35 Whelen vs 45-70 vs 444 Marlin

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by 10/22fan38, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. 10/22fan38

    10/22fan38 G&G Newbie

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    I am planning on picking up a replacement for my muzzle loader for Louisiana's primitive firearm season. Any "Single shot, breech loading rifles, .35 caliber or larger having an exposed hammer that uses metallic cartridges loaded either with black powder or modern smokeless powder" are allowed. I'm torn between the 35 whelen's performance, the 45-70's versatility (able to load with black powder and cast bullets in a pinch), and uniqueness of the 444. I'm looking at getting a NEF handi rifle in one of the above calibers. Most shooting would be done inside 100 yards but I may of the opportunity for 200 yard+ shot. Any suggestions?
  2. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly G&G Evangelist

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    They make it in .450 marlin?? even MORE versatile lol

    I think all 3 would be awesome, no deer is gonna argue with any of them at 100 yards.

    mostly a matter of what you like. I dont know but Im guessing the 35 would have way less recoil....and 45/70 and .444 is almost overkill on deer.

    I know the H&R rifles in 45/70 have a hell of a wallup! Not gawdawful but not a popgun either!

    I dont know the price difference, but the H&R Buffalo Classic is (IMO) kinda neater then the Handi Rifle....but Im sure they cost a lot more too.
  3. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    Distance dictates the .35 Whelen in my opinion

    Distance dictates the .35 Whelen in my opinion. The .444 is a niche cartridge for which ammo can be hard to find and expensive. The .45-70 is a classic cartridge but can really be a bear when it comes to recoil loaded to modern performance capabilities.

    It is a shame you cannot use one of my favorite .06 cartridges which is the .338/06.
  4. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Enthusiast

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    out of your 3 choices, i would opt for the 35whelen. nothing wrong with the 45-70 either. as for the 444, imo its a poorly concieved and executed cartridge with most factory ammo using pistol bullets. in any case, it doesnt take artillery to kill a whitetailed deer.
  5. Tack Driver

    Tack Driver G&G Enthusiast

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    Are you going to reload for this new caliber you're getting? I've never seen .35 Whelen around here, isn't very popular here I guess. But I've always seen .45-70 and .444 Marlin hanging around on the shelves... .45-70 ammo is not cheap :11:
  6. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly G&G Evangelist

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    I dont know if they make a Handi Rifle in .35 Remington or not...but thats a great deer round that wont cripple ya, and the ammo is easy to find!
  7. Tack Driver

    Tack Driver G&G Enthusiast

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    Always thinking outside the box ain't you? lol actually that's a pretty good idea
  8. Tack Driver

    Tack Driver G&G Enthusiast

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    BTW online the .45-70 Buffalo classic is $400, the standard Handi Rifle is $265
  9. RedneckCatholic

    RedneckCatholic G&G Enthusiast

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    I've had the privilege of shooting .35 whelen--it's getting a little more popular here as a hog cartridge in the marlin 336--and I loved it. I did NOT love the 45-70, and I just haven't even seen a .444.
  10. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly G&G Evangelist

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    this is of course up to the OP, but I personally think the BC is worth another 135 bucks.

    But I also like the plain handi rifle. The HR would be ''handier'' in a deerblind then the BC thats for sure.


    One thing about the handi rifles, is you have to be careful to get models that actually have sights, lots just have scope bases. Unless of course you Want to scope it.

    thats one thing that pissters me off.....its hard to find a sporting rifle that even HAS irons anymore. Even if Im gonna scope it, I like having the irons there just because.
  11. Junction15

    Junction15 G&G Enthusiast

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    If it were me, I would go with a 45-70 simply for the nostalgic "flavor" - particularly if I would have to load it with black powder.
  12. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

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    Not the .444; it loses energy and drops rapidly.

    I have a .450 Marlin which is basically a +P 45-70 so think the round has alot going for it. Given your longer shots though it probably would not be a good choice due to the trajectory--if you were taking shots inside of 200 yds I'd say the .45-70 but given your longer shots go with the .35 Whelen.
  13. Purdy

    Purdy G&G Enthusiast

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    I have a couple of '86 clones in 45-70 and I load for them using Varget and 350 gr Hornady rn or 350 gr hard cast. The 350 mitigate the dreaded recoil and they shoot pretty good groups. Sighted in at 100 yds, you'd need to practice some at 200 to be confident enough to shoot at a deer at that distance.
  14. rockman7

    rockman7 G&G Enthusiast

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    Unless your planning a trip up north I'd go with the 35. Bout the same as a Remmy 350 mag. It'll reach out there and touch something. only reason I'd take a 45-70 over it on a trip up north is because I listen to the folks who've been there... Do that!!

    Be a great reason to start reloading if you don't do so now. Light loads can be loaded with handgun rounds for plinkin and target.... Much easier on the shoulder than a 45-70.

    Nothing wrong with a 444 I just think its a nitch calibre and the other 2 outshine it at every step
  15. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly G&G Evangelist

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    thanks to this thread Ive now been watching vids and online shopping for prices on the Buffalo Classic. Sure looks like fun!
  16. thrillbilly

    thrillbilly G&G Evangelist

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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  17. Ballbearing

    Ballbearing G&G Enthusiast

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    Nothing's cheap anymore.
  18. variolamajor

    variolamajor G&G Enthusiast

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    I take it you don't reload. Many folks hunt deer with a .444 Marlin and it's hardly "over kill". It can be loaded up or down while the factory 240gr or 265gr bullets put you ballistically in the .308 range. The 45-70 is the most popular of the 3 calibers but again - you must reload it to achieve full potential as commercial loadings are only loaded to about 70% capacity so they can be used in older rifles not rated for higher pressures. My buddy has the H&R Buffalo rifle in 45-70. While I don't use it for deer, I have a .444 Marlin. I would be comfortable using it for anything except for large brown bears except perhaps with loaded up 300gr hard casts. The .444 has better long range ballistics than the 45-70 - but the 45-70 is easier to find and as noted it has a wider range for reloading. ;)
  19. variolamajor

    variolamajor G&G Enthusiast

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  20. Palladin8

    Palladin8 G&G Enthusiast

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    I think all three cartridges would work well for what you are intending. With a single shot rifle you can use all kinds of bullets for each caliber. Out of the three the .444 will have the least selection of available bullets (cast or jacketed). I have a 350 Rem Mag which ballistically it has a slight edge over the Whelen. It is a very versatile rifle as the Whelen would be. If you reload then brass could easily be made from 30-06 brass which is more common than about any other large caliber rifle out there.

    The 45-70 is another caliber that is extremely popular and versatile. With factory loads from Remington, Winchester, or Hornady it is capable of taking any whitetail deer or any deer for that matter at the distances you are talking about. If you felt you needed to punish yourself for whatever reason you could buy the +P ammo from Garret or Buffalo Bore or even HSM and be able to shoot clear through several deer lined up length wise. If you reloaded for this caliber you could use any type of bullet from a pointed soft point to a flat point meant for lever action rifles. Anything from 250grs up to 500+grs.

    For me I think It would go with the 45-70. Since I cast my own bullets I would load up a soft 405gr bullet and look for a velocity of around 1500fps or so and call it good. If I didn't reload I would go and buy either the Hornady Leverevolution or a soft point of 300 or 350gr and call it good.
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