Marlin SBL 45-70, looking for opinions.

Swedish

Well-Known Member
OK folks, I'm feeling an itch in the form of the Marlin SBL in 45-70 for Boar and woodland work. They can be fitted with a nice aftermarket trigger and tuned up a bit into seemingly a rather nice lever gun, and who doesn't love a lever gun? :love:

I'd be interested to hear of anyone's experience good or bad with one of these rifles. Thank you.
 

stubear

Well-Known Member
I just bought one this weekend - an 1895GBL in .45-70.

They are really nice rifles to handle with a nice short barrel and very pointable. The stock trigger is pretty decent, certainly no complaints from me. I was originally planning to use the iron sights on mine but I must admit I found them to be pretty unscientific. Even at 50y a single click of elevation adjustment moves you about 10" it seems like. I had a choice of either way too high or way too low on the target!

Its also very hard to adjust windage as the blade foresight is pretty much fixed and the only way to adjust is to tap it left or right with a small hammer and pin. I dont really like the idea of that so my purist view of old school iron sights is wavering.

They do kick a bit even with mild 405gn loads so dont expect modern day accuracy, and short barrels plus heavy bullets mean you arent going to get stellar velocity. Count on ~2 to 2.5MOA.

They are not long range rifles by any means - personally I am planning to set mine up with a red dot sight and zero it at 50y, and I suspect that will probably be about right.

I've no experience of them on live quarry but I gather for driven boar they are great because of the big heavy bullet - when you hit something it tends to know its been hit! And then for deer they are also apparently decent because they dont do much meat damage, and tend to pole axe the intended target. This is all anecdotal evidence based on what I've read and what people have told me, so certainly not personal experience.

They are a lot of fun to shoot though and they look great, plus as something to lug about all day they are compact and lightweight.
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
I don't know which rear sight you have on your Marlin - notched ladder or folding blade, but let me make a few suggestions.

1. You don't need to be adjusting the elevation in the field. Zero it at 100 yards, with the POI right on top of the bead. That way, at 150 yards, your point of impact will be right in the center of the bead.

2. I like the Williams or Lyman rear sight which folds, has elevation markings, locks elevation with two screws, and has windage adjustment in the hinge. You tap it in to get it tight, and the windage pretty close at 25 yards. Then use the windage screw to dial in perfection at 50 and 100 yards.

3. Now, with the folding rear leaf, if that is not good enough for you, add a Lyman rear aperture sight, mounted to the side of the receiver, with target knobs.
The aperture thread hole serves as a ghost ring, just like the No.4 Mk I Engfield.
The sight comes with two apertures, fine and larger.
The target knobs are finger adjustable in the field. The regular ones adjust with a penny. The Williams sight windage and elevation are flush, and require a screwdriver.
The Lyman sight removes with a push button and returns to zero. So you can remove, put it into a tight little coat pocket, and use the open sights, or a scope or red dot on a rail in QR rings.

Merit makes a sight disc with an adjustable iris for light conditions and your eyesight.
Merit makes a sight disk with a white ring for dim light. It is very fast to get on with the white bead of the Marlin front sight.

4. Load up some 300-gr Hornady bullets to about 1800 fps. My load is for a 22 inch barrel 1895 with H-4198, so no use to you.
This is a great load inside 100 yards. Flattens deer, mild on the shoulder, very accurate.
For big boar, just step it up a little bit.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
I've owned a few Marlin 1895's over the years and currently have an 1895 G Guide Gun . Apart from some issues when Remington took over Marlin some years back ( the infamous remlins ) they are very well made and accurate guns . Stubear is right about recoil , the short barreled 95's can be snappy . I will say , my rifle will do 1.5 inches at 100 yards with my reloads ( hornady 350 FP's ) and a bit better with Hornady Leverevolution 325 Flextips . This was with a fixed four Leopold M8 scope , I've since switched to a Vortex SPARC 2 red dot , perfect for what I do with my 45/70 . While accurate , the Flextips aren't a heavily constructed bullet . A member on this site used them on a good sized Black Bear a few years ago . The Bear dropped instantly at the shot , as a matter of fact , it's the only bang/flop shot I've ever seen on a bear . That being said , the bullet completely came apart on a chest shot . I think the bullet would have failed if it would have hit bone . Long story short , not something I'd use on Boar . I'd stick with something a bit more heavily constructed , the hornady 350 gr Flat Point bullets really do work well . I've used them on Moose , Mulies and White-Tails , absolutely reliable . The factory 405's work really well on big game , but they do drop quickly . The vast majority of my shots are 100 yards and under , so it really isn't an issue for me . The only thing to keep in mind when reloading 45/70's is the fact that 458 bullets are designed to perform best at very different velocities . The Speer 400 gr is designed to perform best at about 1400 to 1500fps ( this is according to Speer , I phoned and spoke to them years ago , great guys ) I've seen them behave like varmint bullets when pushed to fast , 2000fps out of a browning B-78 . The Hornady 350 round nose is designed to expand at 458WM velocities and won't expand well at 45/70 speeds , the 350 gr Flat Point was developed with the 45/70 in mind and works perfectly .
As too the factory sights , my old eyes can't use them anymore . Even when I could , I didn't . I prefer a set of receiver sights over any open notch barrel mounted sights . Skinners Sights in Montana makes a really nice set for about $ 150 CDN , but there are a lot of other options . I like low powered scopes or red dots myself . I used the previously mentioned 4x for a while until it caught me with a smack to the head , as Stalker308 can attest lol . My fault entirely , I got a little too relaxed for the shot , live and learn . Like I said earlier , I have a SPARC 2 on it now and it works exactly as designed . Lots of eye relief , I shoot with both eyes open , so excellent for fast moving game , and it doesn't upset the balance of the rifle . Sorry for the long winded response ........... but you did ask lol . Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions , I've been using 95's since the 1970's and have a lot of info and sources for parts and accessories .

AB
 

Swedish

Well-Known Member
Gosh, some really comprehensive replies, thank you very much for taking the time. Its for short range work maybe out to 100yds or so. I'm considering a guide scope for it with long eye relief maybe a Burris or a Vortex.
 

Andy RV

Well-Known Member
I’ve got the 1895 Cowboy with the 26” octagonal barrel, it holds 9 rounds in the tube!

I swapped out the factory rear sight for a skinner peep sight on the receiver, this was a great improvement over the buckhorn sight.

Externally they are well finished however most of the edges of the receiver are sharp enough to draw blood, especially when you get your finger trapped in the loading gate! I stripped mine down and stoned all the sharp edges.

I’ve only used mine against paper so far but no doubt it would bring down all the majority of what you point it at.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
Gosh, some really comprehensive replies, thank you very much for taking the time. Its for short range work maybe out to 100yds or so. I'm considering a guide scope for it with long eye relief maybe a Burris or a Vortex.
My hunting partner has used an SBL for about four years now . To be honest , I think it's one of the most practical 95's Marlins made . He has a fixed 2.5 IER scope on it mounted with quick detachable rings . I've used long eye relief scopes on a few rifles and found that anything higher than about three power isn't really useful , your field of view is far to small , not good for hunting things that might take a run at you . His fixed two and a half is pretty much perfect , and the factory peep sight is quite good as well . It's a fairly coarse sight with a wide blade up front , but it is designed for close in work , not the target range . Leopold also makes a 1.5x5 IER scope that is fairly popular here . I like the fact it can go lower in power than the fixed 2.5 , I doubt I'd ever use the 5 power setting , but that's just me .
To be honest brother , I think the SBL would be ideal for your needs . It's stainless , an important consideration in the UK . It's drier than a popcorn fart where I live , so blued steel is fine out here . It has excellent factory sights and a rail that will take standard scopes , red dots or long eye relief scopes with no modifications . One small but important advantage you'd have over mine is the pistol grip stock design . My guide gun has a straight gripped stock that accentuates recoil , the SBL is a lot easier to control and is generally easier to shoot ................. I think I've convinced myself to buy one lol .
By the way , it isn't hard to clean up the factory trigger yourself if you're fairly handy , but there's always the Wild West Triggers if you're not , lots of options .
One thing that will come up is the safety , some like it , some don't . Most people here de-activate theirs and carry them empty or use the half cock . I've kept mine original and have just gotten used to it , your mileage may vary .

AB
 

Hunter5567

Well-Known Member
Marlinowners.com forums for lots of Marlin info. I used to take the Remington 405gr ammo and pull the bullets and reload them up to around 16-1700fps. The Factory loads are lucky to get to 1300fps with a 28" barrel.
I usually put a 2-7x or 3-9x scope on top. Hard to see irons when it's early in the morning or late in the evening. Back when my eyes were better, I would put a folding leaf rear sight and a 1/8 or 1/16 gold bead front sight for a finer sight picture. The factory gold bead is on the large size for shooting any distance. You can push a 300gr bullet up to 2400fps but you'll have all the fun with recoil you ever wanted before you get there. Nowadays I use a Ruger American 450 Bushmaster with 16" barrel. It will push a 250gr out to 2200fps and 300gr out to around 1900fps with .451 bore. Now I'm working on using 45 ACP bullets and trailboss for subsonic loads and suppressor.
My buddy has the regular 1895 22" barrel and had the barrel shortened and threaded. He uses 400gr hard cast lead to around 1100fps suppressed.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
Marlinowners.com forums for lots of Marlin info. I used to take the Remington 405gr ammo and pull the bullets and reload them up to around 16-1700fps. The Factory loads are lucky to get to 1300fps with a 28" barrel.
I usually put a 2-7x or 3-9x scope on top. Hard to see irons when it's early in the morning or late in the evening. Back when my eyes were better, I would put a folding leaf rear sight and a 1/8 or 1/16 gold bead front sight for a finer sight picture. The factory gold bead is on the large size for shooting any distance. You can push a 300gr bullet up to 2400fps but you'll have all the fun with recoil you ever wanted before you get there. Nowadays I use a Ruger American 450 Bushmaster with 16" barrel. It will push a 250gr out to 2200fps and 300gr out to around 1900fps with .451 bore. Now I'm working on using 45 ACP bullets and trailboss for subsonic loads and suppressor.
My buddy has the regular 1895 22" barrel and had the barrel shortened and threaded. He uses 400gr hard cast lead to around 1100fps suppressed.
A few of the Rugers in 450 have shown up around here , cool little rifles . Reloading would make it a very versatile rig , perhaps the ultimate truck gun ?

AB
 

Hunter5567

Well-Known Member
A few of the Rugers in 450 have shown up around here , cool little rifles . Reloading would make it a very versatile rig , perhaps the ultimate truck gun ?

AB
I like it and it's a nice short rifle for packing around. I normally hunt with my Marlin 308MX lever but use the Ruger 450 Bushmaster when the weather is bad. It's about the same as the 444 Marlin as to power.
What all game do get to hunt in Alberta? If you can hunt moose there, that's the ultimate in big game. I don't know if you have elk and/or mule deer there or whitetails and bears. The whitetails get huge in Canada. Maybe one day I'll get to hunt up there.
I'm trying out new loads using the 250gr XTP Mag bullet which may not be as destructive at close range as the FTX bullet.
Animals definitely don't run with chest shots since it destroys the heart lung region but I was never partial to deer ribs since it's covered with that deer tallow fat that's inedible.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
We have Moose , Elk , Caribou , Mule Deer , White-Tails , Pronghorn Antelope , Big Horn Sheep , Mountain Goat , Woodland and Plains Bison , Grizzly , Black Bear , Timber Wolf , Cougar and various small predators like Coyote , Lynx , Wolverine , Fishers and a few species of Fox . The White-Tails do get very large here , as do most species . The further north you go , the bigger things get . It's apparently due to the fact that it's easier to maintain body heat in a large body versus a small one , smaller animals don't survive as well . Our Moose are big , the Alaskan / Yukon Moose are monsters .
Have you tried any cast bullets in your 450?

AB
 

Hunter5567

Well-Known Member
Haven't tried any cast with the 450 yet. I've been real busy but will get to shooting season here shortly. We have a 300 yard range set up at the hunting club. I have a new Tikka T3X 308 to get sighted in and a Tikka T3 243. Also have a Savage Hog Hunter rifle in 338 Federal and a T/C Compass 6.5 Creedmoor rifle to dial in and last but not least a Ruger M77 Hawkeye Compact 6.8 SPC to play with. Also have to get the Encore pistol in 41 GNR #2 sighted in at 100 yards and then 200 yards and bring the 308 barrel and 357 Max barrel out to 100 and 200 yards. Looks like you got all the game choices covered. We have coyotes, bobcats, nutria, raccoons, alligators and various snakes for varmints and hogs and whitetail deer for medium/big game.
 

xavierdoc

Well-Known Member
I’m on my 3rd 45-70, a Marlin GSBL. It’s the stainless SBL but with a very tough FNC matte black coating and the laminate has a drab, speckled green paint job.

I chose this over the SBL because it’s more discrete and, with a change of wood, would look more traditional while still being corrosion resistant.

Until recently I'd been loading a cast 460gr bullet I call Mjöllnir, which seemed a bit OTT for UK deer. I'm now loading 300gr Jacketed hollow-point and, unsurprisingly, it kills deer (and Fox) emphatically and without excessive meat damage.

Recoil is rather subjective- I enjoy shooting this gun but some find it kicky. My 12yr old has fired it on two occasions, at his request, until I decided he’d probably get a flinch if I let him shoot more! I don’t think he enjoyed the full house load, seevideo below.

I use a scope that was a real surprise to me: cheap Hawke Endurance LER (long eye relief) 2-7x32 with their 30-30 illuminated reticle. This scope is light and strong and I find the reticle ideal. It's designed for magnum rifles/slug and has held up to recoil OK so far. Click values are, however, way off!

The GSBL comes fitted with Williams fibre-optic "iron" sights which are OK for close range/quick-aim but the design and short sight radius aren't great for accuracy at “longer” range.

Accordingly, I have a NECG (New England Custom Gun) peep on the receiver. The scope is in qd mount so it could be ditched easily. Irons "zeroed" at 100yds.

The GSBL is pricey in the UK, the SBL only slightly less so. You get a lot of gun for less if you choose one of the non-stainless options.

As with all new Marlins (JM or Remlin) I fettled the internals, though they were actually already good, and fitted a trigger happy kit I pinched from another Marlin.

I have no regrets at all, by the way, great rifle for my purposes.


Some pics

Pre-peep site:



Reticle not shown too well in this pic:


Good enough for government work (100m)


My lad shoots the GSBL 45-70 at the end of this clip, after the Marlin Cowboy 45Colt (v light loads) :
 
Last edited:

09mutley05

Well-Known Member
There not great to shoot from the bench especially fullhouse loads, I’ve had a muzzle break fitted to mine. Trail boss with 405 grain cast bullets is very nice to shoot, and quite quiet through the mod.
 

09mutley05

Well-Known Member
I’m on my 3rd 45-70, a Marlin GSBL. It’s the stainless SBL but with a very tough FNC matte black coating and the laminate has a drab, speckled green paint job.

I chose this over the SBL because it’s more discrete and, with a change of wood, would look more traditional while still being corrosion resistant.

Until recently I'd been loading a cast 460gr bullet I call Mjöllnir, which seemed a bit OTT for UK deer. I'm now loading 300gr Jacketed hollow-point and, unsurprisingly, it kills deer (and Fox) emphatically and without excessive meat damage.

Recoil is rather subjective- I enjoy shooting this gun but some find it kicky. My 12yr old has fired it on two occasions, at his request, until I decided he’d probably get a flinch if I let him shoot more! I don’t think he enjoyed the full house load, seevideo below.

I use a scope that was a real surprise to me: cheap Hawke Endurance LER (long eye relief) 2-7x32 with their 30-30 illuminated reticle. This scope is light and strong and I find the reticle ideal. It's designed for magnum rifles/slug and has held up to recoil OK so far. Click values are, however, way off!

The GSBL comes fitted with Williams fibre-optic "iron" sights which are OK for close range/quick-aim but the design and short sight radius aren't great for accuracy at “longer” range.

Accordingly, I have a NECG (New England Custom Gun) peep on the receiver. The scope is in qd mount so it could be ditched easily. Irons "zeroed" at 100yds.

The GSBL is pricey in the UK, the SBL only slightly less so. You get a lot of gun for less if you choose one of the non-stainless options.

As with all new Marlins (JM or Remlin) I fettled the internals, though they were actually already good, and fitted a trigger happy kit I pinched from another Marlin.

I have no regrets at all, by the way, great rifle for my purposes.


Some pics

Pre-peep site:



Reticle not shown too well in this pic:


Good enough for government work (100m)


My lad shoots the GSBL 45-70 at the end of this clip, after the Marlin Cowboy 45Colt (v light loads) :
Where do you get the 460 grain bullets from and what was your load?
 

Hunter5567

Well-Known Member
There not great to shoot from the bench especially fullhouse loads, I’ve had a muzzle break fitted to mine. Trail boss with 405 grain cast bullets is very nice to shoot, and quite quiet through the mod.
That's what my buddy shoots in his 1895 cut and threaded 16". Punches a hole through most anything. Deer run off a short distance, stand around, then go down. I was shooting Marlin loads with hard cast GC 405gr at around 1650fps but can push it up to 1900fps. It would shoot through 24" oak trees. You couldn't hide behind them.
 

Hunter5567

Well-Known Member
I also have some Hornady 500gr FMJ loads with overall length to function through the Marlin. Around 1100fps but will probably penetrate 2 moose, end to end.
 

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