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Cowboy hunting rifle?


Slowhand Bob, 24229

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One of my daughters called saying her husband is wanting a new hunting rifle for Christmas, something nostalgic?  She sent a phone photo to me with what she found while shopping, two of the modern Henry rifles.  One was of the $2000 plus Henry copies of the original '60 Henry in 44-40 and the other was a photo of another Henry lever rifle in 45-70.  I think his primary interests are deer and hogs but???  I tend to think there might be a bit of question about the 44-40 cartridge being suitable in the old style rifle with a heavier load designed for hunting medium game?  My biggest concern with the 45-70 is whether the caliber might be a bit of a bear as to recoil in that particular rifle"  The only lever gun I ever had in 45-70 was a Marlin and I felt it was to much a kicker for a deer gun??  He is a fairly big guy but I do not know if the rifle is heavy enough to tame the caliber for the game he is hunting?  OH well, probably just overthinking it.  Looking in your safe at the Old style rifles, what caliber/rifle would you choose for a deer or hog hunting trip?    

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For deer/hog, look at the good old .30-30. Plenty of nostalgia and tons of great new and old guns.

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I'm not a hunter but like so many others on here, here's my opinion.

There have been a lot of shooters on here who hunt deer with their Winchester 66 or 73 in 44-40. These "replica" rifles have modern steel and tolerances. They can shoot stout loads. But, I shoot a 44-40 and buying ammo is not cheap and hard to find. I reload them.

I have a Marlin lever gun in 45-70. I stopped shooting it because it beats the hell out of my shoulder. Hunting with 1 or 2 shots should be tolerable. DOn't know anything about the Henry in 45-70

 

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45-70 for Wild Pig pest control but we had to shoot smokeless cause of fire danger 

it hit small one hard 

deer around here are Ca coastal  if one get to 120 pounds that a Huge deer 

so 357 are fine 

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47 minutes ago, Crooked River Pete, SASS 43485 said:

I'd look for a marlin in 44 magnum.

My 44, M94 that I use in SASS, is one heck of a shoulder beater with top end .44 Magnum loads.

But, it is a legitimate option. 

OLG 

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Yes to all the above calibers. Add in the .444 Marlin as a decent option if you can find one.

 

 

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30-30

I'm leaving reloading out of the equation for now:

Ammo is,  under normal conditions, easy to find, and noticeably cheaper than 44 magnum or 44-40 or 45-70.  It has better trajectory and harder hitting than most pistol calibers at extended ranges.  I do have some pretty hot 357 loads using a 180 that mimics low end 30-30 loads, but the RNFP pistol bullet designs really lose a lot of steam quick compared to rifle cartridge designs with better aerodynamics and sectional density.

30-30 is plenty enough for deer, hog and black bear. 150 or 170 grain bullets work fine for any of these.  It doesn't beat one to death and at 30-30 velocities, no fancy bullet is necessary, just a good cup and core bullet. If I buy ammo, I prefer Federal blue box Power Shok or tried and true Remington Corelokts.

 

Back to reloading:

I reload mine, just because. I use 170 grain gas checked flat nose over 5744 and Sierra Pro hunter 170's with good results from both R15 and IMR3031. I do load some 150 grain Sierra Prohunters for the kids with reduced loads of H4895, which are fairly tame. 

I use a 70's Glenfield 30 with half mag and skinner sights.

 

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Get him a Ruger #1 in .257 Roberts or .270 Winchester.

 

The #1 is based on the Farquharson rifle, circa 1872.  Both the .257 and .270 were developed nearly 100 years ago in the 1920s, recoil less than the .45/70, with better hunting trajectories.  And a new #1 is still cheaper than the Henry copy of the original Henry.

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There are a number of factors to be considered here:  She wants something "nostalgic".  Does that mean something suitable for SASS requirements? Or just something "classic" that dates back to the turn of the 20th Century? If SASS "legal", but something that can be used for hunting without handloading, then I would opt for a lever gun in .44 Mangle-em.  The last time I shot a .30-30 was as a young teen, and a friend let me shoot his dad's Winchester M64 (nee '94)...with only a T-shirt!  Kicked the heck out of me!  But it only had a steel buttplate.  A Marlin lever in .44 Magnum would do for deer, hawgs and most things, and you could mount a scope on it.  If handloading were involved, then you can do almost anything in .45-70, from "button" gallery loads to griz+. 

Best of luck! Stay well and safe!

Happy Holidays!

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I would also recommend a 30-30 and for hunting use Leverevolution ammo.  Improved ballistics for further range, etc.

https://www.opticsplanet.com/hornady-ammo-30-30-win-160gr-ftx-lvrev-20-82730.html

 

https://www.hornady.com/ammunition/leverevolution#!/

 

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Buffalo Bore has a selection of 30-30 that should work on big, mean, nasty game too.

 

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Winchester 95, chambered in .30-40 Krag.   The standard factory load is not at all nasty in the recoil department, and it has killed very dead everything that lives on this continent.  Plus, the 95 action is much stronger than the bolt action rifle that the cartridge gets its name from.   Many reloading options exist.   Other caliber options would .405 Winchester, but that may be overkill, and you can always look for one in .30-'06, which as all know is a well suited hunting round.

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My grandson using a 66 in .44-40 RNFP 38 gr blackpowder FFFg has several deer shot through and through.  He lives in Indiana so the deer are white tail.  I have killed several hogs with .44-40 same load.  Hogs I think a .45-70 or .30-30 would be a better round.  For something nostalgic maybe a Ruger Deer Stocker in .44 mag.   The little Simi-auto is fun to shoot and has 4 rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger.

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My daughter, Kaya, used to use a Marlin .44 mag. Shot her first three deer with it. If rifle calibers are legal where he is at I'd get a .30-30. Otherwise a .44 will do a fine job.

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44-40 when loaded as close to the original loads as we can get now it right up there with a 44 Spl. Plenty for deer and hogs. A few guys have taken much bigger animals as well. They worked before, and animals haven’t adapted armor plating either. 

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A friend of mine took a nice sized deer on his property with a 1894 Marlin in .357. He used a factory load, Hornady I believe. 

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When I first started hunting, I used my Dad's Savage 99 in .300 Savage caliber. Loved that lever rifle, and it's the only one I've ever seen that has a counter for how many rounds are remaining in the internal magazine. Shame it's not legal for SASS.

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I am have been a handgun hunter for moose, elk, deer, antelope and bear for the last 40+ years but the rifle I bought for deer as a teenager was a Marlin 36 in .35 Remington. Our hands used .30-30s but I wanted something a little better. My Canadian rifle was a .338 Browning semi auto. I gave that to my youngest son. I still have the Marlin.

 

It doesn't take much to take a deer.  Moose and the others need something more powerful. Antelope require a flat shooting long range gun,.

 

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  :)

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Marlin Cowboy in .38-55 , plenty good for deer and Hogs With-out a lot of kick ...With factory loads.

With loads that are with-in safe pressures it can also be loaded up to push a 255 gr. Jacketed bullet out the muzzle at 1,850 FPS. 

It will also push cast bullets to over 1,900 at the same pressure levels ...

And it can serve rather well for Cowboy long range Lever shooting ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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I have one of the '76s (45-75) but dawnt like him enuff to let him take it into the woods and get it all dirty and no way can he fire the first shot through it either.<_< The cost of ammo is a bit high also! 

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