The pores were well filled, though the finish material seemed a bit softer than that of the Marlins. Our shooting was hampered by the trigger and by the huge ghost-ring rear sight. If you also shoot a Trapdoor Springfield or any other kind of weak-actioned rifle that takes the .45-70, it makes sense that you should not mix up your ammunition. The .450 Marlin was designed so that a magnum class of 45 70 load could be sold commercially without fear of someone blowing themselves up by putting the charge in a trap door springfield. Today, there is no shortage of them, though the old-timers have mostly died out. We also got a Winchester Model 94AE chambered for the .444 Marlin. Some of the big ammunition manufacturers also produce several different lines of magnum .45-70 Govt ammo for use in newer rifles. Our loaner was fitted with a ghost-ring Ashley aperture sight held to the receiver with two screws. One thing I struggle with. Based on our test results, we don’t think so. Toward that end, we obtained a pair of nearly identical Marlins chambered for the .444 Marlin, the Model 444P, and .450 Marlin, the Model 1895M.
If you are a TFL member and can access TFL, please do not use this link; instead, use the forums (like Questions, Suggestions, and Tech Support) or PM an appropriate mod or admin. Ours didn’t. Such emails will be ignored. Well, let’s talk about the ballistics of the cartridge and how the .450 Marlin stacks up next to the .45-70, both of which will help explain why it didn’t take off like the folks and Hornady or Marlin hoped.
Both guns are exceptionally great. It didn’t punch out groups as small as those with the Marlin .444, but it was accurate enough to take hunting.
This prevents accidental cross-chambering of the two cartridges. Buy the .45-70 there are more ammuntion options from the light recoil stuff by Remington and Winchester to the heavy loads from companies lik Buffalo Bore. Setting aside the dubious qualities of the .450 Marlin cartridge, we noted the rifle that shot the rounds was well made. First, the .450 Marlin and the .45-70 Government both fire the same .458″ diameter bullets. A small point perhaps, but the action bottom at the balance point was squared on the Winchester, but nicely rounded on the Marlins, and that made the Marlin easier to carry.
There’s just no need for a “new” cartridge in this same performance range. The quality of bluing on the Winchester was excellent, in spite of the slight metal-polishing problems. I've shot one in a NEF Handi rifle and it's a thumper even with the mercury recoil reducer but that's a pretty light rifle. It didn’t do this with any of the other loads. In days past these included the .348, various wildcats on that theme like the .450 Alaskan, the .45-70, and numerous blackpowder-era cartridges modernized with smokeless powder. It’s popular enough that some of the bigger retailers in the USA do keep some .450 Marlin ammo in stock, but it’s still not the easiest stuff to find. The wood-to-metal fit was again superb. It had a plain but serviceable checkered walnut stock with trestle-style buttpad made of black rubberized “iron.” Why don’t manufacturers get the word here? It’s a belted case, not the usual rimmed type one normally finds in lever rifles. Unless otherwise noted, these reviews carry the guns’ prices at the time of the original review. Marlin Model 444P Our recommendation: Marlin ought to know by now how to make a flawless .444 Marlin. Some companies, like Wild West in Alaska, do a bang-up business modifying existing lever rifles into whatever the mind of man can conceive. It utilized a standard belted-mag case of 2.0-inch length.
A hard rubber buttpad doesn’t help the shooter, it hinders him from getting the most out of the rifle. We believe the development time used up by Marlin on that rifle could have been spent promoting the grand versatility of the .45-70 Guide Gun, letting folks know that it can handle good stout loads like those from Buffalo Bore, and making the Guide Gun exactly the way it should be, with an aperture rear sight right from the factory, softer recoil pad, and the slickest possible action.
Similar in appearance to the wildcat .458×2″ American cartridge, the .450 Marlin has a belted case to prevent chambering in a .45-70 Government rifle. They get near identical energy and I’m talking about a 45-70 with current loads.
The Wild West aperture rear sight costs $100 for Marlins, or $120 for Winchesters.
Elsewhere, we noticed an anomaly between the two Marlins. Based on that flaw, we’d have to say Don’t Buy it. If you handload, the .45/70 is the way to go because you can cover the entire load range with more common brass.
Even so it's not real bad. The checkering was fully functional, well done, and attractive. Additionally, the .45-70 uses a rimmed case while the .450 Marlin has a belted case.
With the good loads out there for the .45-70, and with Wild West’s .457 Magnum available, we see no need for the .450 Marlin. The Winchester, thought, had a superb ghost-ring aperture sight by Ashley, which we though would give it an advantage.
This Marlin, as we’ve come to expect from Marlins (especially the new breed with real rifling grooves) laid ‘em in there as well as we could hold with iron sights. Recoil is an entirely subjective thing. Then, later in our testing, we again encountered this failure to feed, and not just from the last round in the magazine. The Winchester had a 20-inch barrel. It drives a 350-grain bullet at 2,200 fps, about 150 fps faster than Buffalo Bore’s loads for that bullet weight in the .45-70. My 450M is a Guide Gun with an 18.5" ported barrel. In the real world, firearms chambered for less powerful cartridges are typically built lighter than firearms chambered for more powerful cartridges. The Marlin 1895 uses the exact same receiver on both the .450 Marlin and the .45-70. The straight-hand stock had a sling swivel stud in the butt, and another on the steel that attached the wood forend. The .45-70 is far more versatile, and ammo is made by many companies. I’ll also provide some information on how the .450 Marlin compares to the .45-70 Government so you can decide which one best fits your needs as a hunter. Some hunters like lever-action rifles for hunting, but they want more power than the .30-30 delivers, and so the medium-bore lever rifle cartridges were born.
If it sounds like an appealing choice for you, then get a good quality rifle, learn to shoot it accurately, and I’m sure you’ll be happy with how it performs for you afield. I own a 450 marlin and had it reloaded with 250 grain hollow points. This means there’s precious little need for the .444 in our book. We didn’t like these, having become thoroughly used to the half-cock position on hammer rifles. Additionally, the cartridge is a very good cartridge for reloaders. However, some shooters like the extra margin of safety, and it’s there if desired. Like the Marlins, the Winchester had a cross-bolt safety but the owner had locked it out so the rifle would fire every time the hammer fell. All of those developments have created a situation where there are thousands of older rifles with weaker actions in common use in the United States along with lots of handloading recipes and factory ammo choices that are not safe to use in those rifles. Both forend and wrist checkering had a darker finish than the rest of the wood, and it added to the looks of the rifle. For all these reasons, the .45-70 and .450 Marlin are perfect for hunting basically every species of North American big game in thick woods or heavy cover where short range shots (>100 yards) are common. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for factory .450 Marlin hunting ammo right now. These two rifles were both light and, with outstanding Buffalo Bore ammunition, provided as modern and powerful ballistics as anyone could want. My guess is (I don’t own one, but have two .45-70s) you would not be in a hurry to use a 250 gr.
This email contact address is not an "Ask the Firearms Expert" service. We’d like to see Marlin spend its efforts making great rifles perfectly, rather than expending energy on useless new projects like the .450 Marlin. As it was, we liked the ring for its simplicity, but it was extremely vulnerable, sticking up in the breeze. Marlin is a great rifle maker and rivals Winchester in quality and utility. The checkering was very well done, had a pleasing pattern, and it worked very well. Hornady and Marlin manufactured good quality rifles and ammo for the cartridge and it basically performed as advertised. However, the differences between them are small enough at times that it’s possible to see that much shot to shot variation within the same box of ammo for a particular cartridge. Typical .450 Marlin ballistics are a 325gr FTX bullet at 2,225 fps (3,572 ft-lbs), a 405gr JFN bullet at 1,975 fps (3,507 ft-lbs), or a 500gr FMJ-FN bullet at 1,625 fps (2,931 ft-lbs). Hornady produce two loads for the.450 Marlin, the lightest being the 325 grain FTX Leverevolution bullet at an advertised 2225fps in 24” barrels giving on average 2100fps in 24” barreled rifles and around 1800fps in the stubby 18.5” barreled guide gun.