.45-70 Marlin

Marlin Guide Gun, ported barrels and cast bullets

Q: I’ve just become the proud owner of a Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun in .45-70 which seems to have a muzzle brake cut into the barrel.

Because .45-calibre jacketed bullets have become so expensive, I bought a Lyman mould #457191 to cast 293gn lead bullets for my gun.

Could you suggest a powder and load for this bullet?

Also, is it true that the Marlin has MicroGroove rifling which may not shoot cast bullets too accurately?

— Wayne Tex Martin

A: Your Guide Gun’s handy 18½-inch barrel has a pair of holes arranged on either side of the front sight to vent gas upwards. Upward gas movement reduces muzzle jump and perceived recoil.

Another pair of holes on each side of the barrel below the front sight vents gas out to the side, further reducing felt recoil. Fast recovery makes follow-up shots easier.

This factory porting as done by Marlin only for a brief period, from about 1998 until 2002. (The Guide Gun pictured above is one of the current series, without porting.)

Many shooters use cast lead bullets in their Marlin 1895Gs and past experience has shown that Marlin’s MicroGroove rifling gives accuracy problems with these bullets. Happily, though, your rifle has six-groove Ballard-type cut rifling with a 1:20 twist.

A good load with the 293gn cast bullet is 50gn of AR2207 for 2080fps.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.


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