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Tndeerhunter's picture
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Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 1134
.44 mag vs 45-70
I was reading some posts (on another forum) where members were discussing whether a .44 mag carbine (1894 Marlin) or 45-70 (GG) would be a better choice for defense against bears (and other predators) on a ranch in Montana.

I've got a bit of experience with both rifle types and several years ago I decided that I wanted a Marlin 1894/.44mag myself. Very nice rifle and plenty accurate for my needs; carry in the woods, deer and hog hunting. I found, though, that it was a bit lacking when I got an opportunity at a really large hog.

I ended up selling the .44 and bought a Marlin .375, which is pretty much the exact same size rifle-wise, but a good bit more powerful, IMHO. For the record, I now also own a GG in .450M. Anyway, I decided to take a picture of the rounds mentioned in the original post, simply for comparison purposes as I was pretty surprised that some claimed a .44 carbine would be just as effective as a 45-70. That's not my opinion, by the way....lol.

Whatcha think?? Confused

The picture below is a .44 mag 270gr load @ 1700 FPS flanked by, at left, a 400gr 45-70 @ 1900 FPS and a 325gr 45-70 @ 2050 on the right.

MVC-008F.JPG132.09 KB
BikerRN's picture
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Joined: 05/23/2011
Posts: 715

 I was pretty surprised that some claimed a .44 carbine would be just as effective as a 45-70.


I think those making such a claim are guilty of wishful thinking and not facing reality.



Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
While the .44 mag would work

While the .44 mag would work for defense in bear country the .45-70 would be a much better round in my opinion.  The .44 is a pistol round in a rifle where the .45-70 is a rifle round in a rifle. 

I also agree that some people are just wishing or hoping that the .44 is more equally capable for a bear. 

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
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I would bet that most of the

I would bet that most of the guys making the argument for the .44 are the ones that only own a .44 and and only wish it was better. Any logical person would not even try to argue the point. I do own the Marlin .44 myself and would not even enter that conversation unless to say I wish I could get a 45-70 as well for the bigger stuff.

Tndeerhunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Tennessee
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 1134
Have to agree

Thanks for your views & I must say that I totally agree with your responses. I did enjoy owning the Marlin .44 and was lucky enough to take a great animal with it. That did, however, point out what I might consider shortcomings in the .44 Carbine concept, when it comes to bigger & tougher game. I do still wish I owned it as they have continued to spiral upward in price while going down in quality. But, I wouldn't trade any of my medium or big bore lever guns to get it back.

I believe it's tough to beat the concept of bigger game = need for bigger bullets.   Yes  


Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3206
Apples and oranges, not even

Apples and oranges, not even a close comparison. For myself I would not carry a 44 mag for anything. It's heavy and doesn't come with a golf cart. If you actually do need it, what you gonna do, throw down your more powerful rifle and pull your six gun out? That's wishfull thinking and to do so would be foolish. When I lived in Alaska, the lower 48 folks that came up had big bore rifle's, that most couldn't shoot well,and, a lot carried some type of 44 mag for protection aganist bears. I lived up there for about 3 yrs and I only saw a couple black bears. Last year sometime, someone related how a lady from Anchourage Killed a grizzly with her 38 spec and there was a video going around about a game officer killing one with his 38. If your in trouble with a grizzly or even a black, not likely, you pull out your handgun and your bettin' the farm on it, you really want to do that? I would rather something like a 250-3000 with a 120gr bullet over any handgun cartridge.

44 magnum fans are obcest with the cartridge! Fortunately for them they seldom ever have to rely on it alone. Up in Alaska it was the opinion of most that the best thing any hand gun was for was to shoot your partner in the foot so you could make your get away. You don't have to out run a bear, just your partner!

The world is full of 'Dirty Harry's".

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