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.45-70 Big Power At Close Range
Shooting Times ^ | May 1997 | Rcik Jamison

Posted on 10/29/2003 2:00:09 PM PST by 45Auto

High in the Oregon Cascades, I squinted into a wet, blowing snowfall for the antlers of a bull. I could see elk moving through a couple of gaps in the young fir trees about 60 yards away, when I caught sight of a bull. I flipped the cover off my scope lens and waited for the bull to show in the next opening.

As the bull reappeared, I could see antlers distinctly through the brush. I shouldered the rifle and tried to look throught my scope, but the lens was covered with wet snow. I swept it off quickly with a wet, gloved thumb. When I looked up, the bull had passed the opening and was out of sight.

That was not the first time that happened to me. I've lost game several times because a scope was rendered useless by either rain or wet snow. Thinking back about my elk hunting during the last few years in this wet, thick-wooded region, nearly all shots have been less than 100 yards. All this got me thinking about changing my rifle choice.

One hunter I know bought a Marlin .45-70 for elk and fitted it with a receiver peep sight. He was so successful with the cartridge and receiver sight that several of his friends bought the same combination. Local hunters also reported one-shot kills with the 350-grain Hornady roundnose and 400-grain Speer flatnose bullets in handloads. The performance of these bullets on elk-sized game was reported to be awesome.

When you think about it, it makes alot of sense. The rifle/cartridge/sight combination seem like a good match, particularly for elk under these conditions. Big heavy bullets have the mass to deal a powerful blow to an elk even after passing through a fair amount of heavy ferns and light brush. And what better cartridge is there for big bullets than the .45-70?

Iron sights are plenty good for the effective range of the cartridge and the relatively short shooting distances encountered in dense brush and timber. So I decided to give the old .45-70 and a new Marlin Model 1895 chambered for it a chance. The Marlin Model 1895SS is an easy-carrying fast-cycling lever gun. I knew from past experience with lots of Marlins in other calibers that these rifles are plenty accurate.

While everything so far sounds good, there are clinkers in this peep sight and .45-70 plan. First, while a good receiver peep sight is fast to use, there is no denying the fact that a scope gathers light and is a better performer under low-light conditions. An optical sight works earlier and later in the day.

Second, many middle-aged shooters have a problem with iron sights due to far-sightedness.

Third, the .45-70 is loaded mild at the factory, and rightly so, in deference to the old and weak actions are chambered for this round, so if you want high performance from this cartridge, it's a handloading proposition.

SAAMI specs on the .45-70 call for 28,000 either in pounds per square inch (psi) or copper units of pressure (cup). On the other hand, Marlin's lever actions are known to be strong rifles. Marlin's own .444 round, for example, carries a pressure spec of 42,000 psi, same as the .30-30 Winchester. The newer .356 and .375 Winchester cartridges, rounds the Marlins have been chambered for in the past, have maximum pressure standards of 52,000 cup and psi.

SAAMI/ANSI specifications are relatively mild for the .45-70 cartridge in general, handloading manuals have separated .45-70 data into catagories that match the various rifle action strengths. Nearly every major loading manual has plenty of good data developing pressures specifically for the strong Marlin rifles.

I shot several varieties of factory ammo and its performance could be safely exceeded with good handloads in every instance with the Marlin rifle. So, while SAAMI standards limit factory load performance, this is not a problem for a handloader with a strong Marlin and reliable shooting data.

Fourth, the .45-70 shoots large diameter, blunt bullets at relatively low velocity. While these are killers at close range and great for busting through brush, they make for a lot of drop at any distance. The blunt bullets with poor ballistic coefficients (B.C.) not only drop a lot over short distances, energy is also rapidly dissipated for the same reason - blunt bullets. I was interestd to see the downrange drop and energy figures after I determined the velocity to be had from the loads in my rifle.

Putting the .45-70 To The Test

I figured that iron sights were plenty good for 200 yards, and I like to hit an elk with 1500 foot-pounds (ft-lbs) of energy. While shots are generally close, I want to be able to take an elk out at 200 yards in case the opportunity presents itself. Would the .45-70 shoot flat enough and have enough energy to do it?

Just for test purposes, I mounted a Tasco 1.75-5X scope on the new Marlin. I figured a more honest load comparison could be had with the greater sighting precision of a scope. The scope could be taken off, and the iron sights mounted, after I completed the accuracy testing and settled on a hunting load.

Four factory loads were fired from Federal, Remington, and Winchester. Five bullets and eight powders were tried in handloads. I experimented with several propellants including VV N130 and N133, AA 2495, 2015, and 2520; Varget; H322; and RL 7. As it turned out, my chosen hunting load was 50.0 grains of RL 7 with bullets weighing 300 to 405 grains, which are plenty heavy for elk.

With the components selected, loading and shooting soon revealed the performance of the handloads with my lots of components in my rifle. The highest velocity loading fired during the test series was 2173 fps from a 300-grain Hornady hollowpoint ahead of 61.0 grains of W N133. The case was a Winchester, and the primer was a Remington 9 1/2. The same 300-grain Hornady hollowpoint loading produced the greatest energy at 3145 ft-lbs.

(Excerpt) Read more at membres.lycos.fr ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 4570; bang; banglist; elk; hunting
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1 posted on 10/29/2003 2:00:09 PM PST by 45Auto
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To: 45Auto
This article is 6 years old?
2 posted on 10/29/2003 2:05:33 PM PST by Redbob
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To: Redbob
This article is 6 years old?

The passage of time sucks.

3 posted on 10/29/2003 2:07:10 PM PST by Lazamataz (PROUDLY POSTING WITHOUT READING THE ARTICLE SINCE 1999 !!!!)
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To: Redbob
Cut him some slack, the .45-70 is atleast 120 years old.
4 posted on 10/29/2003 2:08:13 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (SSDD - Same S#it Different Democrat)
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To: 45Auto
45-70 as in old breech loaded rifle? In Iowa they use to use the cartige to plow fields. Nothing stops it.
5 posted on 10/29/2003 2:09:37 PM PST by RLK
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To: RLK
Makes my shoulder hurt just thinking about it.
6 posted on 10/29/2003 2:11:12 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: 45Auto

7 posted on 10/29/2003 2:15:09 PM PST by Shooter 2.5
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To: 45Auto
This is a great art., thanks for the post. Have you ever gotten a chance to shoot the old .45-90 or .45-120? I think the only rifle chambered anymore are the Sharps or some clones. That would be a fun hunt, elk with a single shot rifle.
8 posted on 10/29/2003 2:16:07 PM PST by exnavy
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To: Redbob
Yes, and I came across it from a Lycos site in French. Still, the cartridge is 130 years old, so the passage of time has not taken much away from the venerable .45-70.
9 posted on 10/29/2003 2:17:56 PM PST by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: exnavy
I shoot the .45-70 in this:

Ruger No. 1 falling block.

10 posted on 10/29/2003 2:20:48 PM PST by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: 45Auto
When Fineswine, Boxer, and Einsatzgruppenfuehrer Schumer hear about this, they will want to ban .45 cal rifles too as too destructive.

I think that .458's have a place for 21st Century Minutemen, including WBY's .460.

Free citizens concern limosine librals busy creating absolute power with their "living" constitution's "compelling State interests" voiding our ratified Constitution.
11 posted on 10/29/2003 2:22:03 PM PST by SevenDaysInMay (Federal judges and justices serve for periods of good behavior, not life. Article III sec. 1)
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To: 45Auto
Nice rifle, mine is an old Marlin. I also have a Winchester '94 in 45 colt that is fun to shoot, but I doubt that it would bring down an Elk, a whitetail maybe.
12 posted on 10/29/2003 2:23:03 PM PST by exnavy
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
"Makes my shoulder hurt just thinking about it." Same w/these guys
13 posted on 10/29/2003 2:28:19 PM PST by Rebelbase
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To: 45Auto
I use an 1884 Trapdoor in 45-70. It does not kick at all and is an easy shooter. Also, one does not have to register it with the ATF.
14 posted on 10/29/2003 2:30:44 PM PST by vetvetdoug
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To: SevenDaysInMay
The term "compelling State interest" has magical powers. Whenever a group of lawyer-politicians get together and dance around a fire shaking chickenbones in the air while chanting "compelling State interest!" anything is possible.
15 posted on 10/29/2003 2:31:57 PM PST by agitator (Ok, mic check...line one...)
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To: RLK
45-70 as in old breech loaded rifle?

It can also fire 410 gauge shotgun shells. If you cut the shell into at the wadding, it fires like a slug. Ah, those were the days.

16 posted on 10/29/2003 2:32:02 PM PST by itsahoot (The lesser of two evils, is evil still...Alan Keyes)
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To: 45Auto
What I want to know is why you need a scope to shoot something as big as a Volkswagen and less than 100 yards away?
17 posted on 10/29/2003 2:33:34 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: 45Auto
Me too. I like all the "old" calibers. And Ruger's No. 1 is great.

I think we seeing more and more new calibers as a means to sell more rifles. The super shorts especially.


18 posted on 10/29/2003 2:33:40 PM PST by Ribeye (.50 Action Express....Don't leave home without it.)
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To: *bang_list
Did you know that there is ANOTHER "Bang List"?

Chatty bang_list gun-related posts properly made to the "General Interest" area (as opposed to News/Activism area) are NOT visible when you view the regular bang_list.

If you want to see posts regarding "What gun to buy?", vanities on gun politics, and silly gun-related stories, bookmark this spot:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/finduser?user=%2Abang_list

If you want to post to this chat list, click "General Interest" (aka "chat") in the upper right under "my forums", then post, then reply to "*bang_list".
19 posted on 10/29/2003 2:34:12 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed
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To: Blood of Tyrants
'Cause if ya don' hit 'em in the right spot, they just run away and bleed somewhere where ya can't find 'em.
20 posted on 10/29/2003 2:40:49 PM PST by exnavy
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To: 45Auto
My single-shot 1871:


21 posted on 10/29/2003 2:50:59 PM PST by Sender
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To: agitator; SevenDaysInMay
Allow me to be of some encouragement to you both:


Hat-Trick

22 posted on 10/29/2003 2:57:29 PM PST by Hat-Trick (Do you trust a government that does not trust you with guns?)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
What I want to know is why you need a scope to shoot something as big as a Volkswagen and less than 100 yards away?

It's been many years for me, but I think it might be because it's faster to precisely put the cross-hairs of a low-power scope on a target than to line-up iron sights.

With some scopes there might also be an advantage in low light.

23 posted on 10/29/2003 3:00:40 PM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Age of Reason
Marker bump
24 posted on 10/29/2003 3:11:04 PM PST by alfa6 (GNY Highway's Rules: Improvise; Adapt; Overcome)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Makes my shoulder hurt just thinking about it.

Well you can shoot my Derringer chambered in 45-70 then. Doesn't hurt your shoulder a bit.

Tears your thumb off though.

25 posted on 10/29/2003 3:31:34 PM PST by BikerTrash
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To: Sender
Is it a 50-70?
26 posted on 10/29/2003 5:04:52 PM PST by Shooter 2.5
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To: BikerTrash
Ouch !
I own a Python and have shot .44 Mags. The 357 Colt's balance and weight make it a pleasure to shoot in even the hot loads. Can't imagine your peashooter.
27 posted on 10/29/2003 5:13:21 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: All

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28 posted on 10/29/2003 5:13:52 PM PST by Bob J (www.freerepublic.net www.radiofreerepublic.com...check them out!)
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To: Shooter 2.5
Nope, plain old 45-70 with 26-inch tube. It's my favorite hunting rifle. I've only shot factory ammo in it so far which is pretty mild. I'd like to try some hotter stuff like from Garrett cartridges, or maybe learn to handload someday.
29 posted on 10/29/2003 5:41:57 PM PST by Sender
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Actually, it's probably not so bad. Those big classic cartridges tend to burn comparatively slowly (fractions of seconds rather than milliseconds), so the recoil is kind of rolling. That's how little guys like Roosevelt and Selous (along with being tough as nails) could fire those .500 Nitros, etc., without losing an arm.
It's the new magnum rounds that kick like hell. Getting ready for an African safari I spent a morning sighting in my .416 mag at the local range. I bullseyed the first shot, but by the tenth shot I couldn't even hit paper anymore, I was whimpering and flinching so badly. My left arm was completely dead, and my shoulder was black the next day. In Namibia my guide carried a .460 Weatherby -- an absolute monster. I was impressed . . .until I discovered that he couldn't hit a damn thing with it. Every time he pulled the trigger he braced himself for what was coming.
30 posted on 10/29/2003 5:58:45 PM PST by giant sable
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To: Sender
I didn't have the picture on my 'puter so I thought you had an original.

45-70's came out in 1873 so I thought you might have had a 50-70 or a rebarreled rifle.
31 posted on 10/29/2003 6:08:11 PM PST by Shooter 2.5
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To: 45Auto
Poke around here for nice 45-70

http://www.wildwestguns.com/CoPilot_And_Guide_Rifles/AssembledSafClubCP.jpg
32 posted on 10/29/2003 6:17:57 PM PST by FSPress
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Yeah, it's an interesting piece all right. Double barreled with a non-selective trigger. The other barrel is chambered for .410 shotgun, with a rifled barrel, of course. The box says, "Alaskan Survival Series," hyuk hyuk.

It ain't quite as bad as what you'ld think, most of the powder burns outside of the barrel. Quite spectacular at night.

33 posted on 10/29/2003 7:25:19 PM PST by BikerTrash
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To: giant sable
Actually, it's probably not so bad.

I beg to differ. I have a Marlin 1895SS myself, and out of the box it packs a helluva wallop. My first time on the range with it I was using some locally-produced loads that were designed for use in T/C Contender pistols chambered for 45-70, IOW a relatively weak load for the Marlin rifle. The first shot wasn't so bad, but by the time I fired the eleventh or twelfth round, I had to quit - my shoulder was screaming for mercy. It was quite sore for a couple of days afterward.

The biggest problem with the rifle is that it comes from the factory with a hard plastic buttplate which just strokes your shoulder a good one every time you shoot. It got to where I couldn't use the rifle - like your Namibia guide I was flinching and scrunching up every time I'd pull the trigger, getting ready to take the pain. At that point, I wimped out and got a slip-on rubber recoil pad for it, and that has made all the difference in the world. I can shoot it all day now and all I get is that pleasant little ache you have when you've spent a good day at the range.

34 posted on 10/29/2003 7:42:25 PM PST by CFC__VRWC (AIDS, abortion, euthanasia - don't liberals just kill ya?)
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To: 45Auto
When I lived in N. Maine, a few of my co-workers found an old 45-70 cartridge out in the woods. God knows how old it was, it looked old. We used a pair of pliers to pull out the bullet. Underneath was a paper wad and black powder. Me, being young and dumb, decided to touch off the black powder with a match. It was still good, and burnt the crap out of my fingers. LOL.

I see in my Speer manual that the .45-70 is capable of about 4000 ft-lbs. of energy out of a strong rifle. That's quite a wallop out of the old thing. Don't they make .45 caliber spitzer bullets now? Seems to me you could take on just about anything on earth with a good single shot or bolt rifle with spitzer bullets.
35 posted on 10/29/2003 8:03:19 PM PST by FlyVet
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To: 45Auto
I have had my Marlin 45-70 since early 70's, just love it.
I got it for a Grizzly hunt I never went on.
36 posted on 10/29/2003 8:07:22 PM PST by Gone_Postal
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To: 45Auto
bump
37 posted on 10/29/2003 8:09:17 PM PST by VOA
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To: Rebelbase
All those drops can't be healthy......ROTFLMAO!!!!
38 posted on 10/29/2003 8:11:13 PM PST by Freemeorkillme
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To: 45Auto
One of my most favored guns was a .45-70 Winchester 1886 that I built from parts many years ago. Another .45-70 I was real partial to was a Remington Keene Saddle Ring Carbine made for the Indian Police... nickel plated. This was a tubular magazine rifle, bolt action... with a hammer.

I traded the built up '86 for a factory original, mint .30-40 Winchester 1895 Saddle Ring military carbine... and the Remington Keene... well they offered me so much money I just couldn't refuse... wish I had, they are worth one hell of a lot more today.
39 posted on 10/29/2003 8:11:29 PM PST by Swordmaker
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To: CFC__VRWC
The first shot wasn't so bad, but by the time I fired the eleventh or twelfth round, I had to quit - my shoulder was screaming for mercy. It was quite sore for a couple of days afterward.

I remember a writer in a gun magazine years ago doing a report on a lightweight lever-action in 45-70. He joked that the max load depended on how much pain you could stand. I saw a 45-70 revolver at a gun show once. It was a serious boat anchor, had to weigh at least 5 lbs. I can't believe a company (I think American Derringer) actually made a two-barrel Derringer, caliber 45-70. I saw it in the Shotgun News years ago. No thanks, I'm not touching that thing off.

I've never fired a 45-70 in a lightweight lever action before, but I know what .458 Win Mag and .416 Rigby feel like. In each case, I took one shot, handed the rifle back to the owner, and wiped the tears from my eyes. You have to have meat on your shoulder to shoot those dang things. I also knew a doctor who touched off a .458, scoped, without a good firm grip. He stitched up his hanging eye brow in the rear view mirror of his car.

40 posted on 10/29/2003 8:27:35 PM PST by FlyVet
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To: FlyVet
I've never fired a 45-70 in a lightweight lever action before

Itouched only off only one.......had to get a new pair of glasses and my shoulder hurt for a week!

41 posted on 10/29/2003 8:36:00 PM PST by Lando Lincoln (God Bless the arsenal of liberty.)
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To: exnavy
I also have a Winchester '94 in 45 colt that is fun to shoot, but I doubt that it would bring down an Elk, a whitetail maybe.

Are you sure it is a Winchester '94?

The engineering of that rifle was not designed to handle a .45 Colt... the carriage and lifter would have to be designed and the lever throw modified. I know of the Turnbull Restoration sets in .45 Colt (very rare, 5 I think, and exceedingly expensive) and the .45 Colt Legacy Winchester '94s. Is your's one of those??

A Winchester '92 (basically a miniaturized 1886 Browning design) possibly could be rechambered for the .45 Colt from the .44-40 Winchester it was designed to handle. The '92 was made in .44-40, .38-40, .32-20, .25-20 and some very rare .218 Bees.< In the '40's and '50'2 some were converted (unsafely) to .357 Magnum.

There are some REPLICA 1892s that were manufactured in .45 Colt in Japan in a limited run of 500 in 2002.

42 posted on 10/29/2003 8:37:05 PM PST by Swordmaker
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To: FlyVet
I also knew a doctor who touched off a .458, scoped, without a good firm grip. He stitched up his hanging eye brow in the rear view mirror of his car.

Ouch - nothing like a case of "scope eye" to ruin a day at the range. My old Horanady reloading manual has data for the .460 Weatherby cartridge. They mentioned that the only way they could shoot the test rifle enough to develop the load data was to drape a bag full of lead shot over the shooter's shoulder to absorb the worst of the impact. Even then, they said the recoil was tremendous.

I did a pretty good number on my wrist with a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun with a pistol grip I had a few years ago. I was hip shooting it, using 3-inch 00 buckshot shells. The pistol grip was hard plastic, and it was a typical Florida afternoon in late July, so my hands were very sweaty. That damned gun just about jumped out of my hands, and it took a decent-sized hunk of skin out of the base of my thumb, as well as really popping my wrist backward. I had to wear an ace bandage on it for a couple of days

43 posted on 10/29/2003 8:46:38 PM PST by CFC__VRWC (AIDS, abortion, euthanasia - don't liberals just kill ya?)
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To: Swordmaker
A Winchester '92 (basically a miniaturized 1886 Browning design) possibly could be rechambered for the .45 Colt from the .44-40 Winchester it was designed to handle.

Rossi makes and EXCELLENT Winchester 92 copy in 45 Colt that you can load for all get out. They also chamber it in 454 casull .... and mine runs like a champ.

44 posted on 10/29/2003 8:51:52 PM PST by Centurion2000 (Virtue untested is innocence)
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To: giant sable
I bullseyed the first shot, but by the tenth shot I couldn't even hit paper anymore, I was whimpering and flinching so badly.

This is the main reason I prefer a nice semi-automatic rifle over a bolt action about any day. I have a .308 semi-auto and it is fun to shoot (though I know a .416 magnum round is no comparison to a 7.62 N.A.T.O. round).

45 posted on 10/29/2003 8:52:38 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender ("It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains." -- Patrick Henry)
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To: CFC__VRWC
Yeah, those pistol grips are for the birds, unless you really need something that compact. You can shoot a stocked 12 guage from the hip all day and it won't hurt you. When I was turkey hunting, I sighted in some 2-ounce turkey loads. My Mossberg has the rubber recoil pad, but about 4 shots was all I could stand before the tears started flowing. :(

Even the 2 3/4" slug loads are too much for me off the bench. I had to use a sand bag between my shoulder and the butt when sighting in off the bench. Made me happy though, that my cheap smooth bore with Remington rifled slugs, was out-shooting my brother and his friend with their fancy rifled bores and sabot slugs. Out to about 65 yards, anyways, trusty old Mossberg can keep it in the black.

46 posted on 10/29/2003 8:56:02 PM PST by FlyVet
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To: giant sable
I once had a double barrelled .577 Snyder Elephant gun... it was only about 24" long... but the cartridge was almost as long (I'm only slightly exagerating). It had no sights at all. The story went that pygmy hunters used them for elephant hunting by running UNDER the elephant, sticking the gun up into the elephant's gut, pulling the trigger and running out before the elephant fell down!

Now, if you think that is funny how about the .577 Snyder PISTOL???

According to Fr. Frog:

The British "Howdah" pistols were basically a .577 Snyder double rifle with the barrel cut off to seven inches(!) and a pistolgrip stock. They were designed to shoot a attacking tiger off the back of the elephant you were riding through the jungle. Legend has it that the way you employed it was to hand it to the tiger and let him fire it! (Consider that the .577 launches a 480gr bullet on top of 70+ gr of black powder--in a three pound pistol, and with its tendency to "double" it was truly a pistol for the "manly man.")
47 posted on 10/29/2003 8:57:03 PM PST by Swordmaker
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To: Hat-Trick
What is it about girls with guns? I love it. I can't even get my wife to fire my Browning .22 much less my S&W CS40.

48 posted on 10/29/2003 9:01:24 PM PST by AgentEcho (If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers)
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To: CFC__VRWC
They mentioned that the only way they could shoot the test rifle enough to develop the load data was to drape a bag full of lead shot over the shooter's shoulder to absorb the worst of the impact. Even then, they said the recoil was tremendous.

I think the most I could handle, if I ever went on an Alaskan dream hunt for Grizzly, would be the BAR in .338. I'd get it Mag-na-Ported, then it would be sweet. Of course, I'd want an experienced guide backing me up with something nasty and reliable, like the .458 or .416 in a Mauser-style bolt rifle, in case the semi-auto decided to malfunction. I guess a lot of us must fantasize about a hunt like that, or going to Africa for the Big 5. Oh well.......maybe some day, before the old bones get too old...

49 posted on 10/29/2003 9:08:20 PM PST by FlyVet
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To: FlyVet
I know what .458 Win Mag and .416 Rigby feel like. In each case, I took one shot, handed the rifle back to the owner, and wiped the tears from my eyes.

When I was working in a gun shop in Sacramento, a gunsmith that worked there built a .458 WinMag rifle that weighed only 4.5 pounds! He had a standing offer that if you paid him $50 and could shoot the gun three times in an hour, you could have it. Last I heard he still had it.

He let me fire it once for free... and I put a heck of a lot of padding on my shoulder before the attempt... and I was sore for over a month and had a bruise you would not believe.

HE could fire it that many times... but then he thought nothing of taking an unstocked 10 Ga. Magnum and test firing it holding on to the tang...

50 posted on 10/29/2003 9:13:43 PM PST by Swordmaker
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