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Posted: 11/16/2012 7:51:26 PM EST
Hey guys, been looking for a genuine Marlin .45-70 or .450 for a while and finally stumbled across one today at my lgs. I thought it was brand new never fired at first, then saw the JM stamp and serial number starting with 04 and realized there was no way... looked at the price tag and it was a couple bucks over $450, I was sold. Im guessing the old owner shot it once or twice and threw it in the safe. Im in love with this thing, but here is my dilemma.

It has a 22" barrel, I want a shorter one. Im thinking between 16 1/4 or 18. I also want it ported. My full intention was on making this a truck gun, brush gun, and shtf bad boy. There is a local place that does a cool conversion on these. (cuts barrel, trigger job, media blasted and parkerized black finish, new sights, composite stocks). It costs a few hundred bucks, but for what I wanted I thought it would be perfect. Herein lies the dilemma. This gun is so damn beautiful I just dont know If I wanna mess with it! Hahaha. It seems like sending it in to get redone would be sacrilegious or something?

I just wanted to get some other opinions on this. What say you guys? I was thinking if I did not do the full conversion then I would just get the barrel cut down to 16 and have it ported, leave the rest alone.

Here is a pic of the conversion im talking about, done on a 30-30.

http://cdn2.armslist.com/sites/armslist/uploads/posts/2012/08/08/506579_01_gunslingers_custom_marlin_336__640.jpg
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 3:36:17 AM EST
Once you change it, it's changed.

If it's a rare gun of some kind, sell it and buy a more common version, mess with that one.
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 3:48:23 AM EST
It is yours. Do what you want with it. Almost all leverguns are good looking from the factory and I doubt that yours is exceedingly rare. I would not touch a pre 64 Winchester or any older gun but a recent production marlin is not in that category.
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 5:07:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By Land_Cruiser:
This gun is so damn beautiful I just dont know If I wanna mess with it! Hahaha. It seems like sending it in to get redone would be sacrilegious or something?



This.

Having said that, it is your rifle, to do with as you wish, and in whatever configuration will make you happy.

Link Posted: 11/17/2012 6:08:38 AM EST
First, you're going to loose a considerable amount of ballistic efficiency with the barrel onl about 16". Wild West Guns has such a critter but the primary reason for the short barrel is for ease of storage. The Guide Guns have an 18.5 " barrel which is about as good a compromise between handling/storage and ballistic efficiency.

Now, as to porting. The original Guide Guns were ported. They are LOUD!!!. The blast from the ports is noticable when you fire the darned thing. In fact Marlin did away with the porting because folks decided it just wasn't worth it and wanted a non-ported barrel. Now, port a 16" barrel, and you're going to be deaf after very few rounds, or you better make sure you're using double (plugs and muffs) hearing protection.

Also, the porting really doesn't do all that much, in the grand scheme of things. The 45-70 and .450 Marlin are large caliber rounds that use heavy bullets and a pretty stiff powder charge (modern loadings, BP is much more pleasant to shoot). The thing is going to have stiff recoil even with porting.

If you're looking for what would be the unltimate large caliber levergun as a truck gun, take a look at what has to offer. Co-Pilot The are expensive, but worth it.

Buy the way, my stainless Guide Gun works very well for what you are contemplating and the only mods are removal of the safety (not shown in this photo) and the installation of ghost ring rear sight, WWG Happy Trigger & Bear Proof Extractor, and the holo sight.

Link Posted: 11/17/2012 9:23:08 AM EST
I have a 444P and a 1894P (44mag). If you decide to chop it down I would not go less than 18.5" for the 45/70 and I would skip the porting. I wish mine were unported but back when these rifles were manufactured porting was the flavor of the day marketing gimmick. I find that the muzzle flash from the porting is noticable, particularly at dusk/dawn.
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 1:06:43 PM EST
Thanks for all the info guys! Really useful.

And no she is not rare or anything, just a really nice and clean .45-70.

Looks like im just going to cut her down to 18.5 and put some sort of red dot on it. Thinking Burris Fast Fire. Thanks for the help!
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 5:42:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By Land_Cruiser:
Thanks for all the info guys! Really useful.

And no she is not rare or anything, just a really nice and clean .45-70.

Looks like im just going to cut her down to 18.5 and put some sort of red dot on it. Thinking Burris Fast Fire. Thanks for the help!


I cut my .444 to 18.5", and couldn't be happier.
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 6:19:50 PM EST
I am getting ready to chop another stainless guide gun from 18.5in to 16.5in. You are really not loosing that much velocity if your want to go shorter than 18.5 This has been tested over and over again. The loss of velocity in the 45-70 is about 20 to 30fps per inch when starting with a 22in barrel.
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 8:53:44 PM EST
I have one of the older 'ported' 45-70's. I do not find the noise that bad and I shoot from a covered deck. It is set up as a'camp' gun and for hunting in close quarters. Other then have it refinished and installing a larger lever loop handle it is stock. I also have a older 1.5x5 scope on it. So far iI have taken two bison and one moose with it. It does the job very well. I am shooting 430 CG cast bullets at about 2000 fps. When computing the recoil, it figures out to about 46 ft lbs. Not a load that one wants to shoot a lot of. The 405's that I shoot are loaded much milder and are fun to shoot. Thye do make a mess of bowling pins though.
No matter what you do with/to yours, it is a good weapon.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 8:51:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/18/2012 8:51:35 AM EST by 1911roben]
Originally Posted By MIhunter:
I am getting ready to chop another stainless guide gun from 18.5in to 16.5in. You are really not loosing that much velocity if your want to go shorter than 18.5 This has been tested over and over again. The loss of velocity in the 45-70 is about 20 to 30fps per inch when starting with a 22in barrel.



I can confirm those low-difference numbers for the 444 Marlin cartridge too. Go as short as (legally) possible, the Elk, Bear or whatever will NOT notice the difference.


Link Posted: 11/18/2012 10:09:10 AM EST
Hmm, thats interesting. I knew this was true when chopping down .308s to 18 but was not sure how it would work with the .45-70 ballistics.

What would be the difference in fps between an 18.5 and 16.25 inch barrel firing lets say a 450 or 500g solid? Any ideas?
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 2:18:20 PM EST
I would keep looking and get a guide gun. It will already be what you are trying to make. And it you find an early guide gun it will be ported.

I've had a ported guide gun, and didn't find the porting to make much difference when shot side by side with a non ported gun. Over on Marlin Owners they did a test and showed with pics that the porting did help with muzzle rise, but I couldn't tell any difference at all in felt recoil. My theory is that since the .45-70 is a low pressure round, the ports aren't very effective.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 3:37:54 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/18/2012 3:39:22 PM EST by MIhunter]
Originally Posted By Land_Cruiser:
Hmm, thats interesting. I knew this was true when chopping down .308s to 18 but was not sure how it would work with the .45-70 ballistics.

What would be the difference in fps between an 18.5 and 16.25 inch barrel firing lets say a 450 or 500g solid? Any ideas?

If you reload, you can make up any velocity lossed. With a 16.5 barrel, you still get full powder burn. My old man tested 45-70 loads for years with a 14in Thompson Contender and was getting MOA with it and his loads. He still hunts with it. It always scared the hell out of people when he pulled the trigger as his pistol was never ported. The muzzle flash is something to behold and few had the balls to shoot it with his loads.

A 16 in guide gun is a hell of a nice package. Give it a good target crown and you will improve upon the factory accuracy. The only thing you really loose when going shorter is the sight radius
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 11:19:04 PM EST
Cut it and be happy. I love mine.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 5:20:17 AM EST
Originally Posted By Warhawk:
I would keep looking and get a guide gun. It will already be what you are trying to make. And it you find an early guide gun it will be ported.

I've had a ported guide gun, and didn't find the porting to make much difference when shot side by side with a non ported gun. Over on Marlin Owners they did a test and showed with pics that the porting did help with muzzle rise, but I couldn't tell any difference at all in felt recoil. My theory is that since the .45-70 is a low pressure round, the ports aren't very effective.


Some of us, myself inlcuded, prefer the older guns, well before the Guide Gun was introduced. I like the pistol grip, and searched until I found a nice cherry .444 with the pistol grip and 24" barrel, which I promptly had cut to 18.5". With a set of XS sights, life is good.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 1:16:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/19/2012 1:19:40 PM EST by Warhawk]
Originally Posted By SRT_312:
Originally Posted By Warhawk:
I would keep looking and get a guide gun. It will already be what you are trying to make. And it you find an early guide gun it will be ported.

I've had a ported guide gun, and didn't find the porting to make much difference when shot side by side with a non ported gun. Over on Marlin Owners they did a test and showed with pics that the porting did help with muzzle rise, but I couldn't tell any difference at all in felt recoil. My theory is that since the .45-70 is a low pressure round, the ports aren't very effective.


Some of us, myself inlcuded, prefer the older guns, well before the Guide Gun was introduced. I like the pistol grip, and searched until I found a nice cherry .444 with the pistol grip and 24" barrel, which I promptly had cut to 18.5". With a set of XS sights, life is good.


I agree, I much prefer the older guns myself and have several. But some models weren't made pre-safety, none of the stainless guns were, or the Cowboy models (aside from .22 and .30-30 octagon models made in 1973). The Marlins I have with safeties are a stainless guide gun, a stainless 444 XLR, a 357 Cowboy, a Stainless 44 Mag 1894, and an LTD IV (45-70 with 24 inch octagon barrel). All these have or will be getting a Ludwig safety delete.

Also, a newer gun will have ballard rifling, where the older gun may be micro groove. Probably not a big deal but the micro groove can be finicky with cast bullets, my 1975 vintage 1895 doesn't like cast bullets at all.

I also have a strong preference for the straight grip stocks. The only pistol grip Marlins I have are dad's old 39A, and the 44 XLR (which I have the parts to convert to straight stock).
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 1:37:15 PM EST
Understood, and agreed on all points. Different strokes and all.

As an aside, I had issues with Microgroove and cast bullets until I slugged the bores of mine, and bought bullets sized for my bore. Worked wonders, and cast is not all I shoot from my .444 and .357.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 6:45:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By SRT_312:
Understood, and agreed on all points. Different strokes and all.

As an aside, I had issues with Microgroove and cast bullets until I slugged the bores of mine, and bought bullets sized for my bore. Worked wonders, and cast is not all I shoot from my .444 and .357.


The '75 model 1895 is the only microgroove gun I've got that doesn't like cast. I've owned it for a long time, about 20 years now, and tried all kinds of loads in it. It's very accurate with a variety of jacketed bullet loads, but it just doesn't like any cast load I've ever tried, and I've tried bullets of various weights, bore sizes, gas checks or not ... it just shoots jacketed better.

I've got a pair of 444's now, one is a custom that left Marlin in '65, the other is a recent 444 XLR. I hope to find a cast bullet load that is acceptable in both rifles. If not, I've got a quantity of 240 grain Nosler partition bullets (they don't make these any more) and I'll bet they will shoot those.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 9:12:10 PM EST
My .444 really likes the Beartooth 250gr WFNGC sized at .431. Shoots them very well. My favorite jacketed bullet as of late for that gun is the 270 Speer Deep Curl / Gold Dot.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 10:22:30 PM EST
I have an 1895 SBL with 18.5" bbl and could not be happier with it... Part of the lever guns is balance. I find that the SBL balances nicely with that 18.5" bbl. I don't know how well it would balance at 16".

Buffalo Bore has some data on velocity loss between a 22" bbl and an 18" bbl. Looks like most of their loadings lose about 50-100 fps... So I'd say, cut it if you want to. It isn't a collector's item or anything and the cartridge should do ok for most applications with premium ammo in the shorter configuration.
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