using 45/70 for deer?


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I am developing a load for a 45/70 Marlin for use on deer and boar. The problem is, it's a slightly oversized microgroove barrel rifle that is not sufficiently accurate with standard cast lead bullets. After a hell of a lot of time and trial I appear to have an accuracy load with 300 grain jacketed hollow point bullets giving a MV of about 1900 fps with 2420 ft/lb muzzle energy, delivering 1040 at 200 yards, according to Quickload. More importantly, accuracy seems a reliable 1.5" group at 110 yards, with a one inch either side point blank range from 20 yards to 125yards.

My question is for anyone who has used such a round, or similar, is to do with the terminal effect in respect of meat damage. Any other informed observations would be welcome.

The tramp

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Use it. That'll knock'm down no problem. Eat right up to the hole too. I used to use a 320gr 444marlin at about 1870fps and it worked a treat.

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I've used them for years: Remington Rolling blocks and Trapdoor Springfields through Marlins and Siamese Mausers. Great round.~Muir


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A hunting ang reloading companion of mine, now deceased, used a 300-gr Hornady in his Marlin with H-4198 @ 1,800 fps for sub moa accuracy. It flattened deer and hogs.... All shots inside 120 yards

alberta boy

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I've used pretty much the same load a number of times on white-tails , mulies and one porcupine , long story . It will definitely do the job for you . Expansion can be a bit abrupt up close but nothing excessive . The Hornady is a very reliable bullet , and recoil is quite mild compared to heavier bullet loadings . I didn't have any issues with meat damage ( except for the porcupine ) I'm sure you'll be happy with it .
Muir would know far more than me on this topic , but a lot of Microgrooved Marlin owners have issues with cast bullets . Apparently , recutting the throat so it's longer and at a shallower angle helps . I had one myself years ago . After , like you , a lot of trial and error , I found a load using hard cast 405 + or - gr gas checked bullets over IMR 4198 that would chop out one inch three shot groups . To be honest , I've pretty much stuck with the same load for about 25 years .
If , a big if I know , you can get your hands on some Hornady 325 FTX bullets , they're well worth a try .They shoot quite flat for a 45/70 and have far better energy retention than the 300 gr hollow points . I've only seen two animals taken with them , a white-tail and a good sized black bear , but they worked perfectly . Both animals went down instantly , unusual for a black bear . I do have a fair amount of loading data , drop me a pm if you're interested .

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My Son owns a Marlin 1895 Cowboy with a 26" "Ballard Rifled" barrel. Shoots the Gould 330 grain HP into one ragged 2" wide hole at 100 yards with his young eyes in control. I shoot a custom Siamese Mauser 98 45-70: it is the ultimate 45-70 powerhouse. MOA and deadly.~Muir


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What happened to the .308
When putting in for the variation to shoot deer, I put down for my Marlin 45/70 and a .308. I bought a Bergara break barrel because it ticked a lot of boxes for me but the accuracy was unacceptable. After no small amount of expense shooting factory and reloads it was on the point of going back when in the space of about 5 rounds it started to shoot with acceptable accuracy. I have no idea why the sudden change but it was quite definite. May have been a barrel running in issue or a burr somewhere but I decided to keep it. It was kicky as hell, but a Wildcat Evolution sound moderator, purchased after I decided to keep the rifle, tamed it considerably.

In theory, the .308 will be for deer and the Marlin for wild boar, but I do love shooting the Marlin, and if the load I have remains accurate it may get used on deer as well. It will be a long time before I take a shot at over 125 yards, so either rifle will suit, with the Marlin offering a fast follow up shot if need be.