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Joined: Mar 2011
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Finally Illinois allows use of straight walled rifle rounds. I’ve got an 1895 guide gun in 45-70, and a 1894 in 357 I’ve used. I will say that 45-70 does a great job on deer and the 357 is perfect for my kids. I hand load and was wondering if the 375 Winchester or 444 marlin would be better at longer range than the 45-70? Or flatter shooting lil les recoil for the kids? I have a 350 legend it’s ok but I’m a marlin guy.

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You can load them all down to kid friendly rounds. I run Marlins in 45/70 and 444 with handloads using 5744 powder because I don't need gut stomping recoil on bad rotator cuffs just to kill a whitetail.

I wouldn't hand my loads to a 6 year old, but twice that age would handle them. Years ago I had a 14" Contender in 375 Win. It was a brute with factory ammo, but handloads tamed it down.

I'm currently building a 336 in 375 and I'm positive it will make a great little woods carbine to teach a grandson how to hunt with it. Bought bullets, brass, and dies and haven't even sent the barrel out for re-bore yet.

Congrats on getting straight walls up there, that's at least something.


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Thanks single shot only so I had to put a doe rod in the mag. I’m shooting 405gr cast rnfp right now around 1300fps and it’s mild. I’d like to get something that would shoot flatter out to 200-225 and still have some punch left. I’m also a big fan of making a good blood trail so I’d like a bullet that would punch through. Right now I’m running 170 gr soft points in my 350. I’m worried out to 200 it might not make it through. We have a ton of set aside around us and it really sucks when it’s hard to find blood.

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The 45-70 can be loaded at Trapdoor ballistics. A 300 grain cast bullet will reduce recoil farther.

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I have the .375 marlin and its not bad of a kick..really like this round,just took it out with some reloads and shot under a inch at 100yds with a 200gr

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I still use blackpowder for loading 45-70. Recoil is gentle even with a 405

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The 375 Win can be loaded up and in the light rifles they come in, can thump somewhat but nowhere near as much as a 45/70 or 444.

It can also be loaded down. 6.5gr of Red Dot behind a Lyman 375248 PB bullet is subsonic and very accurate. That would be a good load to train kids with. Once they are used to it, move them on to higher velocity loads.

For full power loads a cast GC pill in the 250-300gr is very effective. Powders that we have access to that work best are Reloader 7 and H-4198.

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You can run each through ballistics programs and see what each will do for drop. Recoil can also be calculated. I show below what my ballistics calculator shows, but not the recoil.
I've owned a 444 and currently own a 375 and a couple 45-70's. Of the three, I'd say a warm loaded 375 will give you the least kick and the flattest trajectory.

Here's what my 375 loads look like out to 300 yards.
1. sighted in at 3.2" high at 100 yards with Barnes 255 FPSP traveling at 1,750 fps, the bullet strike will be 8" low at 200 yards and 39.3" low at 300 (energy @ 300 yards = 760 ft-lbs)
2. sighted in at 3.1" high at 100 yards with Hornady 220 grain bullets at 2,200 fps, the bullet strike will be -3.4" at 200 yards and -24.8 at 300 (energy @ 300 yards = 784 ft-lbs)
3. sighted in at 3" high at 100 yards with Sierra 200 grain bullets at 2,300 fps, the bullet strike will be -2.8" at 200 yards and -22.4" at 300 yards (energy @ 300 yards = 796 ft-lbs)

Here's what my 45-70 loads look like out to 300 yards
1. sighted in at 50 yards, with the Hornady 350 gr fp, at 1,800 fps, the bullet strike will be -2.5" at 100 yards, -21" at 200 yards and -64" at 300 yards
2. sighted in at 50 yards with Woodleigh 400 gr PPSN at 1,500 fps, the bullet strike will be -1.5" at 100 yards, -22" at 200 yards and -67" at 300 yards

Here's a load I just retrieved off the Internet, not tested in my 444.
1. sighted in at 50 yards with 250 grain Nosler bullets at 2,200 fps, the bullet strike will be -1.4" at 100 yards, -13" at 200 yards and -40.3" at 300 yards

It's up to you if you'd want to shoot at 300 yards. Might I suggest that you bring a range finder with you and know your rifle/load's trajectory. I have shown where I sighted in my Marlin 45-70 and the 375. My 444 data is lost. I believed I used mostly cast in it too.

Last edited by Bugger; 12/04/23.

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Of the bunch the 444 Marlin with fast twist as last offered by Marlin is by far the most versatile. Shooting 210 grain to 355 grain projectiles. A 210 grain load at 2,700 fps, 240 grain load can be pushed at 2,500 fps and a 335 load at 2,125 fps.The 375 Win has about 2 bullet choices and does not come close to the wounding and killing capability of the 444 Marlin. The 45-70 is definitely a heavy kicker with full loads and does shoot the 400 grain plus loads, however the 444 Marlin IMO is more versatile by way of all the .430” projectiles. The 240 grain XTP is a hard bullet but at 2,400 fps expands nicely and hammers deer and hogs and could easily anchor larger game. The 444 Marlin pushing a 335 grain cast gas check will sail through anything it encounters, those hard cast open a massive wound channel in some cases 3 to 4 times the projectile diameter. Wounding is viscous, something a 375 Winchester could never compete with. Most who have never used it relegate it to some status well below other lever cartridges because of its 44 magnum connection with several projectiles offered. However this is a real benefit because it makes the 444 Marlin, by far, the most versatile lever gun cartridge because it can use those projectiles and others designed specifically for expansion at 444 Marlin speeds on big bodied creatures offering excellent terminal performance out at 200 yards. Only one man’s opinion, and yes I own a 444 Marlin.

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Yeh, but a 444 at 300 yards?
Is the 375 incapable of cleanly killing whitetail?
Is the extra power of a 444 needed?
There’s significant recoil difference between the 444 and the 375.

I’m not a 444 hater, but is it a better cartridge for whitetail, especially at longer ranges? I wouldn’t mind owning another 444. To answer the op’s question I’d still go with the 375.

Having wrote that, I wouldn’t take any of the three out for 300 yard shots.


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200 is a stretch. Impact velocity and marginal expansion keep me from trying longer distances. My longest shot ever was 130.

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i own a TC Encore in a 23" MGM barrel (1 in 20" twist) in 444 Marlin. i have shot deer with 255gr Kieth SWC, 275gr Ranch Dog, 280gr WFN & LFN GC, 300gr Saeco FN GC and 265gr Hornady FN. the velocity goes from mild (1627fps, 300gr) to wild (2300+fps, 280gr LFN GC).

i hunt in an area that 60 yards is a long shot. this year i killed a doe at around 40ish yards. i was using a 280gr WFN GC and Reloder 7 that is going 1947fps. the bullet was behind the shoulder, 1/3 of the up. it went thru both lungs, broke 2 ribs and exited. the exit wound was around 1 1/2" - 1 3/4" hole. the lungs were trashed and there was no blood shot meat. after the shot, i could see blood coming out of her when she ran about 15ish yards and then fell.


you really don't need high velocity to kill deer where i hunt. i have a 35/30-30 in Winchester m94 that has a 200gr RCBS FN GC and 2400/tuft of Dacron that goes 1726fps. it is a deer killer, where i hunt.

it took me some time to make the right bullet alloy and the velocity that i am comfortable at.


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It seems that you want a new gun.


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