Marlin 1895 microgroove 45-70

  • Last Post 07 March 2008
JimmyDee posted this 02 December 2007

I'm a CBA new guy -- with nothing but questions... (And I posted this to the wrong forum...)

I started reloading when I was competing with handguns.  It was only natural that I load for rifles, too.  Like many others, I thought jacketed bullets were the only thing to use on game.

I'm shooting much less and don't have to buy bullets.  I've been casting 38, 44, and 45 caliber handgun bullets for use in “comfortable” loads -- I don't think I push anything close to 1200 fps.  (At the same time, the ~800 fps loads seems too slow.  Heck, I can re-holster before a round gets to the 100 yard berm.   At least, I think so...)

Now I want to work-up something for a rifle.  Looking over what I've got, I'm thinking, “That 45-70 is probably a good candidate.” I've fitted it with a fixed aperture sight and don't see myself using it for shots on game beyond 100 yards.

My goal?  Perhaps a 400 to 475 grain plain base, as-cast with wheel weights, Alox-lubed bullet at ~1500 fps zeroed at 75 or 80 yards is the way to go.

Now: the questions....

From what I've read, cast bullets work in microgroove barrels. Any hardness concerns?  Do I need anything more than slugged barrel diameter to select my minimum bullet diameter?

Any mould suggestions?

From what I can tell, cast bullets seem to prefer faster powders. Since I'm not looking for great velocity and I've got lots of case to fill, I'm wondering, “Wouldn't 5744 be worth considering?"  Heck, for that matter, Triple Seven might be just the ticket.

Any thoughts on powders or load suggestions?


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Ed Harris posted this 04 December 2007

For just plain fun shooting, your WW metal, plainbased bullet with 14 grs. of Unique, PB, 7625, or 13 grs. of Red Dot or 231 or 12 grs. of 700X or almost any other pistol powder you have lying around will shoot just fine to 100 yards and be cheap to shoot.

If you already have a pistol powder which works with plainbased bullets in your revolvers, you don't need a different powder for the .45-70. Velocity will be about 1200 f.p.s. No GC required and will still kill stuff.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Lloyd Smale posted this 05 December 2007

for micro groved barrels i just size the bullet enough so that it functions. Bigger is better with them and harder seems to do better.

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FAsmus posted this 15 December 2007



Your intent to shoot CBs in the 45/70 is regular stuff; no need to shoot anything else!


The “standard” load for 5744 in these parts is 27 grains under the typical 400 - 500 grain bullet. Usually folks use some kind of filler for these loads. Things like 1/2 sheet of T/P over the powder (never tightly packed - only fluffy and full) and a 0.050 card wad under the bullet base itself.

This load has won the Qugley match some several times; it is relaiable, accurate and well within the pressure limitations of the M1895.

As for bullets I will say for certain that when shooting the Marlin Microgroove you will find that only bullets usually considered well oversize will provide the best accuracy. 

I have fed a few microgroove Marlins and my consistent best accuracy has been with bullets that measure 0.005 over groove diasmeter!

So, find a mold that casts about 0.462 or so and if cartridges loaded with this bullet as-cast still fit the chamber of your rifle try them out!

Good afternoon,


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JimmyDee posted this 19 December 2007

Thanks for the information.

Forrest,two things caught me by surprise: I would have thought that .460 was plenty big enough for the bullet -- guess not.

I would have thought 32-34gr of 5744 -- guess not. Your 27gr recommendation seems to leave lots of room in the case, so...

Has anyone here simply filled a case with Triple Seven? Just guessing, but it seems to me that would launch 400gr bullets at 1300fps.

On another thread, some folks are talking-up the Lee 405gr hollow base bullet in 45-70. Are these used in black powder cartridges? I thought that, when using black powder or black powder substitutes, air space in the case is bad ju-ju. Is that space a concern, or what?

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6pt-sika posted this 21 January 2008

At the moment I have a pair of Marlin 1895's in 45-70 that I shoot cast in !

The first is a 1895CB that I picked up when they first came out and is Ballard rifled . I started out shooting the Lee 340 and 405 grainers in ti with very decent results . These bullets were not sized at all and were tumble lubed .

Later I purchased a Lyamn mould for the 330 grain Gould HP and that turned into my number one bullet in that rifle for a number of years !!! Always loaded with SR4759 .

Later I acquired a pair of the Ranch Dog 45 cal moulds one is for a 350 grain GC and the other is a 425 grain GC . Both of these bullets loaded with XMP5744 shot great .

Then recently I found a very nice New Model 1895 that is circa 1978 . This rifle is MICRO grooved ! And it seems to like the Ranch Dog bullets as well !

I used to think micro grooves were not good for cast !

But after fooling with the Ranch Dog series of bullets over the last 2 years in variouse micro grooved rifles I have changed my mind !!!

They do alright for me in 30-30's , 356 WIN's , 375 WIN's , 444 Marlin's and 45-70's with micro barrels !



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FAsmus posted this 22 January 2008


Sure, there are other combinations that will work in the 45/70; it is considered an inherently accurate cartridge.

All I wanted to pass along was the tried-and-true combination that I have seen work not only in my own long range 45/70 but in many other fellows' rifles as well.

One of the other members indicated he uses 4759. This also an excellent choice. For this powder the level we use is around 21 to 22 grains under the typical 4 - 500 grain bullet.

I for one have never fired a 45/70 with any bullet that weighs less than 400 grains ~ they just don't seem well suited to the caliber somehow although I'm sure they will take game nicely at short range.

The standard PB 405 grain Lee offering is a pretty good place to start. Cast them soft, learn what the rifle will do and then go looking at NEI's designs; they have some good ones. I do not know much about the hollow base version of this bullet ~ I would not bother with it myself even so; it'll be a real slow-poke to make any number of them at the casting bench!

The Lee bullet does not carry enough lube to be useful for shooting with Black Powder (My opinon) and is not seen on the firing line for that reason. It works very well over smokeless with my words about filler to be taken under consideration.

Good morning,



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6pt-sika posted this 22 January 2008

Forrest , you cost me alot of money a couple years ago ;)

I read the two articles you had about rebarreling a Marlin 1895 to 40-65 WCF . SO I went and bought a new 1895CB and was gonna have it relined . I already had one 1895CB that is kinda my go to 45-70 cast bullet rifle !

Anyway I procrastinated about relining the brand new rifle and eventually found a pretty nice “original” Marlin 1895 of 1896 vintage in 40-65 WCF !

Used it to kill a deer in 2006 !!! But it also caused me to get an original in 38-56 , 33 WCF and 40-82 . My savings took a heck of a hit that year !




My 1895 in 40-82 that was made in 1896 !

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CB posted this 04 March 2008

I have used lead in my 1895 for a while now, WW and harder. I have taken two coyotes this winter with mine. The coyotes didn't complain, one shoot one kill and at about 80 yards in the evening.

Start loading and shoottin' !!!




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FAsmus posted this 05 March 2008


Roger your success in finding those original rifles; congratulations. If I knew how I'd paste a picture of my M1895 in here for your consideration.

This winter I have been overhauling some of my rifles with a mind toward improving their performance and the M95 was one that I thought needed it.

For years I've used the rifle in long range competitions under “Lever” class ~ always there would be a uncalled flyer somewhere in each Record string. I looked to the forend bedding and my box of Acraglass epoxy.

It was something of a struggle; I did two trys at bedding the wood tightly to the barrel. Terrible performance resulted with my tried-and-true load both times. I wound up with a greater understanding of how the magazine tube, front hanger and fit had to work together but at the same time avoid any contact at all with the front of the receiver. This, since the wood has no positive attachment, was puzzeling at times.

I wound up relieving the epoxy somewhat, allowing the wood to kind of “float” and allowing me to return it to “battery” before each shot. This worked, giving me the MOA accuarcy I want for every shot fired. Now all I have to do is make certain I never forget my part in the sequence of firing.

Good morning,


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FAsmus posted this 05 March 2008


Ah! There we go. This picture is at the Quigley match 2005 ~ Best in Class





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Scott Merchant posted this 05 March 2008


I was looking at your post and thought I would add my 2 cents to the mix. I have shot and hunted with the 45/70 for over 30 years. In the beginning I used the 405 Lee hollow point cast of wheel weights, and when AA5744 came on to the market that was the powder I used. Accuracie was good but on shooting a Deer with it the results where not as impressive as I thought it should be. It worked but was more like a Bow shot Deer and ran a ways. Tired heavier bullets with the same results. Then I found a book by A.C. Gould titled Modern American Rifles published in 1892. It seems that on Deer and Antelope sized game that they where having the same problem in that the bullet basically passed thu with out expanding.

So I bought a Lyman 330 grain Gould bullet mould, Boy what a differences it made. You could drop them in there tracks with a double lung shot, and that was with a Black Powder load. If you are thinking about using Black Powder this is the bullet mould I would buy, it carries enough lube. Latter on a old friend suggested I try a RCBS 325 FN that is a gascheck design, also RCBS makes a 300 grain flat base. With the RCBS 325 FN  I have taken Elk, Deer and Pigs The load was 51 grain of IMR 3031 {USE ONLY IN MODERN GUNS} AA5744 will work just fine with this bullet also.

The LEE 405 hollow base is a good mould I have a couple, on one I have milled the top down to achieve a bigger Meplate. I used it in a Trapdoor for a Deer hunt it was cast soft and killed quickly. In closing AA5744 is a great powder for the 45/70 and the RCBS 325 FN and the 330 Gould bullet will serve you well out to 200 yards with good accuracy and great killing power.


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6pt-sika posted this 07 March 2008

FAsmus wrote: Roger your success in finding those original rifles; congratulations. If I knew how I'd paste a picture of my M1895 in here for your consideration.

Good morning,


Forrest , I believe you posted that picture in “The Fouling Shot” and it was my undoing :)

I did as you see go the “original” route , but I am still having thoughts of a new rifle in both the 40-65 and 38-56 . It would be nice to rebarrel as you did . But I have been giving consideration “again” to relining 45-70 barrels .

There is a guy out in Oregon or Washington (not Redlands) that does what I understand to be an exceptional job . And at a cost of about $300 per barrel .

I still think it would be nice to have 1895CB's in 40-65 and 38-56 sometime down the road . I must admit when I took the 40-65 out to hunt I cringed a little . But when I carried the 38-56 out I cringed alot , as it is the nicest of the four . Now both the 40-65 and 38-56 have killed deer , so their hunting life during my watch may very well be over . I did take the 33WCF out and miss an easy shot , so it will have some hunting yet . Also the 40-82 has not been hunted yet since I got it .

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